How to Schedule a 5-Day Program in a 4-Day Homeschool Week

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How to Schedule a 5-Day Program in a 4-Day Homeschool Week • homeschool planning • homeschool scheduling

Sonlight offers a 5-day program and a 4-day program. Because the 4-day program has 36 fewer scheduled days in the Instructor's Guide, there are fewer books overall.  But what if you want to follow the 4-day homeschool schedule while reading the 5-day books and the notes? In that case, you have two options.

  1. You can order the 4-day curriculum and let the additional 5-day books be supplemental reading for fun.
  2. You can order the 5-day curriculum and adjust the schedule as needed.

Let’s look at both of those.

Continue reading below or listen here:

Using the 4-Day Schedule with Supplemental Reading

If you prefer to know exactly what you’re doing each day without much thought on your part, the 4-day schedule is going to be better for you. The assignments are already scheduled, and you don't have to make adjustments.

As for missing out on the notes for the additional books, yes, that might be disappointing. But it is also good practice for the rest of life, in which, if we want to know more about something, we go and look it up.

  • You can locate map points and identify events on the timeline.
  • You can look up words in a dictionary.
  • You can talk through what you like, what the characters could have been done differently, the ways that some characters demonstrated virtue, and so on.

Alternately, you could allow your family just to read the 5-day books for fun. Books just because you love them . . . it’s an enticing thought.

Using the 5-Day Program with a Schedule Adjustment

Once your children are working independently, this option can be more challenging. But if you are still directly involved with the homeschooling, making your own schedule adjustments can work especially well.

Basically, with this option, you adjust the schedule on-the-fly. Overall, you know that you want to get through about five days in four days' time. So you just modify the schedule:

  • read a few extra chapters in your Read-Alouds
  • reserve a few Readers for the summer
  • double up on shorter Science or History assignments

For example, in the World History Programs Sonlight B and Sonlight C, Hillyer’s A Child’s History of the World takes longer to read than The Usborne Book of World History. Ideally, you’d double up on the Usborne book, and not double up on Hillyer. Or if you did double up on Hillyer, you wouldn’t also double up on Science that day.

This method works best after you can get a sense of which assignments will take longer, without stressing about getting every last bit on the day that it should be done.

To put it another way: this method works well if you can feel good about moving forward in all subjects, without feeling stressed about being in slightly different places in the Instructor’s Guide.

One mom who uses this method keeps a list of the books and larger assignments she didn’t get to. At the end of the year, she revisits them. Then she chooses which, if any, to read or assign.

Between these two options, there isn’t a right or a wrong way to make a 5-day program fit into a 4-day homeschool schedule. There is merely a way that will work best for you. You probably can guess about yourself which will be more restful—to start with less and add as you choose, or to start with all and eliminate as needed.

Go with your intuition, and have a great year!

Ready to choose your four-day or five-day program? Go to SmoothCourse and get started today.

How to Schedule a 5-Day Program in a 4-Day Homeschool Week • homeschool planning • homeschool scheduling
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  1. We're trying a 4-day schedule this week. I'm really excited. I hope it works!

  2. Grace Greenwell

    I've done this multiple times...combining 5 day into 4. I did it with p4/5, A, and B. I may end up doing it with Core C next school year as well; have not decided yet. I took and edited my whole IG through the summer to prepare for school year by adding the 5th day work throughout the week so we could have Fridays off for field trips/errands etc. We loved it!

    • Amy Lykosh

      I did C similarly to that this year--editing the 5 days down to 4. But I'm not nearly as disciplined as you are, to think it all through beforehand. Kudos to you!

    • Lena Q

      This is what I was planning to do for Core E next year! I will have two kids using E and two that I plan on using Core A with (one w/ K readers and one with grade 1 readers). My kids like/need a printed schedule they can refer to and check things off as the week progresses, so I use lesson trek and build their weekly schedules ahead of time. Since I'm doing that anyway, I decided I would just add Friday's work throughout the week for next year. We did it a few times this last year with success, and I think my kids will really like having Fridays off for volunteering and field trips. I was tempted to buy 4-day Core A -- I still haven't decided yet!

  3. Jessica Cole

    Can somebody tell me where to find that calendar in the picture?! I love it!

  4. Heather

    I need to know where the wooden calendar came from, as well. Love it!!

  5. Jennifer

    Yep. The calendar!!! That's what we want to know!!!

  6. Amber

    We usually do a 4 day schedule but I purchased the 5 day curriculum and since we homeschool year around I think it will work out perfectly ;) We are loving the books!!!

  7. Kathy

    I feel like another thing that would help with both the 5-day and the 4-day programs is if Sonlight scheduled 34 or 35 weeks rather than 36. Parents and kids need some days off from each subject throughout the year, or time to explore topics in more depth, and they also need time for field trips and other events. A shorter scheduled would allow for that. Otherwise, you start feeling behind and under pressure to finish from day 1, because there isn't one day you can miss. Even with a 180-day requirement in my state, we aren't required to do every subject every single one of those days. It's just not realistic. I think using Sonlight would be more peaceful with a 34 or 35-week schedule.