Everybody wants to start their day off on the right foot. Having a predictable homeschool daily schedule for your family can help ease you into your homeschool day with less yelling and confusion. I always had a homeschool daily schedule hung up on the wall that we referred to throughout the day and week. Each year, I would tweak it to make sure it worked for us given our outside activities and classes. Let me share with you ways to create a homeschool daily schedule to streamline your day and maybe even prevent premature grey hair (but no promises).
Homeschool daily schedule for younger kids
If you’ve got a house full of elementary aged children and younger, your schedule will be more detailed, yet less stressful because their schoolwork is less demanding and deadlines and grades are either nonexistent or less important. Young children only need a few hours a day to complete school work. While it’s helpful to have structure and routine, you don’t need to fill every hour with educational activities, especially if your oldest child is second grade or below. Young children need time to play and explore so don’t try to replicate the six hour brick and mortar school day in your homeschool…unless you want to make yourself and your children miserable.
A sample homeschool schedule for a home of elementary aged children might look like this:
- 7 a.m. wake up, get dressed, breakfast
- 8 a.m. outside
- 8:30 a.m. morning meeting
- 9:30 a.m. School work- three 20 min blocks, or just work on whatever subjects during this hour
- 10:30 a.m. Break- 20 min
- 11:30 a.m. School work
- 12:00 p.m. Lunch followed by recess outside for 30 min.
- 1 p.m. Chores
- 2 p.m. Quiet time in bed 45-60 min – free reading or audio book with headphones, younger children can sleep
- 3 p.m. Free time
- 5:30 p.m. Supper
- 8 p.m. Family Prayers
A schedule like this leaves afternoons free for field trips, errands, playgroups, or other activities. Or, because the school day is short, you can easily switch your day around, say-take a trip in the morning, and still finish your school work in the afternoon after lunch. As kids get older, the 1 p.m. hour can be transitioned to additional schoolwork time, with chores falling at another time. You can also use lunch time for audio books, listening to music together, or praying together. We would spend four days a week on core subjects, and one day a week we would all work together on things like science, history, art, etc. My goal early on was to get my kids working on core subjects independently, while the extra subjects were a time for them to work as a team, and me to be more involved.
If you select a parent intensive curriculum, you will need to figure out when you work one on one with each child, and what the other children are doing while you’re teaching. It can be helpful to think in 10-20 minute blocks of instruction, rather than a full hour as neither you or your young child will want to sit and work on a subject for that long. You can add more structure throughout the rest of the day if its helpful, but I found after a structured part of the day, my kids were usually able to entertain themselves in the afternoon and early evening. I think kids need some free time to be bored, and figure out how to entertain themselves. We limited outside activities when our kids were young, so we ate dinner together every night and would do family games or movies in the evening when my husband was available.
Homeschool Daily Schedule with older kids
As my children got older, and there were more necessary subjects to cover in more depth, our school day extended into the afternoon and we did less activities during the day. We transitioned towards coming together only in the morning for our morning meeting, as everyone eventually had their own science, history, and non-core subjects to work on. Evenings and weekends became busier with activities, but I think we limited ourselves more than many families. We still ate together more nights than not. Older children should be able to sit and work independently and stay on top of their own assignments. You might use online classes, recorded courses, or good old textbooks. You will need to work with your student to help them come up with their own daily and weekly schedules to make sure they’re allowing enough time for each subject in whatever format the material is being delivered. At this point, our daily homeschool schedule is basically times placed throughout the day and week when we come together. My older kids have the freedom to plan their day as they see fit around these anchors.
An sample homeschool schedule for a home with older kids might look like this:
- 9 a.m. Morning Meeting
- 12 p.m. Lunch
- 4 p.m. Chores
- 4:30 p.m. Screen Time
- 5:30 p.m. Dinner
- 8 p.m. Family Prayers
As you can see, older kids get a lot more freedom. They can get up when they want, go to sleep when they want, and complete school work whenever they want so long as they complete assignments by their deadlines and plan to join up with family at these set times (which is great when your family is a mix of early birds and night owls!) They also only get screen time after chores are completed. It can be helpful to have set times for school questions or correcting work either for all your kids at the same time, or individually. (I personally recommend using a Learning Management System (LMS) like Google Classroom to streamline schoolwork for middle school and high school kids.) You will start to see your children’s strengths and weaknesses shine through, and you can work with them to plan out a day that suits them best. Some kids will need more oversight and more anchors from you, while others will need to answer to another teacher or tutor to help stay on track. So while your schedule looks simpler than the previous one, your children will have more on their own plates you’re helping them learn to balance, and you’ll also be tracking deadlines and grades more closely once you hit those high school years and college or vocational training is on the horizon.
With younger kids, you will control the schedule. With older kids, you start to turn the reigns over to them-with guidance. And in a house with kids spanning all the ages and stages, you will probably have one main “anchor” schedule when you expect everyone to come together, and then one schedule for your younger kids to follow, while your older children manage more of their own time, but can also help keep younger siblings on task. It can help to reevaluate your homeschool daily schedule mid-year, and definitely at the end of the year. As our family dealt with pregnancies, moving, surgeries, surprise hospitalizations and more, it was so helpful to have a schedule with regular anchors in place. It allowed my children to follow a predictable routine even when things were crazy. If my husband or grandparents were in charge for the day, the kids still knew their schedule and what school work to complete even if I was in the hospital or sick. You will have days that go off the rails, or when it’s too nice to stay home from the beach, but if you commit to creating and following a homeschool daily routine, I know your days and weeks will go smoother.
Got any questions on creating a daily homeschool schedule? Leave them below!