This is a post about our daily homeschool schedule over the years. When I met my first group of homeschooling moms in 2010 we had a meeting where each of us shared our daily homeschool schedule. It was so fun seeing how other homeschools are run. Hopefully this post helps you figure out your schedule.
Homeschooling in Texas with little kids (6 years)
We lived in Texas for 6 years and our first 4 kids were born there. When I first started homeschooling I had several napping babies and toddlers and I homeschooled my oldest around that. It was very informal because there was no laws about homeschooling and my kids were young. I believed (and still do) that everything counts as learning and we learned all day through play. So we mostly did Play Doh, cooked together, watched the birds, played in the sandbox, etc. I had workbooks I found at yard sales and the kids did them when they felt like it, mostly on afternoons when it was too hot or cold to play outside. Sometimes they did 2 pages, sometimes 20 at one sitting.
I preferred to homeschool when the baby was awake so that we were all hanging out together. Then, because I got very little time by myself, when the baby was napping I let the kids go play (morning) or have quiet time (afternoon) and I would scrapbook, exercise, shower, read or rest (if I were pregnant/postpartum.) Afterward, we’d all hang out together again. So our general schedule went:
- 7-9am Up, dressed, breakfast, morning chores, get husband off to med school, go for a walk or play outside.
- 9-11 Baby nap, free time for other kids. They played outside a lot or games in the house like library, going on a trip, etc. I rode my exercise bike and showered and took care of them.
- 11-12 Lunch
- 12-1 School or read books or play outside all together.
- 1-3 Baby and toddler nap, kids quiet time. They could nap, read, color, do MagnaDoodles, etc.
- 2-5 Hang out together. Another good time to do any school the kids wanted to: art, letters to grandparents, read, bake, math workbooks, jump on the trampoline, collect bugs, walk to the park, etc.
- 5:00+ make dinner, eat, more outside time, family walk, more books, bedtime.
We didn’t have a TV or any electronics except one big computer with slow dial-up internet, so screen time wasn’t an issue. We didn’t have any classes or extracurricular activities (just church and sometimes storytime at the library), so the kids truly played all day.
A word about school and naptime
You can homeschool when the baby is napping so you have more one-on-one time with the school children. Or school when the baby is awake. I chose awake just because I needed a break when the baby was asleep and when I’m holding the baby I’m bored and happy to play/interact/learn with the other children. I generally did this throughout all my years of having babies. Naptime was my only “me time” all day. Of course, it didn’t always work. Some days we were on field trips, some days the toddler wouldn’t nap. Some days the teens wanted to talk or needed to go somewhere. Other times I’d get everyone settled when a kid would throw up, a friend stopped by, or the baby woke up only 20 minutes into their nap. But I tried to keep that as my down time to exercise, nap, read, check email, etc and come back to the kids rejuvenated with energy for the rest of the day.
North Carolina years with lots of grade schoolers (9 years)
When we lived in North Carolina and I had 1-5 children over age 7 (when compulsory education started), I started taking homeschooling more seriously. We had to report our days and do annual testing and things like that. I threw myself into homeschooling. Planning lessons, teaching, helping with work, and learning with my kids all day was my love. I could have schooled until bedtime and still wanted to do more. We did so many fun activities and went places together.
Here are a few of our homeschooling schedules I found in my homeschool notebook from those years.
Utah homeschooling with newborn to high school (5 years)
In Utah homeschooling became more difficult. Babies number 9 and 10 were more demanding. I now had high schoolers and they went to a church class at the high school every other day. The following year they added orchestra and band and French. The following year Thomas joined the middle school orchestra which was every day. So now I had 3 high schoolers going every other day (some weeks MWF, other weeks TTH ) and 1 middle schooler going every day. But just for a couple hours of the school day. I was happy for them to get those classes and a real school experience but it made it hard to find times when everyone was home to do the group subjects together. Some days would be on an assembly or minimum day schedule and we’d get thrown off. It made my school day crazy driving kids places and fitting school around 2 public school schedules and napping babies/toddlers. I’m glad we took advantage of the city life while we did, however.
Fall 2017 I had a newborn who was a terrible napper. The 3 high school kids had their school classes at 8am so we were all up early to eat breakfast with them before they left. We shifted our usual schedule a bit earlier and then took a break from 9:30-11 because I had to sleep train the baby for her nap at that time. I had assumed I could put her down for her nap and go back to homeschooling like I did the other babies.However, she wouldn’t stay asleep so I just made it a break time so I didn’t expect to get anything done. Some days I had to hold her asleep so she’d get used to napping at that time. Then when she was trained I was happy to have that break time to ride my exercise bike, read, and shower while the older kids were gone. I hadn’t been able to do it first thing in the morning like other years b/c I was getting them off to school (at least my oldest drove!) They’d come home for lunch and we’d homeschool during the afternoon nap. It worked for that semester. You do what works for your family!
Here’s a schedule I made for fall 2018 and then changed it for winter 2019 when Talea’s nap got pushed back and we rearranged some things. Thomas had orchestra at the middle school before and during our lunch break so we did all the core subjects first thing in the morning and were done by lunch. After lunch I thought would be good for reading but the kids naturally got hyper and would play outside or play the piano and goof off. The days the high schoolers had seminary they left at 12:50 and I would put Talea, age 1 down for her nap, put a show on for the younger kids, and go for a walk. Thomas would just be getting home from orchestra and would watch them while he finished his personal subjects. When everyone was home around 2 we’d watch CNN 10, get a snack and do read aloud. Or at least tried to a couple times a week.
Homeschooling on the farm
Now that we’re out in the country we rarely go anywhere during the day so I have complete control over the homeschool schedule again. I have no babies or napping toddlers. We have the whole day to do all the schooling we want. It’s also nice that we are way more efficient without kids going and coming from school or babies and toddlers needing things.
We generally do school first thing in the morning, then play all afternoon or do a project on the farm. Several evenings a week we go to town where the children are in the community theater. But we also homeschool around the weather a lot. If there’s a hurricane coming we’ll run and play outside then put away things like hammocks and toys. Then we’ll do school while the hurricane is brewing. Or simply read, eat popcorn, and talk about the storm. We love storm parties. 🙂 On cold days we school in the morning and play outside in the afternoon. On hot days we play outside in the mornings and school in the afternoons.
Our general schedule is like this:
- 7-8 Up and eat breakfast
- 8-9:15 History
- 9-11Personal subjects: L.A., math, DuoLingo
- 11-12 Lunch
- 12-4 Play or work outside. If it’s too hot or cold kids come inside after an hour and do more personal electives: art, play the piano, DuoLingo, computer programming, crochet, CNN 10, read, sew, bake, etc.
- 4-5:15 make, eat, clean up dinner
- 5:30 leave for rehearsal
- 6-8 rehearsal (if no rehearsal, then read aloud, game night, movie night)
- 8-10 bedtimes
History is the only subject I teach my kids this year. I also incorporate a lot of musicians, artists, scientists and projects. I love it! I could do it all day but since I’m also single parenting, homesteading, and trying to earn an income, I do it first thing after breakfast. It feels good to be done with my portion of school. Then I can help the other kids with spelling or math while I start laundry, call the insurance, whatever. Or if it’s a beautiful day and they’re all playing outside, I call it a day and let them play. I feel good knowing we at least got a great subject in that incorporated a lot. I really don’t care about their other subjects. They generally get enough of it in just through play and living on a farm.
Some Last Advice
Most important subjects first
I would suggest doing your most important subjects or the ones you love best first. Kids can feel your enthusiasm and love school more because they can tell you love it. Then do whatever else kids feel like. My kids are always making cardboard creations, sewing, playing musical instruments, making up their own board games and playing them, etc. They don’t need formal classes.
Being flexible with babies and seasons
Make a schedule and see how it goes. Then change it up. Just looking at read aloud I’ve moved it all over the place. When I have newborns I sometimes do read aloud at 9am when I’m nursing the baby to sleep for her morning nap. When she’s 1 and only taking 1 nap I do read aloud at 1:00 when I’m nursing her for her nap. In the winter we love to read in the evenings curled up on the couch in our pajamas. In the summer we love to do it in the middle of the hot afternoon when we’re too sweaty and tired from playing outside and need to come in and rest.During the spring and fall we love to eat lunch outside and then do read aloud under a tree. Change it to fit your schedule as many times as you need to.
Hopefully this helps you get a feel for what a daily homeschool schedule can look like. It’s your family and your day so you can create it how you like. You can choose to have kids in classes like ballet or violin which will determine which hours you can homeschool. Or you can have the whole day free and let them teach themselves. Do what is best for yourself so that you’re a happy homeschooling mom and your children will thrive. Best of luck! I hope it’s as rewarding for you as it is for me.