So many questions these days about how to schedule your homeschool. What do you do each day? Should I homeschool four or five days each week? Should I homeschool year-round or use a traditional school year? Let’s talk about homeschool schedule ideas in each of these areas.
Daily Homeschool Schedule Ideas
We homeschooled for ten years, covering all ages: elementary, jr. high and sr. high. For the most part, we homeschooled in the morning and finished by lunch time. If the kids had individual work that still needed to be finished, they completed it in the afternoon. Here’s a rough outline of our typical homeschool daily schedule.
Breakfast & Family Devotions Together
I enjoy cooking breakfast, so I cooked a fresh breakfast each morning. OK…some days we had dry cereal. If you’re not a breakfast person, don’t beat yourself up for not cooking breakfast. Find what works for your family; then sit down and eat together. Eating a meal together is one of the best indicators a child will be successfuul in school and life. Really!
In our family, breakfast was the best time to have family devotions. We were already gathered at the table together. Steve ate faster than the rest of us. Once he finished eating, he started our devotions while the rest of ate our meal. One reason I liked having devotions at breakfast is to set an example that we begin our day with God . . . focusing on Him as we start the day.
Get Ready for the Day
After breakfast, the kids were off to get ready for the day. This included getting dressed, making their bed, brushing their teeth and practicing the piano. In elementary years, they also listened and sang our memory song. We popped in an audio cassette (yep, I’m old enough that we used cassettes). The kids sang and danced to the song, not even realizing they were learning.
After the first year of homeschooling, I adjusted our times and came up with a new homeschool schedule idea. I realized that what is most important to me gets done first. Reading aloud was not happening like I wanted the first year. So, I moved it to first thing each morning.
Since I added other activities to this time, I considered it our family time to encourage a love of learning. Some of our family time activities included:
- Kids reading a poem aloud, in front of their siblings
- Art Appreciation with simple library books
- Singing hymns together (since our church wasn’t singing hymns)
- Discussion of their Bible study or history lessons
Although the activities above were not everyday, reading aloud was a daily activity. We read together until they graduated from high school. We did not quit reading aloud when our kids were able to read for themselves.
If you would like a list of our favorite read aloud books, enter your name & email below. We’ll send it on over.
Whether the kids were in elementary grades or high school, the rest of the day was spent working on their own. When they were younger, I met individually with them daily to teach and review what they were learning. As they got older, I met with them a few times a week to touch base.
A few weeks ago, I shared specifics homeschool schedule ideas that we used in elementary and high school years. You can watch it below.
Lunch, Afternoon, Dinner
More meals together! Around 12:30pm, we ate lunch together. Not my favorite meal, so I kept a list of lunch ideas and rotated them. Our afternoons were spent in a variety of ways, such as:
- Quiet time in your room – Mom needed this, too
- Play outside
- Silent reading time
- Girls Club once a week
- Sports practices or games
- Arts & crafts
- Science projects
- Other weekly activities or classes
- Play with friends
We finished off with dinner together. Again, eating together was super-important to me, so I scheduled our meal time around our outside activities.
Weekly Homeschool Schedule Ideas
The main question I get about a weekly schedule is should you homeschool four or five days. I think this is a personal preference and encourage you to pray about your decision. When you choose a four-day homeschool schedule, you have one day as a free day for a variety of activities.
If I were homeschooling four days, I would use Fridays as fun day for field trips or special activities or having friends over to play. When Friday is your day off, it allows you to have a long weekend, possibly taking a short trip to family or friends.
Some families use Wednesday as their day off from homeschooling. This gives you a mid-week break. School for two days. Break. School for two more days.
A four-day homeschool week will give you space. Space that we too often fill with busyness. I encourage you to be thoughtful with the way you use this special day God has given you.
Having said this, we homeschooled five days a week and it was perfect for our family. I was intentional to take regular breaks (see my annual homeschool schedule below) for field trips and special activities.
Annual Homeschool Schedule Ideas
To homeschool year round or not?
I’ve shared my story many times. God rested on the seventh day, so I believed in resting from homeschooling. We homeschooled from Labor Day to Memorial Day. The old-fashioned school calendar with a caveat. We also took a break from Thanksgiving to the New Year. Let me explain.
Does that mean my kids didn’t learn anything over the summer?
We still had read aloud time each morning and they participated in our library’s summer reading program every year. Each afternoon, we had an hour of quiet reading time.
Summers were also used for special activities. I remember one summer I hired a college student to dissect animals with our kids. She came over once a week and helped them dissect one animal. My kids were not in Biology, but I thought it would be a fun, educational activity.
One of the best pieces of advice I received from a veteran homeschooler my first year, is take off during the Christmas holidays. So, I followed her advice and left the “formal” homeschooling alone for a month.
Again . . . my kids were still learning.
They were not sitting in front of the TV or other screens all day long. They wrote family letters and thank you notes, baked cookies, served others and much more. It wasn’t book learning, but they were learning life skills which are just as important.
For our family, Labor Day to Memorial Day homeschooling was best. I don’t think my kids forgot much over the summer. We spent time the first two weeks of September reviewing, so they were up-to-date with their studies.
For those of you worried you won’t finish your curriculum, here’s a tip from a former public school teacher. I never finished a textbook in my six years of teaching.
Don’t beat up yourself!
Don’t get upset with your child!
If you take off the summers, follow my example. Pick up in September wherever you left off in May. Pretty simple!
For other families, they use the principle of God resting on the seventh day a bit differently. These families homeschool six weeks and take the seventh week off. In doing this, they homeschool year-round, taking short breaks every so often. If I ever homeschooled year-round, I would follow this type of annual homeschool schedule.
What are you going to do with these homeschool schedule ideas? How will you plan your day, your week, your year?
I have a Homeschool Schedule Ideas printable that’s free for you. You’ll receive my very simple lesson plan that I used all ten years with my kids, as well as copies of my daily schedules in elementary and high school years. All you need to do is enter your name and email below.
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