School at home #4: Schedules

All of you new homeschoolers are on my heart lately.  I wanted to write a little bit today about schedules.  I see a lot of schedules floating around in which every hour of typical school day is scheduled with parent led activities for a homeschool day. Basically, these types of homeschool days have 9am-3pm scheduled.

Now, if you are finding this is working beautifully for your family, carry on!  You have found your groove and are off to great things!

However, if you are one of those who is overwhelmed and exhausted at the end of the day, it's you who I want to talk to today.

Can I let you in on a secret?  Schooling at home does not need to mirror a typical public school day. I've been homeschooling for many years and I have tried a bit of everything for schedule. I can tell you this, to schedule our homeschool with an every hour activity between 9-3 would lead to homeschool burnout for me and likely frustrations coming from my kids. If you are feeling the same, you are not alone.

Can I let you in on another secret? The majority of homeschooling families I know do not schedule their homeschool day like a public school day.  What works for a school with a class full of children isn't necessarily what works best for families.

The great thing about homeschooling is you can do what works for you. You can do what works for your children. You can do what works for your family.  It's flexible.  Flexibility is a beautiful thing.

I've always been a working and homeschooling mom, which has required that flexibility that I talk about. I've done a bit of everything. I started with early morning lessons, break while I work, followed up with afternoon and evening lessons. I've done a 3 day a week schedule year round with a couple vacations thrown in to get enough days in the early years. I then reduced my work hours and did a 4 day a week homeschool schedule, year round. Saturdays have regularly been homeschool days and we always do some homeschool days in the summer (the very best time for hands on science is summer!).  Long and short of it, school does not need to be a 9-3 if you don't want it to be.

Furthermore, when you are doing your lessons with just a couple of students, things can be accomplished faster. You may not need the entire day for focused formal learning.

Currently, my work is shut down and I am home with my children full time for the near future. What will our days look like?  They will look like our favorite way to do school.  What is our favorite way to do school?  Here's the schedule that we all love best. (Times are approximate, we don't go by the clock).

Morning chores and outside. 
Breakfast with our audiobook.
9ish the start of our morning lessons.  Each child grabs the pile of what they know they ought to do and they get to work. I grab my pile of readings I will lead them in. We spend about 20 minutes per subject. The kids know they must focus and give full attention, for they know that full attention and accomplishing their pile means an afternoon to look forward to.
12ish Lunch
12:30 until dinner: Outside (I aim for minimum of 3 hours a day outside) and any of the following: Nature Walks, Special projects led by me, Personal hobbies, Play. (Field trips when we're not isolating ourselves).
5:30 dinner followed by chores
7:00-8:30 family read alouds, followed by quiet independent reading.

While of course at the end of the day I am sometimes tired, but not the type of tired that I am feeling burnt out and dread the next day.  This schedule to us is sustainable, which is what we need to maintain sanity and homeschool. Our schedule may or may not work for you.  That's okay. The trick is to find what works for YOUR family. It's okay to create what works for you.

My other homeschool posts:
Homeschooling, a wee bit of advice
School at home #2
#3 Choosing activities


  1. Here, here! The key is to find what feels right for your family. We are so ingrained to think of school being the way it was for those of us who survived public school. It's really open to interpretation. Enjoy your time with those babies!

  2. Are your libraries closed down there? Ours are and that's a bummer. I always loved taking my kids to the library to get batches of new books but I know you have quite an extensive Library so that's great!



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