I was terrified when I first began homeschooling. God’s call to homeschool was strong but that was literally all I knew. I had no idea what our days would actually look like. I didn’t know how deployments and TDYs and four-day weekends would affect our schooling. Thankfully, I’m proud to say; two years in, I finally found a daily homeschool schedule that works well for our family and I’m so happy to be able to bring it to you.
When deciding what your school day will look like, you want to first begin by looking at the big picture. A common misconception is that homeschoolers have to follow the state’s school calendar but that is actually untrue unless you are doing distance-learning through your school system. Independent homeschoolers have the freedom to choose their own schedule, as long as all state requirements are being met.
Most homeschooling curricula follow a 36-week, 180-lesson schedule. You have a few options to make this work:
- Follow your state or county school calendar.
- Instruct through a Labor Day thru Memorial Day calendar.
- School four days per week and extend your schooling to year-round.
- Instruct through weekends and take off days where you have activities scheduled.
So, how do I actually go about planning my daily routine? It starts with the big picture!
When I first look at my year, as a whole, I ask myself a few things:
- When does my husband have his leave days?
- Which months is our weather the best?
- When is the busiest time of the year for us?
- Which is the best time of year for us to be off school?
After asking yourself these questions, you will have a better idea of what your overall school year will look like. Below, you will see our calendar for this year. You will notice the dates blocked out in red are days off school and the blocks in yellow are the first and last days of school. We usually homeschool year-round, allowing for plenty of time off throughout the year; as opposed to four consecutive months off in the summer.
You can find your own calendar template here.
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After figuring out which months you would like to take off from schooling, I then recommend looking into your weeks.
A few things to ask yourself:
- Which days do we have sports/extracurricular activities?
- When do I go grocery shopping and run errands?
- Which months/weeks do we need to schedule our check-ups such as well visits, dental cleanings, yearly PAP smears, eye exams, etc.?
After you figure out those details, making a weekly plan is much easier. For example, when my husband is gone on either deployment or TDY, we sometimes homeschool Monday thru Saturday, skipping either Tuesday or Wednesday. We do this because getting back into the routine of schooling after two days off on a weekend is tough for my kids. Also, when my husband is home, my kids are off! Whether that is a four-day weekend, block leave, or likewise.
That’s the beauty of homeschooling, mama! Homeschooling doesn’t have to be a Monday thru Friday activity. It can be done whenever works for your family.
When considering the breakdown of your daily homeschool schedule, taking into account your state requirements is important. If your state requires a specific number of hours per daily work, you may need to re-work this to ensure you meet those requirements.
New homeschooling parents often think they aren’t doing enough work or that they are finishing too early. In reality, that usually isn’t the case. Children up to about second grade will only need just a few hours of instruction per day. Your homeschooling day doesn’t need to be over-thought or reflective of that of a classroom setting. If your young student has a hard time staying focused or is losing interest, maybe consider re-working your days into shorter hours or even taking breaks between subjects.
Our Daily Homeschool Schedule
Here is an example of our daily homeschool schedule. A few things to keep in mind while reading this are: My son is five-years-old and in first grade. His attention span is short and breaks are essential to him. Also bear in mind, each family’s needs are different. This is what works for us, and feel free to use this as a guideline; however, I strongly urge you to find what works best for your family.
7:00 am – The kids wake up and eat breakfast.
8:00 am – Bible (30 mins)
8:30 am – Take a 15-minute break.
8:45 am – Seatwork (30 mins)
9:15 am – Take a 15-minute break/snack.
9:30 am – Writing (15 mins)
9:45 am – Reading (30 mins)
10:15 am – Phonics (30 mins)
10:45 am – Take a 15-minute break.
11:00 am – Math (30 mins)
11:30 am – Science (30 mins)
12:00 pm – The kids clean up their work stations as I make lunch.
12:30 pm – Lunch
The school day is FINISHED!
Tips for Everyday Success
A few tips I have that have really helped us over our time of homeschooling include:
- Don’t rip out workbook sheets! Seriously, don’t do it! It will be so much less messy if you leave the pages bound.
- Don’t try to be reflective of a classroom setting. Remember, flexibility is your friend!
- Find a curriculum that works both for you and your child.
- Discover your child’s learning style.
- Allow your child to have play-doh or likewise to keep little hands busy.
- Follow your child’s lead and interests. Teach them what they want to learn.
- Find a few best practices that work for your family.
I would like to conclude by saying, while the above-mentioned works for my family, it may not work for yours. Maybe your kid stays up later so you would like to begin later in the day. Maybe you have a co-op group in the mornings and prefer to begin your instruction in the afternoon. The point is, do what works for you!
Flexibility is your friend, mama!
You’ve got this!