We’ve been homeschooling for almost two years now, and we know how simple and fun it can be for everyone! Now that a lot of families are unexpectedly finding themselves homeschooling, we want to share our secrets — starting with our homeschool schedule!
If you are now being tasked with homeschooling your kids, whether you planned on it or not, take a deep breath. It’s all going to be okay! I know it can feel stressful and overwhelming, BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE.
First of all, if you’re here because you’re stuck at home, quarantined, then you can relax even more. Nobody expected this, and everybody is in the same boat! It’s late March, so the school year was coming to a close soon anyway. Come summer, things will be looking up! And who knows, maybe you’ll love homeschooling so much you decide to do it next year too! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
What I’m trying to say is give yourself all the grace in the world. This doesn’t have to be anywhere near perfect. Luckily, our way of homeschooling allows us to accomplish tons of learning with the simplest system and the most-accessible resources. You’re in good hands.
If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend our post Easy Homeschool: 8 Great Tips to Get Started. It’s full of really useful information and ideas for how to make homeschooling fun and easy!
Honestly, the best homeschool schedule is the schedule that works for you and your kids, and you’ll get a better idea of what works after you’ve tried a few things out. So don’t be afraid to experiment and change things up. You’ll discover what works best for you!
We do homeschool Monday–Friday and don’t plan for specific school breaks, because we end up taking enough days off for various reasons. We don’t hesitate to take the day off if we are traveling, visiting family, have a fun activity planned, or on major holidays. And sometimes we take the day off just because!
But most weekdays we follow the same routine and schedule. The kids know that if it’s a weekday, it’s a school day – unless we tell them otherwise – and having that expectation in place makes for fewer arguments.
Our homeschool schedule begins the moment the kids wake up. No, they don’t jump right into school, but we’ve found that a steady morning routine is the key to getting the day started on the right foot, so we try to stick to the same routine every morning.
We don’t set an alarm, but the kids wake up pretty reliably around 7 am. It would probably be useful for you to know that our kids are currently 11, 9, 6, and 3! The littlest is usually the first one up, and she just plays until the big kids get up.
Once up, the kids each take a shower, get dressed, brush their teeth and hair, and get breakfast. They don’t have to do those things in a specific order, but they know they need to do all of them. The older kids help get breakfast for the little ones. This regular routine makes for easier mornings for everyone!
After they have eaten, showered, and dressed, the kids know to get started on school for the day. They usually get started around 8 am.
Our homeschool schedule does not follow a specific hourly timeline. Rather, the kids have their own personalized school tracker, which is basically a list of the things they need to accomplish every day. We use Google Sheets to keep their tracker within their Google account and accessible to kids and parents alike. They go through the list, checking in with us as they complete assignments, and, once they finish all of their tasks, they are done for the day!
Some days this means they are done with school before lunch. Often, they work into the afternoon. Timing can vary because some days they have a longer or shorter math assignment, or we may ask them to put in some extra reading time, etc.
The school tracker has gone through many alterations, and that’s great! It’s good to switch things up. We’ve made changes based on where we were living, what resources were available, where the kids were at in various subjects, etc.
I’d love to share with you some examples of what our school tracker has looked like at different times, and then I’m going to give you access to one I’ve created for YOU!
Above is Vanessa’s current school tracker. Every morning she writes in her journal (using Google Docs, but you can use pen and paper too!), then she does times table practice and her next Khan Academy math assignment. She’s using science and social studies textbooks (in PDF form) and completing lessons in those right now. At other times we’ve used workbooks or had them watch YouTube videos on history and summarize what they learned.
Typing practice is done online — a quick search will offer you tons of free options! She then practices her recorder and asks her grandma some questions about her life (we are living with her this month, so the kids are getting lots of fun stories!). She uses Duolingo for French, then she reads (right now she’s enjoying working her way through the Little House on the Prairie series), and finally she uses Khan Academy to work on computer programming.
The school tracker is a great way to build in a little extra practice for any areas where they could use it. Our older son had atrocious handwriting, so he had handwriting practice on his tracker every day for a long time, and now it’s so much better! More recently, we identified a need for all three older kids to get faster with simple multiplication, so they practice their times tables every day now.
This was one of our iterations of the school tracker from last year. Carter’s day started with writing in his journal, completing math and science lessons in Khan Academy and French lessons in Duolingo, then back to Khan Academy for history. He would then read a chapter in his book and write a few sentences about it in his ongoing book report document.
Then, he’d work on a creative writing assignment, practice his trombone, take a geography quiz online, play a game of chess against his sister or the computer, and write an email to someone.
As you can see, we were doing some subjects once per week, so depending on the day, he would then do some computer programming, RPG Maker (8-bit game creation program), music theory, or watch an episode of Mythbusters (#science).
This was our school tracker from last summer. They started by reading and writing in their ongoing book report document. They’d do math, civics, and science lessons in Khan Academy and French lessons in Duolingo. Then, they’d do some music theory, creative writing, computer science, a growth mindset lesson, and play a game of chess.
We’ve found it’s best to start the day with the most important subjects (math, reading, writing) so that you can be flexible with the rest of the day. If that’s all they get done that day, it was still a success, especially if the rest of the day is used for family time, being active, or exploring the world!
I hope this gives you an idea of the possibilities. The most important thing is progress, not perfection. You can include whatever you’d like on your list, and it’s okay if they don’t check off every task, every day.
As promised, I made you a school tracker! It’s a basic outline, but you can definitely edit it and make it your own! Click here to save a copy to your Google Drive account, click “Make a copy”, and then you’re good to go!
After school, the kids do normal kid things! Since they spend a good amount of time during their school day on their computers, we like for them to get outside and get active (they don’t usually complain!). This might mean a family walk, bike ride, or a trip to the playground, but more often it just means time spent in the backyard, playing games that allow them to be active and creative. Don’t have to teach kids how to be kids!
In the later afternoon, before and after dinner, they usually get back on their computers and watch videos or play online games like Minecraft and Roblox. The older kids often help prepare dinner. Then we usually do a cleanup, and the big kids get some extra reading time while the littles go to bed (usually around 8), and then the big kids have their bedtime (usually around 9).
Also read: Teaching Life Skills in Homeschool
And that’s what our homeschool day looks like! I hope that was helpful, and next up I’m going to share a list of all the resources we use: sites we visit, favorite Khan academy courses, and the best physical products. I think that will pair nicely with this post, so you can choose the resources you like best and add them to your school tracker!
Questions? I’d love to answer them! Email me at any time!
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