A family’s homeschool schedule choice is as varied as the number of homeschooling families. Some families try to recreate the structure of traditional school, with a firm start time and lessons dictated by the clock. Others have a more relaxed environment, with late mornings and pajama-clad students. Most fall somewhere in between, opting for a flexible homeschool routine instead of a rigid schedule. Ultimately, there is no “right” way to create a homeschool schedule! Let’s look at three real-life daily examples.
Homeschool Schedule Examples
8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.: Try desperately to maintain sanity while caring for a five-year-old and two-year-old during a difficult pregnancy.
6:00–9:00 p.m.: Now that the spouse is home to entertain the two-year-old, complete all kindergarten subjects with the five-year-old.
9:00 p.m.–midnight: Get the kids to bed, try to do a little planning, and collapse into bed crying.
8:00 a.m.: Start the school day with prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, and calendar time.
8:10 a.m.: Continue unit studies with the family.
10:00 a.m.: Take a quick morning break.
10:15 a.m.: Work with each child on individual subjects.
Noon: Prepare and eat lunch.
1:00 p.m.: Continue working on individual subjects.
3:30 p.m.: Take children to dance classes or piano lessons.
6:00–10:00 p.m.: Prepare and eat supper, baths, bedtime stories, and complete some grading and planning.
9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.: Circulate between adolescent and pre-adolescent children, providing direction and teaching as needed.
2:00–5:30 p.m.: Take two children to the local school for participation in a varsity softball game.
5:30–7:00 p.m.: One parent takes one child home, while the other parent and other child rush through a drive-thru for supper and drive fifty miles to travel softball team practice. Child reads on the way to practice.
7:00–9:00 p.m.: Grading and planning during softball practice.
9:00–10:00 p.m.: Drive home from travel softball practice, discussing topics from that day’s studies.
Was there one schedule that seemed the best or one parent who seemed to be providing a better educational experience? Guess what—these homeschool schedule examples are from the same family, but at different stages of their homeschool journey! This demonstrates how your homeschool routine can adapt over time.
Homeschool Schedule Considerations
While there are definitely exceptions, the vast majority of families choosing to educate at home do so because they have their child’s and family’s best interests at heart. However, because each family and each child is different, what each day looks like is going to be different as well. Here are a few considerations in determining what homeschool routine your family “should” be doing each day:
1. You can generally accomplish more in less time when homeschooling versus a traditional classroom. Studies show that time on task—time actually spent engaged in learning—ranges between 42% and 71% in the classroom. Despite the occasional distractions, it does not take the same hours of a traditional school day to produce meaningful learning in a home setting.
2. Learning can and does take place at all hours of the day. If you have other children that can be distracting during learning time, it may make sense to do schoolwork in the evening when another parent is home to help. Your teenager might function better being left to sleep until 9:00 in the morning instead of insisting they be up at 6:00.
3. Learning can and does take place beyond books and worksheets. Nature walks, field trips, and even grocery shopping can provide teachable moments. Remember, you are growing your child’s character as well as their mind.
4. Effective homeschooling requires planning. While what you do all day as a homeschooler may differ from what your support group leader does, you still need to know what you hope to accomplish and the resources with which you are working.
5. Effective homeschooling requires scheduling. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to map out every hour of every day; however, you do need to establish some realistic guidelines.
6. Effective homeschooling requires evaluation and flexibility. Goals change, curricula changes, work schedules change, individual and family needs change. What you did one day may not work for you the next day. You do not have to continue doing something just because that’s what you’ve always done!
You know your child and family best. While you may find an abundance of information online or receive advice from well-intentioned acquaintances, ultimately you’re the one that structures your day. Regardless of the preconceived notions you or those around you might have, with a little bit of soul-searching and effort, you can create a homeschool schedule that works best for you.