With all the distractions at home, creating a schedule for homeschooled kids is a must. Here are some ideas for a daily school schedule that works.
Creating Schedules for Homeschooled Kids
This is apart of our parents and teachers Q&A homeschooling posts that had so much information I needed to split it up. Here we are going to talk about schedules for homeschooled kids. To see the other Q&A material, check out Rewards and breaks: How to homeschool your kids and Temporary homeschooling: tips and tricks to motivate
I am actually a certified secondary teacher, I didn’t spend a lot of time in a traditional classroom, but I have found there are many different tactics that can work well at home.
To create or not to create a daily schedule for your homeschooled kids? You may be wondering what kind of schedule you should be doing with your kids learning. I did some Q&A with real life moms and teachers to find out some tips and tricks to make things flow smoother during the school day.
Should I be Making a Strict Schedule to Follow?
Strict can sound like such a negative thing. Most public schools have a strict schedule about when to be in class, when to eat lunch and when to play at recess. When you have homeschooled kids, there are a lot more distractions to throw off the daily routine. Let’s see what our parents and teachers think about schedules.
Meagan says, ““fail” until you find what’s best for your kids”
“For my kids a schedule works best but that’s not for everyone! You have to be able to “fail” until you find what’s best for your kids. We try to start by 8:30-9:00. I have found that 15 min breaks between each subject works great for us. I am lenient on the schedule depending on the day. Some days (like yesterday for example) my boy’s just weren’t in it. So we let it be and came back a few hours later with better attitudes and it was great! I would 100% suggest having a specific “activity” you do to get in the mindset of school. We meditate (Moshi Twilight is our fav for that) and it helps so much to take them from play mode to school mode.
I try not to say things like “When you finish school you can…” I want them to know that their education is important and isn’t just something they have to do to get to the next best thing. If that makes sense.” ~Meagan
Tristan says, “Set a block schedule“
“Set a block schedule. Between breakfast and lunch is school block, with a 10am snack break(15 minute break). Give them a list of their assignments for the day and let them do in any order. 12 to 1:30 is lunch and rest or play.
No screens until after 3pm. Just never make it an option.” ~Tristan
Jessica says, “get our schoolwork done early”
“We have found that starting school work directly after breakfast is the best schedule for us. It allows us to get our schoolwork done early in the day therefore we can spend the rest of the day playing.” ~Jessica
Nicole says, “Have a plan, make sure your child knows what the plan is“
“You’re the parent. You decide what is important to follow and what’s not. I don’t bend on meal times, snack times and quiet time. But it’s more a range (10-10:30) because we all need grace. But having a set time makes it easy to say “No you can’t have a snack, we’ll have one in 30 minutes… let’s finish this first”
“All children thrive on structure and schedule- however, it’s important to do what works for you and your home.
Priority- Have a plan, make sure your child knows what the plan is. Make sure there are scheduled breaks. Be strategic about less preferred activities… For example if your child really hates math, you might want to do a physical activity in the morning first then math, rewarded by something they will be excited about doing.” ~Nicole
Jennie says, “young kids do their best work in the morning“
“Yes and no! It is proven that young kids do their best work in the morning. Aiming to hold school in the morning until lunch is a great goal. Their minds are the most fresh at that time of day. They are more eager to learn and you may get less complaining. I have been very consistent with my own children about school work in the morning, but I don’t start at the same time every morning. I wake up before my kids, and exercise then I cook breakfast for them. Once they’ve eaten a hearty breakfast, we start school that usually happens anywhere between 9-10 am. This gives me the flexibility to take time to get myself ready to teach and monitor learning. It also gives me the flexibility so I’m not feeling pressured to skip a workout or wake them from bed, making them possibly more cranky about at home learning. We are aiming for as little confrontation as possible around schoolwork.” ~Jennie
Rachel says, “living for our afternoons“
They will also get breaks and snacks in between the lessons too. Then we have lunch, if we need to do some chores that day, that happens after lunch. This gives us our afternoons free. We are all currently living for our afternoons.
Also, have a plan. Prepare the evening before or early in the morning what the day is going to look like. Have an idea what they are working on so you can be on the same page, you know what the day looks like. It will make their getting into the groove much easier. You’ve got breaks planned, what assignments need to be finished to get a break and when you draw the line in the day.” ~Rachel
What if my homeschooled child doesn’t want to follow a schedule?
Some new or even experienced homeschooled kids will put up some resistance to their school schedule. This is where every parent needs to think about their child specifically and also think about what works best for them.
Kids are not going to always do what you want them to do! Shocker! Check out what our parents and teachers think about this topic.
Nicole says, “Do whatever you would do if your child didn’t want to do something else”
Do whatever you would do if your child didn’t want to do something else (chores, homework, etc.) that will be different depending on the home. ~Nicole
Rachel says, “Help them to understand what needs to get done in the day”
“Having the child direct the learning isn’t necessarily a bad idea, however, they need to understand the expectations of what has to be included in their schedule, as well as being willing to adjust when and where necessary. Sometimes this doesn’t work in practice though. Depending on the age of your child, this may have to be a point at which you bargain, or simply explain why you control the schedule. Help them to understand what needs to get done in the day, what you could do that day once your obligations are met. I find with my children it works best to make them understand why I’ve set the schedule the way I have. Then I’ve allowed them a free day during the week where they could choose the schedule, if they help with keeping my schedule the other days.” Rachel
What’s a Good Schedule to Create?
You are the one creating this schedule best suited for your homeschooled kids. Sounds like most are suggesting to start in the morning, but this is your schedule. See their tips below.
Nicole says, “Children usually focus better in the morning
Start with something that will start the day off great… For some people they jump right into learning for others they have to do a different kind of activity.
Children usually focus better in the morning so you will want to deal with the more difficult subjects towards the first of the day and not leave them for the afternoonChildren usually focus better in the morning so you will want to deal with the more difficult subjects towards the first of the day and not leave them for the afternoon.”~Nicole
Rachel says, “Start with the 3 R’s“
“Learning is best done in the morning. Start with the 3 R’s or the core subjects, reading, writing and arithmetic! Once those are done, take a good break, 15-20 minutes. Then move onto the secondary subjects. Science, history, art, social studies, etc. This way if you need to skip or lessen the load for a day you’ve gotten the three most important subjects in.
If you are also going through and correcting their work on a daily basis. I have started to have correction time in the evenings when they would normally have homework in normal life. This helps with frustration and instead of a never ending assignment correcting during their morning of lessons, they can feel like it’s a quick correction schedule then they are all done.
If the school work you’ve been given seems too daunting, or your child in drowning with the load. Email and discuss your concerns with your teacher. Sometimes restructuring their goals will make them feel more successful and you feel more successful as well. (I have many ideas and things I’ve helped some families with if this a big are on concern.) they can contact me.” ~Rachel
Jennie says, “I have a more “what’s next schedule”
“That depends on you… how many kids do you have? Do you also have to work? Are you an early riser? I have 5 kids and have been homeschooling for about 7 years… I have had schedules where I had a math hour and a reading hour etc.. I’ve had a schedule where I had a slot carved out for each child to work with me. Right now I have a new baby so I have a more “what’s next schedule” where I just set some daily goals and then move on to what we can do at that moment… like if the baby needs to nurse I’m not going to do a craft project, I’ll do read alouds instead… but if she’s napping that’s a great time to get hands on.” ~Jennie
Thank you to all of the parents/teachers who contributed to this article! Meagan Barrow, Rachel Bott, Nicole Jones, Jennie Rippey, Jessica Brock, Tristan Rowlee, and Brittny Lopez.
Time Out For Us
Looking for more ways to connect with your child and grow your personal relationship? Check out Time For Us, a five-ten minutes a week membership that invites creativity, connection, and love. Our kids will forget the day to day things they learned this time but they will most certainly remember how they felt. Focus on love and taking it a day at a time and you’ll be just fine.
If you are a parent of a child with special needs, you might find these resources helpful:
- Cerebral Palsy Family Network – a compassionate community that provides resources for loved ones with Cerebral Palsy.