You have a pretty full plate as a homeschool mom. Learn how to balance your homeschool work with your other household responsibilities when you create perfect homeschool schedule for your family.
Your feet hit the floor as the sun rises. Already you’re exhausted as you run through your to-do list in your head.
You gulp down coffee, trying not to scald your throat, hoping it’ll wake you enough to get laundry started and breakfast made before starting the homeschool day.
Do your homeschool mornings feel like this? They don’t have to.
There’s a simpler way to begin your homeschool days.
It begins with creating a homeschool schedule.
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With so much on your plate as a homeschool mom, it’s important to create routine in your days so that you can manage them better and be more productive. But how do you do that? Sometimes it seems easier said than done, doesn’t it?!
How to Create a Homeschool Schedule that Allows a Balance in Your Home Life
First of all, unless you are super organized and really need to set times for everything you do, I would suggest that you create more of a routine than a schedule. If I try to start math at 10:30 every morning, then every morning something is going to come up at 10:30. Every. single. morning.
Instead, it’s much less stressful to decide to start math after morning snack time. That way, it doesn’t matter if snack time is over at 10:30 am or 10:52 am. Math just starts right after. Doesn’t that sound so much nicer than staring at a clock all morning & feeling like a drill sergeant? Unless you enjoy being a drill sergeant. Then by all means, set times for all the things!
Throughout this post, I will use the terms homeschool schedule and homeschool routine interchangeably. They will both mean the daily plan you set for your homeschool day, whether you choose to use times or not.
3 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Create a Homeschool Schedule/Routine
When setting up a homeschool schedule for the first time, it’s helpful to ask yourself a few questions. The answers to these questions will help you decide where the activities and lessons for your day best fit.
1. What time do I want to start and end the homeschool day?
First of all, it’s good to have an idea of how long you’d like your homeschool day to be. To decide this, consider if you’ll expect your kids to get up at a certain time or if you’ll let them wake on their own. What do they need to have done before you can start school? For example, will they need to eat breakfast and get dressed? Will they have any chores to complete before school starts? Also consider when you need to end your homeschool day. Do your kids have any lessons or practices that you need to factor into your plans?
Remember, though, that you do not necessarily need to set begin and end times for your day. If you would like to begin the school day after breakfast, then just plan on that. Don’t worry about starting exactly at 9 am. Additionally, you don’t need to expect the school day to end at a specific time. It can end when your children have crossed everything off of their assignment book, or before activities later in the day.
2. What do I need to fit into my schedule?
Next when creating your homeschool schedule or routine, you’ll want to decide what needs done each day. You can do this by writing down all homeschool subjects, activities, and chores each child has everyday. It may be helpful to separate this by day because you probably have some subjects that aren’t done daily. Your children also might only have certain activities once or twice a week. Breaking up your schedule by days will also help when you decide how much schoolwork to do each day.
3. Is there anything I can combine to shorten the day?
A final question you’ll want to consider when creating your schedule is whether you can shorten the day by combining what needs done. Perhaps you’ll want to have all the children do their chores at one time. Or maybe you’ll want to try combining your children in as many subjects as you can. Alternatively, you can do dinner prep while your children are working independently or doing their own chores. There are many ways you can do this, you’ll just have to figure out what works best for your household.
You can easily set up your weekly homeschool routine with my 5 Easy Steps to Create a Simple Routine for Productive Homeschool Days guide, which you receive as a bonus when you join my email community. Plus you’ll also get tips and ideas to simplify your homeschool days through weekly emails as well.
3 Tips for a Successful Balance
The key to a simplified homeschool day is balance. Don’t have such high expectations that you try to fit in 8 hours of schoolwork, plus complicated meals from scratch and deep cleaning of the house every day. There’s just not enough time in the day. You need to find a balance, and the tips below will help you do that.
Tip 1: Create a homeschool day routine instead of a schedule.
Again, as mentioned above, the best way to create a homeschool schedule is to not create a schedule at all, but rather a routine. Don’t have any set start or finish times. Instead, create your routine around anchors of your day.
Basically, anchoring means you choose something that you do daily and begin your homeschool day after it. You will remember to follow the routine, which will make it a habit.
For example, a wonderful way to simplify your homeschool day is by incorporating a morning basket, or morning time. Ours includes all of our enrichment work that the kids do together, like art, music, nature study, and read alouds. It’s also how we begin our homeschool day, which we have made a habit through our morning time routine. In that post, I mention how we anchored our morning time on a short dance party. You may decide to anchor your morning time on a meal or chores. You could also have several anchors for morning, afternoon, and/or evening routines.
Tip 2: Plan ahead.
Another tip for keeping your homeschool day simple is by planning ahead. Please tell me I’m not the only one who would realize at 4:30 pm that I had no idea what to make for dinner and nothing thawed. When that began happening way too often, my husband and I decided we needed to start meal planning.
Knowing that dinner is already planned has taken away so much stress in my life! I can glance at our menu hanging up each morning and make sure that I have everything thawed. Then when it’s time to start cooking, that’s all I have to do. I don’t also have to scrounge through the pantry and fridge or something to throw together after teaching all day!
Another way to plan ahead is by planning homeschool lessons weekly. If you frantically race around each morning to grab what you need for the day’s lessons or even figure out what lessons to do, you’ll want to make time to plan ahead. Find an open chunk of time, maybe Friday evening or Sunday afternoon, grab your lesson plan book and your kids’ books. Then decide what you plan to cover for the next week. Also use this time to gather supplies or print anything that needs printed. You’ll know come Monday that you are ready to go, which will keep your days focused with less stress.
Tip 3: Leave room for margin.
Just like you shouldn’t try to set exact start and end times for your lessons, you should also give yourself more time than you think you’ll need to complete each day’s subjects. For example, if you would like your kids to finish their math in 45 minutes, then plan 60 minutes for math class. If you’d like to include 30 minutes of read aloud time at the end of your morning basket, then allow 45 minutes instead. I got this idea from this book, which is a must read for any homeschool mom who wants to simplify her days.
Why should you add this extra time, or margin, when you create a homeschool schedule? One reason is for anything that comes up during that time. Perhaps your baby needs a diaper change or you get an important phone call that can’t wait. Having extra time built in ensures that your class time doesn’t get cut short for interruptions.
Another reason is to allow time for review. There are going to be lessons that your children take longer to understand. Giving yourself extra time will keep you from feeling rushed to finish the work before your child is ready. Additionally, this also gives you more time in your day to follow rabbit holes of interest. Say your read aloud mentions an event that your kids aren’t familiar with. Having extra time in your schedule means that you can look the event up on the Internet or read a short picture book about it.
Don’t let your homeschool days become stressful and overwhelming! Learn how to create a homeschool routine for a simplified day. When you join the Homeschooling in Progress community, you’ll receive a guide with 5 Easy Steps to Create a Simple Routine for Productive Homeschool Days. You’ll also get homeschooling tips, activities, and resources sent right to your email inbox each month.
Our Daily Homeschool Routine
Even though every family is different, and we all have different subjects to cover, with different amounts and ages of kids, it’s nice seeing others’ schedules for ideas. Following is an example of our current homeschool routine that works really well for us.
My kids and I wake up when we choose as I don’t have a set time. Sometimes they’ll head outside to play for a bit, or maybe play in their rooms if the weather isn’t nice. Before school, they do need to have breakfast and do morning chores, such as emptying the dishwasher or starting laundry if it’s their day. I enjoy a cup of coffee upon awakening before I get dressed and do any chores myself.
Morning Time/Morning Basket
We begin our homeschool day with a 4 minute dance party. I play an upbeat song that we all dance to, and then we get say our prayers. Our morning basket time follows, where we cover subjects like art and nature study. I also do any other combined work in the morning. History, science, and literature are a few of the subjects we’ll do together. Then we close the morning with a chapter of our current read aloud. During this time, my youngest will play with his sensory bins or read books. Sometimes he’ll do what we’re doing, especially art or nature study.
After our morning work, my boys usually do their math while I make lunch. We’ve been using an online math curriculum, which frees up some of my teaching time so I can attend to other household needs like meals. I give my kids a good hour for a lunch and recess break. They are very active boys and need time to relax and recharge!
After our lunch break, the kids will finish up any individual work they have for the day. During this time, I read to my youngest, get ready for the next day, or do my own work. The older boys have quiet reading time in the afternoon. They also have free time to play outside, play a game, or do enrichment work of their choosing. My youngest will either nap or have some quiet time in his room for a couple of hours in the afternoon.
After our school day is over, my kids have the rest of the day as free time. They play on homeschool sports’ teams throughout the year, so some evenings are spent at soccer or basketball practice. Otherwise we’re usually home in the evenings. We eat dinner together as a family as much as possible, with the kids helping cook or having clean up duty as part of their chores. While they clean up, I prepare for the next day by writing down their assignments. Then they’ll read in bed before going to sleep.
When you create a homeschool schedule or routine, it’s easier to have a simplified homeschool day that is less stressful and more productive. Following tips like not setting times to your schedule, planning ahead, and combining when possible make your homeschool routine easier to follow. No longer will you be exhausted the second your feet hit the floor in the morning!
Related post: How to Create a Relaxed Routine for Preschool at Home
Do you create a homeschool schedule? What does yours look like?