Once you have decided that you are going to be homeschooling and what curriculum you want to use, there is another step. It is now time to create a homeschool schedule. This can be overwhelming, but you can do it, and we are here to help!
This post is part of the Homeschooling 101 - All You Need to Know About Homeschooling Your Kids Series
- The Many Benefits of Homeschooling Your Children
- Deschooling: Transitioning to Learning at Home
- How to Create a Homeschool Space Your Kids Will Love
- How to Start Homeschooling: All You Need to Know
- Homeschool Record Keeping: What You Need to Know
- Homeschool Co-Ops: What You Need to Know
- This Post: How to Create a Homeschooling Schedule That Works
There is so much freedom and flexibility when it comes to homeschooling. If you are learning how to homeschool, figuring our a homeschool schedule for your family is likely on your mind. Coming from a traditional school schedule where the bell rings every hour, you may be unsure of how to schedule your homeschool day. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that your schedule is YOURS to decide!
Thankfully there are sample homeschool schedules available to look at online from different homeschool bloggers and YouTube videos. If you have friends that homeschool you can ask them what their schedule looks like. Your schedule for homeschooling might be different in the early phases of deschooling, but you can still work on nailing it down for afterwards.
After you have chosen your curriculum, creating a homeschool schedule is the next biggest step to homeschooling planning.
What to Consider When Making Your Homeschool Schedule
Before you sit down to tackle your planning there are a few things you need to think about first. These questions will help you decide what type of schedule you need, how flexible you want to be, and what time you want to start and finish school.
- How much time do you think you will spend on math lessons, language arts, social studies etc… ?
- Do you want to add a foreign language or music lessons to your homeschool year? There are many fun activities that you will want to account for when you are making your schedule.
- Are you wanting to school different subjects on different days? Make sure you keep note of that.
- Do you have a homeschool co-op or park day that you need to prioritize? If so, you may want to school for 4 days and use the 5th day for your outside of the house day.
Different Ways to Schedule Your Homeschool Days
There are so many different ways and methods to schedule your homeschool days. Many families follow specific styles of a schedule, while other fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants and just do the next thing.
A lot of families just follow a daily routine that works for their household dynamics. There are daily homeschool routines that can easily turn into a simple homeschool schedule when you write it down and put it onto paper.
Subjects to Cover
You do not have to do each subject ever day. A common theme is to do the 3 R’s: reading, writing and arithmetic 5-days a week, and then add in science and history. Some families do science daily if they have older children, while those with young children may only do science twice a week. History can usually be done a few times a week as well.
You can alternate the days you do history and science or replace a day with a fine arts time if you aren’t doing a specific subject that day.
It is important to keep somewhat of a daily schedule. Some homeschooling families may want to set specific times and create a set schedule of what they will be doing and when during the day. When you are starting off, this works well because everyone knows what to do next and subjects don’t get missed.
Here is a sample daily schedule you may want to try:
- 8:00 am – wake up and breakfast
- 8:30 – Prayer and Bible time
- 9:00 am – Morning basket time
- 9:30 am – Table time, copywork, handwriting
- 10:00 – Language arts and reading
- 11:00 – Math
- 12:00 pm – Lunch and quick clean up from morning
- 1:00pm – Science or history that can be done daily or on a rotation
- 2:00pm – Outside time, nature notebooking, crafting, extra art projects etc…
- 3:00pm – Clean up and free time until dinner
More seasoned homeschool families may just stick to a daily routine. School starts and ends at a certain time, with lunch and snacks in the middle. Then they just make sure to tackle everything on their daily to do list before the day ends.
Most weekly schedules are Monday – Friday, but they don’t have to be. Some families will coordinate their school days to the parent’s work schedules. When you don’t follow a traditional work week and one parent works on Saturday, you may want to school on Saturday so you can have an extra family day off during the week.
If you decide to do a 4 day school week and take a day off each week, you schedule that off day into your weekly schedule. If you use a planner you can copy the schedule to your planner and add the different events, homeschool field trips, appointments etc. that you plan to do on that off day.
Here is an example of a regular Monday – Friday 5 day homeschool week schedule:
- Monday – School from 9 – 12 with lunch and afternoon subjects that rotate. Monday is history.
- Tuesday – School from 9-12, then lunch and science.
- Wednesday – School from 9- 12, then lunch and history.
- Thursday – School from 9 – 12, then lunch and history.
- Friday – School from 9-12 then lunch and science and experiments.
If you have a coop day, you would do school for 4 days and the 5th day you would write homeschool co-op for that day on the schedule.
Yearly schedules are actually pretty simple to plan. First, you will want to sit down and figure out when you want to begin school and when you want to end.
Take into consideration if your state homeschool laws, and if you are required to log hours and do a specific set of days or not. If they don’t require a set number look at the curriculum you are planning on using and see how many days that is set for.
The standard school year is 180 days, so most curriculum is set up for 36 weeks, though some different types have 30-32 weeks with extra wiggle room built in, which is nice.
Do you want to school year round or school 4 days instead of 5? Take a look at a yearly calendar and start counting out your days and weeks. You can play with it some to get something that fits for your family.
Once you figure out exactly when you want to start and end with breaks scheduled in between, then you have your yearly schedule complete.
There are many different ways to schedule your homeschool year. We will cover block scheduling, loop scheduling, year-round homeschooling, Sabbath Schooling, and how to plan your schedule as you go.
A block schedule is just working in set chunks of time. There is no beginning or ending time as long as school is done during that “block.” You can set up a few blocks per day. A morning block, then snack or outside time, a late morning block, lunch, afternoon block etc.
Within these blocks you can choose what you want to do. I enjoy blocking out time in the morning for morning time, Bible reading, table work such as copywork, daily grammar and spelling. When those are done, the next block will be math and language arts, then history, science etc.
A loop schedule is basically a list of activities, themes, and subjects that you want to gently include, but there isn’t a set day to cover them. If there are things you want to cover, but you know you won’t be able to do them each day, you can add them to a loop list or loop schedule.
First, you need to decide on the fun extras that you want to add into your loop. Some examples would be nature study, art or art projects, a unit study on composers, hymn study, U.S. geography, sewing, handi-crafts or cooking lessons.
Planning the Loop
Then you set aside time in your schedule to incorporate your loop subjects in the order of your loop. For example, Monday afternoon you would schedule an hour for your loop list, if nature study is first on your list then you take some time to do nature study. The next day you could do a study on artists, a composer study or hymn study.
Interruptions to Your Schedule
If an emergency comes up, or life happens and your afternoon “loop time” isn’t available, that’s okay. You just pick up where you left off in your loop and do the next one on the list when you have time. The loop list rotates out to the next thing on the list, so you should be able to cover a little bit of everything over the course of a year.
With a structured daily homeschool schedule your school day starts at a specific time each day. Each subject would have a time for that day. An example would be math from 9:00-10:00, then English from 11:00 – 12:00, lunch at 12:30, quiet reading time from 12:30 to 1:00 etc.
Some children need a structured schedule to follow and some families really thrive on that. They see it as no time being wasted. Kids know when they will be completed with each subject, when to move on to the next thing, and when they will be ending at the same time each day.
This isn’t for every one, especially flexible families that like to change things up often or have lots of life interruptions. It can work well for children or parents that need rigid structure.
Some families don’t like to follow schedule, because they may have different things going on in their lives. Maybe they had to stop school for a little while due to a death or birth in the family, or a big life event. They may not be sure if they will be able to get to school on a certain day or not.
Other families may have parents with jobs that are done on shift schedules that rotate every 3 days. You may want to adjust your school days to follow that schedule so that your “weekends” can be on the days they aren’t working.
With a plan as you go schedule you don’t have to be glued to a set schedule. You can just shift the days according to what your schedule is for that week. Just keep going where you left off before you had to stop.
If you prefer to plan-as-you-go, then these printable scheduling templates will come in handy.
The Plan as a I Go Daily Record of Work pages contain:
Year round homeschooling doesn’t mean that you school every day for 365 days a year. It just means that you choose to keep the learning going all year and that some type of learning is always being taught.
Some families like to stretch one school year for an entire year with lots of breaks in between. They may not follow the normal school calendar and take 2-3 months off for summer break. They may school in the summer and take spring or winter off.
There is lots of flexibility with year round homeschooling. You can do a 4 day school week with shorter summer breaks, or do sabbath schooling where you take a week off every 6 weeks.
Sabbath Schooling has nothing do do with religion. It is basically a year-round schooling option that derives its name from working 6 days and taking the 7th day off to rest. You schedule your homeschool year around schooling for 6 weeks and taking one week off to rest.
This type of homeschool schedule can work for any family, and you can call it whatever you would like. It gives you periods of rest and flexibility with built-in free time. You can take small vacations or even staycations.
Use that week off for extra doctors appointments, field trips, shopping trips or to declutter your home and work on projects. It really is the best homeschool schedule to avoid burnout.
Recommended Resource: Free Daily Schedule for Students
Help your older students minimize procrastination and incorporate a study time with this free daily schedule!
Homeschool Schedule FAQ:
If you are feeling overwhelmed about creating a homeschool schedule that works well for your family, extend yourself grace. It’s all about finding what works best for your individual family’s needs. Lastly, just know that you may have to try to schedule your homeschool year a few different ways before you find your groove – and that’s okay!
How many hours a day should you homeschool?
How many hours you should homeschool is dependent on the ages and stages of your children. If you have multiple children, you need to bounce back and forth between the school day, and it can stretch out a little bit longer for everyone.
Hours Spent Homeschooling for Preschool and Kindergarten
Preschool and Kindergarten age may only school for 1 to 1.5 hours a day in the morning. The afternoon is nap time and free play.
Hours Spent Homeschooling for Elementary Students
Elementary ages can get all of their school work done in 2-3 hours.
Hours Spent Homeschooling During Middle School
Middle School ages should be able to get all of their work done in 4-5 hours.
Hours Spent Homeschooling During High School
High School students should be able to get all of their work, homework and extra projects and electives completed in 5-6 hours.
What is a typical homeschool schedule?
A typical homeschool schedule starts with breakfast, morning time, Bible time, morning chores and morning school work. These can be done on the hour or in a morning block of time until lunch.
Afternoon Homeschool Schedule
Then there is lunch time, followed by afternoon school. Usually some of the harder subjects like math, history and science are done after lunch.
An afternoon block of school time is great if you have older students. Some families that have elementary students may be done by lunch time and the older kids will still have school work to complete after lunch.
High schoolers may also choose to do some extra work in the evenings if they have extra curricular activities or electives outside of the home.
How do I create a daily schedule for homeschooling?
- First pick a time you want to start. If you do not have early birds you can start whenever you would like.
- Decide what you want to put on your schedule first. You can start with breakfast, and then move on to the first subject, or you can start with the first subject after breakfast.
- Make sure to schedule in any breaks for snacks or lunch.
- Decide what time you want to be done with school for the day.
- Fill in all the subjects you want to tackle during the day and write them in from the starting and ending time.
- Make notes on what days you are doing what subjects. This is nice for subjects that don’t need to be done 5 days a week.
Every homeschool family works on some type of schedule, whether it seems structured or not. There are many different schedules and methods of homeschooling you can try out that may fit your family better than another family. That is the beauty of homeschooling, to have the flexibility to tweak and adjust your schedule to what fits your family and their needs the best.
Sarah is a wife, daughter of the King and Mama to 4 children (one who is a homeschool graduate)! She is a an eclectic, Charlotte Mason style homeschooler that has been homeschooling for almost 20 years.. She is still trying to find the balance between work and keeping a home and says she can only do it by the Grace of God, and Coffee!