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We’re excited to get back into our homeschool schedule. This year I’ve set up an easy rhythm that allows me to take time with both of my children individually and gives us time to learn together.
Welcome to our homeschool. This year we are schooling kindergarten and 2nd grade with an emphasis on relaxing into a homeschool routine that leaves time for fun and exploration.
I would most closely define our homeschool as child-led and curriculum-supported. What does that mean? That means I take my time choosing curriculum that will be an excellent fit for my children’s interests, and I enrich our curricula with hands-on learning, projects, and experiences that I know my children will love.
Or at least, activities I think my children will love. They can be finicky at times.
But what does our homeschool schedule look like day-to-day?
I’ve spent time over the past two-and-a-half-ish years trialing and erroring and trialing again. We’ve tried a variety of curriculum and activities. We’ve tried a strict schedule when my children were very young. And we’ve tried a very loose unschool-y approach to learning at times.
Where we’ve landed is somewhere in the middle. Part structured and part relaxed.
Daily Homeschool Schedule
This year, we are beginning slowly. We aren’t joining any co-ops or classes in our new area just yet. My kids (and I) need some time to settle into our new lives. Settle into the new rhythms and routines.
After a rough past year ending with a 1200 mile move north, things are pretty different. Quieter for now. And that’s just what we need.
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Our Monday-Thursday Homeschool Routine
Our daily routine is pretty simple – even though my wordiness tends to over complicate things. Basically we are doing an hour of structured school time in the morning and another hour in the afternoon. In between is time for unstructured, educational, independent play, and exploration.
Monday – Thursday
7-8 Wake, quiet activities, TV
8-9 Breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, quiet activities
9:00 Get together to talk about what the plan is for the day
9-10ish Homeschool centers: 3 centers for 20 minutes each
10-11:30 Get out! Park, library, walk into town, bikes or scooters
12-1 Afternoon subject
1-2ish Rest time (read or quiet play)
2-5 Park, playtime, or the dreaded errands – sometimes this is planned time for school, and sometimes not
As we get into our new routine, I’ve been pretty exact about the times. As we go through the year this will be more flexible – especially as we get into the chilly winter months when we won’t be headed out twice a day.
I use a schedule chart to keep track and give the kids a visual prompt for what we’ve done and what comes next.
The Quiet Activities in our Homeschool Schedule
You’ll see that we have ample time for quiet activities. This could be playing with toys, Legos, reading a book, playing out back with chalk, workbooks, coloring, or doing dry erase activity cards.
Basically, this is their time to play by themselves or with each other in a way that doesn’t drive mom crazy. No yelling or wrestling allowed!
Each day we’ve been working through three 20 minute centers. I love using centers because it helps me manage both kids and allows me the one-on-one time I need with each.
I have an awesome little timer that I set so that each child knows they have a fair amount of time with me. Our center time looks something like this:
Center 2 (20 min)
2nd Grader: Spelling, grammar, and/or handwriting instruction with me
Kindergartner: Computer time with Reading Eggs, Starfall, or Teach Your Monster to Read
Center 3 (20 min)
Sometimes we work together, sometimes separately for the third center.
Together: read aloud, handwriting practice, or another activity or game completed together
Separately: 2nd Grader reads independently
Kindergartner read aloud with me or completes a center activity
I know, I know, this all seems a little complicated. But it’s really not.
For us, these smaller subjects (spelling, handwriting, phonics instruction, grammar) usually take 10-20 minutes tops. Using centers helps me organize instruction, make sure I am hitting all the subjects, and get that one-on-one time that everyone needs.
Big Subjects in the Afternoon
Last year, I found the transition between kindergarten and first grade very difficult. In kindergarten we were doing these big, intense units. Then, in first grade our curriculum guides had little bitty chunks of 5+ subjects each day. It was too much transition. Too many things in one day.
After receiving some awesome advice from the homeschool mamas in my online group, I decided to try one subject a day. It was awesome. Instead of tiny reads and partial projects, we finally had time to dig in to each subject.
The great thing about teaching this way is that all of these bigger subjects incorporate other ones like reading, art, and writing.
This year we have a bit more to do, especially with adding another kid into the mix – hence the centers. Our afternoons are reserved for our one big subject. Our starting schedule (totally subject to change) is:
This way we have an hour (or really as long as we need) to explore these bigger topics and dig into projects. Frequently I combine the activities that span a week into that one-ish hour. The timing works out well.
Is this the only time we touch on these topics? No way! We are constantly making connections between what we’re learning in our other daily activities. Plus, we work on math and a bit of writing daily.
Gameschooling math in the afternoon. Find great ideas for gameschooling here!
A special Day in our Homeschool Schedule: Fun Friday
While I love our Monday-Thursday homeschool schedule, by Friday morning I’m pretty much done. It’s a lot of work being the homeschool mom! Sometimes homeschooling is hard!
We reserve Fridays for fun. (And I use it as incentive to get the Mon-Thurs work done…)
Fridays are our field trip days and our movie nights. A day when we break from our daily homeschool schedule and do some fun learning out in the world.
We aren’t tied to Fridays, it just seems to be the easiest day to implement for now. My hope is that sticking to a schedule early on will make it easy to be flexible and still get our work done later in the year. Swapping out our Wednesday work for Friday when the public school kids start doing field trips will work out well.
Planning Our Homeschool Schedule
Yes, we have a lot of systems and routines in place. However, they aren’t so complicated that I need a daily list to keep track of them all. Our daily schedule chart is enough to keep everyone on the right track.
Besides, once my kids learned the schedule they started reminding me.
“Mom, it’s 9:00. What are we learning today?”
“Mom, tomorrow is math day. Can we play games?”
“Mom, you forgot to set the timer. Can I do it?”
“Mom, mom, mom, mom.”
Can you feel me?
I do love to plan, but I don’t love to haul out all of our books and curriculum to see what to do next. So this year I took some time before we began to set up my Homeschool Portfolio.
I’ve listed all of the topics we’ll cover on the curriculum checklist pages (or just printed it out and pasted it). This makes it easy to see what’s coming up next or to adjust or skip around when we need to. Everything I need is in this one book – including spelling lists, unit topics, and weekly themes in all of our 2nd grade curriculum. We are pretty eclectic, and at times it’s a lot to keep track of. This has made it so much easier.
I use the portfolio briefly daily to record attendance and check off our work, and I also make some time to sit down with it on Sunday so I’m ready for the week. It helps me keep up with what I need to print, take out, or reserve at the library. Though, sometimes I still find myself printing from 8-9am.
As I said, I’m wordy. It’s not really so complicated.
Our homeschool schedule basically boils down to this: an hour of focused work in the morning and afternoon with a lot of hands-on activities, learning in the world, and child-led educational play in between.
I’m always interested to peek into someone else’s homeschool. Homeschooling can be a isolating, and it’s great to hear other people’s ideas. I hope this look into our homeschool gives you a few ideas for your own!
Related ideas from the Resource Room:
Ashley helps parents who want to homeschool find the resources they need to successfully teach their children. Ashley is a former teacher, current homeschooler, published author, and designer behind Circle Time with Miss Fox printables as well as the creator of this website, The Homeschool Resource Room.