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One of the first things new homeschooling parents usually ask me is, “what does a daily homeschool schedule even look like?” Well, there’s good news and bad news.
The good news is this: you’re a homeschooler now! There are no hard and fast rules, and you have the freedom to do what works best for your family. The bad news is that sometimes freedom feels overwhelming, especially to first-timers.
To help new homeschoolers, I’ve created a series of questions you should answer to help clarify what’s most important to your schedule. I’ve also included a few sample schedules so you can see how real homeschoolers are getting things done!
So grab a piece of paper and let’s get started!
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Creating your Daily Homeschool Schedule
#1 What times can you NOT homeschool?
This question ensures you don’t forget about other important things in your quest for daily homeschool schedule perfection. Family meal times, sleep time, and chores will probably be universal for every family. Your family might have additional boundaries of regular medical appointments or therapies, after school activities, or part-time jobs, too.
If your students are younger and require a lot of hand-holding or direct instruction, consider YOUR other responsibilities, too. Do you have a part-time job, or other young children to care for? Scratch times based on those schedules, too, so you can be fully available (as much as possible) to teach.
Looking at your whole week as one unit, block out times that are off-limits for homeschooling. Protect those times so schooling at home doesn’t also become “schooling literally all the time.”
#2 How old is your child?
How old your child is determines the length of their learning chunks. As a rule, children have an attention span of 3-5 minutes per year. So a 5 year old should be able to focus for about 15 minutes at a time, barring any attention deficit difficulties. A 15 year old can usually handle working in 45 minute chunks.
#3 What do you want/need to study?
This question might be determined for you by your state subject mandates. Even if you have subject requirements however, you get to choose how frequently to study each subject. Many families choose to have math and English/language arts time every day. However, you might be a very musical family and want practice time every day, too!
#4 How long do you want to conduct school?
Again, this question might be answered for you by your state mandates. Places like New York and Pennsylvania require students to log a certain number of homeschool hours in addition to days for compliance.
If this doesn’t apply to you, you have more flexibility. Perhaps you only want to schedule two or three hours of “seat work” a day and have more time for play/experiential learning. Perhaps your child gets hyper-focused and would do well with a couple six hour school days.
Additionally, you should think about how much vacation time your homeschool will take. Do you want to copy public school schedules with winter, spring, and summer breaks? Would you prefer to conduct school year-round for consistency? Your yearly schedule will affect how much you want to spread out learning and therefore affect your daily homeschool schedule.
#5 What does your child prefer?
When making your daily homeschool schedule, get your child’s input! If they contribute to the decision-making process, it’s easier to “enforce” the schedule. (School teachers do this all the time when involving the class in creating class norms. Student participation builds student buy-in.)
You will create some non-negotiables, of course. Things like which subjects they’ll study and the minimum time they need to spend per subject per week are your sole decision. But kids can help make some decisions. For example, do they want to do math or reading first thing in the morning? Do they want to study science a little bit every day, or in two big chunks on Monday and Wednesday?
#6 Are you willing to be a nonconformist?
School generally starts every weekday morning and ends in the afternoon. Would you be willing to schedule your child only three days a week for more time off? How about having your teenage child sleep in every morning and do school work from 6 to 11pm?
Sample Daily Homeschool Schedules
Ok, so now that you’ve answered all your questions, let’s see how to put all the pieces together. Here are three samples you can use for inspiration!
Sample #1- Amaya (age 8)
- Wake up at 7, bedtime at 8:30.
- Family dinner every night at 6.
- Dance on Tuesdays from 5-6, online coding club on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am-12pm
- School work done for 3 hours/day
- English/language arts, math, and science every day
- Social studies, fine arts, health, and computer skills twice a week
Sample #2- George (age 15)
- Wake up at 8, bedtime at 10:30
- Family breakfast at 9am
- Taekwondo Mon, Wed, and Fri from 4-6pm
- Part-time job (grocery store), usually on Tues and Thurs from 12-5pm
- ELA, math, US history, and science every day
- World history, Spanish, and art three times a week
Sample #3- Ella (age 11) and Ethan (age 6)
- Wake up at 6, bedtime at 9
- Competitive gymnastics practice every weekday from 6-7:30
- School work completed by noon every day
- ELA and math 5x/week
- Social studies, music, health, and science 3x/week
So there you have it! Make sure you go grab our free printable homeschool planner that is featured in the above images and save yourself a huge headache this school year!
For more reading on this topic:
- Homeschool Unit Studies: WHY & HOW this Method Works!
- Independent Work: 5 Strategies for Encouraging Independence at Home
- 85+ Toddler Fine Motor Activities- Guaranteed to Keep them Busy!
- Stress-Free Morning Routines for Kids with ADHD
Hillary is a former teacher who went rogue and became a freelance writer. When not offering support and advice to homeschooling families, she tends to her own garden, family, and cat. You can connect with her on her website, homegrownhillary.com.