Creating a daily routine for your homeschool can add structure and direction to your homeschool day, help you and your students be more productive, and make the school year more fun.
Ready to teach your kids at home? You’ve researched until you’re blue in the face; you’ve shopped until you’re ready to drop; you’re all tooled up for homeschooling. Now’s when the rubber hits the road.
But, how do you get things done? Where do you start? How do you stay on track?
Creating a daily schedule or routine can be a great thing to add structure and direction to your homeschool day. Yet, you’re not going to find a magic bullet or a one-size-fits all routine.
There are families who will be drawn to a minute-by-minute schedule, while others will lend themselves to a basic outline that can be tweaked on a day-to-day basis. You have to find what works for you. Here’s how:
Creating a Daily Routine for Your Homeschool
What you choose
will should ultimately be determined by what works best for your family. What works best will change with the seasons.
Yeah, you knew that successful homeschooling was a moving target, right? However, if you don’t have a target, you’ll hit nothing. So, set a schedule or daily routine for the beginning of the year, realizing that it will need some tweaking as the year progresses.
By schedule or routine, I mean the basic guideline, a map, for how your school days will go.
Here’s an example:
- BREAKFAST: 7 am
- Morning meeting: Pray, talk about the day, read alouds, etc.
- Handwriting/Language Arts
- Quitting Time and Clean up: 3:00
When my kids were younger, time blocking was the only way to get things done. I couldn’t function with a minute-by-minute schedule, but I needed ranges to guide us and keep us on track.
Time blocking is important, just remember that it may get frustrating if math takes 60 minutes instead of 45 and your whole day goes wonky as a result. Give yourself lots of margin and remember to hold things loosely.
Here are some things to consider as you create your daily schedule or routine:
1. What time of day are you and your kids strongest?
Homeschooling gives you lots of freedom to choose, particularly what time of day you start and when you call it quits.
Go with your strengths and set up your school day for when you and especially your kids are at your collective best.
If your kids are doing distance learning, you may not have a lot of choice as to when the class meetings are held, but you do have sway as to when your child will work on his assignments. You’re not locked into the traditional hours for lessons and/or homework.
2. What activities take the most energy?
If Math is a breeze, but Language Arts is a little slower going, be strategic in when you cover each subject. Will your child do better with the harder subject when she’s fresh in the morning or would knocking out some “easy subjects” help her build traction throughout the day?
Eating the frog is not always the way to go. You know your kids.
Test out the different theories and see what works best for you. It may be that you just mix it up from day to day. You now have the freedom to go with the flow!
3. Are you including regular breaks and “fun school”?
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Make sure that you are including snack breaks, “recess,” and some more “fun” educational activities throughout the day.
Mix up the media that you use for learning. Listen to audio books, do math on the computer (or on paper!), go on a nature walk.
Get everyone outside several times a day. Consider taking a walk around the block to get the blood pumping and the lungs refreshed. Everyone will feel better for it and concentration will be improved.
4. Have you scheduled quitting time?
In my early years of homeschooling, I would decide on the things we needed to do in a day and keep at it, regardless of the time. If we started late, then we worked late.
But, when the sun went down (albeit early on a Kansas winter night) and my kid was still doing his math, I realized that enough was enough.
Nowadays, we try to wrap up by 3:30 at the latest so that we can have an official quitting time. If someone’s been lagging throughout the day, then they do homework later in the evening.
5. Don’t forget happy hour.
Since we don’t school in a “traditional” manner, my kids aren’t coming home for an afterschool snack. That doesn’t mean we don’t need one.
Hubs is usually home by 3, making it a perfect time to reconnect as a family, switch gears from “working,” clean up school work, and enjoy a healthy snack to hold us over until dinnertime.
Now, of course, if you’re teaching more than one child at home, you’ll have more factors to think about and more personalities to mix into the fold. Every day looks different when you teach your kids at home.
6. Make adjustments for special days.
Are there certain days that don’t follow the rest of your week? Perhaps music lessons take up a big portion of a Monday.
If so, don’t force Monday to fit the Tuesday to Friday template. You’ll feel crazy! Make a different routine for Mondays.
Organize your homeschool days with a routine!
Creating a daily routine can be a great way to give direction to your homeschool days. It just may be the organizational tool you’ve been missing. If you don’t have a routine set up, consider it this school year!
How do YOU create a daily routine that works for you?
This post was originally published August 16, 2011. It has been updated for content and clarity.