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. 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.
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.
Creating a Daily Routine for Your Homeschool
By schedule or routine, I mean the basic guideline 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
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?
Go with your strengths and set up your school day for when you and especially your kids are at your collective best. Homeschooling gives you lots of freedom to choose, particularly what time of day you start and when you call it quits.
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. There are several options. Perhaps you start easy to get some traction on the day. Or maybe you tackle the tougher topic first so that the hard stuff is out of the way. Eat the frog, as they say.
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.
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.
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.
This year we’ve got five kids in four different away-from-home science classes as well as a Community Bible Study class for everyone. This means that co-op Mondays look different than regular at-home Mondays. The same is true for the other days when we have away-from-home activities.
This year, in addition to my weekly time budget, I’ve created a time-blocked daily routine for the different kinds of school days. In this way I don’t have to figure out every day fresh. I can just turn to that day in my binder (see photo at top) to get a picture of my day.
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?
About this series – If you’re interested in getting started in homeschooling, this is a series recounting our experiences in teaching our children at home, the things that I’ve learned, and some resources I’ve discovered along the way. But this way isn’t the only way. Your mileage may vary.
Up next – How to Homeschool More than One Child.
Originally published August 16, 2011. Updated August 28, 2016.