Lately, I’ve had a couple of people ask me how I structure my homeschool day with four children. Do I do each subject separately with each child, and if not, what things do we do together? I decided that it might be helpful to put my answer into a post.
Now, before I launch into what we do with our homeschool day, let me point out a couple of things up front! First, I try to keep a structure going, but sometimes (often?) my house looks like a circus. It’s definitely a challenge to keep everyone on track, and I do not do a perfect job! Also, notice that the title of this post is not a “homeschool schedule.” We have never been able to get on a strict schedule. Sometimes things take more (or less) time than I thought they would, and my extremely literal son would drive me crazy if I had to stick to minutes on the clock. So we have a routine for our day and a checklist of tasks for each child each day, but we do not stick to exact times.
Here is what a day might look like at our house:
8:00 – breakfast (we are not super early risers… ahem), kids get dressed, brush teeth, make beds, and tidy rooms
8:45 – Bible time all together
9:15 – History for Aidan – I read his Sonlight lesson out loud to him. Gresham and Owen play upstairs. Jonathan (age 1) plays in the room where Aidan and I are reading.
9:45 – Gresham comes down and does handwriting, phonics, and spelling at the school table. Aidan practices violin. I go back and forth between the two while also helping Owen do his preschool work and getting Jonathan out of a hundred no-no’s. After Aidan finishes violin, he works on language, handwriting, or spelling. Whatever he doesn’t finish he can do in the afternoon.
10:30 – Break and snack time.
11:00 – Science all together. We are going through the Exploring Creation series from Apologia. This year, we’re doing Astronomy! We don’t do science every day, so if it’s not a science day we might run to the library to return books or do another errand during this time.
12:15ish – Lunch, followed by after lunch clean up jobs. Gresham (6) loads the dishwasher, Aidan (10) clears and wipes the table and sweeps the floor. Owen (4) puts away food with help. I clean up Jonathan, put away food, help Gresham not make a huge mess while loading the dishwasher, wash the highchair tray, etc.
1:15ish – Reading time all together. I usually read Jonathan a couple toddler books, and then read a chapter book to the older boys.
1:45 – Naps for Owen and Jonathan. Aidan and Gresham do math at the school table while I work on blogging.
2:30 – Quiet playing or reading time for Aidan and Gresham, separate from each other. And they are not allowed to talk to me either!
3:30/4:00 – Younger boys up from naps. Snack time.
4:00ish – Chore time. Aidan vacuums (different rooms on different days) and cleans the van, Gresham picks up dog poop in the yard, puts toys away, helps with dusting, etc. Owen slides under the radar and tries to be as lazy as possible (I’m onto him and working on making sure he helps with toy pick-up…).
5:00 – TV time while I make dinner.
Late afternoon or evening – Finish any subjects with Aidan that are not finished. Usually spelling is on this list. Gresham practices violin if he hasn’t fit that in already.
8:15 – I read Aidan’s Sonlight read-aloud books to whoever wants to listen (this is usually everyone, even if the book is over their heads). We are always hopelessly behind on the read-alouds! In fact, we haven’t finished last year’s yet!
Now that I’ve shared our pattern for the day, here are a few things to remember:
- Keep in mind that you are “homeschooling” all of your kids and not just the ones who have reached school age! I have found that if I do not have at least one or two planned activities each day for the younger two boys, the day does not go very well! During the 9:45 time slot, I try to plan preschool activities for Owen such as a crayon rubbing center, a craft, play dough, or play with our large rice tub. For more ideas, you can view my entire preschool category. Owen also has some preschool workbooks. Check out my post about getting started with preschool at home for work book recommendations.
- Interruptions are not the end of the world! I work to keep interruptions to a minimum, but let’s face it – homeschooling happens in a home. The phone rings, appointments need to be set up, laundry needs to be moved from the washer to the dryer… Homeschooling is not neat rows of desks with quietly working children. But honestly, going to school does not guarantee focus either. There are plenty of interruptions in a classroom, and the great part about homeschooling is that the clock does not cut us off once we have finally settled down for learning! We have a lifestyle of learning, and it’s okay if interruptions happen.
- Most importantly – – – The best schedule is the one that works for YOU! And your family!
Homeschoolers – What tip can you share about planning your homeschool day?