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.

Planning a homeschool routine when you are homeschooling multiple children

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?


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  1. Danica Aug 7, 2013

    My best advice is to be flexible. Don't stress out if everything isn't completed every day. Things happen! Maybe your kiddo gets really interested in something they're working on. Let them keep going if they want! You can do two math lessons tomorrow or do one on Saturday. It all works out in the end. :-)

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Ann Aug 7, 2013

    When my kids were all younger, and there was also a toddler and/or infant thrown into the mix, my sanity was saved by making a chart of half-hour time increments down the side and everyone's name (including mine) along the top. Everybody's time was scheduled. Mine might say "Do math with Betsey" and in the corresponding square, Betsey's would say "Math". The other kids then would be doing something independently, since I was scheduled to work with Betsey. The toddler might be playing with a puzzle in his high chair; the infant might be taking a nap. The other children might be reading or doing a subject that they didn't need my help with for that particular time slot. Then for the next half-hour I might be working with Britt on HER math, and everyone else would switch to something different. But my point is that it was all planned out on paper--everyone with a definite activity at any given time. I read the book Managers of Their Homes, which advocates this method, and I highly recommend it. :-)

  3. Becky Aug 8, 2013

    Love it. Definitely pinned it to read again and again. :) You reminded me of an important thing that I need to revisit in my home...quiet time. While my two girls do still nap, my boys don't. And although they play very well together, I do think there is value in letting them do their own things; explore their own interests without the influence of the other one there.
    Thank you for keeping it real and for the encouragement that it doesn't have to be {nor will it ever be} "perfect". ;)

  4. Julie R. Aug 8, 2013

    Thank you so much for this post! My boys are barely to the preschool age, but I've been stressing about how I'll do homeschool for more than one kid. This is exactly what I needed to put some of my fears to rest. Thanks!

  5. Jessica Aug 8, 2013

    Great post! My kids are still preschoolers but it is still very helpful. How did you instill the "no talking to mom during quiet time" rule? We are new to quiet time and I am trying to enforce this rule by my girls think everything is an emergency and get their feelings hurt if I ask them to save their stories for later.

    1. Sarah Aug 8, 2013

      I think it helps to choose a location for quiet time. My second son does not have a strong desire to talk to me all the time, so he is usually downstairs with me for quiet time. My oldest goes up to his bedroom for quiet time. I tell him what time he can come out, and he is free to read or play. Sometimes he has schoolwork to finish. I make sure that it is something that he can handle on his own, and then instruct him not to come down until the time is up. I can answer his questions later. Quiet time doesn't always happen, but at least 3 days a week I need that space or I go crazy!

    2. Gwen Jan 9, 2015

      I always let them know I want to hear what they have to say bc it's important to me, and I value their thoughts. I then ask them to remember to share with me after quite time. I also tell them I need quite time to be a better mommy.

  6. Taylor Aug 8, 2013

    The reassuring of 'not perfect' is so nice to hear. I am starting my daughter in Kinder and my son in 1st. Last year didn't go so well with his Kinder, but we are smart enough for 1st! I am a little worried about doing 2 kids, plus a 3 year old wandering around :) And I have planned out the first 4 weeks of 'what lessons and pages to do today'...but after reading this I think I will try to stick with it, but not be as hard on either of us if he doesn't finish up. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Janiene Aug 9, 2013

    This is awesome! We have a very similar schedule and it is so reaffirming and helpful to me that you laid it all out there! Blessings! Janiene

  8. Aurora Aug 10, 2013

    When do you schedule in time for you to do deep cleaning? Do you do that while the kids are doing their chores? That's one thing I can't seem to make work. Basic cleaning like dishes, laundry, cleaning up meals ect seems to be all I can squeeze in and my house shows it! Thanks in advance!

    1. Sarah Aug 17, 2013

      Thanks for your question! That is a good question. The answer is... I don't often get to deep clean! Homeschooling definitely requires a time investment, and for us, the investment in the lives of our children is worth the messy house.

      We do have a daily chore time, and we do stay caught up (for the most part) with laundry, dishes, toys, and stuff. Deep cleaning often waits until days like today where I declare a "family cleaning day!" The boys tracked in a ton of mud on Wednesday evening, and it sat there (other than the big clumps I picked up right away) until today when we were finally able to mop the floor.

    2. t Sep 6, 2013

      Hi there!
      I am right there with you on the messy house with four children and homeschooling!!! Personally for me I am a night owl and once the kids are in the bed that's when I can get projects done around the house. I have been known to stay up until 1 am painting a room!!!
      I will admit it is exhausting and I too am searching for a new regimen and I found a really great idea on Pinterest actually. A lady posted that she does "laundry parties" on Mondays. She teaches her kids how to fold clothes, or put them away, or match socks, whatever is your child's skill level, and then laundry is a family affair which will give us mom's a break from doing EVERYTHING, and yet still children to be responsible for their own belongings and learn to put them away. I thought it was brilliant and I am going to try it in my own house.
      I have my children responsible for their own toys and they must make their bed. I am working on keeping their school area neat and clean, which just translates into putting caps on markers and keeping papers out of the floor. I have young children, my oldest of four just being 5 years old so that leaves the majority of tasks up to my husband and I.
      I am severely behind on deep cleaning too, and I love reading other people's ideas. Good luck.

    3. Catherine Stanforth Aug 27, 2017

      I found that If I do any deep cleaning it would have to be right after I finish up with the school year or 2 weeks before I start the school year. If you school all year round then you could make time slots during the week ie. take one week off from formal schooling and only do catch-up work so you have more time for deep cleaning or pick two days out of the week and and give yourself and the children a break from school and have a deep cleaning party no matter the age. I found my children enjoy helping me and I am instilling good work ethic. I know that with little ones its harder but I always do a buddy system. The older children have one of the younger ones that they are to help or play with. Its a big help! however I know that sometimes you might have to plan for a day that the children can have a play day else where ie. Grandmas house, so you can get your cleaning done with out little ones under foot. I hope that give's you some idea's. Have a blessed year!

      1. Sharon Wilkes Jun 23, 2020

        I have 4 under 6 and I have found that hiring a friend to deep clean for me is a huge help. She's a solo mum and she's a great cleaner, so it's win-win for both of us. Before I had her help the deep cleaning only happened when we had people coming to stay or if it got really bad!
        One tip I do try to follow is to make each room tidier that when you came into it. Even just one thing at a time certainly helps. Another tip which may help others is to focus on one room or area per day, or as others have suggested, have a cleaning day once a week, once a fortnight, or once a month!

  9. Linda Aug 14, 2013

    For years I've been trying to work in our main chore time first thing after breakfast. We are not early morning people, either, and it just started our day of with everyone crabby. Afternoon household maintenance (chore time!) works so much better for us.
    Love reading how other families work routine and schedules into their days. Thanks for sharing :)

  10. Jennifer Aug 20, 2013

    Thank you for this post. It is very helpful to see an example of how a homeschool day with 4 kids might run. I have 4 kids ages 5 and 3 and am very nervous about figuring out a daily routine. We have always had a "rough outline" (i.e. I knew when meals would happen and wing it the rest of the day) for our day but I know we need a more rigid routine to make sure school and household chores get done.

    Thank you Ann - I'm going to check out the book you recommended, too.

    I also like the "not allowed to talk to me" time. I really need to implement that because I cannot do anything longer than 5 minutes before I'm interrupted. I've always been so accessible to the kids that I have neglected to teach them when Mommy needs uninterrupted time to do Mommy things (i.e. school planning, bill paying, etc.).

    Will definitely be following your blog! Thanks again!!

  11. sara Nov 7, 2013

    Wow i just had to laugh! You sound a lot like me and we have certain similarities like childrens' age gaps, mommys me time, and we are not early risers. My children are 9 (boy), 5 (boy), 3 (girl), and 16 months (boy). And im pregnant, due in 3 months. Our 5 year old's name is ayden :). I send the younger three off to play while i school our eldest child. Subjects vary depending on if the younger three are being good or being holy terrors. I love my kids, and they are very well behaved by our society's standards, but all four of our children are stubborn, hyperactive, and VERY independent and wanting to do what they want. On the bad days i tackle our 9 year olds schooling during nap time because the younger three all nap and tackle the 5 year old's after naptime when our older son can play with the baby. And any left over from our 9 year old gets done when dad gets off work and can occupy the younger three. Its a matter of doing core subjects of math and language arts everyday and fitting the others in when time allows. Laundry and dishes i do as soons its bedtime, while its quiet. We dont want to stick to a timed schedule and teach our kids that everything will go wrong if its not done that minute. Some things do have to be done at a certain time, but most dont. Teach them it just has to be done in a reasonable amount of time that day. Most days i tell my kids im having mommy time on the couch- go play nicely and dont bother me unless you are missing fingers. Thats how i keep my sanity :)

  12. Karen Dec 31, 2013

    Thank you, so helpful! I also find that some structure in concept with flexiblity in execution works. Our day (two daughters, 8 year old 2nd grader and 2 1/2 year old preschooler) is something like this:

    8 am Breakfast and cleanup, followed by devotions

    9 - 11 am Play for younger one, maybe with older one, often the older one reading to the younger one (yay, reading aloud!), mostly together -- when I do laundry, pay bills, make phone calls, we run errands, usually 1 weekly grocery store run, 1 weekly library visit which might include a story hour. Might also be a 1 weekly "field trip", to a zoo, museum, park, playground, nature center, etc. Physical activity, out of the house, exploring the world, something new for all 3 of us.

    11:30 Get lunch ready, sometimes they watch 1 episode of Mr Rogers (on the web) while I prep

    12 - 1 Lunch, sometimes listening to an story CD, or something funny like Jungle Jam

    1 Lunch cleanup, go over 2nd grader's seat work instructions, prep preschooler for nap

    1:30 Preschooler down for nap, review seat work of 2nd grader, work on reading, spelling, writing (moving from printing to cursive this year), math

    3:30 - 4 Preschooler up from nap -- more playtime, or taking 2nd grader to once a week ballet on Tuesdays and once a week gymnastics on Thursdays (the preschooler really likes watching her big sister!)

    5 pm Dinner prep, playtime

    6:30 - 7 Playtime with dad, toy pickup (we have a made-up song for that, too)

    7:30 Bedtime routine begins, earlier if bath night -- daddy puts our littlest to bed, I read longer to our bigger girl, until the little one is asleep, then we sneak her into bed, they share a room, usually around 8:30

    Will do more in morning this next semester, as my preschooler can do more on her own now, and I want to do more history and science.

    Hope that helps anyone!

    1. Tabitha Aug 19, 2014

      If you don't mind me asking what are you doing for your 2nd grade HS work

  13. Amber Benton Jan 1, 2014


    Thanks for this post. I included this post in a list of encouraging posts that I put together this morning as I thought about the New Year. I totally agree with you about routine vs. schedule, but sometimes my head gets in the way. It's a good reminder - Routine is a close cousin of our friend Habit I think! As a mom of six boys there are other things I appreciate about your blog :)

    1. Sharon Dec 5, 2014

      Yes!! Like the mud being tracked in!!!!

  14. Amber Jan 9, 2014

    Our days are similar...I also have four boys but between 3.5 and 7 years. It's very busy but I enjoy it!

  15. AnnMarie Feb 12, 2014

    Thank you so much for this post. I am moving to HI (military) and we've decided to homeschool our 3 children for the first time. I have been nervous, reading everything I can and trying not to hyperventilate :) I printed out your schedule and will work loosely from it until I get used to it.


    1. Sarah Feb 13, 2014

      Thanks for your comment! Homeschooling is a big adjustment, but SO worth it! Remind yourself on crazy days why you chose to homeschool, and then take a deep breath and don't be hard on yourself! The perfect schedule is the one that works for you. :-)

  16. Lesley Feb 24, 2014

    I love this! My 4 are these exact ages right now! I have 3 girls and 1 boy, though :) I will be visiting your sight often.

  17. jennifer Feb 27, 2014

    I homeschool 4 boys (and nephew makes 5) ages 14/12/11/9/nephew2

    my nephew will start doing some work next year

    they have chores do tidy selves and room before school. 9 is latest we start. I have a check list we do. everyone must complete Bible before i will start helping with language. One boy plays with nephew while i help other 3 in language (first ohe finished plays with nephew while 4th boy does language. They take turns with nephew as they finish up . most days we are done by 2pm. my nephew naps after lunch and we can just concentrate on school

    band instrument practice

  18. Jen Fisher Feb 27, 2014

    Thanks for the simplicity of this write up. I am considering the switch of my kids from public to home school. I have 7 kids that would need schooling and it seems very overwhelming, but everyday that they are in the public school I fear that it is just not right. They work so hard all day and then come home with so much additional that they never see the outside or have free time. I have witnessed my jr high student experience so much stress and anxiety. My 3rd graders cry all night and getting my kindergarten to sit any longer after a full day is just horrible.

    You have given me the encouragement to continue my research and make a better choice for them. :)


  19. Victoria Mar 25, 2014

    So I homeschool my 3 rd grader and she has some behavior issue and it's hard to get thru what needs to get done through out day some days are much more hard than other. I have a soon to be 5th grader who I am going to homeschool this upcoming school year and need some pointers on how I should do this being that I don't want them to distract one another! Please help

    1. Sarah Mar 26, 2014

      Kids distracting each other can be a challenge for sure. My oldest is easily distracted, so I usually have him work in a separate room after I have explained the directions, etc. It's kind of a two fold problem. He is distracted by his younger brothers, but he is also distracted when he's in a room by himself - looking out the window, looking at his Legos, etc. So for him, the distraction is to some degree a choice. I don't have a lot of pointers, but I would recommend planning time each day to work with them individually and also time for them to work independently. Being able to work independently is definitely a skill that is learned over time!

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  22. Elizabeth May 9, 2014

    My question for you all is Do you struggle with social engagements? Let me explain: We do get out of the house and try to meet up with other families at least twice a month. We got to church every week. But sometimes I feel guilty that I can't meet up more regularly for playdate because I am so consumed with homeschooling and taking care of the needs of the home and family. I have three boys 9, 6, and 3.

    1. Sarah May 9, 2014

      For us, I find that we are able to do more things socially during some seasons more than others. In the fall, the boys did a gymnastics class and we were out of the house for that each Wednesday. Right now, we have a brand new baby and are doing next to nothing socially! It comes and goes. I don't worry about "socialization" - the boys are fine as far as that goes. But we do enjoy getting together with friends and being out of the house! We just have to take advantage of that when we can.

  23. Caitlin Jul 30, 2014

    Thank you for sharing. We have 5 and #6 coming in March. It is really refreshing to read your schedule. I need to get rid of the "time" schedule. I am a planner and list maker so homeschooling has been a struggle! Thank you for your blog. I am encouraged :)

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  25. Amber Aug 26, 2014

    I absolutely love this post! I do not have children yet, but my dream is (and has always been) to be able to homeschool my children. I just finished my teaching degree and feel so much more prepared for my future children! I love that you are able to incorporate a musical instrument into your children's learning! Thanks for sharing :-)

  26. Tiffany Crawford Nov 7, 2014

    Thanks for this! We are just beginning. And I have three boys 4, 3 and 10 months! I couldn't help but laugh at a few of these - only because I can understand their implementation. I'll have to remember quiet time for all - including for Mommy!

  27. Laura Nov 19, 2014

    I love your site! I haven't been able to check it all out so I don't know if I would find the answer to my question by more searching but it seemed to apply to this post most. Where do you fit in all your awesome building/creative activities? Do you have a certain day a week that you focus on them or is it just random times throughout the week? Thanks.

  28. jessica randall Feb 27, 2015

    Thank you so much for sharing!! I needed this. We are in our 3rd year of homeschooling, a 5th grader, two 4th graders, a 2nd grader and we have added a baby to the mix (1 year old). I've been stuck on making a schedule, but I've come to realize that schedules and our family just don't mix. Routine works better, we have what we are intending to do and what needs to get done. But you're right, sometimes we are finished with math really quickly and the other day, 2.5 hours had passed and we were still doing math. I aim to start at 9, but it never really happens (by 10 we've definitely started). Everyone does their math and I am available to help, then everyone starts language arts together, I work with the 2nd grader and then go over the lesson with the older girls. We eat when we're hungry :) We do history and science together (all grades) and we only do each 3 times a week. We throw art in whenever we can and we are currently trying to do Spanish at least 2 times a week. I finally feel that coming up to the end of our 3rd year of homeschooling.....we finally have it somewhat together :)

  29. Amber May 1, 2015

    Do your kids in this schedule have free time to go outside and play with friends? I'm just wondering because we moved to a new location 6 months ago and already they made great friends with the neighborhood kids, 3 houses in a row have children that my kids play with. Just about almost everyday around 4-5 they're all out front ready to play with our kids, so we open up our garage and invite the neighbor kids into our play room. I think it is fun and wonderful but I'm left feeling behind on other things and exhausted. Would it be odd to have less play dates with friends during the week? Or can they just grow up being fine with only playing with friends on weekends? One of our kids go to classes 2x a week, so they get to see and hang out with friends there too.

    My hubby thinks it's more important to let them have play time with friends most every day then me doing house chores. It's just been a huge stressor on me, even though I'm enjoining myself, I'm often thinking about the "list"! That I still need and want to get done.

    1. Sarah May 5, 2015

      Yes, we usually play outside most days after 3:30 or so, IF the weather cooperates. Sometimes we have school work to finish up later in the day (because of interruptions throughout the day - not because we work long hours!) but they do get plenty of time outside.

      I hear ya - it's hard to balance everything! Personally, I would not have a problem with limiting the amount of time that kids come over to your house if it's causing you stress. Would it be possible to come up with a quick clean-up routine for the kids to do themselves before they go home? Seems reasonable that if they come to play regularly that everyone could help with picking things up and at least leaving the play room how they found it? Just a thought. We play with kids outside, but rarely have kids over to play. It's just what works for us right now.

  30. Shawna Jan 28, 2016

    I have 4 kids and was wondering how to start of this

    1. Shawna Jan 28, 2016

      I am trying to start homeschool soon I have a 8 year old girl 7 boy 6 boy and 4 month old girl. I need help starting and schedule. Can someone help me please

  31. Elizabeth Nov 14, 2016

    All great advice! Our family uses the Love My Schedule system. It’s a magnetic wet erase schedule that I keep on the fridge. That way I always have it where I can find it. They also have the chore charts so I can check off their chores as they get done. Their website is if anyone wants to check it out.

  32. Michele Douglas Apr 1, 2019

    Your schedule sounds great for your kids! I am currently homeschooling my 14 year old 9th grade daughter. I took her out of school after Christmas last year and started homeschooling her in January of this year 2019. Next year I will be taking my middle daughter out of public school and homeschooling her as well. And my youngest will be in kindergarten and I will be homeschooling her too. My oldest suffers from depression and severe anxiety and also self harms. My middle has ADHD and severe anxiety. And my youngest suffers from severe anxiety as well. I am just wondering how I am going to juggle homeschooling all three of them next year! It seems like it's going to be quite a turmoil in my house! Your schedule eases my mind a bit though. Do you have any other suggestions for me?


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