Nine years ago, when I first started to homeschool, I was desperate for someone to help me. To give me the perfect homeschooling schedule.
But guess what? There isn’t one.
Although I can (and I will) share my homeschool routine with you, at the end of the day, one of the benefits of homeschooling is that you get to play your own tune.
You make the rules. You decide what a successful homeschooling journey looks like.
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Not All Homeschoolers Are The Same And Neither Are Schedules
Listen. There is something I must tell you before I go any further with this post.
I am not your regular homeschooling parent, nor are we your average home educated family.
I am yet to meet many other families that homeschooled their kids for the same reason that I did. (If you are interested I will tell you why we chose to homeschool then read this post). But for now, know this:
- I am not religious.
- I do not believe that schools are bad.
- My kids are not super-duper brain boxes.
- Neither of my kids has any disorder or social problems (unless you count being terribly messy, sometimes moody, and always unable to get out of the bathroom in less than twenty minutes).
- We are not a wealthy family.
- Nor (thankfully), are we on the bread line.
- I drink wine.
- I’m not a vegan.
- I don’t own a pair of denim dungarees.
There. That’s that.
I needed you to know that I am a regular woman with regular kids and homeschooling has been the best thing that could have happened for our family. Ever.
With that out of the way (and hopefully, you feel as though you know me a little better now), let’s get on to giving you the support and the schedule that you are looking for on your new homeschooling journey.
Why not listen as you read? In our latest podcast episode, my now teenage son (18) and I talk about what worked and what didn’t in homeschooling. Click below to listen!
Why Do People Homeschool?
People homeschool for several reasons.
Along with dissatisfaction with academic instruction, families homeschool for religious reasons, for social reasons, or they might live remotely and can’t be bothered to get the tractor started every morning to do the school run.
Perhaps, along with many other homeschooled celebrities, the child might be an actor who homeschools in order to make films and keep mum and dad in the riches they have become accustomed to.
Some people work from home and see homeschooling as a chance to do both. Homeschooling and working full time (although not always the easiest) is certainly an option.
If you would like to know my reasons for homeschooling then read my in-depth homeschooling blog post.
Want To Know If You Are Cut Out For Homeschooling? Take Our Quick 3 Min Quiz And Find Out!
The Benefits Of Having a Homeschool Schedule
I homeschooled my two children (who are now huge-taller-than-me teenagers) for nine years. I’m still going with my daughter.
Tessa, my daughter, was seven and my son was ten when I decided to take them both out of school to teach them myself. I did my research and read all that I could on homeschooling vs public schooling and concluded that I would give it my best shot and try homeschooling for a year.
I didn’t know this about myself back then but I very quickly learned that I am a tiny bit of a control freak.
Hands up. I admit it. I’m an out and out list lover.
I like organisation. I like order. Give me a highlighter and a ruler and I get excited.
I have tried for many months to go with the homeschool flow and let my kids run the roost but I failed. Miserably.
If you too are the kind of person who needs to know what’s happening at what time and for how long, then you will need a homeschooling schedule. A timetable. Some order.
Especially if you are homeschooling multiple kids.
That way you can homeschool your children and manage to get meals prepared, the laundry done, send emails and hopefully, you’ll get to stay (relatively) sane.
You might even have time to apply a bit of mascara.
Next, you could read…
Kids And Routine
I believe that kids thrive on routine, regardless of whether or not they are homeschooled, and that’s why, without fail, every Sunday night I would write out a homeschooling schedule for the week ahead.
Having a schedule, even a rough one, will enable you to plan your day. Your week. Your month.
Creating a homeschooling routine (even if it’s a very loose and rough one) will mean that you can homeschool your kids and still manage to do other everyday things.
The Downside To Having a Homeschool Schedule.
Last year, my husband and I travelled the world with our kids for a year. It was wonderful.
It was the best thing I have ever done in my life. Ever.
My kids were officially ‘learning’ but without any kind of structure. There was no schedule, no routine. There was just us. And we all loved it.
The downside to having a routine when you are homeschooling is that (if you are not careful), it can take over your life. It can be restricting.
And that’s not what homeschooling is about.
Routines and schedules work well in the homeschooling environment but you must be prepared to throw the routine out of the window occasionally.
Don’t let a rigid routine stop you from doing spontaneous, fun activities with your kids. If your schedule says to start maths at 11 am but you’re all still baking scones and weighing ingredients (a brilliant maths exercise) then go with the flow.
Promise me one thing? You won’t be a slave to your homeschooling schedule.
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A Typical Homeschooling Routine (Our Family Being The Typical Example).
First, let me say that this homeschooling routine applies to Monday through Thursday.
For the past nine years, Friday has always been an unschool day. I sincerely suggest that you do the same. It makes the homeschooling experience far more enjoyable knowing that you once Friday arrives you get to play.
And remember. This schedule is F-l-e-x-i-b-l-e. The world is going to fall apart if you let your kids draw pictures and watch cartoons for a few days while you sort out important things.
My main concern here is you. It has to work for you.
You are the main ingredient that will decipher a successful homeschooling experience to a stressful one.
7 am – 8 am
Our household gets up. My husband goes to the gym every morning or for a bike ride. He has recently started taking both kids with him.
Notice that I said, my husband. Not me. I am at home in bed enjoying some peace and quiet and practising some self-love exercises before the day begins (I highly recommend it).
8 am – 9 am
Breakfast. Showers etc.
9 am – 9.30 am
Chores. Jobs. Feeding & walking pets.
Cleaning up the kitchen and wiping down. Our house is open plan so the kids always worked at the kitchen table. I found it impossible to work in a mess. Even if you can get the dirty dishes washed it will help you begin your homeschool day with the right frame of mind.
9.30 – 10 am
Music. Both of my kids played instruments. They did private lessons after school time and spent 30 minutes a day practising.
10.15 am – 11.15 am
Maths. Depending on their ages I would take different approaches to this subject. My kids went through the entire Singapore Maths Books and I found it to be amazing. For someone who isn’t brilliant at maths (like me), I found the teaching textbooks simple to use and easy to follow.
11 am – 11.30 am
I always made sure that when my children were younger (before phones and other annoying screens), my kids went outside and had a run-around.
If this isn’t possible, then I suggest letting them bounce on the bed for fifteen minutes.
We had a no-screen policy until after 3 pm. It was too difficult otherwise to get them back into work mode.
Remember, set firm rules from the start of your homeschooling journey; that way, everyone will be clear of boundaries.
11.30 am – 12.30 am
English. Read aloud books when they were smaller and then essays, grammar, poetry etc when they became older. I have made a list of all the lovely books we read in this homeschooling post.
12.30 pm – 1.30 pm
Projects. These would always cover history, geography, science and the arts. Depending on what topic we had chosen.
One year we planned to travel to America to visit family and spend time in California.
We spent six months before that trip learning everything we could about the Gold Rush and American history. We then went on to spend a further two months learning about the life and times of Walt Disney!
The kids adored it! We read books, watched documentaries, did mock interviews and watched almost every Disney movie there was available! They have never forgotten that project.
1.30 pm Onwards
Lunch and finished with ‘formal stuff’ for the day.
Most afternoons my kids had clubs or would meet up with friends.
Wednesday. Clean The House Afternoon
Wednesday was always our big house clean up. All hands were on board and we would share the duties.
This cleaning schedule was (and is) an essential part of my homeschooling schedule. It gave my kids household responsibilities and taught them the importance of keeping things clean and tidy. I highly recommend it.
Thursday. Grocery Shopping
Thursday was usually a grocery day. Again, this was a shared experience – everything from filling the trolly to unpacking and putting away of the food!
(Answers to Questions That I Wish I’d Asked When I Started Homeschooling).
Q: How many hours a day should I homeschool my kids?
A: Every family is different, but we found that four hours was the maximum amount of time we needed to complete all of the tasks.
Q: What if I don’t know the answer to the questions they are asking?
A: Google it.
Q: What if my children won’t listen to me?
A: If you have only just started homeschooling then be aware that it will take your kids (and you) a while to get into any kind of routine.
Be gentle on the kids, but mostly, please, be gentle on yourself. Take your time. Find a subject that interests your kids and then go from there.
Q: What if I get homeschooling wrong?
A: Listen. There is no wrong in homeschooling. Just try your best. If you spent the next three years only reading books to your kids all day then you would be providing them with essential learning skills as well as increasing their brain activity.
Q: How do I homeschool multiple kids?
A: As well as you can. You are not a super parent, you have limits. But you can do this if you accept that everything doesn’t have to be perfect.
If you have babies or toddlers that require your attention then give the older kids some quiet work to do. They might go through the pantry and write down all the dried goods that you are getting low on. Or they could sit and read to the little kids or help them play a game.
Once the toddlers are watching a programme or taking a nap, spend some time with the older kids that need it.
Again, I must stress. Please don’t worry about it too much. Just do your best, take regular cuddle times with each child and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Homeschooling is a full-time job so if other things go haywire for a few weeks until you find your feet then so be it.
Q: But I have no idea how to teach my kids!
A: Yes you do. You have done it many times before. You taught them how to talk, walk, eat and play. Do what you do best and follow your instinct. It will come.
This is the beauty of homeschooling! There are no set ways. You get to choose how to teach your kids.
Remember, nobody knows your children better than you.
Q: Can you recommend a particular homeschooling curriculum?
A: Yes. I can, but it would take another post. I promise to write that post soon. In the meantime, do as I did for the first three years and make a curriculum up.
I recommend using maths books from Singapore maths, and any English workbooks you can buy cheaply online.
If you are struggling with funds, then you can get lots of cheap homeschooling supplies and lessons online for free.
And don’t forget YouTube! We found there to be some amazing resources (and all free). If you have older kids are looking for videos on science, history or literature check out the channel Crash Course. You will love it.
And Your Imagination!
My kids loved films, so if ever I wanted them to do some creative writing we would watch a classic movie together, spend time talking about the film (all learning skills remember!) and then I’d then ask them to write a story about the film but to give it a different ending.
Q: What if I have to work as well as homeschool?
A: Then, you make a homeschool schedule that works for you.
This might mean that you do lessons in the afternoon. Or only on a Wednesday through to Saturday. Your kids might go to a friend for two days a week or maybe your homeschooling schedule would do better to start after lunch.
I have known homeschooling families who do school work at the weekend and Monday and Tuesday, giving them the rest of the week to do other things.
Want To Know If You Are Cut Out For Homeschooling? Take Our Quick 3 Min Quiz And Find Out!
Homeschooling & Working From Home
I have written an entire post on homeschooling and working full time I didn’t find it easy.
I know now that this was because at the time I was doing a job that wasn’t based at home. Big mistake.
So last year, after returning from our world trip, my husband and I decided to start something new and we set about creating a couple of location independent jobs that would enable us to continue homeschooling and travelling.
I now work online. I run the blog that you are reading, and I also have a couple of eCommerce stores with my husband.
Now, I find homeschooling and working easier. A lot easier.
My daughter uses a brilliant online homeschooling program and works mostly alongside me.
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So, Now That You Have Your Homeschooling Schedule…
Why not listen to our latest podcast episode where my now teenage son (18) and I talk about what worked and what didn’t in homeschooling. Click below to listen!
You’re ready to start!
If this post has done anything, I am hoping that it has made you see that homeschooling doesn’t have to be that scary or hard. With or without a schedule.
If I can do it, then you can do it. Really, you can. And hopefully, you will love it as much as I did.
You can make homeschooling work. You can, and you will. (And if you’re really not sure you can take my 3 minute quiz to see if you are homeschooling material!).
I know a lot of other bloggers say this, but I am saying in all sincerity please reach out if you need help. I know how I felt when I first started homeschooling and I don’t want you to have to feel the same way.
There were times when all I wanted was for someone to hold my hand and point me in the right direction.
I will do all I can to help you. Just message me through the comments below or through my email, and I will do whatever I can for you.
Make your homeschooling schedule. It will not look like mine because everyone is different.
You are unique; your kids are unique. Your program will reflect your individual circumstances and it will work for you.
If you know of anyone else who is about to undertake homeschooling and requires a homeschooling schedule or some moral support, then please share this post with them. I would appreciate it. Now, go and teach your kids and make some memories!