Have you ever wondered what homeschooling schedules look like for large families? Or maybe you’re also a homeschool parent who’s having a hard time trying to organize it all. Today I’m walking you through every hour of our homeschool day to show you what it looks like, how it works and some tips for creating your own. Whether you’re trying to teach a child in middle school or create a kindergarten homeschool schedule, this should get you on the right track.
It seems that every time I bring up homeschooling on social media these days someone is asking what our day looks like. Well today’s the day that I pull back the curtain on life as a homeschool mom of a big family! Not that it’s all that terribly exciting, but I was curious myself before we got into the swing of things so hopefully this will help other homeschool parents out there starting their own homeschool journeys.
Just a quick side note: This schedule is hardly set in stone. Not only does it vary from day to day and season to season but sometimes after a few months something will change and I’ll have to make a major overhaul to the whole thing. And that’s OK!
In fact that’s one of the very many benefits of homeschooling. We get to create a schedule and plan that works best for us at whatever stage of life we’re in. Regardless of our stage of life, however, I try to always fit in the important things which include some learning time, some down time, play times and chore times.
A basic block schedule has also been an invaluable tool since interruptions always abound. Back when I had a really strict schedule with specific times for everything, I basically just drove myself crazy all the time! Flexibility is definitely key when you’re in charge of a large family homeschooling schedule.
Daily Homeschool Schedule
7-8am: Wake up, change babies, big kids (sometimes) get dressed.
8-9am: Prepare, eat and clean up breakfast.
9-9:30: Big kids do their morning chores and start piano practice. Morning chores include: finish getting dressed, put away pj’s, make beds, pick up room, brush teeth, etc.
9:30: Everyone gathers for devotional. This is constantly changing but ideally we start with me doing some read aloud time (usually from a book that all ages enjoy). Then we pray together, say the pledge of allegiance and read some stories out of an illustrated scripture book.
10am: Big kids separate to start their individual school time and finish piano practice. (Right now I have a 13, 11, 9 and 7 year old taking lessons!)
A note about homeschooling the “big kids”:
I spent years and years trying to set up regular homeschool schedules for the younger children (ages 7 and under) and constantly felt like I was beating my head against a wall. All of them needed me to sit by their side to do the majority of it and most of the time they just wanted to play. Especially when you have many small children of different ages, there’s just not enough time or energy (or the desire) to make them do all that work.
After doing some research into child psychology and the different phases of learning and childhood, I realized that most kids (especially little boys) just aren’t ready for rigorous schoolwork at those early ages. I also learning that many schooling philosphies (including some schools in Europe and other parts of the world) don’t even begin regular academic work until age 8.
That made so much sense to me and so we implemented the same thing. During this morning school time, my younger kids are free to read books (if they can read, or just look at pictures), play outside, practice their letters or writing, play learning games, etc. This has been a great way to keep them happy and entertained while I have more time for the bigger kids who are learning more complex stuff.
The three older kids (right now aged 13, 11 and 9) have several subjects that they work on each day. I loosely follow the schedules outlined in the book A Well-Trained Mind which is a great resource for classical homeschooling (albeit a bit overwhelming). They rotate between language arts (grammar, literature, spelling/vocabulary, writing), math, science or nature study, and foreign language. It’s a balancing act to make sure they’re getting every subject area and doing what they’re supposed to but we do the best we can.
12pm: Make, eat and clean up lunch.
1pm: Babies go down for naps and the middle kids go to their rooms for quiet time. I’m not super strict on this since I go to our separate guesthouse to do my sewing and work time now, but the rule is no fighting or mess making and they can’t wake up the babies.
Older children can use quiet time to finish their school work if needed.
3pm: Kids get free time to play outside, finish chores (our full chore chart explanation is here), or whatever. I wake babies up and we just hang out for an hour or so until I need to start dinner.
5:30/6pm: Luke gets home and we eat dinner. Afterwards, kids clean up by doing their dish jobs and helping get babies ready for bed. Then they play with dad for a bit, we read scriptures together and go to bed.
That’s our day in a nutshell. Full disclosure: this is a very perfect example without interruptions or meltdowns and it’s not unusual for me to leave for an appointment somewhere or take kids to preschool or piano lessons or whatever. We roll with the punches on those days but it really helps to have this basic daily schedule to come back to. Even when life hits us and there’s not a lot of strict academic work, there are still lots of your typical family life obligations to keep us busy. Things like cleaning, meal times, laundry and helping out with babies can sometimes take most of the day. It may not look anything like public school but I particularly love our relaxed homeschool routine when life gets crazy.
We do loosely follow the local public school’s schedule for our homeschool year. Since it’s so hot and miserable outside here in the summer, I’ve dabbled with the idea of doing more school in the hot months and less when it’s cool and beautiful outside, but since the neighbors are out of school in the summer, my kids just want to play with friends all day. We do try to keep a few fun subjects going in the summer time like foreign language, typing, reading, etc.
I also regularly get questions about how we organize our homeschool planning. While I’ve seen some of my friends use a homeschool planner, I’ve never purchased one before. I simply keep all our plans in a big binder which includes ideas for lesson plans, lists of books and curricula, poetry and other memorization and more. Basically anything I see or read that inspires me to educate my kids in one way or another gets stuck in there.
Finally, I know it seems that most homeschool families are run by a stay at home mom but I’ve found that homeschooling actually lends itself really well to a working mom’s schedule. Obviously working from home is easiest, but those afternoon quiet and play time hours usually leave me free to record podcasts, write articles and make videos. Being a homeschooling mom has probably been the main reason I’ve been able to balance being an entrepreneur and so many kids at the same time!
Let me know what you think about our large homeschooling family schedule and what else you’d add if you were in charge. We love being a homeschool family and I hope that my kids have lots of great memories of being home together most days.
UPDATE: Now that we have a highschooler, things look pretty different for him. Liam chose to go to a local charter school for his sophomore year and really enjoyed it. But then, during his junior year, he decided to stay home again, get a part-time job, and attend online community college classes. He’s doing really well and we’re super proud of how self-motivated and hard-working he’s become.