When I recently shared my homeschool curriculum picks, I got a lot of questions about our schedule. It is hard to describe in a social media comment, so I’ll break it down today. (And at the end of this post, I’ll share links to some of our older schedules when I had babies and toddlers in the mix!)
We homeschool year round (see what that looks like here), and do a lot of our schooling in group studies (read about that here). I don’t teach every subject every year because I don’t think it’s necessary (see more about that here). My children are currently 10, 13, and 15. The oldest two graduated in 2014 and 2018. I also teach my 15-year-old nephew. He and my son are basically cousin-twins. They do all the same schoolwork and have basically all the same hobbies and interests.
Morning time is pretty flexible and easygoing here. I do let the kids sleep in, sometimes til 9 or 10, depending on the day. After they wake up, it’s time for breakfast, chores, and Bible/catechism (as a family). The rest of the school day depends on the day of the week.
Two-day school week
Two days each week (currently Thursday and Friday), my nephew comes to our house for school. Those two days go something like this:
We begin at 9 or 10 with the 15 year olds doing science in the living room. During this time, I teach 2-4 science lessons to Catie (10) and Nathan (13).
Next, Nicholas and Wyatt (15) move on to their Dave Ramsey Foundations course online (they either go in Nicholas’ room or sit on the porch), while I supervise Nathan (13) and Catie (10) in math and grammar/copywork/cursive at the dining room table. I will be nearby working in the kitchen or putting in a few minutes here and there on my business. Nic and Wyaatt also do algebra and logic together.
We will take a 15-20 minute break, in which the kids will go outside and hang out with the neighbor kids (who are also homeschooled).
After the break, the 15-year-olds will watch the next segment of Answers in Genesis Creation Apologetics master course. These videos are usually about an hour long. If the 13-year-old is finished with all of his lessons, he will sit in. Otherwise, Nathan and Catie will read queitly for at least 30 minutes. Sometimes they read a book of their choosing, and other times I give them an assignment that goes with our history lessons. Catie almost alway chooses a cat book, and Nathan almost always chooses some sort of National Geographic book of facts.
By this time everyone is hungry for lunch. It’s a free-for-all. It has been for a long time. They can have leftovers, sandwiches, or something they whip up, but I don’t “make lunch” on school days. I do keep plenty of stuff on hand to choose from.
After lunch, it’s time for history and writing. We use Mystery of History and Institute for Excellence in Writing. I have a whole page and blog series dedicated to Mystery of History if you want to see how we do it. Since we use the themed writing courses from IEW, the two subjects blend perfectly. Currently, we are studying ancient history and using the ancient history writing lessons.
Bascially, I try to hit 3 history lessons per day (for these two school days), with supplemental maps, videos, projects, and notebooking. This can take about two hours. We spread out in the living room so that everyone is comfy for this time, and so we can access the TV if we need it.
The writing instruction usually involves going over the lesson as a group (except with Catie, 10), and then assigning the actual writing as homework.
When “history” is over, school is finished. Nicholas and Wyatt (15) are very independent when it comes to school-work, so on the second day of this two-day school week, I will send them a homework text message. They will complete all of their science assignments, writing, history reading, math, and logic over the next week before we meet back for our next two “school days.”
Catie (10) and Nathan (10) will wait for me to give them assignments.
The rest of our week is for non-group studies. Nicholas (15) is given reminders to do his homework, and Wyatt (15 year old nephew) does his at home on his own schedule. Nathan (13) and Catie (10) have dedicated school time at least 1-2 of the other week days. They look like this:
- Read for 30 minutes
- Grammar/copywork/writing assignment
- Typing practice
- History notebooking from the past Thursday/Friday school
- Sometimes science, sometimes not
For Nathan and Catie, it might only take an hour or two.
Most days I read aloud to all of my kids. This can happen right after Bible time, or in the afternoon. I choose a book from our history reading list, and read aloud for at least an hour. The kids are free to do something quiet while they listen.
We have been homeschooling for 21 years now, so our schedules have changed with our needs. Sometimes I had babies and toddlers (really, most of the time!). I learned to evaluate every year, with every move, every new baby, every new stage, every part-time job, and every graduation. Just like you adjust dinner plans, you need to be willing to adjust your homeschool schedule.
- 2009: A Day in the Life of our Homeschol
- 2010: Our Homeschool Schedule
- 2010: Live Blogging Our Day
- 2020: Our Homeschool Schedule
I used to have color-coded Excel spreadsheet schedules hanging on the wall. I don’t need those anymore. Now we have more of a “routine” instead of a strict schedule. If you are in the early stages of parenting or homeschooling, I want to recommend two books that helped me tremendously:
- Managers of Their Homes
- Large Family Logistics (This is out of print, so you might have to buy it used)
To this day, I still utilize quite a few of the concepts I learned from both of these books. I recently passed on Large Family Logistics to my daughter, who is married with her first baby. Both of thse books are excellent reading for a family of any size, because they give you a vision and a plan for running your home now and in the future.