Theories are nice to read about, but we all need to have real-life examples of just how things work, don’t we? (I know I sure do!) So, how ’bout hearing how we’ve done things at our house? Here is an example of a relaxed homeschool schedule (although I prefer the word “routine”).
Our educational philosophy consists of four tiers, and here they are:
- Relating to God and man–Bible, spiritual, and character training
- Tools–reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic
- Content–science, history, geography, etc.
- Practical skills (this includes the arts)–homemaking, auto maintenance, bill paying, gardening, vocational skills, entrepreneurial pursuits, etc.
Having a framework from which to plan, even “un” plan so the children can learn on their own, has ended the confusion and helped us all tremendously.
But even with these guidelines firmly in place, sometimes I don’t hold on securely enough and I slip. Sometimes I get caught up into that Pinterest vortex of “keeping up,” of taking our temperature to make sure we are doing everything “correctly.”
Lots of times I am certain of what I want to use, secure in the direction I want to go, but absolutely clueless as to how to get there…
Of course, if I can calm myself down, I can hear the Holy Spirit, and He is the One Who can set it all straight for me.
As always, He has given me the answers I have needed. Finally, our required learning (tools) is dovetailing splendidly with more free-spirited exploration and discovery.
So, here it is, not so that it can be copied, but to inspire others to find a Divine balance for their own lives (trust me, if I can do it as a continually distracted, creative person with continually distracted, creative children, numerous demands, and a husband with a varying schedule, anyone can!).
Mornings (all times/activities are approximate and subject to change):
I rise early and have this prepared and ready. I am sort of sneaky because I play good sermons while I am cooking and they are eating–getting a good word in us all however possible!
7:30 Bible time.
We are systematically reading through the Gospels. Our method is to take a chapter a day and split it up so that all readers have a portion to share. We also like to take out our hymnals and sing at least three hymns together.
8:00 Journals/read aloud.
Journaling is something new I have begun in the hopes my girls will keep it as a habit for the rest of their lives. After 15 minutes of journaling, I’m reading to the older children during this time since I read to the younger ones later in the day. We have enjoyed titles such as Aunt Jane’s Hero by Elizabeth Prentiss, But Don’t All Religions Lead to God? by Michael Green, and In God’s Underground by Richard Wurmbrand. Since the older set is made up of avid readers who probably know more than I do on many subjects, I try and take this time to give them solid Christian biographies or engaging books on apologetics or other tomes which address the questions of our age.
8:30 or 8:45 Personal hygiene/chore time.
I can’t operate well in an untidy house, so the whole shebang is gone over, from beds to bathrooms to dishes to laundry. Everyone has a zone to be responsible for which is inspected by Yours Truly.
Depending on the child and the day, phonics, McGuffey’s, Ray’s and other arithmetic (including Saxon, Khan Academy, and lately business math), Harvey’s Grammar, Long’s Language, penmanship and copywork with scripture, math games, German. The younger children have between 1/2 hour to 1 1/2 hours’ worth of work, the older children have about 2+ hours’ worth. Everything is spelled out on their assignment sheets. Those who are independent readers do the work on their own. If the pre-reader can’t busy herself I have her sit and give me “an artwork,” which means she draws a picture using the medium of her choice inside a square I have drawn on a blank piece of paper (at this point it usually has something to do with princesses, but that’s just fine by me, the idea being to get her practicing her fine motor skills while keeping occupied). The little one also has one line of copywork on her assignment page and plays a game on the 100’s board with me.
11:30 Lunch is prepared by an older child, some continue to work, others play.
12:00 Lunch is served, cleaned up, life logistics are taken care of.
Somewhere in this time the younger children and I pause and read aloud from our current novel (right now it is The Wheel on the School) and then a story, article, etc. concerning history, science, or any other content area. Often we will extend this time by examining a map on the wall, grabbing an atlas or other history reference book, or looking up something on the Internet, such as a video demonstration, etc.)
Also, throughout the morning classical/contemporary praise music is being played whenever we need to shut out distractions and concentrate. This seems to help one concentrate on the task at hand, such as copywork or math problems. It also gets the children used to listening to excellent music so that their tastes are developed for higher things.
1:45 or 2:00 Time with the pre-reader.
This is precious to me. I am actually taking these moments to teach my little one to read, although she never suspects. To her this is just cuddle time on Mommy’s bed with books, but I sneak in sounding out a few lines in something like The Victory Drill Book, a McGuffey’s, or even with chalk and slate. Then I read a short story to her from one of the volumes of My Book House just before I cuddle her so she can take a nap. Everyone else is either finishing up their studies, napping, reading, or some other quiet activity.
The rest of the day is for real-life. We don’t play video games and we delegate movie watching to special days when Daddy is home. Each person must forage around and find things to do for herself, although there are chores required from time-to-time which I write down and assign. They read, write, craft, keep track of their “finances,” and play a lot. Oftentimes they go outside or go on nature walks together in groups as the weather permits. Sometimes they take the cushions off the old couches in the basement and build forts or spaceships or “apartments.” They might even surf the Net or create using some Adobe software and a tablet for art. One is helping her older brother with his online business.
Oh, and I only require one content notebooking page due by Thursday evening (deadlines are something homeschoolers need to become accustomed to), but I might suggest another one to a youngster who is especially enthused about something. I have them track what they are learning by writing their activities down on a line on their assignment sheets called “Free Learn,” an idea that is very popular around here.
Of course, there are rules–they must clean up after themselves and be respectful of tools and supplies. Also, I am quite available to read about an interesting topic to the younger set, perhaps a little history of the world, some poetry with tea, or maybe we will bake something together or we will learn how to sew a button on a dress…
The whole idea is that we are relaxed and enjoying ourselves as much as possible.
Yes, we are hitting academics, but we are also allowing delight-directed learning within a structured environment. Everything is relaxed and there is so much freedom and a whole lot of fun!
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25 thoughts on “A Relaxed Homeschool Schedule”
This is wonderful to see! It seems like there is enough structure for your children to learn the necessary content but room for them to develop and pursue their interests. I’m wondering how you approached school when all your kids were young? Was your routine similar?
To be honest, Korie, I did not have the same tools I have today, but I think I would have done better back when I had mostly littles if I did. If you like I will try and sit and think as honestly as I can (you know, include things like taking care of toddlers who try to flush dolls down the toilet in the middle of read aloud time, etc.) and write up a schedule that would include tinier people.
This post is helpfu . My son is turning 5 in October. My daughter is 2 and a half and baby due in 3 weeks.
I’ve been overwhelmed trying to figure out what curriculum to do with him in the fall. I want to continue teaching him to read, incorporate math, but most importantly spend daily time together with God and allow him to explore. It doesn’t seem like enough because I see all these people planning much more. I pray I can relax and let God use this time in our life to learn naturally and to develop a love of learning.
I’ve always been very structured and I was a teacher before stay at home mom, so it’s hard to separate my somewhat type-a/rigid personality from this idea of homeschooling. But I want to let go. Have fun. And not worry too much. I will definitely be exploring your blog more.
I understand your tendencies! I think we all like to feel as though we can check off those boxes and know we’ve accomplished something. It’s helpful to realize that all of life our children will be gathering information, we just need to help them build a good foundation without killing their natural inclination for learning. Your children are tiny enough that you can spend time enjoying them as you learn together before you “hit the books” and dig more deeply into formal learning. Enjoy!
Thanks. I just feel like I don’t really know what to do with them all day sometimes. And I feel embarrassed kinda. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home or even a safe environment. We didn’t learn much at all. I feel kind of I’ll prepared to homeschool. But feel gods leading.
Should I have a set routine like you? Or did you incorporate that more as kids got older??
We read a ton– we go to the library every week and check out at least 20 books. Some fictional, many non fictional depending on t he kids interest that week.
We read the Bible dail . We pray. We play.
My son loves to do math and play games. He’s been starting to read although I did not formal school with him last year. I just don’t want to miss an opportunity to teach him if I should be doing more. Does that make sense?
Your son is only five–that’s pretty early, especially for a boy. If you need more information and encouragement, go to this site http://www.homeschool.com/articles/bookexcerpt/# and check it out. The book, Better Late Than Early is also a good place to start (recommended by Dr. Dobson).
Yes I’d take any wisdom you got on handling school and life when all your kids were young!
Oops put this under the wrong comment
That’s just fine 🙂 I will try and work on that soon.
I love your use of old classic books with your children. You’ve introduced me to some gems, and I’m interested to look into The Book House that you mentioned in this post. Thank you!
Yes, the Book House has lent us hours of cuddle-learning! Thank you for your sweet comment.
I was wondering if you are reading more than one book at a time with your teens and how do you fit time for that in your day?
What curriculum do you use with your older students? I have two in middle school and use Abeka. We are not able to get it all done in one day.
I have never tended to follow a “curriculum” per se–I have a philosophy of education based on four tiers and then I fill in with materials that fit the bill and the child. I have written about this on my former blog which was hacked, but I can certainly share it again if you are interested. I find that actual curriculums are too restrictive and don’t allow for much delight-directed learning.
I would love that! Only when you have time 🙂 I tried putting together our school year a few years ago and I felt like it was too easy for my kids.
I love the idea of a schedule, but I’ve never been able to stick to one. Do you have any advice on how I can adhere to a schedule when I have five very rowdy girls and am trying to start a teen based co-op? Also, is there a way that I can edit your schedule to fit my family’s needs?
Thank you in advance,
I’d be happy to help, but can you give me a little more information? Also, are you talking about the printables offered?
When do you usually put your toddler down to nap? I’ve got a 14,6,4 and 15 month old. I see a lot of schedules like this, but naps always seem to be later than my baby can handle, then she won’t eat lunch or I put her down earlier and she won’t eat dinner. She can take two naps… sometimes, but then goes to bed a 930!
I put everyone to “quiet time” at around 2 every afternoon. Dinner was usually at about 6. We didn’t have early bedtimes–often 9-10 was the usual for everyone. Hope this helps!
Thank you for sharing. This is very helpful. Since homeschooling is very consuming of your time and attention, how do you make an income?
Do you think this sort of schedule is possible for a single mother?
Single moms face more of a challenge, but there are many examples of moms who have been very successful. First of all, the relaxed schedule is only a suggestion. I have used more time, and less time homeschooling, depending on the season I am in. Currently, I only have three children homeschooling, so my actual time with the children is not more than 1 and one-half hours a day. Most of the work is done on their own. If you spend time exploring this blog and my YouTube channel, I think you will find more ways you can trim down the time you spend. Also, there is a popular homeschooler that is also a single mom, she blogs at NotConsumed.com–I think she will encourage you.