Are you wondering how to structure your day while homeschooling, either permanently or on a temporary basis? Here’s how our family with 5 kids of different ages is structuring our simple homeschool schedule with a priority on outside play and family connection.
Our family – both the adults and the kids – tend to do much better with a schedule. In this time of temporary homeschooling, we’re excited for lots of outside play, snuggling with books, and family connection. We are ALSO excited for a simple homeschool schedule to keep us all sane and engaged. My goal is to have a system of 1-1.5 hours of academic work each day, plus fun reading time.
My priority with this temporary homeschooling situation is to include reading, writing, and math each day. I figure anything beyond that is gravy. Ideally, I’d also like to incorporate themes of global education, and have prompts from my global learning guides (like this one for China with kids) for various subjects.
Finally, I needed something that would feel doable with younger kids at home, and for children of different ages. With both a toddler and a newborn who need attention, it’s a priority for me that my kids can do their work fairly independently. I want it to be fun and engaging so we don’t lose steam with distractions.
Here’s how we’re structuring our temporary homeschooling day as we shelter in place!
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Fun and Simple Homeschool Schedule
(with lots of outside play)
Simple Homeschool Schedule of Activities
As I mentioned, our family works better with a bit of structure and an idea of what the schedule will be like over the day. Here’s the general low-key homeschooling schedule that we’re using:
7-8am: Morning List (get ready, breakfast, scriptures, daily chores
8-8:30am Morning exercise (walk, hike, backyard play, Cosmic Kids Yoga, etc.)
8:30-9:30am Writing, Global Learning, Math
9:30-10am Music practice
10-10:30am Snack & outside play
10:30-11am Science 2x/week, Technology 2x/week
11-11:30am Read aloud while kids build, draw, etc.
11:30-12 Outside play
12-12:30pm Lunch (we always do leftovers so it doesn’t require more prep)
12:30-1pm Quiet reading while I put baby and toddler down for naps
1-3pm Nap/quiet time: M.A.R.B.L.E
3-5:30pm Family activities (cooking, hike, etc.)
5:30-6:30pm Dinner & cleanup
6:30-7:30pm Family Scriptures, baths, read aloud, special time, quiet reading
7:30pm Lights Out for kids
We’ve used a family economy system in our family for over 2 years, so my kids are accustomed to getting up and doing their morning list first thing. Since we’re starting a bit later than regular school, they’ll likely have time for their daily chore in the morning, as well.
My kids (and I!) also do much better when they start the day with a bit of physical activity prior to learning. So we’re building some low-key that into our homeschool day! We’ll start our morning with something low-key, such as a walk or hike, Cosmic Kids Yoga, or even just climbing the tree or playing catch in the backyard to warm up our bodies.
Morning Homeschool Schedule with Outside Breaks
Our family works well with some morning movement, so we’re starting our homeschool schedule with some low-key exercise.
Global Education and Writing
Since writing, reading, and math are the essentials in our homeschool day, we’re doing those first thing. We’ll do these with an overall theme of global education, starting with our China week, so we’ll spend the first 20 minutes or so learning about history/geography, art, literature, or religion.
Then, we’ll move onto our writing prompt. If there’s a prompt that ties into our global learning (such as writing our own or drawing pictures of fables when we read Chinese fables & proverbs), we’ll do that. Otherwise, we’ll read something from Scholastic Learn At Home and choose a prompt from there.
During this time, we may also have a quick global arts/music lesson, or have world music (or Suzuki violin/cello practice music) playing in the background.
Homeschool Math Resources
Once we’re done with writing, we’ll move onto math, which all my kids love. These are our favorite workbooks. K5Learning and Khan Academy are other great resources that we will use to change things up.
We also have a couple of fun math workbooks that include word and real-life problems, math art and projects, math mysteries. These will be great for Fridays or for fun extra activities. For my pre-kindergarten kiddo, we may just count LEGOs or do a number puzzle.
Finally, I used to teach Math Olympiad, so I think it would be fun to do some of those problems with my 3rd grader!
Homeschool Music Education
As a violin teacher, I’m a big believer in music education. Though my kids sometimes are tired and struggle to focus on music practice after school, homeschool means we can do it in the morning! When they’re done, they can go outside to play and have a snack. It’s a great way to break up the morning.
Even if you don’t have specific music practice, this is a great time to play a rhythm or intonation game or two, or just listen to some music and sing songs together. It can also be really fun to paint to music!
Homeschool Schedule: Science and Technology
After we’ve had our morning break, we move onto science & technology. We’re aiming to do science a couple times a week and technology about 3 times a week, but this feels much more flexible than our morning academic hour. Some days, we may just look for bugs on a hike or in our backyard, observe their characteristics, and ask questions. Other days, we may do a more formal Mystery Science or Scholastic science-based article/prompt.
Still other days may include simply reading books on the couch about the ocean, space, or inventions. My kids also LOVE doing experiments, so if we feel like we want something bigger, we may try a household science experiment for kids. Basically, I’ll broach some topics but will let the the kids lead the discussions with their interests and questions. My goal here is to keep it fun and interesting!
Technology Time for Kids
I’m excited to use this time when things are more flexible to let my kids pursue some skills like typing and coding more deeply. I’m hoping during this time that they can do Typing Club each day to get proficient in their typing. About 3 times per week, they can also work through a project on the fantastic website code.org.
Homeschool Read Aloud – the Most Important Part of the Day!
If I had one absolute non-negotiable for homeschooling, it would be reading aloud. Even my 9 year old, who is a voracious reader, still loves to hear read alouds of both picture books and chapter books. We’ll read for about 30 minutes in the morning, when they can also build or draw, if they’d like. It feels perfect as a wind-down before lunch.
Nap and Quiet Time Activities for Kids Homeschool Schedule
After lunch, we’ll have quiet reading time for at least 30 minutes while I put the baby and toddler down for naps. This is also the time when I’ll work on my own writing and other projects. My older two will delve into their chapter books, while my 5 year old will read a couple of pages of a Frog & Toad book to me, and then is free to look at picture books on his own. (This and this are my favorite resources for teaching younger kiddos to read!)
Once they’re done reading, they can have some free MARBLE time. MARBLE stands for:
Move (play outside or other movement activity)
Art (any sort of arts & crafts)
Read (or listen to an audiobook)
Build (these are our favorite building toys)
Lead a Game (“game” didn’t fit in my acronym ;))
Kids Can Earn Screentime
Typically, our family only does screen time for Friday movie night and TypingClub.com. During this time of quarantine, however, we’ll have some educational screen time (and, let’s be honest, probably way more movie nights).
As such, if they’ve their other responsibilities well, they may choose an “Earned Activity” for 30 minutes during quiet time. This includes things like Prodigy, Code.org, watching a Nat Geo Kids video,or doing Art for Kids Hub.
Afternoon Play & Evening Routine
Post-quiet time, we’ll play outside, go on a walk or hike or ride bikes, or do a cooking project together. I’m hoping to help my kids progress with a few more cooking skills, so this will be great to spend time enjoying these projects without being rushed!
Our evening routine will be pretty much the same as normal school days. We usually read aloud from a chapter book a bit more, then its lights out around 7:30!
I’ve tried to keep this schedule open and flexible, with lots of time for movement, the arts, and outside play. In all, it’s limited to about 1-1.5 hours of academic work per day, plus reading time. I hope it’s helpful as you decide on a homeschool schedule with multiple kids, whether it’s temporary or permanent!
Do you have other ways to keep your homeschooling straightforward, interesting, and interactive? I’d love to hear any tips or suggestions!
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