Scheduling the Homeschool Day

One of the big questions I am asked on a regular basis is, "How do you schedule a homeschool day?" It is a tricky one to answer because it is dependent upon a small handful of details that are different for every family. I'll try to go through those details with you and then give you what works for us.


#1 Naps

So let's start this flow chart off with the most important detail. Who is sleeping and when during your day? If you have toddlers running around and your school aged kiddos are fine without naps, SCHOOL DURING NAPTIME! Do yourself a big favor and train the big kids to expect school work during nap times. It is incredibly tempting to clean while baby naps, or take a break and go scroll through Facebook, but once everyone has adjusted to the expectation you will appreciate having the relaxing environment and freedom to help your big kids without divided attentions. If you are like me, and your babies only ever napped 45 minutes at a time, then tackle the big thing while baby sleeps. Are you introducing something new? Do that while little sis is in Slumberville.


#2 Season

We have three different schedules around here and they are entirely dependent upon the season. You will not be doing yourself any favors if you trap your kids in the house with work all morning long during the summer. In the afternoon, when they are free to play, it is too hot to get outside! Vice Versa in the winter. Work with what the weather gives you and send those kiddos out of the house while the temperature is pleasant.


#3 Schedule by activity, not the clock

If your kiddos are under 3rd grade, they do not yet have a great sense of time. Even if they can read a clock, the concept and passage of time is pretty fuzzy. What they do have is a NEED for routine. So schedule your day by location and activity, not the time on the clock. If it helps, instead of calling it a schedule, you can call it a rhythm. Create an order of activities that helps your family to flow through the day, and stick with it every day. Yes. Even weekends, if you can. Protect your flow at all costs. Here is a rundown of our flow...


Summer

Breakfast/Get dressed

Outside free play

Snack outside

Reggio Emilia inspired activities outside

Inside free play/help cook lunch

Lunch

30 min. TV

School while toddlers nap

Snack inside

Free play inside

Dinner/Baths

TV until 7:30

2 Books/Lights out



Spring/Fall (All day beautiful weather)

Breakfast/Get dressed

Outside free play

Snack outside

Reggio Emilia inspired activities outside

Inside free play/help cook lunch

Lunch

30 min. TV

School while toddlers nap

Snack outside

Free play outside

Dinner/ Baths

TV until 7:30

2 Books/ Lights out



Winter

Breakfast/Get dressed

Inside free play

Snack inside

Reggio Emilia inspired activities inside

Prepare and eat lunch

30 min. TV

School while toddlers nap

Snack outside

Free play outside

Dinner/Baths

TV until 7:30

2 Books/Lights out



See how the days follow the same kind of rhythm, but the location changes? See how everything is focused around food, sleep, play and school? Those are the things that give rhythm to your days, so create an order and location for them, and repeat! It works!! I can hear your next questions already though. They are always the next ones asked... When do you schedule play dates? When do you run errands? Isn't that too much free play? What about sports? Don't you schedule subjects?


  • We hold play dates during our outside free play.

  • We grab groceries on the weekend during one of the free plays.

  • There is no such thing as too much free play. Play is the child's real work. Play is when the questions are asked and the learning is integrated.

  • We did the sports thing. It always ended up somewhere in that dinner time frame. We enjoyed the adventures but you know, Covid life.

  • No.


I don't schedule subjects because I simply don't care how much time they spend on each one as long as they do SOMETHING for each one. I set up a room full of options and they are welcome to go pick whatever they would like to study that day. Buckets and Berries homeschool curriculum is a printable, Montessori system. Children are given developmentally appropriate, sequenced, thematic material and then they are given the freedom to work at the material as they choose.


This means I only have to plan once a month. WINNING. They must spend some time on every subject (science, math, reading, handwriting/spelling/writing) every day. I simply sit nearby to assist with any questions. If I see there is something they really need to play with more, I make a note to cover that topic during our Reggio play. Frequently we play with something in the morning and by the afternoon the child has forgotten it was ever a skill with which they struggled.


This will change as they grow older, I am sure. But for now this is our groove. I know you can find yours.

I hope our journey inspires your own!

Buckets and Berries




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