What Should My Homeschool Daily Schedule Look Like

What should your homeschool daily schedule look like? This is a question that every one of us has asked at one point, whether you’re still trying to decide if you should take the leap or if you’ve been in it for a while and need a change.

Well I’m not here today to answer that question.

Sorry, I hate it when people do that too. But what I do want to talk about is what your day should not look like. And the answer to that is…public school. (Don’t worry, I’m not here to bash public school, that’s not the point of this article.)

More often than not when I hear parents talking about their struggles with homeschooling or their reservations about starting homeschooling, it has to do with problems that come from trying to replicate public school. And you know what, that’s understandable. Most people went to public school and that’s what they know. So it makes sense that when they picture what school will look like at home they picture a traditional classroom in their living room.

But let’s be real for a minute, most of us homeschool because public school doesn’t work anymore. And even if it did and that’s not your reason for homeschooling, public schools are designed for 30 kids in a classroom with a teacher that has to do his/her best to get them all through a curriculum chosen by a committee and designed to be a one size fits all. Your goal should simply be a great education for your child.

So let me give you 3 areas that we think we should copy public school in, but we really shouldn’t.

The first is grades.

And by this I mean scores. Before your kids are in high school there’s really not much point to scoring their work. The point in public school is for the teacher to easily track how everyone is doing and for the parents to know what their kids are doing all day. But in your homeschool, your goal should be learning. Did your child learn the material? Did they miss problems because they didn’t understand or because they were being sloppy?

Brace yourselves: my kids grade their own math and grammar lessons. If you told a public school teacher that, they would probably flip. How can you possibly trust children to grade their own work honestly?? Well, for my kids there’s no motivation for cheating because there are no consequences for getting answers wrong. All they have to do is explain to me why they got an answer wrong and then we move on. If I feel like they’re struggling to understand something we pause and work on it for a while until they get it.

Not worrying about grades takes a lot of pressure off of you to record and track all those numbers. And it takes the pressure off the kids to try to live up to a standard that may not be realistic and if you have more than one kid can breed unnecessary competition.

Side note: No, I don’t believe competition is bad. But in K-8, learning should be the only goal. Your kids at that age are building their foundation and being compared to a younger or older sibling can seriously hamper their progress.

The next is curriculum.

I know that some states set out a long list of subjects you are required to teach every year, but here in the great state of Texas we have only 4 required subjects (reading, writing, math, and citizenship). So obviously depending on where you are you’re going to have part of your decision made for you. But even if you are in one of those states that tell you exactly what subjects to teach, I want to encourage you to try thinking outside of the box when it comes to how you will teach it.

Does your child need to sit down with a workbook and complete an art curriculum, or can you sign them up for an art for kids class? Do you have to make them read a book and take a test on good citizenship, or can you get together with some of your friends and go visit your local police department or take cookies to your local fire department? When my son was 5 he kept asking questions about police officers so we took him to our local police station and they were more than happy to talk to him and show him around. He even got his own Jr. Police Officer badge. I guarantee that meant more to him than reading a lesson or doing a worksheet.

Or how about combining subjects? Can your writing assignments be about history? Or geography and art? Or math and music? So many possibilities. If you’re feeling bogged down by thought of having to complete 8 different subjects every day then spend some time thinking about how you can reduce that with some creativity.

The last area is timing.

By timing I mean both your daily schedule and your yearly schedule. Public school kids go to school from about 8am – 3pm between September and May. Does that mean your homeschool has to run like that? Nope.

As far as daily timing- don’t be afraid to just change your schedule around several times until you figure out what works. If you’ve read my post about Smoothies and Homeschooling, you know that I’m all about changing things up.  My oldest is a night owl. His bedtime used to be 9 but he wouldn’t actually fall asleep until well after 10. So I decided to move his reading time (1 hour) to 8pm – 9pm and let him do recreational reading from 9pm – 10pm. So he doesn’t get up until 8:30 or start schoolwork until 9:30, but he has one hour less to do during the day so it all evens out and he’s actually more productive.

You also don’t need to cram all your schooling into 9 months. We don’t take the summer off. A lot of parents tell me something like “I just need that break.” But since we aren’t rushing and stressing the rest of the year to stick to a schedule I never feel the need to take a 3-month break to recuperate. We do take breaks-I’m not a masochist. But we take a break whenever and for however long we need to then just get back to where we left off. Not taking the summer off also prevents that breaking in period at the beginning of each year.

So there you have it, 3 areas that you can take control of your homeschool and break out of the public school mold. Start today with one of them and see what changes you can make to better customize your school. Your kids will thank you.

Which of these do you think you’ll try to tackle? Leave me a comment and let me know.

16 thoughts on “What Should My Homeschool Daily Schedule Look Like

  1. Emily

    I loved this article! I do not have children yet, but I have always wanted to homeschool. I love how you put in perspective to not be like public school, and the time factor was perfect. Will defiantly carry on these tips for the future, so thank you 🙂

    1. Hazel Mill Post author

      Thanks emily. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I knew I wanted to homeschool before I had kids too…it’s never too early to start planning

  2. Todd

    I really like this article. The Home school approach is for sure a good way to educate your child as the public schools in many countries are falling behind what is happening in the world. Much of the information is outdated…Okay how outdated can math and History be? I get it but my point is I see many kids get left behind from their true potential because of a set schedule and subject material. I am all for home school as long as the parents are as responsible with it as they can be and actually teach. Yes I agree with the report cards aspect for the grade school kids. You are the teacher you know how, they are doing. I would however add a confidence booster by showing them how well they are doing with some sort of report.This is a great topic and one that should get a good conversation going i am sure. Thanks for the Information

    1. Hazel Mill Post author

      I appreciate your thoughts Todd. I think you’re right about the confidence booster. That has me thinking about ways to implement that. Maybe I’ll do a post on that topic soon 🙂

  3. Claudette

    There is a lot of helpful information in this post. You make homeschooling sound manageable and not overwhelming. I particularly like the ideas around use of grades and the freedom of the curriculum. School environment is so much more chaotic, restrictive, and noneffective compared to a creative home environment you describe. Thanks for sharing this information.

  4. Moon

    This is totally mind-blowing! Having always attended public schools, I have always accept that system as the norm and have not thought of other possibilities. I like the concept of self-grading as that really is the main point of education, i.e, to learn something.

  5. Anna

    That is an eye opener. You will not believe, but I actually was thinking today about homeschooling and whether it is do-able. My main concern was to find curriculum for each grade to understand what I need to teach my children. It is good to know that there is only so much subject really need to be studied in order to pass final tests. Now my other question is socializing. If my kids stay with me at home pretty much 24/7 how will they make friends? May be add some sports into their daily routine or other hobbies?

    1. Hazel Mill Post author

      Socialization is always a big concern for new homeschoolers at first. Sometimes it depends on where you live and what is available but honestly we almost spend too much time away from home or hanging out with friends. I’m actually working on a post about that very subject right now lol. I’ll let you know when it’s up.

  6. Bill

    This is very useful information. Thank you very much. You seem to have a great grasp on home schooling. I have a troubled teen who is having big issues in school we are thinking of home schooling for fear that she will end up dropping out if she stays in school. I will certainly be bookmarking this site for guidance. Thanks.

  7. Elektra

    I really like your ideas for homeschooling.
    My kids attend regular school but my friend was thinking recently to start homeschooling her daughter and I was looking for some tips to help her out. I definitely will share your post with her.
    Few points really resonate with me. That is so true that you don’t have to just copy regular school rules and can be more flexible in delivering the content of the lessons as well as the way it is presented or timed.
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Deep

    Found this post to be very helpful, and am going to incorporate what you provided into my daily schedule, thanks for sharing really enjoyed it.

  9. jairo

    Only good things I heard about Homeschooling was one of my concerns was social development, and I think today is the cause that encourages parents to Homeschooling. I am learning a lot from this post!
    Thank you

  10. Henryan

    I really enjoy read this homeschooling post. It is nice to know that homeschooling has a better approach than public school. Just like score, kids will get scared if they fail on a particular subject, but in homeschooling, there is no score. They just learn score is not really important. the most important thing is the learning process. I think when the process is good, the result will be good.

  11. B

    Thank you for this great post, although my daughter is only 11 months old, I started thinking already about homeschool, to tell the truth, I was thinking about it long time before I even got pregnant 🙂

    As you mentioned and I do agree that public school doesn’t work anymore, but the real question is, will I be good enough? Will she get at least as much as she would have got in a public school? Will She hate me/ be scared of me as I felt with my teachers at that time?
    And so many other questions/ doubts I have regarding this issue…

    I’m so happy that I don’t need to answer these questions this time soon 🙂

    Thanks again for sharing!
    B recently posted…5 Unexpected Tips How To Write For A Better SEOMy Profile

    1. Hazel Mill Post author

      It’s great that you’re already thinking about this. By the time your daughter is ready to start school you’ll be prepared. And as for your questions on whether you’ll be good enough and if she’ll get enough out of homeschooling…I really believe the fact that you’re asking that question and care about doing it right means you will do just fine. No one is perfect, not even parents, but when you love your child you don’t give up until you figure it out. And there are so many resources to help you along the way. I’ll probably write a post about this topic soon.


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