People have been asking about our typical home school schedule, so I thought it would be helpful if I shared it. Our home school days are rarely spent entirely at home, so the schedule varies and things change. The basics, however, always stay the same.
We homeschool year-round, five days a week. The schoolwork takes us 2-2.5 hours to complete daily. My kids are way ahead of the grade levels academically, so this amount of time spent studying is, obviously, working for us.
In addition to the active studying, I place a lot of value on “environment, conducive to learning.” We have “zero visual electronics” policy at home for the kids. This will change as they get older, but right now their time is better spent playing outdoors than pushing buttons. Since this is the life they know and love, they never ask us to turn the television on or to play on the phone or the Ipad. After having done a lot of research of how do the visual electronic devices impact children’s brains, I have determined that we would be better off without the electronics.
We have a lot of books at home and a lot of these books are in kids’ rooms. The books range from colorful children’s encyclopedias to fairy tales and are there to encourage independent learning. My eldest reads fluently in two languages, so whenever he wants some quiet entertainment, he picks up a book. My twins can read simple words in two languages and they adore looking at pictures, so they like to “read” books, too. Each child has an audio CD player in his/her room with a large choice of audiobooks. The audiobooks range from classical fairy tales, to modern stories, to historic tales, to classical music, to stories about great people in history and my kids listen to these stories all the time. We also have large photography books with famous sculptures, paintings, buildings that the kids enjoy looking at. I prefer my kids to look at “The World’s Greatest Buildings” than at Elmo in their free time.
Unsupervised outdoor play is extremely important in my eyes. Kids learn through nature, through experiencing the world with their senses. This is why my kids spend three-four hours outdoors in any weather. If it rains or snows they put on special gear and go anyway. If it gets dark early, they play outside in the dark and they like it.
Our actual schedule is pretty straightforward. My two older boys wake up at 6:30-7, grab some fruit and read and play in their room for an hour. The only rule they have is to not disturb me. My fourth baby is a late sleeper ( finally, as I used to wake up at 5:30-6 for years,) so I snooze with him. My daughter, the baby and I wake up at eight. She helps me make breakfast. We call the boys and eat breakfast together. My husband works from a home a lot of times, so he is frequently with us for meal times. After breakfast, the kids and I clean the kitchen. Everyone has a job to do and the 6-year-old supervises the 4-year-olds.
After the clean up, it’s prayer time. After that, it’s school time. I wrote about this before, but we have themed days at school. Monday is the day of art, Tuesday-the day of nature, Wednesday- the day of science, Thursday-the day of English and Friday-the day of Russian. This schedule helps the little ones memorize days of the week, too. On our themed days, all school activities revolve around that day’s theme.
The early years are mostly about sensory development, so I usually have a sensory tub ready for the younger kids, so that I can work with their brother, uninterrupted. Here’s what I wrote on homeschooling kids of different ages.
As we are learning, the baby is generally running around, playing or sitting in the baby wrap, on me.
On Monday, I used to pile up too much activity. We would learn about the composers; we’d paint and write and read and do math. Then I realized that this was too much, so now on Monday we ease into the week by having a tea ceremony instead of breakfast. During the “ceremony” we learn about good manners and we listen to the classical music. Then we learn about one famous composer and one new musical instrument. Then we have a lesson in visual arts and we paint. Then we do a history sentence review from the Classical Conversations program. This concludes our school for Monday. My eldest then does one lesson from his math workbook in the afternoon. On Tuesday-Friday we have more intense workloads.
We do 15 minutes of Classical Conversations audio memory work every day. On Tuesday, we usually do the geography part of CC and learn geographical facts, using a map. Right now, the kids are learning to draw the USA from memory, as well as the names of the state capitals. The kids also write their “nature journal” on Tuesdays. The eldest does math and we read a geography-related book or a more scientific book about a specific animal, etc.
On Wednesday, we do our CC math and science facts. We do a lot of math. We expand upon the science facts with a related scientific experiment and read books about scientific subjects, such as explanation why there are rainbows, etc.
On Thursday, we cover the English grammar CC facts and then the younger ones and I doThe Ordinary Parent’s Guide To Teaching Your Child Reading and practice English letter writing, while the eldest does his writing and grammar work with me. Him and I cover a few lessons in one day. We then all memorize a poem in English. The eldest does math in the afternoon.
On Friday, we work with the Russian language workbook and the Russian literature workbook. We do some Russian writing and some math. We usually also learn a poem in Russian. We learn some Latin from our CC class. The kids have their Spanish language class on Friday afternoons, too.
In the car, we listen to a history program (The Story of The World ) on a CD and later I quiz the kids on what they heard. We also listen to our CC audio memory work program and to multiple good quality audio programs in two languages in the car. I like to make our time in the car into learning time.
After school time ends at 11:30 am, it’s cleanup, brushing teeth, getting dressed time. If we don’t go to the supermarket, the library, the museum or to meet with homeschool friends, etc, our schedule is simple. The older kids go outside to play for two hours, the baby takes a nap and I practice yoga. After yoga, I quickly cook lunch, we eat at two pm and the kids listen to an audiobook while they are eating. I go on the Internet. After lunch, everyone quickly helps to clean up. I read all kids a book or two.
At 3pm, the older child sometimes has afternoon activities and quite frequently, his father drives him around to these. The younger ones take a nap. My daughter no longer naps, but she has to stay in her room for two hours. She likes to spend this time listening to audiobooks and playing with her dolls and ponies. If the older child does not have afternoon activities, he practices the piano for 20 minutes, then reads books, finishes schoolwork and builds with Legos. Except for the piano practice, I do not tell him how to spend his free time. The baby takes his second nap around the time his older siblings have their quiet time. I like to get started on the dinner around this time.
The kids wake up around five and if the eldest had gone to his afternoon classes, he comes back around then. The kids get dressed and go play outside for two hours. My husband sometimes plays outside with them. I put the baby in the carrier and go on a 45-minute long walk. This is a very important quiet part of my day.
When I come back, we all do circle and prayer time together outside. I add some finishing touches to the dinner. The kids go inside, wash hands and we eat at seven. My husband likes to use this time to ask the kids some math and science questions and tell them what’s happening in the world. Then the kids take a shower. Their Dad reads them a book or two and they go to bed at 8-8:15. After kissing everyone good night, I nurse the baby and he goes to bed at 8:30.
This schedule works because it is pretty set in stone, so the kids know what to expect. Whining and crying does not make me change the schedule. Everyone knows they are part of the family and that means that they all have to work at home. I do not wash dishes while the kids are destroying the house. They wash dishes and vacuum with me. My older boy supervises his younger siblings and I expect his younger siblings to supervise the baby when they and the baby grow up. This way, I do not have to frantically run around, supervising four kids. Right now, my older child can easily help get his younger brother dressed in addition to dressing himself. This frees my time. What is your homeschool schedule looking like?