Setting Up a School Schedule – Part 1

Last week, we talked scheduling for our To-Do List.  Now, let’s add in a homeschool schedule (or routine).

OK, here’s a quick run down of what we’ll cover.  I’m going to go over half of these points in this post and then go through the second half in a subsequent post.  Give a shout out if you feel like I’m not giving you enough information…I’m trying to avoid being too wordy.

1.  Decide what subjects need to be studied by each child.


2.  Decide what subjects can be done corporately and which are independent.


3.  Figure how much time is needed for each subject.


4.  Decide an approximate start time and if you will start with corporate work or independent work.


5.  Decide if your child/children or you need tight structure or loose boundaries.


6.  Work the plan for at least a week before deciding if it works or not.

Alrighty, let’s flesh this out a bit, shall we?

1.  Each child’s subjects – Say you have 2 elementary aged children you are schooling and a preschooler you would like to work with on the side.  Your list is going to include all 3 children and the subjects for each child.  It might (and I use that term loosely!) look something like this:

Child #1 -Bible, Math, Grammar, History (we use Sonlight), Spelling (we use Phonetic Zoo), Science
Child #2 – Bible, Math, Handwriting, Grammar, History, Science
Child #3 – Bible, Counting, Letter recognition, Crafts
{you can see more links to the curriculum we use on my Homeschooling Mother page.}

2.  Corporate versus Independent – This will depend heavily on your curriculum…and you.  Do you like to be hands on with everything?  Can you handle that?  Do your children like working together on most subjects?  Do you prefer they work on their own as much as possible?

Once you’ve decided which subjects you’d like to have everyone do together and which ones you’d like to have done independently, write a “C” or an “I” next to that subject on your list.  Make sure if you don’t have curriculum on hand that lends itself to those choices, that you spend some time shopping around for what you are looking for.

3.  How much time – Be honest with yourself here.  Based on past experience (or the experiences of homeschool moms you trust), how much time does each subject REALLY take.

Next to each subject for each child, write an approximate amount of time it takes them to complete that subject.  Here’s an example of what my list would like thus far for Child #1:

Child #1
Bible (I) – 15 mins
Math (I) – 30 mins
Grammar (I) – 20 mins
History (C) – 45 mins
Spelling (I) – 15 mins
Science (C) – 15 mins

Now, you have to decide if each subject needs to be covered every single day.  My quick answer is NO.  I’ll explain how I would separate out the subjects I listed in point 1, but what you have to decide for your family is which subjects hold the most weight and which subjects will be done just as well when not done every day.

Bible – every day
Math – every day
Handwriting – every day
Grammar – every day
History – 3x a week with independent History readers done every day
Spelling – every day
Science – 3x a week
Counting – 3x a week
Letter Recognition – every day

Now, on a sheet of paper, plug in your subjects by days.  Your every day subjects are no-brainers.  You’ll plug those in Monday through Friday.  Your 3, 2, and 1 day a week subjects will need to be added after that.

Take into consideration which days are typically the busiest for you.  Don’t overschedule yourself on those days.  And there is no rule that says 3 day a week subjects must be done on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Be flexible and creative.

So, now you have something that looks like this:

Here is a blank worksheet you can use:

Next post we’ll discuss start times, structure, and working the plan.

Setting Up a School Schedule
This is Part 1
Part 2

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18 thoughts on “Setting Up a School Schedule – Part 1

  1. GREAT INFO! I only homeschool one – the other is a 2yr old, but I seem to get real lazy if I don’t have structure!!
    THANKS!

    Stef

  2. I have benefited somuch form your blog Amy! Thank you. I found out we are a routine family and I liked the pratical way that you have broken down the steps to setting up a school schedule. I am now I am waiting in anticipation for your next post! xo

  3. Amy,

    I am running around half-crazy at this moment. It is another school day and we haven’t started our lessons yet and probably will not today. We’re having a party! The only thing is that tomorrow is another school day and I need to be ready.

    I am currently re-evaluating our school; the curriculum we use, what really needs to be learned, and how to put it all together for three children in different grade levels. I look forward to the information you’ll be sharing and hope to pick up some tips on how to improve our on-going year.

  4. Marie,
    School really doesn’t take all that long here. There are interruptions and such that do extend things, but it really can be done much quicker than you expect.

    However, you are SO very right about needing to find things to occupy them outside of school hours!

  5. I’m so glad you posted this. I’ve been curious as to how long it takes others to finish school each day. I keep thinking my oldest son isn’t doing enough. He does his school work in lightening speed! But I’m using some CM curriculum and they have no twaddle. I like that, but then I’m faced with the challenge of finding something to occupy his mind and body for the rest of the morning. I despise having the TV on during the day so I avoid it as much as I can. It’s getting warmer now so they usually head outdoors.
    It looks like, with the sample schedule you posted, that on a day when all subjects are covered, the child would still only spend 2hr 20min doing school. That sounds like less than what we do, BUT we have alot of goofing off going on around here some days, so I’m sure if I cut all of that out we’d be finished sooner as well. We typically finish everything, except their reading, between 12 and 1. Then after lunch the two littlest have quiet time and I do 30 min of reading instruction with my 7 yr old while my 9 yr old does his reading and bible.
    I look forward to reading your part 2 post…but it’ll have to be later…we’re already behind for the day :(

  6. Thankyou so much for all your time and effort in posting this. I just started homeschooling last year after taking my children out of school. I started off with a VERY school-like strict schedule, and have eased off a lot since then and become more flexible. We still have a semi-structured day which works for us, which allows for interruptions/nappy changes/cooking and even discipline. I wish I had read this before I started homeschooling!

  7. Pingback: Setting Up a School Schedule – Part 2 | Raising Arrows

  8. Pingback: Revamping Schedules | Raising Arrows

  9. I am planning on homeschooling my kids at the start of next year. I have started to get really anxious about how I am going to work it all into my day since I have to pick up eggs everyday in our chicken houses and do my own school work since I am trying to earn my degree, but you blog has helped to relieve a lot of my fears and to give me the guidance that I need in planning each day. Thank you so much!

  10. I would just like to say, “Thank you!” Your blog is a God-send! I have just started the homeschooling adventure about two weeks ago, and I am already questioning what I am doing! You have answered questions that I have had and given me ideas to help things along during this transition time! I pray blessings on you and your family in all you do!

  11. Do you find it best to do each subject everyday for shorter periods or like 2 subjects a day for longer? It seems like they get into the subject more when we spend more time on it but then we only get those subjects done.

    • Currently, I do a lot of what I call “chunk learning” where I take one afternoon and really dig deep into a subject. This works especially well for History, Science, even Grammar! There are several subjects (like math) that are done every day, but I do think chunk learning works very well for many different subjects.

  12. I purchased your book, but can’t seem to download it onto my kindle app like my other Ebooks??? Can you please help?