Our 2018-2019 Homeschool Schedule Preview

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Want a sneak peak at how this large family schedules a homeschool day? Come see what school work and chores look like for us this year!

I love sharing a copy of our homeschool schedule before the school year actually starts. I did the same thing last year. It's really helpful for me to get all my ducks in a row and nail down the details so I can have them in mind as I plan actual lessons.

In a sense, this is an untested schedule. But it's actually several years in the making and only a few things have changed since last year.

No year is the same. The kids aren't in the same place they were last year in terms of maturity or academics. And the workloads are slightly different. However, I have a pretty good idea of what works for us.

Want a sneak peak at how this large family schedules a homeschool day? Come see what school work and chores look like for us this year!

Schedule Challenges and Tweaks

Before I get down to the details, let me share a few of the tangles I had to work on a bit to get this schedule functional. It never seems like there's a "perfect" system. Some things have to give, others have to take. Here were some of the sticking points for me in prepping for this year.

Tweens, Teens, and Early Mornings

My oldest three (age 10, 12, and 13) like to sleep later in the mornings. And yes, part of me wonders whether they need training/practice at doing hard things like getting up earlier.

However, another part of me thinks it would be a terrible shame to have the flexibility homeschooling affords and not take advantage of it. I know that studies have shown that sleep patterns change when kids reach this age.

If they don't have to be out the door by 7 am to catch a bus, why wake them up early? It seems it's best for their health to allow them to wake up on their own schedule. During the summer, they've been sleeping until 9am.

On the other hand, the littler kids tend to wake up awfully early - 6 or 7 am. For the sake of making good use of everyone's time and avoiding chaos, I don't think we can leave the little ones without structure or breakfast for three or so hours in the morning.

For the time being, this problem has actually solved itself. The kids have all been working together on a collaborative Minecraft village and so they've been getting themselves up around 7am to get in some build-time before the day starts.

We've been starting our day around 8am and that seems to work well!

The Coveted Nap time Hour(s)

Nap time opportunities are smaller all the time. George (age 12 mo) has dropped his morning nap. Joey (age 3) has dropped his nap all together. The only window of nap time is George's afternoon nap of about 2 hours.

So the question is: what do we do with naptime.

Option 1: We use George's nap time for "Table School" - our version of Morning Time where we do our Family Schooling activities (you can see a complete collection of the curriculum items here).

Pros: George will be napping, so I won't have quite as many folks to manage while teaching and leading activities.

Cons: No afternoon rest time for mama. Plus, Joey will still be up and around, so the potential for chaos is only slightly diminished.

Option 2: Do Table School in the morning and use George's nap time as a quiet rest/work time for everyone (including mama).

Pros: Mama gets a break in the afternoon. The older kids can do their independent work in a quieter time of day.

Cons: The time in which we could do it isn't super long. I don't want our mornings to be packed, rushing from one thing to the next non-stop. Surefire way to set us all up for homeschool burnout.

Option 3: Divide Table School into two parts. In the morning, Table School Part 1 could include some of the more loosely structured, oral and hands-on activities involving all the kids and keeping it brief (one hour or less).

In the afternoon after George goes down for his nap, we can do Table School Part 2 also brief (one hour or less) and do some of the more advanced work. Hazel (5), Joey (3) and maybe Henry (7) can have playtime.

Pros: There will still potentially be an hour for everyone to have quiet rest/work time. A chance to do some more in-depth learning beyond the level and attention span of the littles.

Cons: Confusing to schedule Table School in two parts? Will I wind up overdoing it because I now have two slots?

I'm leaning towards option 3 ...

Big Picture View

I went ahead and mapped out the school days and holidays for the rest of 2018. We have a family vacation and a trip for my 40th birthday planned. Sometimes some schooling slips into the cracks during those occasions (hello audiobooks and read-alouds!) but it will mostly be counted as "bonus".

We don't have to count hours or take attendance and keep a record of school days, so this is really just for my reference. Five weeks. Break. Four weeks. Break. Five weeks. Christmas. I think we can do this!

(If you'd like a copy of this planning form, it's part of the free Homeschool Mini-Planning Kit from Pam Barnhill.)

General Daily Schedule

Given those factors, here's our working schedule for this year. As I mentioned above, this year's schedule is very similar to what we did last year. I've placed them side-by-side for comparison. (Or, on mobile, they might appear one above the other.)

Last Year's Schedule

7:00 a.m. - kids begin to wake up and have free time

8:00 a.m. - Breakfast, then Chores

9:00 a.m. - Bible Time (sing a hymn, scripture memory, read the Bible, pray)

9:30 a.m. - Table School (Family School/Morning Time)

11:00 a.m. - Free Time

11:30 a.m. - Lunch, tidy School Room

12:30 p.m. - Quiet Rest Time

2:00 p.m. - Snack

2:15 p.m. - Clean-up

3:00 p.m. - Outside Play

This Year's Schedule

7:00 a.m. - kids begin to wake up and have free time

8:00 a.m. - Bible Time (sing a hymn, read the Bible, pray)

8:30 a.m. - Breakfast (if they haven't already fed themselves) and Chores

10:00 a.m. - Table School 1

11:00 a.m. - Free Time

11:30 a.m. - Lunch, Downstairs Clean-up

12:30 p.m. - George to Bed, Table School 2

1:30 p.m. - Quiet Rest/Work Time

2:30 p.m. - George Up, Snack

2:45 p.m. - Clean-up

3:00 p.m. - Outside Play

One Step at a Time

As with last year, we've begun a gradual ease-in to the full school-year routine. Last week we started with our new chore schedule (more on that in a moment). This week we added in silent reading assignments.

Next week I'll add in some reading journal work and writing assignments. The week after that, we'll begin to implement Table School. Part 1? Part 2? Both? Still deciding.

The week of Labor Day is the traditional back-to-school week around here for our public school friends, so that week, we'll add in math (and any remaining Table School) and be fully up to speed.

Choring

The chore system we set up last year worked fairly well. Everyone has daily jobs and then each day of they week, they have one extra job. We shifted some jobs around and added the three yo to the roster, but kept the same basic approach.

For the most part, the four oldest share some of the most common tasks, while the little ones empty trash cans and put away dishes and silverware. You can see a large copy of our chore schedule by clicking on the image below.

Want a sneak peak at how this large family schedules a homeschool day? Come see what school work and chores look like for us this year!

Here are a few thoughts I shared on Instagram about managing chores with kids, plus a peek at what it looks like to use the Multi Timer app to keep my brain cells straight!

Lynna Sutherland

Lynna believes that the gospel moves the homeschool mom from performance to possibility. She offers support for moms overwhelmed by homeschooling multiple ages and distracted by constant sibling conflict. Ditch what slows you down and look to Jesus. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

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  • Wow amazing we are a family of 7 and I’m desperate for a more organization. I’m gonna try to copy your methods! Thanks again for your transparency. ?

  • Thank you for sharing your routine! I find it very helpful as my kids are similar ages to your younger 5, down to the 12 month old and 3 year old, who add a dynamic element to every day. I too am contemplating splitting what we normally do in the morning into a morning session and an afternoon session, but I am having trouble visualizing the flow. My plan is to try a couple options and see what seems to stick.

    • Yes, as I mentioned, this is all a working theory at the moment. I’d love to hear if you find a workable way to spread it out a bit!

  • Hi Lynna, this is great! I really appreciate how you’ve shared your thought process as well, not just the final result and plan. Now I’m curious, what is the rest of your day like? How do you schedule in other aspects of life like your work, time with kids one-on-one, time with your husband, etc?

    • Hey, Elisabeth! Well, the evening times vary a great deal. Sometimes hubby is home earlier (say 4-5ish) and sometimes he has meetings or errands after work and doesn’t get home until later. When he gets home earlier, he generally takes over for dinner and bedtime while I get a break. On other nights, I’m responsible for more or less of the evening routine, depending on his schedule. I don’t know that we really have any kind of schedule for one-on-one time with the kids. They have various bedtimes, but everyone is in bed by about 9pm (not necessarily asleep, but in bed) and that’s when hubby and I get some time alone. Usually Netflix until 10 or 11. Nothing super-fancy going on. Just being flexible and getting stuff done!