If you’re checking to see what your typical homeschooling day will be like we can tell you. It will take anywhere from 1 to 6 hours every day depending on the age of your child.
If the child is of preschool to kindergarten age, a typical homeschool day is very short. You can expect to spend from 30 minutes to 1 hour of formal seatwork. If your child is from elementary school to high school you can expect to spend from half a day to over 6 hours.
Once again it really will depend on the number of courses and the level of difficulty for them. And if you include extracurricular activities the time will be over this. Let us share a few different schedule scenarios for elementary, middle and high school to give you some ideas.
As new homeschooling parents ourselves, my wife and I started researching the topic two years before we even started. Now I know this may seem extreme but both of us were very careful about this decision. Our son was four years old when we first started looking into the details of homeschooling. My wife brought this idea up and I didn’t refuse it. I was very curious as a father how we could even accomplish this by ourselves.
The recent coronavirus epidemic has really highlighted homeschooling, remote learning, and hybrid schools. And as parents, we are very happy that we started collecting and preparing well in advance. You might be saying to yourself right now thanks a lot but this is not very helpful. However, we want to emphasize no matter what the situation is, this is a major decision and you should spend a lot of time researching before you decide.
The Day Starts Early in Our Homeschool
In our homeschool, my 5-year-old son wakes up around 6:30. I know this sounds early to some, but where we are the sunrise in the summertime is around 5:20 am. My son likes to get an early start and he’ll start playing with his toys by himself. My older kids wake up by 8 a.m. We normally wake up by 7 a.m. and make some coffee and get breakfast ready. Sometimes my five-year-old will prepare his own breakfast. He can grab some cereal and prepare his own milk. My older kids also can prepare breakfast by themselves. We like to teach Independence at an early age because this frees up the parents to do other important tasks.
Having our children prepare their own breakfast most of the time helps them learn a few things. Firstly they need to think about what they would like to eat for breakfast by themselves. And they also need to check the night before if they have breakfast for the next morning. This is a part of our homeschool.
This is not seatwork or learning from books, but chores and daily household activities are what we consider an important part of our homeschool routine. That is learning about responsibility, independence, and taking care of yourself. Occasionally on the weekends, I will make some pancakes. We also enjoy cooking in my home with my family. Especially making pancakes because there aren’t any pancake joints where I live. It’s a good way to learn about following directions. It also teaches about portions, measuring ingredients by weight and volume. Observational skills are necessary to see when the bubbles form and then you know when to flip the pancakes. These are all good learning opportunities.
As a child in my home my mom always prepared breakfast for me. Maybe I was lucky that I was the only child. I always had a delicious breakfast ready for me at least when I was just a kid. Of course, when I got older I handled breakfast by myself. Perhaps in other people’s households, they have other ideas which are perfectly fine. But we like to teach our children to take care of themselves. And we like them to take part in many of the daily activities and chores in the house. We strongly believe that this is one important part of our homeschool activities, taking care of the home.
Preparing With a Warm-up to Start the Day
You will see many resources online for parents preparing a morning basket of activities. We also believe this is a great way to start our morning homeschooling as well. This is considered a warm-up activity. Whether you are in a classroom or you’re in a meeting at work or one of your Club activities. A good beginning is always the warm-up, right? This warm-up routine usually can do a few things. Firstly, it gives the child a slow start in the morning where they can concentrate and collect themselves quietly.
They can also check their schedule and review what they learned yesterday. They can also chat with us to ask any questions and relax. This warm-up time also gives us, the parents, some time to collect ourselves so we are ready for the day.
Our homeschool day begins at 8:30 am in the morning. And I like to start with the Pledge of Allegiance. We live abroad and my children never had this kind of experience as I have. This kind of custom of course doesn’t take place where we are so I make sure that we do it in our home. This is also a way to learn how to memorize a short Passage.
For my five-year-old, memorization is a great tool to train their young brain. My son is very good at memorizing things and research shows that kids can easily soak up and memorize things with ease. I’m very surprised at how fast they can pick up the piece of poetry or even a short song. Young children can understand and pick up a word meaning with ease and retain it with practice. See this interesting article about how kids develop their vocabulary.
The schedule of our full week is prepared by me. I normally do this on the Fly to make sure we stay on schedule for the semester. But it’s critical to have a schedule handy so we don’t miss anything. I know it sounds very simple. But sometimes you can overlook the simple things like this. We also share our schedule on Google Drive. It’s nothing fancy, it’s just 1 document my wife and I share. We can easily refer to it wherever we need. Some folks like to keep a simple schedule on a desk or in plain sight in their homeschooling room. Of course, you need to have a printed out schedule for your kids to refer to. So that’s the key point. We have a schedule in place for my son so he can see it at any time of the day. And my wife and I have a Google Drive schedule so we can access our homeschooling schedule via our smartphones.
Typical Schedule for Homeschooling a Kindergartener
We are a big believer in the classical style of teaching. For our homeschool, we follow this trusted method. You can learn more about this style from a very good book called The Well Trained Mind by Susan Bauer Wise. This type of homeschooling believes that a child at this age is at the “grammar stage” and can pick up things very easily through memorization. It’s not really learning about grammar as in language arts. The grammar stage is when children can very easily memorize many facts and details and new words.
We find this very interesting because my son really can remember so many things. Sometimes he remembers things I didn’t even know he was taught. So our typical day will be doing math reading and writing. We will also be reading aloud to him at this stage. He can only read very basic things by himself like Bob Books. These are books with many 3 to 4 letter words and they are taught in easy short small books of matching difficulty. Your kid can learn to read very quickly. My son was able to read the first day we tried. And we read to him about science and history.
The schedule we show below is based on our recommendations and from the book listed above. We don’t list the curriculum because you can select any type you can find for kids of this level. You will be teaching the numbers, 1-100, and letters and simple words. A good phonics course can bring them up to speed with learning the sounds and how to sound out words. The sooner they can read they will feel more confident in their abilities to take in information. Certainly each kid is different and your way to teach reading is up to you. Many parents like to have their child up and reading before or by the 1st grade or age 6. This is up to you and we just share what we are doing.
Kindergarten Homeschooling-Minutes Per Skill
|10-30min||Math-learning numbers, manipulatives, flashcards, money|
|10-30min||Phonics/Reading-read aloud or Bob Books-they read with you|
|10-15min||Writing-copy work, tracing letters, words, short sentences|
|30min||Park/playtime with other kids|
We also list social time because we should be providing opportunities for your children to play and socialize with other kids older or younger. They do need to learn how to play, share, communicate and have a good time. The earlier the better. This is an integral part of the child’s development so you must add this to the schedule since you are not having them attend a traditional school where socializing opportunities are naturally more available.
You may also add science and history into your time and this will be reading or activities you can easily devise and find online. It’s really up to each family and you are free to decide the other skills and knowledge you feel are appropriate. Any time my kids are with me, they are always getting a science based “education” because my background is in Biology and they are always asking things I can easily teach them about or we can reference it later when we get back home or bring it up on my smartphone.
Schedule for Homeschooling in Elementary School
Our sample schedule below is for an elementary homeschooler and you may adjust it to fit your curriculum and schedule. We give some ideas about the time to spend in minutes per skill as a reference. But most kids by the time they are at the elementary level can focus better and learn something for at least 30 minutes. We put a range because you can work up to more time. And you can use less time if your child can learn more quickly. Most lessons are designed with a typical class period in mind which ranges from 40-50 minutes.
We like to do math everyday because it’s easy to forget if you don’t practice daily. Math is just a skill that takes more practice and each skill builds on the previous. So we advise doing it early in the morning and practice everyday. Language arts become more important as they must be able to read if they are to be able to guide themselves. History starts with the chronological order of history beginning with Ancient history, 5000BC and when they are done they probably know up to American History.
Elementary School Hours (2 to 3.5 hours per day of Seatwork)
|30-60min||Math-everyday, and start early!|
|20-30min||Science-Earth, Planets, Weather, Ecology|
|20-30min||History/Social Studies-Ancient history, Geography|
|30-60min||Electives-Music, 2nd Language, art|
|60min||PE & Social time|
Homeschool Schedule for Middle School, Teenagers!
Things will be different in middle school as your kids will be teenagers! Teens will want to talk with their friends about certain issues. These are the kinds of talks that most likely won’t be shared with us parents! So you do need to make sure your kids have ample time to make and chat with friends. This is something you might not see in every resource but it is our way and we feel strongly about it. Friendships need to be made just like when kids go to traditional school and join extracurricular clubs and sports teams.
These types of bonds are necessary for a well rounded development. In middle school the time will also be gradually added. Now expect seatwork of up to 5-6 hours. And many of the courses will be self-directed. The aim is also to have a few courses outside with some co-op or community based courses so your children can get more opportunities to make friends. During this time you should also be meeting on a regular basis with other homeschooling families in your neighborhood, or other families with children in the same age range.
Kids on Beach
We highly recommend that you have a group of at least 3 other families that your children meet on a regular basis. This is something that is highly encouraged to make sure your kids are growing up with good chances to make friends. They will be better prepared to deal with all of the normal things pre-teens and teenagers will face.
Middle School Schedule (5-6 hours of Seatwork)
|12:00-1:00||Lunchtime! Then recess|
|60min||Electives-Music, 2nd Language, art, volunteering|
|60min||PE or exercise time|
Homeschool Schedule for High School, College Preparation
The high school years for a homeschooler are focused on the future in college, university or vocational training. Depending on which route to take will dictate the focus and subjects. Your child might choose a more specialized path, for example, medical school. And then the math, sciences, biology, physics and chemistry will need to be strengthened. And perhaps Latin will be added to make study of anatomy more easily done. Many terms in biology and anatomy are Latin based.
You will also need to review your state’s requirements for Diploma and transcripts. And check whether the college or universities your child applies to will accept certain types of documents prepared by homeschool families. Don’t worry your child can go to college and many school’s make it easy for you to navigate the complexities. Read our article about homeschooling and college admissions here.
The high school years are focused on more advanced courses and consolidating their knowledge and how to apply it. Also more socialization and club activities are encouraged. They are great for communication skills and leadership development. There are many such programs like Toastmaster. We highly recommend these kinds of clubs because they can help your student build excellent presentation and speaking skills. This is something I wish I had known about in my early years.
Public speaking is so helpful to build confidence and give your children the ability to stand up in front of a crowd and speak. This can help in any type of situation whether in a family activity, church or work situation. Toastmasters help train you to give constructive criticism, provide helpful feedback to improving your speaking skill in a range of situations. The curriculum is all online based and the weekly or bi-weekly meetings are so fun to attend. There are clubs for kids as well. Just check your local club information or here at Toastmasters International.
High School Homeschool Schedule, The College Prep Years
|8:30-9:15||Math-Algebra, Pre-Calculus, Calculus|
|11:15-12:00||Science-Biology, Physics, Chemistry|
|12:00-1:00||Lunchtime! Then recess|
|2:00-2:45||History/Social Studies-World History,|
|2:45-3:30||Electives-Music, 2nd Language, art, Speech/Debate|
|3:30-4:30||PE or exercise time, volunteering, part-time job*|
|6:30-7:30||Math review, or Other Club activities|
*Volunteering and part-time work is encouraged! I learned so much from a simple job and working in a nursing home when I was young.
A typical day of homeschooling can be a rewarding experience for the family and children. It is a new lifestyle for many and well worth the effort. It does take a serious amount of time and planning. But it will provide all involved a new sense of family and a strong bond. As a parent I have already gotten to re-learn so many things as well! There were many subjects that are so fun to learn about again and revisit and learn side by side with my children. I look forward to also instilling in them a yearning for a lifelong learning attitude. In my opinion homeschool is just something that lasts for a lifetime and is a never ending quest for knowledge.