Are you a relaxed homeschooler that lets the learning schedule unfold through the day or are you more of a structured homeschooler where you follow a strict schedule each day? There’s no right or wrong way to approach homeschooling!
You have to do what works best for you and your family. What we do know is that children need some routines in their day. They need to know what to expect and what’s expected of them. We are going to provide you with more details about routines for children and a variety of ways you can schedule your homeschooling that range from a super relaxed approach to a much more structured day. All are welcome!
Click here to receive homeschooling example schedules or read on to learn more, watch a video from one of our co-founders, and receive the opportunity for example schedules at the bottom of the page, as well.
The Challenges of Homeschooling
For relaxed homeschoolers, there can be days where you feel disappointed because you didn’t get in all of the skills or activities you hoped for.
For structured homeschoolers, there can be days of frustration if your child or children are resisting, or not getting a concept in the time you had allotted.
You are not alone. We are all going through this together, even if our style for homeschooling is slightly different.
Maybe you have tried out approaches, scheduling school in the morning or afternoon, and feeling it didn’t work? Maybe you tried relaxed homeschooling and felt that didn’t work? My advice is don’t give up and when you feel discouraged, take 6-8 breaths where you just focus on the air going in and going out. Take a moment to meditate. In that moment, think about what IS working, what IS going well! Even if it is as small as my daughter used a big word today that surprised me, or my son recognized a number that I didn’t realize he knew.
At Thoughtful Play, we are here to help. First, let's talk about routines for kiddos. Children thrive when they know what’s coming. While surprises can be fun, no one enjoys being surprised everyday, especially little ones with their brain development still at the stage of concreteness and limited ability to manage emotions. If you already have these routines in place and are consistent with them, kudos to you! Great job!
Bedtimes: Young children should have a consistent bedtime and a bedtime routine.
Wake Times: It is okay to allow your child to wake on their own. If you are keeping a consistent bedtime routine, then this should naturally occur within an hour range (e.g., between 7 and 8 AM).
Snacks and Mealtimes: Try to be as consistent as possible with carrying these out within a certain range of time (e.g., AM Snack between 10 and 10:30, lunch between 12 and 1).
Read Aloud Time: Aim to have certain times of the day where your children know it is time for reading books together.
Brushing Teeth/Getting Dressed/Chores: Try to maintain certain times of the day where it is expected for children to carry out certain tasks. We all have days where we stay in our PJs and forget to brush teeth - that is completely okay once in a while. To teach good habits though and to build in clear expectations around routines, try to have days where there is consistency with these tasks (e.g., weekdays).
The rest of the day we believe is best organized in ways that fit your lifestyle, work situations, children’s personalities and needs, the weather, and energy levels!
Homeschooling Schedule Ideas
By looking through our examples, we hope you find one that fits. We recommend choosing one and trying it out for a few weeks. Sometimes initially, a new schedule can be hard to adjust to and so don’t give up, just be patient. If after a few weeks it still isn’t working, then return to your meditation breaths to clear your mind and gain clarity on what it is that you need to adjust.
And, just remember the ideal amount of time to engage kindergartners in “purposeful learning activities” is 60 minutes and of course not all at once.
Connection Comes First
Also one final tip that I always have to remind myself is that the connection with your child or children has to come first. If my children are feeling disconnected from me, either because they haven’t received enough attention that day or they aren’t feeling like they have been given enough control (e.g., choice), then they resist anything I ask of them.
I am learning that in these times, I have to stop what I am doing for 10 minutes, sit down with them on the floor, and just play whatever it is they want to play. Building a connection each day goes a long way in terms of getting buy-in when you want to engage them in tasks, a learning activity, read alouds, or whatever it may be.
Here is a video where I share my family’s daily schedule as a relaxed homeschooler carrying out the Thoughtful Play Complete Homeschooling Curriculum.
You can adapt the Thoughtful Play homeschooling curriculum or our week-long activities to fit with your homeschooling approach. Our curriculum is primarily games, activities, adventures, and play. It is almost entirely worksheet-free with a few optional templates to print. You can carry out the lessons throughout the day in a relaxed format - doing an activity here and there when it seems to fit in the day, or you can deliver the lessons through a more structured approach where you do the activities and games at a set time each day.
Now for our homeschooling schedule ideas to provide inspiration and encouragement! We wish you the best on your homeschooling journey and aim to continue to support you along the way!
Thank you and play on,
Hollie Young, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, Thoughtful Play, LLC