Homeschool Scheduling with Teens to Toddlers (Mom of 4)

I do really love to chat homeschool scheduling! I believe our schedules are and should be just as unique as our families and our homeschools are. But also, we are always looking for ways to improve- maybe to streamline, reduce overwhelm, or just enjoy our day better. So, I’m happy to share our general flow, both as it kind of went this year, and also as I plan for it to continue into the fall.

We do school year round. We take June off, and July is very casual with a long reading list and math only. So, this schedule applies to our more typical school year, August-May.

Homeschool Scheduling with Teens to Toddlers - Mom of 4.jpg

If you recently downloaded the “Teaser of Information for The Gentle + Classical Preschool Level 2,” you will have seen the following schedule. But I’d love to “walk” through it together. In the past, I used a spreadsheet to plan our days. (You can see that here.) That worked at the time, because I had my hands so full with my boys and someone had to take care of them every second. Plus they were a huge distraction from school with my girls. But now- FREEDOM! They are currently 2.5 and approaching 4 in  a few months. They are now capable of participating in so much and both really love school, so that makes life easier!

So here’s our general daily schedule. Remember this is “ideal.” No two days look alike- but this gives me a goal and a framework. I perish without a vision of what I would love for our days to go like!

Our Daily Schedule

8:00 Begin Morning Basket: (Have all grammar age students join in. Older students can also benefit from the first portion preceding the Memory Statement Practice.)

  • Hymnal- 5 minutes

  • Gentle + Classical Nature Term Reading (2-3 pages)- 7 minutes

  • Handicraft Practice- 10 minutes

  • Bible Story/The Ology (or a devotional) (loop)- 5 minutes (read a Bible story on Day 1, The Ology on Day 2, back to Bible on Day 3, back to The Ology on Day 4)

  • Memory Statement Practice (w/ songs and chants)- 7-10 minutes

  • Math Circle Activities- 5 minutes

9:00 Done with Morning Basket; preschool and early elementary students have free play

This is a 1.5 hour chunk for instruction with older/other students. During this time period, for my family, my oldest two are working fully independently. They have their Weekly Student Planner that I have filled in for them on Friday afternoons during my planning session. (I spend 4-7:00 each Friday grading, reviewing work, having parent-student chats, planning the next week, planning meals, and getting my ducks in a row.)

I spend this time with my boys. They are freely playing, inside or outside, while I do chores (or watch them/correct them). I go ahead and gather a snack for everyone to make that process go more smoothly.

If you don’t have independent workers yet and need to spend time in instruction with older students, you’ll need to get creative for keeping your little ones busy. Can older students trade off entertaining the younger ones? They generally love to “play school” with them. Can the little ones be taught to play in one area of the house safely? Can you reserve special tools or activities for this time? Many families have success with pre-planned “busy trays.”

10:30 Snack for everyone Begin any readings for that day while they’re captively eating. What I read during this snack time is overwhelmingly geared toward my boys and what we are focusing on that day. For the upcoming year (The Gentle + Classical Preschool Level 2), this will include any picture book or fairy tale we are reading or a book about our artist/composer, or a book related to Gentle + Classical Nature. My older girls don’t mind to listen, but they’re welcome to snack in their room while they keep working.

11:00 Day’s assigned activities This might include a Nature Walk for G+C Nature; Acting out or narrating wonder tale or nursery rhymes; Beginning artist or composer study or an art activity. Basically, whatever our scheduled of TG+C Preschool Level 2 tells us. When we were doing Level 1, it was just whatever I’d grabbed to read to flesh out our science, history, or social studies, plus any sensory bins or other activities.

11:45 Lunch then Quiet Time

At this point, I have my boys eating, then into their room for a nap. My almost-4 doesn’t always take a nap, but he knows that he’s in for an extensive QT if he doesn’t sleep anyway. This is another 1h 45min chunk for instruction with older/other students. In our family, to make sure my older students also have to access “the riches,”  we do what we call Lunch Basket. This is a spin on Morning Basket, but with our lunch instead. I’ve detailed that for you here for this past year. We aren’t insanely consistent at it. We do great for several weeks then skip 6-8 weeks, then circle back. Overall, I’m hoping to do a better job with this for this next year. We typically start with an audiobook so that we can prep lunch while we listen, then begin the other portions once we’ve finished eating.

1:30 Finish day’s reading and activities If any activities remain. If they do not, go into any “core subjects” that your child may be ready for, like reading instruction. If you don’t yet do “core subjects,” then this is additional time with other students.This is when my K4 student comes out of his quiet time and gets one-on-one with Mom. We finish up any activities or reading his brother couldn’t participate in. OR, he watches an educational TV show while I work… because- REAL LIFE, friends.

2:30 Core Subjects  10” reading, 10” math, 5” handwriting is my goal for this next school year with K4. This past year we’ve touched on handwriting one day a week, a little phonics practice another day, math randomly throughout the day and kept everything super casual. We’ve gone weeks without doing any of it. We will very slowly step it up this next year as long as he is willing, as he is certainly capable. I’ll follow his lead. (Read what our plans are HERE for curriculum.) We really like having this school activity in the afternoon. We don’t do many outside activities so we don’t necessarily try to “get finished” in the morning. I run errands on the weekend, trying treat my homeschool time like my job. If we don’t have planned schooling, a lot of times this guy gets bored.

3:00 Wonder Tale Treat Time This is a sweet tradition to transition from “school” to the remainder of the day in your home. Many families already do a Poetry Tea Time. We’ve very sporadically done so in the past. Now that both boys can actively participate in listening and feed themselves, we get to start integrating this special treat into our day more routinely. We don’t do tea though ;) So, we have cookies and milk or lemonade! Whatever it is, it keeps mouth fulls and hands busy while I read. During this time, we cover the following:

3:30 Free Play + Outside Explorations At this point, our academic day is over with. Hopefully, everyone completed their work. It’s not out of the question for my oldest daughter to have homework. I used to hate the idea of this but honestly, I think it’s helpful to cultivate a strong work ethic. We have an extremely laid back home and homeschool, and she isn’t my super-motivated student (bit of a dreamer!). So, we decided that if she doesn’t get done on time, she has to finish in order to have electronics in the evening. It works ;)

The rest of our day is spent doing chores, preparing the house for Daddy’s arrival from work, cooking supper, and taking care of animals. During summer, most of that is chucked and we spend the afternoons and early evenings in the pool… because, summer.

I hope this was helpful to you and an encouragement or source of inspiration! I would love to hear your homeschool hacks for creating or staying on task below! Are you a minute-by-minute mama or more of a rhythm keeper? I plan minute to minute, but function on rhythm ;)