Finding a good approach to your homeschool schedule can make a huge difference. Use the right method that fits your family well, and you’ll get more done and have less stress overall.
But it’s not always easy to find that groove. In fact, it usually takes homeschool parents 1-3 years before they really hit their stride and have landed on a homeschool approach that works for them, including how they schedule their days and weeks.
That’s totally fine and to be expected! In fact, how you handle scheduling will likely change with different seasons.
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In this post, I’m going to share with you the four basic methods of homeschool scheduling. Then I’ll go into some detail on how WE do our homeschool schedule, with a flexible year-round, 4-day week routine.
It’s been such a fantastic fit for us what we’ve been doing it all these years! I’ll also share some great tips and tools for how to craft a homeschool schedule that fits YOUR family’s needs best.
Let’s get started!
4 Methods of Homeschool Scheduling
How we schedule the year, our week, and each day.
- Traditional Scheduling – Think of your public school experience! You can replicate this at home (although it’s not really recommended). You follow the school calendar and generally teach every subject every day all year with electives on the side. Homeschoolers may find this too rigid for their needs.
- Block scheduling – “Block scheduling” means different things depending on who you’re talking to. The general idea is organizing tasks into blocks of time.
- Blocks in your week/year: This could mean block scheduling days (Science on Monday, History on Tuesday and Thursday, etc.), weeks (alternating a week of science with a week of history) or longer periods (science the first semester and history the second half).
- Blocks in your day. This could be a traditional-looking schedule with each hour or two (as blocks) focused on a different subject. Or it could mean dividing the day into blocks by the TYPE of work that is done, such as group work in the morning and individual work in the afternoon, or blocking by age range. Block scheduling simplifies things and allows for less switching between subjects so that families can really dive into those topics.
- Loop Scheduling – This can be done with all or just some subjects. It means rotating through a list of subjects each day or week, and then when you get through it, starting back at the top. Especially helpful for younger grades, but group work can be put on a loop, as well as electives for older kids. Loop scheduling allows you to make progress with more flexibility and subjects are less likely to fall through the cracks.
- Checklist Scheduling – This means that each day or week you just write out a list of what your child needs to do and they work through that list. A popular suggestion for this approach is just to have a spiral notebook for each child and write a checklist of what they need to do each week/day.
Our Year-Round Homeschool Schedule
Although some homeschool families follow the public school schedule for various reasons, just as many seem to do a year-round homeschool schedule. That’s what we use! We enjoy the benefits of year-round homeschooling and the flexibility it provides our family.
There are many ways of doing a year-round schedule for homeschooling:
- Sabbath schooling – homeschool for 6 weeks then 1 week of rest and planning.
- 4-week cycle – same approach but with 4 weeks on 1 week off (we did this for a few years).
- Just take breaks as needed – this is what we do now, working breaks around planned vacations/holidays and whenever we need a break.
I love this relaxed approach. It’s less stress and less planning needed. Things just sort of even out in terms of lessons, too, and we always get more than a full year’s worth of work in.
I tell ya, moms… we have a tendency to invest too much into detailed plans that we’ll end up ditching altogether when life happens. This way of doing scheduling and planning is the happy medium we’ve found that works so well for us!
The planner I use is the Rhythms & Routines Homeschool Planning System, available here at Proverbial Homemaker. You will love this valuable resource that walks you through setting up a rhythm-based homeschooling system that works just for you and your family. It includes a customizable planner and a video course. FIND OUT MORE!
Our 4-Day Weekly Homeschool Schedule
Our homeschool week is a little different than most because my husband has Sunday and Monday off and does shift work with hours that change each week. So our days for dedicated learning time are Tuesday through Saturday. But this 4-day homeschooling approach will work no matter what days you have available. We do our “normal” school time Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Saturday is our “Home Blessing” day, which is basically housework, meal prep, character focus, and life skills. I take the time to teach my kids specific tasks that are life skills, including cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening, etc. They also take on extra assigned chores to earn a commission (it helps teach them money management). It’s all homeschooling in my mind but they don’t know that. 😉 You can find out more about Home Blessing Day here and download my free planner.
Here’s what we do for ALL the days of the week for our year-round homeschooling schedule.
- Sunday – Sabbath
- Monday – Family day
- Tuesday – Standard lesson day + Piano lessons
- Wednesday – Standard lesson day
- Thursday – Standard lesson day + Choir/Baseball (although those are currently cancelled)
- Friday – Standard lesson day + Library (we may do hikes on Fridays this year instead due to restrictions)
- Saturday – Home Blessing Day (housework, character, life skills, art, etc.)
What I love about this schedule is that I KNOW the basics will get done with our regular routine. The rest will keep progressing and adjust to life situations without derailing us from the plan.
The Student Work & Habit Tracker is a simple tool that helps students from about 3rd-12th grade to manage their time and stay focused. They will craft meaningful goals, manage their weekly and daily work efficiently, and build in important habits. Most importantly, the Tracker will help them keep God’s Word at the center of their daily life, doing all in the name of the Lord.
Our Daily Homeschool Schedule
Once you have your yearly and weekly homeschool schedule decided, it’s time to plan your daily schedule. What exactly goes into what I called a “standard lesson day” above? As usual, this depends greatly on your own family rhythms, goals, and the curriculum you’re using.
You can use one of more of the scheduling methods I listed above to craft a schedule to meet your needs. The main thing to decide is which subjects subjects should be done every day and which ones can be done less often. Those less often subjects are the ones that will require some creativity on your part to decide where they fit best into your homeschool.
Here’s what our regular schedule looks like and which subjects we do. Note that all our academics are done by 3-ish (more like noon for younger kids). We like read alouds, so we tend to do a lot of audiobooks and read aloud sessions in general.
- Breakfast: Bible & memory work
- Morning Chores & responsibilities
- Group work time at the table (looping through Charlotte Mason style resources / Morning Basket)
- Individual work
- The older kids do their independent work (daily work and loop schedule) and come to me with questions or any tasks that need input/instruction.
- I spend some 1:1 time reading or playing with my preschooler. He’s more likely to stay sane if I do that. 🙂
- Then I sit down for 30-40 minutes of desk time with my early elementary kids (reading/writing/math).
- Lunch: History (Always includes read aloud, may also include coloring pages, videos, projects, etc.)
- Older kids finish independent work (short video at 3PM for those who have finished).
- Some days in the afternoon we do a tea time or preschool activity (but usually they all join in because it’s fun).
- Dinner: If Daddy is working we do an audiobook literature selection.
- Evening read aloud: About 3 days a week we do a before-bed read aloud session where the kids play with Legos or color and I rotate through a basket. We include a missionary biography and I often bring in literature selections related to our school work.
So, we make the most use of loop scheduling. Block scheduling comes in when we use the 5th day that follows a similar schedule as above, but we swap “home blessing” work.
Best Tools for Homeschool Schedules
If you’re working on putting together a homeschool schedule, here are some tools I recommend.
- Rhythms & Routines Homeschool Planning System – This includes a printable, customizable planner AND a video course that walks you through how to create a schedule that best fits your family.
- Student Work & Habit Tracker – Uses loop scheduling, goal sheets, habit trackers, and more to help your students manager their time and homeschool tasks independently.
- Want more planner ideas? Here is my short list of favorites.
- Loop scheduling – This was a game-changer for me.
- Managing your work with loop scheduling (article and video).
- Free loop scheduling templates for homeschooling and homemaking.
- Loop Scheduling Workshop for a video course and FB group that will help you make the most of this tool.
- Create a Cheat Sheet – Write out the weekly and daily schedule you’re trying to work on and post it on the wall, at eye level, wherever you’ll be sitting down with your kids. No kidding! It’s super easy and the best way to remember what in the world you were trying to do. Here’s an instant download you can use (it’s pulled from the Rhythms & Routines Homeschool Planning System) and an example of my current one below.
Our yearly and weekly homeschool schedule is flexible, provides for low-pressure planning, helps us get things done without being a slave to the schedule… and I love it.
How about you? What does your homeschooling week and year look like? Do you wing it, schedule it, or have something in-between?
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This Post Has 48 Comments
Meg11 Aug 2015
I’m thinking about how to change our schedule. I’m leaning toward a similar month on/week off plan.
Tauna11 Aug 2015
I really like the week off plan. I just can’t go longer than that. I have a short attention span. Lol!
Gabby@MamaGab13 Aug 2015
After talking with you about it, I decided to start our new school year off with a 4 day week too. We’re only one week in and it’s going so well! I love that tomorrow I can focus on housework and hair cuts for the kids and we won’t miss an entire day of school. Math is the only academic subject left on our agenda for this week. I also decided not to go “all in” this first week either. We’re adding a subject next week and one more the following week. It’s making it less overwhelming on all of us to have a gentle start for our school year.
Tauna14 Aug 2015
I’m so glad it’s working for you as well Gabby! 🙂
Becci Sundberg21 Aug 2015
We are doing very similar.
We are fairly new to homeschooling so still finding our rhythm really.
We do a four day week. Mon-Thurs one week, then Mon, Wed-Fri the next. The first week Fridays are reserved for shopping, errands and library visits, the second week we have our fortnightly homeschool meet on the Tuesday.
I have recently decided to follow a four week on, one week ‘off’, plus the usual school holidays (we are following school terms roughly for now, school terms here are usually 10 weeks long).
The ‘off’ week will be used for teaching life skills, have a bit of down time and as I’m still working out what workload works best for us, a little catch up work too.
I too like that I can plan for four weeks at a time., We do literacy and numeracy each day and the rest of our studies are done as unit work. So I can do two shorter units in the 4 weeks, or one bigger unit. I think it will work well for us.
The main reason for having that 5th week off is that I find my boys do need a mid term break. So this is a way of having a break but still learning.
Tauna23 Aug 2015
Yes that is very similar! I love your week for life skills and such. Sounds like a great rhythm for your family and your school year. Thanks for sharing!
holly14 Feb 2016
I tried a six week on 2 weeks off, but my 9yo is so hard to get back on schedule after that long. Maybe we will try the 4 day approach again. It was great when we did it!
My question. .. with the year round schedule, do your kids ever wonder why they are in school and none of their friends or cousins are in school? That is the only hold back I have. We have tried just June and July off.
Tauna15 Feb 2016
Not really. They also know that they are on vacation when others are in school. And if they don’t remember that, I remind them. 🙂
Danielle3 May 2016
I found your blog through Pinterest and I just wanted to let you know what a blessing it has been to me! My husband and I have prayed for a long time about homeschooling our kids and I’ve been so excited about this chapter in our lives but haven’t had the slightest clue where to start! Pinterest makes it look intimidating and overwhelming! Thank you for sharing your planning and year. It sounds like a great fit for us! I am ordering that planner today 🙂
Kayla Byer1 Aug 2016
Thank you for the post. I am looking forward to getting the new relaxed Homeschool mom calendar. I am year round home school mom. We live in the sunny south so we have visitors quite often. We take breaks as we have visitors which probably works the same as 4 on, one off. It has been working well and gives me and my girls a break from school so we can enjoy our family and friends and really focus on school when needed.
Mrs C1 Aug 2016
Thank you very much for sharing your schedule with us. I plan to use it as a guide. I’ve for so long have been wanting to do this, but just didn’t know how to make it happen (more so, if it could realistically happen). Very generous of you to help those of us who are lost in this journey we’ve taken on.
Kristin A.1 Aug 2016
What an interesting post. We are just about to start our second year of homeschooling and this really gives me a lot to think about. We have done a bit of schooling here and there over the summer as we are also expecting a new little one this year. I wanted to feel like we’d somehow banked some hours of school and thus could take time off when baby came guilt-free. There really is not reason why I couldn’t adopt a similar four week on, one week off schedule with my clan as we don’t do a whole lot of traveling during the summer. Anyways, lots to think about – thank you!
Jill3 Aug 2016
We homeschool year round starting this year and loooove it. We don’t have as much rhyme or reason to our schedule. We are mostly doing four day weeks. We figured out an avg per month and penciled in days through the year around stuff we knew we would want to do. It’s great for us being military. We can take days off whenever family happened to come around or dad is getting ready for deployment.
Melanie3 Aug 2016
I’m considering a 9 week on 1 off with a month at Christmas plus 2 weeks elsewhere…
Darlene3 Aug 2016
I must admit that I look foreword to the emails that I get every now and then from proverbial home maker because I know there will be something new I can use for myself or my kids. Being a home school mom can be tough sometimes but with all these great resources and advice it makes it easier. I love the printouts, ideas, and even the other websites she recommends.
Tauna4 Aug 2016
Thanks Darlene! So glad you find it helpful 🙂
Shera4 Aug 2016
We tend to do a 4 week schedule in our homeschool as well.
Melissa4 Aug 2016
Thank you for all of your freebies, advice and guidance.
Amy4 Aug 2016
We’re just finishing up Kindergarten so everything is exciting!
Amy4 Aug 2016
We are trying the 4 weeks on and one week off this year as well. Next week is our week off!
Amanda5 Aug 2016
Our school year is kind of naturally shifting to a 4 day because of therapy and such!
Julie H7 Aug 2016
This was such good information for me. Thank you for sharing. I need to work on planning breaks better.
Amanda8 Aug 2016
This is really great. Thanks!
Tara Mitchell4 Sep 2016
This is great. We’re moving to a year-round schedule this year, and will be schooling 4 days a week due to co-op classes.
Tauna5 Sep 2016
It’s such a nice way to do things – less stress and somehow easier to organize!
Nicole Grabner19 May 2017
This is a wonderful idea! I was just explaining how I prefer to school all year (two to two and a half months off in the year is too long for my kiddo and we both do so much better with a routine!); but there are moments where I stuggle with falling behind in one subject or more because there might be a lesson that is particularly challenging for that day and then I feel like we never catch up. I love your idea about looping subjects – I’m going to have to see how I can make this work for our schedule! I also love the thought of doing 4 weeks on and one off (to allow for field trips, relexing, exectra), but I’m not sure that a whole week would work for us because I’d be worried that I wouldn’t have enough for my kiddo to do during those weeks. What does your schedule look like on the week off?
Tauna19 May 2017
Hi! I’m so glad it’s been helpful. 🙂
Danielle6 Jul 2017
Thanks for this! My husband works 4-on, 4-off rotating each week. I really want to get the bulk of our core subjects done on “on” days since we do lots of hands-on and field trips on his days off.
You’ve given me a good jumping off point and it is gratuitous that I found you so early in the school year. (We are doing year-round, July through June).
Tauna Meyer7 Jul 2017
Hi Danielle! I’m so glad it was helpful 🙂
Ashley Wright27 Jul 2017
Thanks for this timely post! You have shared some great ideas here. I am also trying to simplify my homeschool schedule. It’s really important to have a scheduled plan to stay organized. I would love to be implement your ideas.
Tauna Meyer31 Jul 2017
You’re very welcome! I’m glad it was helpful 🙂
Jocelyn23 Oct 2017
This is great! This is our first year homeschooling (first and second grade as well as preschool) and I’m still trying to figure out what works for us. I just googled “year round homeschool schedule” and your blog popped up and I really like it!! I’ve mostly been winging it, figuring I’d take a break when I needed one (we started after labor day and have done about 35 days of school)
For example, this week I’m just focusing on getting caught up somewhat with history, science and art/music because those are the subjects I tend to ditch when I or the kids have “had enough” for the day. I think looping them like you’ve suggested would be a LOT less pressure, plus I feel like we wouldn’t be jumping around so much. And my preschooler tends to get left in the dust as I focus on the other two….I still don’t know what to do about that.
I have my 5th baby due in January so may use that as an opportunity to re-organize our schedule and start fresh after a little bit of a longer break. I am not an organized person anymore since having kids so this has proved very challenging for me!
Tauna Meyer24 Oct 2017
Hi Jocelyn! I completely understand those challenges. 🙂 It sounds to me like you’re already doing fantastic! Let me know if you use loop scheduling! I’d be interested to see how that goes. Perhaps using it just for the preschooler might be useful! I tend to do things with my preschooler while the other ones do independent work, but there’s not much of that until 2nd grade and up anyway. 🙂 Have a wonderful year!
Connie Robertson20 May 2018
I homeschooled 7 children for many years. We also did a 4-day school week, but we did ours a bit different. We homeschooled Monday through Thursday and took Friday off each week. Friday and Saturday were used to do the “extra” things. It could be cleaning, cooking, sewing, woodworking, yard work etc. Some days we would just take a complete day off and go somewhere special. We mostly did our holidays the same as the other children around us. There were times that we would decide it would be nice to have some extra days off for vacation and we would work extra hard and finish up our schooling ahead of time. We always took three months off for summer. I needed that break and so did our children.
Tauna Meyer24 May 2018
Sounds like a great system. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
Ashley Wright16 Nov 2018
I like this a lot! Thank you…we are going to be schooling year round this year. I’ve been thinking and praying about it and I see the benefits. I’ve been planning on doing the same thing from now on. Just taken breaks here and there for various family things.
Corrie David3 Sep 2020
Loop scheduling is super helpful!
Dianne3 Sep 2020
We would love to include 15-Minute Music Lessons, Intro to Musicals for Elementary Students, and Charlotte Mason Music & Shakespeare Bundle in our homeschool.
Dianne3 Sep 2020
I found the 4 Methods of Homeschool Scheduling to be very helpful.
Angela3 Sep 2020
Great Hymns of Faith would be a wonderful addition for us.
Angela3 Sep 2020
Loop Scheduling- I’ve been wanting to incorporate this into my Homeschool forever!
Judith Martinez3 Sep 2020
I love the idea of using loop planning! The great Hymns of the Faith close looks so good!
Wendy3 Sep 2020
Rest & family time are scheduled, brilliant. Life skills have their own day – love it since these skills can take up a huge chunk of the day if child needs help or is loving it and wants to follow “rabbit trails” attached to the skill. This would keep regular days from being blown off course and allow child to have time constraint free learning.
Wendy3 Sep 2020
Intro to musicals would be a great addition to our homeschool
Thumbtack24 Feb 2021
Thank you so much for thorough homeschooling schedule. This has been so helpful to everyone.
Tauna Meyer2 Apr 2021
You are so welcome!
Ann17 Aug 2021
My family did 4 days a week year round through almost all of our homeschooling journey (preschool through 12th grade). We started that way since my husband’s job at the time our oldest was ready for school gave him longer work days in the summer, so that schedule helped to fill those long days. We took off a week for Easter, a week for a summer trip, a week for Thanksgiving, and 2-3 weeks off at Christmas, along with everyone’s birthdays and any holidays that my husband had off from work. The year-round schedule really helped my kids retain what they had learned and prevented that “getting back to school” hurdle if we had taken a month or more off. My last child was given the option of doing school year round or taking the summer off before his senior year since he was busy doing yardwork for neighbors and his older siblings had summers off from college — he opted for a 3 day week for the summer, knowing that he would also have to make up for that with some 5 day weeks during the typical school year. A good compromise that helped prepare him for the 5+ days a week of college work!
Amber and Jeff O'Neal24 Aug 2021
Homeschoolin’ mama of 5, love Proverbial homemaker posts, and would be greatly encouraged by this. We do 4 days of work and then Fun Friday where we try to do hands on activities, field trips, out of the ordinary things to give everyone a time to look forward to…even mama and dad!