I have 7 children. And I homeschool.
I must be a little bit crazy.
The only way I’ve found to manage the chaos surrounding me is to have a daily schedule.
In past years, I created a color-coded schedule that outlined what each child was doing every 30 minutes throughout our homeschool day.
I would work with my kids on a rotating basis while the other kids worked independently or entertained younger siblings.
It was a well-crafted routine that enabled us to survive the early years of homeschooling when my world was full of little people.
Now, I live in a house with several children about to surpass me in height.
My kids grew up!
And our homeschool has needed to grow and change along with my children.
We’re in a new phase of homeschooling.
I no longer need a detailed schedule as my older kids are beginning to manage their own schedules. Hooray for independence!
Instead, I’ve simplified our schedule and created a simple routine to denote who will be doing schoolwork with me throughout the homeschool day.
I’ve also added more group school time to our day. Grouping my children has allowed our homeschool to function more efficiently and it allows us to finish our school day earlier, giving my children more free play time in the afternoon.
Here is our simplified homeschool schedule for the 2019-2020 homeschool year:
7:00 am – Mom work while older kids get up and work independently.
8:00 am – Breakfast and AWANA verses
8:30 am – Chore time
9:00 am – Group school time
10:00 am – Short meeting with 8th grader and then morning meeting with 6th and 5th grader
10:30 am – School time with 3rd grader
11:00 am – School time with 1st grader
11:30 am – Lunch time
12:00 pm – School time with preschooler while older kids complete chores
12:30 pm – School time with 3rd grader, 1st grader, and preschooler
1:00 pm – Group school time
1:30 pm – Meeting time with each child to finish any work that was not completed in the morning and to spot check work
2:00 pm – Reading time and independent work
It’s difficult to believe that I no longer need my carefully choreographed schedule. It’s so freeing to be able to have a more loosely-planned homeschool day now that many of my kids are old enough to manage their own independent work and school routines.
A few notes about our school day:
- While I work with specific children, the other kids are free to work on their independent work. I help them create check-lists to help them remember their daily assignments.
- I’ve found that my older kids work especially well in the evenings. They’ve become night owls in the teen and pre-teen years. So they often work on independent work in the evenings after swim practice and wake up between 7 and 8 to begin their day.
- I try to have weekend meetings with my older children to help them plan their upcoming week. We go through the work they will need to complete and they write goals for their week. I also use the sticky-note planning system to keep them on track each week.
- I spot-check their work on a daily basis, but do most of the grading during the weekends when we have our planning meetings together. This helps me check their progress and allows me to set new goals for the week based on their previous week.
When homeschooling a large family, I’ve found that a schedule is a valuable tool.
But as my kids have become more independent, I’ve been able to slowly relax our schedule and allow them more flexibility. They have proven that they are able to manage their own schedules and create routines to complete their school work independently.
Below are more resources about schedules as well as some sample schedules from past homeschool years.