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Homeschool 101: Scheduling Homeschool

Homeschool Scheduling Questions

Common questions for new homeschoolers over schedules are:

  • how long do you school every day?
  • do I have to follow the public school calendar?
  • how long should I spend on spelling/math/science/whatever?
  • how many days a week do I do history/grammar/spanish/whatever?

Homeschool Doesn’t Look Like Public School

This is the beauty of home schooling. It does NOT need to look like public school.

You can help your son with his science experiment while you’re making dinner. You can drill your daughter’s spelling list on the way to the grocery store.  

We fit homeschool in and around our lives and activities.

We all know learning can happen everywhere, and it doesn’t always mean reading a textbook or answering questions in a workbook.  Many people have a philosophy of no formal academics at all, unless the child requests it.

But even if you do choose to use some combination of workbooks or textbooks or lessons, you can still experience the flexibility of homeschooling.

School happens.. whenever, wherever and however you need it to.

Whether you spend 2 hours on math one day, and whip through all your lesson plans in 3 hours the next, it’s all normal.  I know one mom who is a dance teacher, and her own children will do their school work in another room, while she’s teaching.  

My oldest did math, reading, writing, and Bible study on a trip to my 2nd’s specialists’ appointments. My middle kids brought their school work with us to my chiropractor’s appointment.

One of the best things about homeschooling is the flexibility.

Artificial separation?

There seems to be this need for an artificial separation between home and work and school. But as my business grows, there is no set-apart time. It’s all blended together.

I write blog posts while my children are scattered around the house — one working on her math on the couch, one at the table working on an art project, a third and fourth working together to clean up their room, and the fifth is in her room playing a game.

We are a family, and everything — work, parenting, cleaning, homeschooling — everything happens together.

So do you spend 2 hours on a math lesson? If that’s what it takes to learn it the concept (and if your student is simply being a rebellious kid, it becomes a parenting moment more than a school moment).

Do you alternate history and science and geography? Sure.

Or you can do them all at once. Or back-to-back.

You can do it however it suits your family.

A Look at One Homeschool Schedule

Here’s what our tentative school schedule looks like, for your convenience:

  • We school year round, January to December.
  • We take a 3-6 week break approximately every 3 months. These big breaks usually coincide with Christmas, Easter and a summer break around mid July/August.
  • We take a 1 week break approximately every 6 weeks. These little breaks usually coincide with our Canadian Thanksgiving (October), Valentine’s Day, and one long weekend in May/June-ish.
  • We school 4 days a week, fitting in as necessary on the 5th day anything extra.
  • We have no set time for school, as the list of assigned lessons is posted along with their chores, and as long as the list is completed by the end of the week, I’m fine with it. I help as wanted, direct as needed, and remind frequently.
  • School work sometimes gets done before breakfast, sometimes after supper, sometimes in the car and sometimes at the kitchen table. While we have one place where all the books and craft supplies and extra paper and pencils are kept, it’s rare that school work actually happens there.

How long should school take every day?

Typically, a good rule of thumb is that formal seat work should amount to +20 min per grade level.

You can start with 20 minutes of book work in preschool  — 5 minutes spent on coloring, 5 minutes spent reading a story, 5 minutes spent in tracing numbers, letters or their name, and 5 minutes of flashcards or other game. And all those activities don’t have to happen all in a row, back-to-back.

By the time you get to 4th grade, your student should have approximately 2 hours of seat work to do. A middle school child will have around 3 hours, and high school will take between 4-6 hours.

This is just a guideline, of course, and your mileage may vary.

Completely under your control

Homeschooling schedules and timing are completely under your control.

Sometimes us public-schooled parents forget that the majority of the time children are in school, they are waiting. Waiting for everyone to get into line, waiting for the teacher to come answer their question, waiting for the test to be handed out, waiting for their friends to finish their lunch.. a lot of time is wasted by waiting.  

When your student doesn’t have to wait, the school work doesn’t actually take that long. Just think of the freedom you have when you don’t have to spend hours and hours in one place waiting!

Your children will thank you for the free time to play, create, move, and grow.

Need help getting started homeschooling

What does your day look like? How long does your family spend homeschooling?

The story begins..


Once upon a time, there was a single mama of six princesses. This is our real life, real love and our real story.

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About RaisingRoyalty

Single mom of 6, homeschooling and working from home. I've survived everything life threw at me, now I'm finding a way to thrive. This is my real life story.


  1. Homeschooling at our house begins with rosary at 7am, oral lessons immediately following (all of MY duties as teacher), then breakfast. Now the kids are ready to tackle their schooling whether I can be home or not that morning. Of course, I’m still available to help when they’re stuck. And they’re always done before lunch. This is our schedule most days, but it is flexible when needed. Dad works shift work, so homeschooling means he gets to see the kids no matter what time he’s off. We do this year in and year out, and now that I am finished child bearing, we follow the same rhythms as the public school system – same holidays. We used to work our school around a new baby every year. Eleven times. The blessings of homeschooling. God is good! Thanks for sharing. I love your blog!

    • Wow! I love hearing how different families homeschool. And I hear you on scheduling school around the babies 🙂 I’ve done the same! Thanks for reading.

  2. Our state (New York) requires X amount of minutes per school year. For K- grade 8 it’s 900 hours per year. We normally go for 5 hours a day for 180 days. Our boys are in grade 1 this year so it’s only our second year. We are loving it!

  3. I recently wrote about this issue on my blog. There’s a lot of dead time in the classroom, especially since the public school day is intended to coincide with the adult work day.

    We homeschool year-round. Right now, we are in OK, which has no regulations on homeschooling. We use to live in KS, which has an hour requirement. Averaging those hours out over the course of the calendar year (as opposed to the school year) worked out to about 3 hours per day, and one of those is covered by a daily documentary plus discussion time. Those state hourly requirements also include PE.


    • That’s the whole point of this. Many new-to-homeschooling families come to homeschooling with the idea that they have to fill up 6+ hours with formal academic instruction, and it’s not necessarily true.

      There’s an ad that plays occasionally locally, and it’s a cute poem. The last phrase is, “learning can happen anywhere, all it takes is a book.” While, it might not need a book, but learning can and does happen anywhere. And it doesn’t have to look like “school”!!

      Isn’t that awesome?!

  4. Great post! I could have written it myself. I love how flexible homeschooling is. Our schooling looks different every day, but the lack of rigidity is what makes us thrive. Thanks for writing!

    • That’s the beauty of homeschooling! The flexibility makes it possible for any family to homeschool, and there’s no one right way.

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