Our 2017-2018 Homeschool Schedule Preview

If you're an email subscriber, you'll know that we're following a slightly modified school schedule this year. We just had baby number eight in August, so we're on "summer break" now and will start school in October (oh the joys of homeschool flexibility!).

September is homeschool planning month for me and I've been working on our schedule and chore chart. I wanted to take a moment to post and share our plans.


I know. Sharing a schedule before you've fully implemented it is kind of like sharing how amazing your new diet is before you've actually lost any weight, right?

So think of this as the "before" picture. This is the plan. Then, sometime after the first of the year, I'll pop back in with an update and share what worked, what didn't and how we've tweaked it.

The other reason I'm sharing? Our schedule is pretty simple this year. I know most of you are already several weeks in to your school year and maybe already feeling overwhelmed or like you're not keeping up.

Perhaps a look at our simple schedule will give you permission to slow down and breathe! 

Our Daily Schedule

I've spent a couple of years now refining our schedule. We've tried to keep it as simple as possible. And we've also made a huge shift towards "Family Schooling" (everyone learning together). Here's what our days will (theoretically) look like.

7:00 a.m. - kids begin to wake up and have free time
8:00 a.m. - Breakfast, then Chores
9:00 a.m. - Bible Time (sing a hymn, scripture memory, read the Bible, pray)
9:30 a.m. - Table School (Family School/Morning Time)
11:00 a.m. - Free Time
11:30 a.m. - Lunch, tidy School Room
12:30 p.m. - Quiet Rest Time
2:00 p.m. - Snack
2:15 p.m. - Clean-up
3:00 p.m. - Outside Play

One of the things I've tried this year is implementing segments of our new schedule beginning a couple of weeks before school starts. For example, we've been working on our new chore schedule for a couple of weeks now. And we added in silent reading time at t-minus two weeks to back-to-school.

The two pieces of the schedule that we haven't completely filled in are Table School and Quiet Rest Time. Here's a little peek at what I'm planning for those blocks of time.

Table School (Family School/Morning Time)

This block of time is approximately an hour and a half long. Once you subtract time for transitions and potty breaks, etc., we probably have just over an hour to use. Every day we'll be doing a little bit of language via Brave Writer and Daily Language Review.

We'll also do some math exploration. We are in love with Math on the Level, so we'll start the year with a unit on Operations. We'll be exploring a lot of "Living Math" and playing a lot of board games.

For the remainder of the time, we'll loop through the following five subjects:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Science
  • The Arts
  • Spanish

I am over the moon excited to be trying out Layers of Learning this year. It feels like a perfect fit for our family because it is designed to allow the whole family (yes, K-12. seriously.) to learn together.

It covers History, Geography, Science, and the Arts. You can be sure I'll be sharing more about this on the blog as we dive into it!

For Spanish, we'll be learning from La Clase Divertida (The Fun Class!). We'll be exploring Spanish language and culture together with DVD lessons, an audio CD and ready-packed kits for crafts and other cultural exploration!

Quiet Rest Time

I believe that it is essential to the health of a homeschool that everyone gets a chance to decompress and have some time to themselves. Mama needs this. The kids need this.

This is also an opportunity for the kids to complete the written and independent assignments they have each day. Here's what will be involved:

  • Private Devotions - a short passage of Scripture to read, time to pray and time to work on the Memory Challenge of the week (a Scripture verse and two Catechism questions).
  • Math - this will vary depending on what unit we are studying together during Table School. Sometimes they'll have written work from the Math on the Level Five-A-Day Online Essentials practice generator. Sometimes they'll practice via Khan Academy or CTC Math. The older kids will spend some time working through Mr. D. Math Pre-Algebra.
  • Silent Reading - some of this will be assigned reading as an extension of the subjects we're studying in Table School and some will be free choice reading.
  • Personal Hobby - some of the kids have particular skills they are learning, like piano playing, drawing, knitting, etc. Quiet Rest Time is a good opportunity for them to pursue that.

Once we are done with lunch, we clean up the school room. The four oldest have spots on the floor in the school room for quiet rest time. The first grader and preschooler have the sofa and a chair in the library (living room) as their location. The toddler naps upstairs. I have the baby with me and we usually nap, too!

If you'd like more details about the curriculum and resources we use in our homeschool, you can find the complete list here.

Our Chore Schedule

Ah the chore schedule. If I had a dime for every variation on the theme that I've tried over the years, well, let's just say that would be a lot of dimes!

For the past couple of years, we've schooled four days a week and had one day set aside for chores. At first it was Friday (to get the house tidy for the weekend). And then we switched to Mondays (to get the house tidy after the weekend)!

This year, I decided that I really wanted to school five days a week again. It wasn't so much that I felt the pressure to school more. Instead, I wanted more margins. More white space. I also wanted more consistency from day to day.

So now, in addition to daily chores, which have pretty much remained constant, we've taken our weekly chores and sprinkled them throughout the week. For the most part, everyone has one additional weekly chore to do each day.

I've also tried to spread out similar tasks to avoid overlap. For example, no one has to wait for the vacuum now that each vacuuming task happens on a different day. (See the schedule below.)

Click on the image to see a larger view.

Of course, each family will need to adapt a chore schedule to their own needs, so I'm simply sharing to give you a peek and some ideas. Here's a brief "glossary" in case you wondered what some of these chore names represent.

  • Bring Trash to Curb/Bring Trash Back - take the 90 gallon cans down to the curb for trash pick-up and back to the back yard after they are empty
  • Church Clothes and Shoes - locate and hang in the foyer for mama to check and make sure all pieces are accounted for (done on Friday to give one day's margin for washing and/or finding!)
  • Collect Coat Hangers - go through all the closets upstairs and harvest empty coat hangers to bring to the laundry room for refilling
  • Feed Charley - friendly family cat who does like to eat
  • Hanging Clothes - take the clothes that have been hung on hangers in the laundry room and put them in the proper closets
  • Nails and Bath - trim your fingernails and toenails and bathe (some baths happen on an as-needed basis during the week, and the older kids can shower independently, but on Saturday, we try to run everyone through the rinse)
  • Sort Laundry - sorting by sibling into baskets with tags
  • Sort and Hang Laundry - putting hanging clothes on hangers and putting non-hanging clothes in basket for sorting by sibling
  • Toilet Paper - refill locations for spare rolls in upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. (Yes, this really does have to be done daily in our home!)
  • Up and Down Baskets - we have wooden crates at the top and bottom of our stairs. Things that need to be taken upstairs or downstairs can be put there for later transfer

I hope this has been interesting and informative. I'd love to hear a bit about what a school day looks like in your house. How's it going this far into the year? Finding a groove? Struggling to get it all done? Leave a note and let me know!


Lynna Sutherland is a homeschool mother of eight always-homeschooled kiddos ranging in age from high school to kindergarten. She loves to encourage parents in the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling and offer creative ways to manage a large family and a multi-age homeschool!

  • Very helpful! I am watching your posts carefully because I also had a baby (#5) in August (the same day, actually, if I recall from your email). It is helpful to see what kinds of jobs you, as a more seasoned parent, have your older kids doing. Out of curiosity, how do you fit in individual time, especially for reading and math in the younger grades?

    • Congratulations, Laura! So fun to know another mama who had a baby right around the same time as George! Here’s the thing about individual school time: I don’t do a lot of it. Most of my instruction takes place in the morning with all of the children together. Any math assignments that the older children do are either 5-a-Days (five review problems that don’t need instruction) or are practice of what we’re currently learning from Khan Academy and/or CTC math. You can find out a little more about how we do “Family Math” here: https://www.hswotrainingwheels.com/family-math-some-practical-strategies/

      I also don’t do a lot of individual reading instruction. The one exception is when little people are first learning to read. Currently, I find a time to slip in about 15 minutes of phonics practice with my 6-year-old son. My 4-year-old daughter has been sitting in with us. I usually do this while the older kids are doing after-lunch clean-up.

      In addition to family-style learning (rather than everyone having their own math book, language book, etc.) I also practice delayed formal education. Only my oldest four (ages 12, 11, 9, and 7) have any serious written school work.

      I’m glad you’re asking about this! Come back at me if you have more questions.

  • I’m so glad I found this post. This is so similar to how our approach this year (baby #6 was born at the beginning of the summer). But as a new homeschooler, I always find it a struggle not to worry that we’re not doing enough. (Or maybe that’s not a new homeschooler struggle, and I just need to get used to the feeling ?)
    The family schooling concept has definitely resonated with us and I appreciate all the resources you’ve shared along those lines. I’m really curious to hear more about Layers of Learning and how you’re liking that this year! It looks like a great resource.

    • Welcome, Wendy! I’m sorry to report that worrying that you’re not doing enough is not just a newbie homeschooler feeling (though maybe there’s some comfort in knowing you’re not alone?). Over time, though, I think we get better at recognizing the richness in the freedom, family together time, and other benefits that far outweigh the things we might be “missing”. I’m looking forward to sharing about Layers of Learning!

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