Category: Homeschooling (Elementary School)

How to Create a Homeschool Schedule for a New School Year

How to Create a Homeschool Schedule for a New School Year

Are you a new homeschooling mom? Maybe you are considering preschool at home or you have decided to homeschool your Kindergarten or 1st grade student. It can be overwhelming: from curriculum to to socialization, everyone has an opinion.  Creating a flexible, effective homeschool schedule doesn’t have to be hard, though. Read on for a step-by-step plan to create a weekly homeschool schedule, and be sure to scroll down for our free printable template download.

4 Steps to Creating a Homeschool Schedule

Image of a child's hand holding a pencil with a text overlay: How to Create a Flexible Homeschool Schedule for the New School Year

Identify Your Child’s Learning Style

Every one of our children learn differently, and discovering how our children learn best can definitely impact our daily homeschool schedule. My own two daughters are both auditory learners which means we can “double-dip” — listening to memory work in the car or during play time. If you have kinesthetic learners, you can take some of your lessons outside for gym + math facts or spelling practice.

Click here for more about learning styles.

Determine Your Family Culture

Some families love to be on the go! In homeschool learning, that may look like co-ops, park days, sports and music classes, plus additional playdates and extracurriculars. While children can certainly learn outside of their home “school,” be sure to take everyone’s personality styles into consideration when setting up your weekly schedule. Since we have two introverts in the family, we try to alternate between “at-home” days and “activity” days.

Click here to learn more about personality styles. 

Choose Your Subjects

A major benefit of homeschooling is combining multiple skills and subjects into one lesson. If you choose to use unit studies or interest-based learning, you’ll be amazed by how much content you can cover in a shorter period of time.

We also don’t have to teach every subject every day. We do math and spelling five days a week, but many other subjects can be covered with just one lesson a week! Since our girls are major readers, I don’t “teach” reading every day. We cover phonics during spelling and comprehension during read-aloud and history lessons.

Map Out Your Weekly Homeschool Schedule Visually

When we were first getting started with homeschooling (seven years ago!), I struggled with the idea that our schedule varied from week to week. Using a homeschool planner didn’t work for us, so I created a template that I could reuse week after week.

It really simple!

  1. Print off the schedule template.
  2. Fill in all “out of the house” commitments: classes, events, appointments first.
  3. Add in family “cornerstones,” like naps/rest time, meals, read-aloud time, etc.
  4. Look the available pockets of time that are left, and see what lessons you can fit in. Remember that young children learn best through play, and the goal is not to finish every lesson in the book, but to master one new skill at a time.
Image of computer on desk with text: "How to Create a Homeschool Schedule for the New School Year

Download our printable weekly template!

Example Homeschool Schedule

All summer long, we have done read-aloud time first in our day. For our fall semester, we decided to move read-aloud time (and other fun topics!) to after lunch. Since both girls will have a heavier workload this year, we’ve decided to do our core subjects immediately after breakfast, when we’re all feeling our best.

Here’s a peek at our fall homeschooling schedule:

  • Morning chores & breakfast
  • Classes will start at 9:00 a.m. (I’ll start with Katie’s lessons while Addie completes her independent work. Once Katie has finished, Addie and I will do math and grammar together.)
  • The girls will have lunch and outside time from noon until 1:30. I’ll use most of that time for lesson-planning and blog-writing.
  • At 1:30, we’ll come together for read-aloud time, music, art projects, and AWANA memory work.
  • From 2:30-3:30, the girls will have independent reading time, finish up any school work, and play quietly.
  • At 3:30, they’ll be officially “dismissed” until dinner time.

We have gym class on Wednesday mornings, so our schedule will be a little different one day a week.

Making a homeschool schedule for your family may require some trial and error for a few weeks until you find something that feels comfortable for both you and your kids.

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Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway

Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway

Are you ready for the winter break? The colder temperatures have arrived in Iowa, and we are making a long list of activities that will keep us busy inside over the next few months. We have our favorite educational toys for open-ended play, winter books, and list of 30 boredom busters. We’ve even signed up for online music classes! The winter months are an excellent time to try new learning activities, like a fun unit study.

Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway | homeschool ideas, homeschool curriculum, learning activities, first grade, second grade, third grade

Homeschool Complete reached out to us with a free downloadable unit study to try. We love spending time outside at our local nature trails, so the park unit study was a perfect choice! We have not received any additional compensation for this review, and all opinions are our own. This post may contain affiliate links to items that we love and recommend. Thank you for supporting our growing book collection.   

I downloaded and printed off the entire 46-page unit one Sunday afternoon. Each of the four lessons came with a full-color worksheet and reusable resources (BINGO board, hundreds chart, blank calendar, and more), along with a supply list and lesson plan. After looking over the week’s lessons, we made a list of books to get at the library, including one of our favorites: The Camping Trip that Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Our National Parks

One of my favorite things about this unit study was how easy it was to print and go. The girls loved it, too! Each day, they asked me which fun things we’d be doing together. And even though we have a full math and grammar curriculum, both my first grader and fourth grader loved each day’s’ language and math activities. It was fun for them to do lessons together!

Each of the four days, we read a library book about one of the U.S. National Parks: Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. We had a blank map to identify where each park is located so we could talk about the weather and landmarks. We also supplemented with regional music from The Okee Dokee Brothers.

Day 1:

Our favorite activity on Monday was learning about open syllables. Even though we love our spelling curriculum, we hadn’t yet learned about this fun rule. We spent the rest of the week looking for words with open syllables.

Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway | homeschool ideas, homeschool curriculum, learning activities, first grade, second grade, third grade

Day 2:

Our favorite activity on Tuesday was writing acrostic poems. The girls also built a fort and enjoyed “camping out” while we talked about the Grand Canyon.

Day 3:

Our favorite activity on Wednesday was definitely the geyser investigation. The girls LOVED the activity, even though it was beyond simple to set up and do! They have been talking about Old Faithful ever since.

(Honorable mention on Day 3: learning about onomatopoeia. Our library didn’t have the recommended book, so we checked out a football-themed book instead. My little Packer fans loved it!)

Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway | homeschool ideas, homeschool curriculum, learning activities, first grade, second grade, third grade

Day 4:

Our favorite activity on Thursday was the math lesson on area. It’s actually a topic my 4th grader has been working on in her Saxon lessons, and her math-minded little sister was happy to get to measure and multiply, too. After doing the previous day’s lesson, they immediately understood why area is measured in “square” inches, and they loved getting out their rulers and racing each other to solve the problems.

Day 5+:

Even though this product is a four-day unit, we have more than enough ideas to keep the learning going throughout the rest of the month. Our girls want to check out more books about other National Parks and plan a spring break trip to go visit one.  There are additional activities we can do when spring comes around too, like leaf rubbings and kite-building!


We absolutely adored this unit from Homeschool Complete. My girls are already asking when we can do another one! It was easy to print and find materials, but most of all, the activities were engaging for my six-year-old AND my nine-year-old. I would encourage all of my U.S. readers, whether full-time homeschooling or not, to enter this giveaway!

Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway | homeschool ideas, homeschool curriculum, learning activities, first grade, second grade, third grade

Homeschool Complete – Parks Unit Study Giveaway (Valued at around $57)

This giveaway includes a printed copy of the unit study (student & teacher pages) plus all the manipulatives and games included in the lessons for the Homeschool Complete “Parks” Unit Study.

• Parks Unit Study
• Sight Word Flashcards
• Sight Word Bingo Game
• Compound Word Memory
• Student Journal
• Square Tiles
• Spelling Squares
• 100 chart
• Multiplication & Division Flashcards
• Calendar

Click here to enter:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unit Study: Homeschool Complete Review & Giveaway | homeschool ideas, homeschool curriculum, learning activities, first grade, second grade, third grade

Even if you don’t win the free unit study, you can get 20% off anything at the Homeschool Complete store through December 24th!

Use code: ROLLPR20


Before you go, tell me:
How would you use this unit in your family?

Our Decision to Homeschool: Kindergarten

Our Decision to Homeschool: Kindergarten

We were outside the library a few days ago, waiting for them to open before heading out of town for vacation. Since I knew we were about to spend 5 hours together in the car, we started playing a short game of “catch the stuffie.”

I would toss the bear to Addie (9) and say the name of a state. She would catch the bear, say the capital city, and then toss the bear to her sister. Katie (5) named a state while tossing the bear to me, I said the capital, and so our cycle continued. After a few rounds, the library staff opened the front door, and we got in line behind the other patrons waiting to enter.

“Do you homeschool?” asked the lady in front of me.

“We do,” I replied with a smile.

The fact is, I probably would have come up with some nerdy way to spend our waiting time regardless of where my kids do school. It’s who I am.    

It’s the time of year when families are considering all their educational options, and I am well aware that we represent “homeschooling” to every person we meet.

And so I ask myself:

  • Are my kids presentable?
  • Did I brush their hair?
  • Are they being “sociable” enough?
  • Are they acting too “weird”?

Playing states and capitals while waiting for the library to open probably qualifies as weird, right? Oops, sorry kids!

Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten? 4 Factors to Consider | Kindergarten readiness, parenting, milestones, learning through play, child development, developmentally-appropriate practice, homeschool Kindergarten

When I graduated from college at the age of 22 with a degree in elementary education, I had no idea I would be a homeschooling mom. I taught 3rd and 4th grades in a public school for two years before moving. I found a teaching job for 1st and 2nd grades at a small private school in my new town. I’ve also taught in preschools, church programs, and “mommy and me” type classes.

I firmly believe there is no perfect school that will meet every child’s needs. For our girls, homeschooling is the right choice at this time. (We reconsider all of our options for each of our kids each year.)

Here’s how we made the decision to homeschool Kindergarten:

  • Actual Age

  • Academic Readiness

  • Physical Readiness

  • Emotional Readiness

Actual Age:
Both of our girls are YOUNG.

Addie was born in the middle of June, but was actually 14 weeks early. If she had been born on her due date at the end of September, she would have had to wait a year to start school.

Katie was born the first week of September, which put her at the very end of eligibility for Kindergarten. (We live in Iowa, where the cut-off date is 9/15.) She would have either been the very youngest in her class or one of the very oldest in her grade.

Academic Readiness:
Both of our girls are early readers.

When Addie started reading between her 3rd and 4th birthday, I thought it was a fluke. And then her sister started recognizing words when SHE was 3. Even though Kindergarten has become more academic over the years, I knew both girls were more than ready to handle the curriculum at the age of 5.

Physical Readiness:
Both of our girls napped until their 5th birthday.

I knew that our girls would not be ready for a full-day Kindergarten program at our local public school. They each needed extra time to build stamina for 7 hours of instruction and group activities (especially my introverted child).

Emotional Readiness

Ultimately, we knew pretty early on that we had two choices with our girls:

  • either wait a year to put them in public school (when they were a young 6) OR
  • homeschool Kindergarten and see if they “caught up” with their peers.*

We knew it would be easier to retain (hold back) one or both of them–if they ever needed it–then to move them ahead a year if we chose wrong. Do public schools even “skip grades” anymore?

(*Some towns have transitional Kindergarten classes or private, half-day programs that might have worked in a similar situation.)

Considering homeschool Kindergarten?

Why We Chose to Homeschool Kindergarten

Homeschooling Kindergarten meant we could give our girls more time to mature emotionally and physically while still giving them what they needed academically.

And along the way, we discovered that homeschooling is a GREAT fit for our family’s lifestyle and schedule.

Is your child getting ready for Kindergarten? What school options are you considering?

Homeschooling 101Considering homeschool Kindergarten? Check out our Homeschooling 101 course!