Today I wanted to share our Daily Homeschool Schedule. I have gotten numerous emails and messages asking me how we set up our days, but it wasn’t until recently that I felt I was ready to share. I was honestly in survival mode the first year and a half after Rowan was born and I would just do activities with them when we had a random free moment. There was no rhyme or reason…I was just trying to get through the day. Once I started adopting Minimalism, I began to yearn for peace and order in our home. I’ve always read that children do better with structure, so I started doing a ton of research to figure out what has worked for other families.
I began trying out different ideas with my girls until I found the perfect mix of activities that created the daily rhythm I was striving for. I cannot stress this enough: every family is different and has to choose a schedule that works for them! Reading the introduction in The Peaceful Preschool really helped me to sort through my ideas and goals for our daily structure. I selected our schedule in order to:
foster gentle learning
avoid overcommitment (aka stress)
I will be the first to admit that I tend to overcommit. I love saying yes. But in order for me to be able to truly soak in these days with my family and enjoy our life, I’m making it a priority to say no more often. Saying no will provide my family with a wife + mama who is not frazzled or stretched too thin, but rather calm and able to be present. I also want to make sure that we are sticking to our homeschool plans, so I needed a schedule that wasn’t overwhelming or strenuous. Here is a look at our Gentle Preschool Daily Schedule:
9am-10am: Reading Nest
10am-11am: Independent Activities
11:30am-1pm: Outside Time/Free Play
1:30pm-3pm: Quiet Time
3pm-3:30pm: Tea Time
3:30pm-6pm: Outside Time/Free Play
Here are detailed descriptions and explanations for our schedule!
I’ve seen this called many things: Morning Time, Morning Circle, Circle Time, etc, but my favorite is Reading Nest. It makes me things of snuggling up with cozy blankets and a giant pile of books. My girls typically wake up before 7:45am, so we will be eating breakfast, getting dressed and picking up our rooms from 8am-9am. From 9am-10am we will snuggle up and read the daily unit book, a Bible story or the unit’s verse, and any other poems or nursery rhymes we are interested in. The girls ask to sing every day, so I’ll be making a point to include music as well. We will also use this time to start working on calendar review and will do any Phonics + Counting activities.
If there are any activities that can be set up as a “tray” for Rilynn to do independently, those will be available at this time. I’ll also have any applicable toys, puzzles and books out for the girls. If there are any games or Large Motor Activities for the day, we will do those as well. I also want to start introducing handicrafts throughout the year.
If there is an activity that involves food, we will do that now – otherwise it will just be a regular snack.
Outside Time/Free Play
If you look at the schedule, you may be shocked to see four hours set aside for Outside Time. If it is too cold or raining, this will turn into free play indoors. I was very adamant about making sure our new homeschool approach included a lot of time outdoors, as it’s one of the things I love most about the Charlotte Mason method. If you want to read a great thread from moms discussing this topic, check that out here. They even touch on different climates and what is realistic for them throughout the year. My goal is take the girls to parks, trails and on walks as much as possible (probably in the mornings) and then let them play in our backyard in the afternoons.
Rilynn dropped her nap months ago and Rowan still naps once. Sometimes if Rilynn is really tired she will fall asleep during her quiet time, but the other days she plays quietly in her room. I have special sticker books, puzzles and crafts that she can also do independently during this time. This part of our day is necessary for all 3 of us. Rowan needs the sleep and Rilynn and I always come out of it “reset” and refreshed. It’s a good time for me to catch up on anything or just sit and watch a show while I eat lunch.
This is probably going to sound strange to some of you initially. One day while I was researching various Charlotte Mason ideas, I came across an article about a daily Tea Time. I absolutely fell in love with it and knew I wanted to make it a daily practice for us as well. So many wonderful things come from this! I went on Etsy and found a vintage Tea Set for around $20 so that the girls could learn about taking care without me being heartbroken if they smashed an expensive tea cup. I think this is a great way to gather together after our quiet times, read or do art, and just chat with each other. I also like that it’s a little snack time to hold everyone over until dinner.
While I plan to hold our days to this structure, I know unforeseen things will come up and I am totally fine with that! I feel like our schedule is loose enough to account for any random appointments or errands we may have to run. If any of you are feeling worn out and stressed every day, I cannot say enough good things about creating a schedule. I have noticed such a change in my girls’ attitudes! Another game changer was purging our toys. They will play quietly and independently for hours now.
I want to hear from you! What daily practices do you use in your home? Have you noticed a difference in your family once you introduced structure?