One question we frequently get asked about homeschooling is how long we actually spend on it each day. Our schedule and lesson plans have experienced some major changes since we started homeschooling, but one thing hasn’t: for the most part, our typical homeschool day ends at noon.
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Done by noon. Unfortunately done by noon requires further explanation. You see, those three words are usually met with some interesting facial expressions. Maybe it sounds too good to be true. Maybe it sounds like we’re complete flakes. Maybe it sounds like we do nothing at all.
All I know is that the kids smile and most adults sneer when learning that our typical homeschool day ends at noon. I consider myself an ambassador for homeschooling, so I’m happy to provide some further detail at this point in the conversation. After all, done by noon would’ve probably shocked me too at one point in my life.
A Look at Our Typical Homeschool Day
This is a general look at our daily routine because we don’t following a set schedule at this point in our homeschool journey. I don’t necessarily schedule our days, but I’m very aware of our direction for the year at all times.
Keeping that direction in mind, I spend a couple of hours every two weeks going through our curricula and entering assignments for both of my kids into Homeschool Planet (See my Homeschool Planet review here). That keeps us on track each day and provides accountability for the things we need to accomplish each day and each week.
On a typical homeschool day, our morning looks something like this for my oldest child, a fifth-grader:
- 9:00 AM – Language Arts
- 9:30 AM – Math
- 10:00 AM – Geography
- 10:20 AM – Science
- 10:50 AM – Music
- 11:15 AM – History
- 12:00 PM – Lunch, Devotions, & Read Alouds
I’m involved in his history and science lessons, but language arts, math, and geography usually happen without much input from me. Since The Boy is able to complete much of his work independently, I’m more of an administrator and a guide for him in those subjects. I’m always aware of what he’s learning and available if he needs help, but the fact that he’s transitioned to self-led learning helps tremendously when it comes to working with Prissy.
Prissy is four years-old and has a much looser homeschool routine. I spend around 30 minutes each day helping her with lessons from her preschool curriculum. Those lessons focus on letters, numbers, and other foundational concepts, but don’t require much time at the table. In addition to her curriculum, I go through one lesson from The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading with her.
After that, she’s technically done for the day. Is she finished learning? Not at all! She usually sits in on The Boy’s history lesson, then she’s still learning through playtime, books we’re reading together, and even through her favorite Kindle apps. She’s even learning by helping me with things around the house! There’s a lot of learning that still happens, but it’s not scheduled.
How We Pull it Off Before Noon
How do we do it all each day? We don’t! That’s by design, though. We spend four days a week following our homeschool routine and spend one day with our homeschool co-op group. In our co-op group, we cover art, STEM, and physical education together each week. Therefore, those things aren’t typically incorporated into what we’re doing on a daily basis in our homeschool.
Another thing to keep in mind for us is that we don’t cover every subject each day. History, science, and music are usually limited to two or three days a week. Grammar is planned for two days each week, but creative writing and Spanish only happen once throughout the week. Math and geography are our only subjects that happen every day.
Days with fewer subjects have assignments that take longer to complete, but days with a full load don’t have lengthy assignments. This helps to keep our homeschool days from being overwhelming for the kids and even me.
It’s also worth noting here that we school year-round. Sort of. It’s mostly that we don’t really stop unless we’re out of town. Homeschooling year-round has always been a good fit for us and is ultimately what makes it possible finish our typical homeschool days by noon.
A Look at Our Non-scheduled Time
Our planned homeschool time is usually over around noon, but the remainder of our days tend to follow a routine as well. After we clear our homeschool table, it’s time for lunch, devotions, and a chapter in our read-aloud. Currently we’re working through The Plans I Have for You and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone together. I’m sure that combination makes some folks cringe. 😉
Once that’s finished, we work towards naptime for Prissy and and free time for The Boy. His free time is spent playing video games (he has a daily time limit), building with LEGOs, working on the art project of his choice, journaling, working on his comic book characters, and reading. (His current selections are a Picasso biography and Magic Tree House book on World War II).
I love that he has his entire afternoon to pursue hobbies and self-led learning. Just like Prissy’s morning time, he may not have a scheduled afternoon, but he’s still exploring and learning all day long!
While The Boy is enjoying free time, Prissy is napping. I use this time to write and do other blog-related work, but what happens after that varies according to each day and what we’ve got going on as a family. That’s another reason homeschooling half a day works so well. Having a morning routine we can bank on helps tremendously since our late afternoon and evening obligations vary from day to day and often week to week.
That’s a general idea of what we have going on each day. Being done by noon on a typical homeschool day may sound crazy to some, but it’s a perfect fit for us!
Oh, and if you’re wondering if this whole being finished by noon thing happens when the kids are a bit older, I’d love for you to check out this Updated Look at Our Homeschool Day. In it, I share how we’re able to make it work while homeschooling 1st and 7th grades.
PS: this post is a part of My Joy-filled Life’s Top 100 Homeschool Posts of 2016.