This is a bit hard to admit…but I used to really struggle to fit enrichment subjects into our homeschool schedule.
My days often felt rushed as I tried to make time for subjects like art, music, P.E., history, and science.
There seemed to never be enough time to do the experiments, extra projects, or hands-on activities.
It felt like if we did everything, we wouldn’t be done with school till 3-4 pm, which was way longer than I or my kids wanted to go.
My homeschool mom heart wanted to provide a rich and exciting education for my kids…but I also needed to make sure their core subjects were solid and take care of other things like cleaning the house, running errands, taking kids to doctor appointments, making meals, and about 100 other things.
Have you felt rushed through your homeschool schedule?
Never feel like there is time for the “fun stuff” you want to do? Well, unless you do school all day?
This year I tried a totally new homeschool schedule for our enrichment subjects, and we are loving it!
We are leisurely spending time on things like building solar-powered cardboard box toasters, Mona Lisa art history projects, and listening to classical music inspired by caves.
And believe it or not, we are getting done by noon just about every day!
I am so excited to share our homeschool schedule with you and show you how to fully enjoy your enrichment curriculum…and still be done with homeschool by lunch!
The Homeschool Schedule to Finish By Lunchtime
1. Start Early
If you want to be done with homeschool by noon, then you can’t start school at 10 am. Well, at least not with the ages of kids that I have.
We usually start school at 8 am with Morning Time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are ready for the day.
My kids tend to wake up between 7 am and 8 am. They come to the breakfast table with their pajamas on and their hair disheveled.
I make them a quick breakfast, and we often start our Bible lesson while they are eating.
I read the story to them and we go over the included questions and pray together. It’s a great way to start the day with discussion about scripture, instead of who is chewing too loudly.
I often read a chapter from our current read-aloud book and then the kids run off to brush their teeth, make their bed, get dressed, and brush their hair.
2. Multi-Task During Breaks
Having my kids run off to get ready in the morning is a great example of a multi-tasking break.
They are taking a break from learning, but they are still doing something that helps us get to the end of their school day.
This is a great way to save time and keep the momentum going forward.
Other examples of multi-tasking breaks would be saving read-aloud books for snack time.
Kids have to take a break to sit down and eat, so why not make that the time that you read to them?
I also use their scheduled chores as an active thing they can do during a break. It has to get done anyway, so why not knock it out in between your math and reading lesson?
3. Encourage Independent Learning
It is a huge time saver to have a curriculum that my kids can do on their own.
I love that my 4th-grade child has some curriculum that she can do completely on her own. That frees up a lot of time and energy that I can put towards my younger kids who require me by their sides for everything.
To have independent learners in your homeschool, make sure that they develop strong reading skills and do your research on curriculum options.
There are many independent or close to independent options out there.
My child is currently doing math (Teaching Textbooks), typing (Kidztpe), Spanish (DuoLingo), journaling, reading, and chores (life skills!) independently.
While she knocks those subjects out, I can work with my other kids.
Oh, and by the way, she learns time management skills from having an independent curriculum. She has to watch the clock and manage her own breaks to make sure she is done by the time I call her to work with me later in the morning.
She will often set a timer on the stove while she takes 10 minutes to play with her legos, so she doesn’t lose track of time.
****You can read more about my 4th Grade Curriculum Choices here.
4. Do Not Overload Your Younger Kids
I am careful not to give my younger kids (6 and 4 years old) a ridiculous amount of curriculum to complete.
This would make our days longer and make them resistant to do school with me.
My 1st-grade curriculum choices cover reading/spelling, math, and language arts.
My pre-K curriculum choices cover reading, handwriting, and basic math.
I do about 20-30 minutes of one-on-one seatwork with my pre-k child and about 30-40 minutes of one-on-one time with my 1st grader.
There are many curriculum options that take much more time, but I have found that to be unnecessary at this age.
Less is more! Short, focused lessons go much further with kids than hours of repetitive busywork.
5. Schedule One Enrichment Subject Per Day of the Week
This is the key.
This is the big, big change we made this year.
Last year, our curriculum called for short lessons to be done multiple times a week.
On any given day I had a history reading, science project, and an art activity to fit into the day.
There just wasn’t enough time with all the transitions!
This year we are doing ONE enrichment subject every day.
And we are devoting a solid hour to it.
Here is what our week looks like:
Tuesday: History (Story of the World)
Wednesday: Music (Music Lessons for Homeschoolers)
Why One Enrichment Subject a Day is a Game Changer!
You might be thinking that this is not enough.
Let me tell you, we are truly doing more now than we were doing last year – and we’re doing it in less time!
Here is why it works:
Kids are diving deep into ONE subject, so they are learning and retaining more information than if we had bounced around during the day.
We have more time to devote to the lesson, so it is much more thorough
I am not rushed and I think the kids can sense that. There is plenty of time for questions, and to work on their daily project or activity (which is stuff I used to cut out of our day to save time!)
What Our Homeschool Schedule Looks Like – Finishing Before Lunch
You are probably wondering, “What does all of this look like in your homeschool day?”
Here is the schedule we follow to finish homeschool by lunch:
8:00 – Breakfast, Bible Time, Read Aloud Book
8:30 – Break (Brush teeth, get dressed, brush hair, make bed)
9:00 – Daily Enrichment Subject (everybody together for either science, history, music, art, or P.E.)
10:00 – Break for snack time (sometimes I do their read-aloud book here if we have a late start to the day for whatever reason)
10:10 – 4th grader goes to her room to do independent subjects and I sit down to do a reading lesson with my 1st grader. Pre-k student plays.
10:25 – Switch to pre-K Student to do her reading and handwriting lesson while 1st grader takes a break or does her chore.
10:40 – Switch back to 1st grader for a math lesson.
11:00 – Pre-K student math workbook lesson
11:10 – 1st Grader Language Arts lesson
11:20 – I check my 4th grader’s independent work and we do spelling and language arts together
12:00 – DONE!
My kids eat lunch together, go outside and play, play in their rooms, or do whatever they want to do with their day.
I am free to make phone calls, run errands, take care of household things, or play around with this blog.
It is wonderful to have a solid leisurely hour to really delve into a subject with my kids. I know they are loving it and learning so much!
How can a 1st grader and a 4th grader do the same curriculum in your homeschool schedule?
I totally understand your concern.
I guess I would tell you to think of your homeschool as a one-room schoolhouse.
Kids used to learn together all the time and then be separated for things like math and reading.
I would also tell you that I have different expectations for my kids depending on their age.
With my pre-k child, I’m just happy if she sits and listens to the lessons and remembers what it was about.
I expect my 1st grader to do the same, but I also expect more out of her when I’m asking questions or we’re working on an activity.
Finally, I expect my 4th grader to do higher-level worksheets, writing, and produce a more sophisticated project when we’re working together.
We do the same curriculum, but I don’t have the same expectations for my kids.
Recap Homeschool Schedule to be Done by Lunchtime + Free Printable
This homeschool schedule is helping me so much to be the homeschool mom I want to be.
I am not rushed.
I have a focused plan.
My kids have plenty of time to be creative and learn about things that interest them.
We are nailing down the core subjects of reading, writing, and math – I’m happy with how solidly they are progressing.
My oldest child is developing the maturity and drive to work independently, and that’s a great example for her younger sisters to follow.
Chores are getting done every day (because it’s considered to be part of schoolwork – life skills!).
My kids are getting breaks between subjects to run around and be kids.
We are done with homeschool by lunchtime! My kids have hours and hours to run and play and just be kids.
What a blessing the homeschool life is.
I hope this homeschool schedule has helped you to see that you can organize your homeschool schedule so you can be done by lunch too!
There is one more thing you might need…
There is a little something extra that keeps all of us organized and focused on what needs to be done in our homeschool day.
Each of my kids has their own set of routine cards!
I display all the subjects that my kids need to complete in order to be done with school for the day.
This helps them (and me!) to clearly see what is left for the day.
I have done this system since day 1 of my homeschool and I have found it to be essential for us to have a focused, productive day.
You can download your copy of my routine cards today when you subscribe to The Simple Homeschooler!
You can expect Monday morning emails full of homeschool tips, support, encouragement, freebies, curriculum deals, and laughs!
And you’ll be that much closer to finishing by lunchtime with these routine cards!
Want to hold onto all of this for later?
Super smart of you.
Just pin it to your favorite Pinterest board and share it with your homeschool friends and followers!