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When I first started homeschooling kindergarten, I was determined to make sure my child would be nothing short of a genius. I wanted my kindergarten homeschool schedule to make her sail through reading and math and solicit “ooos” and “aahs” and “wows” from all the other moms (and grandmas).
I stayed glued to Pinterest and stay at home/homeschool mom blogs to see what other moms were doing for their daily homeschool routines. I would take what I saw they were doing and would put together a homeschooling schedule. Then I’d inevitably feel the need to tweak it, so I’d do more research and try something different.
I quickly realized that there were many things I failed to consider:
- My aspirations were greater than my ability to carry them out-I really didn’t have the patience for a full day of kindergarten-level focused stuff.
- You can’t make major overhauls to a daily schedule overnight-you need to build it little by little.
- The whole day does not need to revolve around homeschooling academics-homeschooling is about so much more than that!
- It doesn’t take that much to homeschool kindergarten-keeping it simple and realistic keeps you sane and consistent.
- Parental connection and home atmosphere matter almost more than anything.
I know many of you may be just starting on your homeschooling journey, and I want to encourage you and provide as much help and perspective as I can to get you started! That’s why today, I thought I’d share with you our simple and realistic kindergarten homeschool schedule.
First, I’d like to point out…
Like many of you, I was raised in the public school system. Thus, school system-type scheduling was all I knew for a long time, specifically as it related to academics. For me, “school” meant academics.
Because of this, I struggled in the beginning years to create a homeschooling routine that felt like it fit our family. I was so busy trying to fulfill checklists and make sure all the things were done that I was pretty blind to the needs right in front of me.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last decade of being a homeschool mom, it’s that homeschool schedules need to not only be as simple and realistic as possible, but they need to fully take into account both your priorities and what’s currently going on in your life.
I’ll talk a little more about this later-on to the kindergarten homeschool schedule!
Again, if you’re just starting out homeschooling, here’s a post you may want to check out on how to start homeschooling starting today. First and foremost, you must…
Know your state’s homeschool laws
It only takes a minute to figure out what your state homeschooling laws are, but it could cost you a lot of time and energy if you don’t.
I happen to live in a state whose homeschool laws are very lenient, but your state or country may be very strict and require more documentation, and you’ll want to take time to learn this.
Once you’re aware of what your state or country requires, you can make sure to take the proper steps to address these things. Then…
Know your family’s priorities
This is NOT something you must know before you create a kindergarten homeschool schedule, but taking the time eventually to nail this down can keep you from being scatterbrained and save you much unnecessary stress.
To determine our homeschool vision, I first spent time in prayer. Jesus is the Lord of our lives, and we submit to His authority for everything, including making homeschool decisions. He knows what needs work, and He sees what I’m blind to, and He’s more realistic about my capacity than I am. Most of all, He knows what He wants to do in and through our lives individually and as a family, so I want to make sure we’re aligned with that.
As well, I’ve thought about other things I’d like to have as a part of our full homeschool day (like plenty of outdoor time, making sure I get enough rest!). These sorts of things become the priorities that become the substance of our schedules.
What to consider when it comes to kindergarten homeschool schedules
When you homeschool, it’s about so much more than just academics. You have the opportunity to:
- Establish and strengthen your parent/child connection
- Build character as a family
- Help your children learn to care for the home by doing chores
- Teach your kids conflict resolution skills
- Lead your children to know God and learn how to pray
- Teach your child to play by him/herself and together (especially if you need a break)
As you can see, when you create a kindergarten homeschool schedule, it’s not just about reading, writing, and math. These are certainly important, but undoubtedly, academics will not be the majority of your day.
Our kindergarten homeschool schedule
- For the sake of making room for real life and all the other activities that take place apart from academics, we only do the academics portion of homeschooling four days a week. This keeps us all from burning out and gives us a full day off even before the weekend.
- I would also like to point out that for the sake of ease and organization, we use a block schedule. This helps all of us to stay focused on what’s in front of us, and helps me not to get ahead of myself.
Morning Routines. This includes changing their clothes, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, making their beds, brushing their teeth, and combing their hair.
Breakfast & take supplements
Devo. Each of my kids takes a day of the week to pick a worship song, and we worship, read the Bible, and pray together.
Family Lessons. I keep this super simple. During this time, we work on memorizing Scripture and reading aloud. Currently, we’re reading from some character-focused books, which provide a fabulous opportunity to have character discussions. We’re also reading the Sassafras Science Adventures, which are one adventure after another!
Individual Studies. Each child does their own age-appropriate schoolwork. Currently, my kindergartener is working on:
- Handwriting from The Good and the Beautiful
- Language Arts from The Good and the Beautiful
- Math from Math Mammoth
I also supplement reading with Reading Eggs and Fast Phonics and math with Math Seeds (these can all be found in the Reading Eggs app). I would love for my little ones not to do any virtual learning at all, but when you’re a one-mom show, you have to do what you have to do!
Free Play. I take this time to work with my older girls while my little ones run off and play. Sometimes, we take this time to go to the park as well.
Quiet Play/Rest Time. I usually set a timer on the microwave or in their room, and my kindergartener and preschooler play in their room together while I take a break.
Chores and more free play
Tech and media time. During this time, I allow my kids to play on their tablets/ watch shows for about an hour. My husband comes home during this time, I prepare dinner, then head to the gym!
What else do they do besides academics
–> Play with each other-inside or outside.
–> Hands-on table activities. I keep an activity closet stocked with things that can keep them busy, including:
–> Drawing– Some of my daughters favorite YouTube drawing channels are Art Hub for Kids, Draw So Cute, and Easy Preschool Drawing.
–> Help around the house! Kids love to contribute. My kids always ask to be able to help cook, and when they see me cleaning something, they inevitably want to do it too. Give them the opportunity to help!
What’s worked for us
Having a general block routine
I’ve tried all kinds of schedules, but for us, block routines have worked best.
A block routine, as I define it, is a block of time that starts at a certain time and has certain activities that get done in that amount of time.
To keep our kindergarten homeschool schedule as realistic as possible, not all of our blocks start at a particular time. For instance, our morning block starts at 7:30, and it includes their morning routines, breakfast, and family devo. The next block, which includes our family lesson, their individual academics, lunch and the park follows right after that, but doesn’t necessarily have a start time.
The reason I chose to run our schedule this way is because it helps keep my brain from getting overloaded since I’m grouping things together. With all that happens in a day, protecting my mental health is important!
Also, if we’ve had a tiring day or week, some of these block times will be adjusted by an hour or two and/or some things may get taken out of the block (like the park). We are in charge of what happens in the schedule-it’s not in charge of us!
I use printable charts for homeschool morning routines, chores, weekly rotations, etc. These help me keep all parts of our blocks running smoothly.
Using printables to help run our day
I’m working on updating my homeschool schedules pack to include all the printables you’ll need to smoothly run your homeschool day, but check out my Responsible Kids Packs! These are loaded with printables to help your child become productive and responsible!
Consistency builds good habits! We’ve built a schedule that we’ve consistently done for a while, so my kids know what needs to be done and what to expect. Consistency has kept us from being lazy and unproductive in our homeschool.
Adding to our schedule a little at a time
Doing an overnight overhaul of your entire schedule will most likely burn you out! Adjusting a little at a time will help you be consistent.
What hasn’t worked for us
By-the-minute homeschool schedules
For me and for our family, by-the-minute homeschool schedules were difficult to keep up with and personally, I found them draining. By-the-minute homeschool schedules are where there are multiple start times in a day.
- 8:00 Breakfast
- 8:30 Phonics
- 9:00 Math
- 9:30 Art
Oftentimes, when I see these kinds of homeschool schedules (especially for the younger grade levels), I can’t help but wonder…
…what are the younger ones doing that enables you to keep this schedule?
…what about bathroom/attention breaks?
…are you able to keep this schedule consistently?
And most of all, are you in charge of this schedule or is it in charge of you?
Now hear me when I say this: I have total respect for any and all moms who create homeschool schedules that have set times all day. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that a schedule can look great on paper, but can also become a burden.
Not enough structure. On the flip side, I went through seasons where I was trying to get rid of rigidity and didn’t have a schedule, but not having enough structure also proved difficult. When your kindergartener has nothing to do and you have stuff to get done, it can be a back and forth battle and leaves you always pining for naptime or bedtime.
Lack of self-discipline. Even with schedules that work for your family, you still need a fair amount of self-discipline to make things get done!
Not having supplies on hand. Not that you can’t improvise, but it’s so much easier to homeschool when you have your curriculum, supplies, and other activities on hand!
Trying to make the day revolve around academics. Make a schedule that not only takes academics into consideration, but ALL things you will expend energy on.
I used to center the day around my kids and try to get “my” stuff done later. I’ve since learned that all the things that need to get done, my stuff included, need to go into the schedule.
Kindergarten homeschool schedule ideas
→ If you do a homeschool morning basket, consider tossing in some good literature, poetry, memorization work, and history.
→ If you allow them to have tablet time, consider limiting them to educational games, shows, and YouTube channels. In our home, Friday night is movie night. Monday-Thursday, they are limited in what they can watch.
Here are some apps my kindergartener and preschooler use or have used that you might like:
- ABC Mouse
- Khan Academy
- Reading Eggs/Math Seeds/Fast Phonics
- PBS Kids
→ Consider investing in some collection books. This is on my to do list for the next few months so I can incorporate more of a living approach to science. I’ll be purchasing a tree identification book as well as a bird identification book. That way when we visit the park, we can identify plants and birds and my kids can have a living knowledge of the world around them.
Also, my kindergartener loves this cat breed guide (especially since we have a cat!). She loves seeing all the different kinds of cats there are and learn unique things about them.
→Don’t underestimate the power of spending lots of time outside!
→ LIkewise, don’t underestimate the power of play!
→ Keep in mind the bigger picture: that homeschooling is about so much more than academics, and your kids love when you just sit down and give them your full attention, no matter what you’re doing!
Where to start creating your schedule
If you’re here and you’re saying, ok this is all great, but where do I start?
Here’s what I would do if I were to create a homeschool schedule for kindergarten all over again:
- I would start with a consistent bare bones schedule-meal times, bed times, and wake up times (for myself, my kindergartener, and any other children). Since I see schedules in a wholistic way, I would also take time to figure out my family’s meal planning strategy.
- I’d add in a short devo time and reading aloud time.
- Then, I’d make play time part of the routine-both with me and by herself. I would try to get outdoors as much as possible!
- I’d pick up a few workbooks or flash cards at a local store while I take the time to do some curriculum research, and most likely work on these for a little bit in the morning.
- I’d keep hands-on activities stocked for extra things to do.
- Have a day or two a week where we get together with other friends, go to the library, or do other outings.
- Most of all, have lots of respectful, loving interaction!
I hope I provided you some help and perspective on creating a kindergarten homeschool schedule that works for your kindergartener. What things does your kindergartener like to do that you would add?