Multi-level Homeschooling: Our Schedule

Well, since there seems to be a lot of interest in mulit-level homeschooling, I thought I would start with giving you our general schedule grouped by big kids and little kids and then eventually go into specifics of how each time period works.

This schedule in some form or another has been in place for nearly nine years in our home.  Some specifics change with our life seasons, but the basics have been consistent.

The links in the schedule below will take you to a post where I explain the activity more fully and as I post more about multi-level homeschooling, I will hopefully continue to add more links.

5:30 Mom’s quiet time
6:00 Big kids read Bible’s, little kids learn catechism with Dad and Mom showers and tidies bedroom
6:30 Big kids do before breakfast chores, little kids get dressed with mom and help start laundry
7:00 Breakfast, all kids work on memorization box and Bible or book study
8:00 Big kids do chores, little kids help mom with chores
8:30 Big kids start independent work (handwriting, music, math, Greek, etc.) little kids time with mom and/or reading and handwriting with mom
Next: All kids sit quietly for Bible
Next: Big kids history, science, literature, some language arts and assignments for the day with mom, little kids play quietly. (More specifics about this school part of our schedule.)
Around 12:00 Lunch for all kids, mom exercises
All kids play outside, mom cleans up
1:30 Big kids read for pleasure, finish independent work,  little kids nap, mom blogs, knits, draws, naps, etc.
3:00 Big kids have “productive time”, little kids finish napping and have free time, mom acts like a regular mom (fixes dinner, helps with projects, reads aloud, kisses boo boos)
5:30 Dinner
Next: Table Chores
Next: Family Worship
Between 7:00 and 8:00 All kids bedtime

Some notes on our schedule:

  • Remember that this does not happen perfectly everyday, it is simply our goal.  Yesterday we ditched the schedule at noon and headed to the pool.  Everything is flexible, even nap time and meal times. :)
  • I’m a morning person, so you’ll notice that the schedule is weighted very heavily toward morning.  I tend to be much less productive after lunch time.  (Don’t try to imitate our schedule if you’re not a morning person.)
  • I think an important part of this schedule that may tend to get overlooked is that I spend a good amount of time with my little children in the morning, before I begin to spend concentrated time with the big ones.  They have gotten to be with mom before we ask them to play quietly and  independently.
  • “Big kids” and “little kids” in this schedule does not necessarily refer to the same group of children, sometimes the 2, 4, 5, 7, or 8 year olds are “big kids” and sometimes they are “little kids”  :)
  • If you aren’t a schedule person, don’t set times with your activities.  I like for breakfast and nap time to fall “on time” everything else in our schedule is very fluid,  I simply listed times to give you a general idea of how long we are spending on each activity.
  • One of the biggest challenges to getting done what needs to be done, is having children who are not obedient or self-disciplined enough to do what they need to do when they need do it.  Sometimes character training is more important than math.

I posted more specifically how Sonlight fits into this schedule here.

Remember if you have questions or something that you would like to be explained more fully, please ask.  One of the things that to which we believe God has called our family, is ministering to other families who are trying to walk this same path.  That is the primary goal of this blog.  So please help us know what would be helpful to you by telling us.

You may also be interested in my posts  Building  a Better Schedule and Our Schedule:Then and Now – what our schedule was when we had 4 children 3 and under and what our schedule is with 9 children.

You can see more posts about how we homeschool or the series on why we homeschool.  You may also wonder, Why So Many Children? For, hundreds more posts sorted by topic visit the Raising Olives Archives or browse the categories at the top of the page.

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16 Responses to Multi-level Homeschooling: Our Schedule
  1. Nicki
    August 4, 2009 | 8:56 am

    Thanks for sharing your schedule! I *heart* schedules! The most important thing you pointed out was that “character training is more important than math.” It’s so true. Some friends I have get overwhelmed and intimidated by schedules, thinking they could NEVER accomplish it all. What you said, and what everyone should remember, is that it is a guide. It’s a goal. Good one!

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  2. Marsha
    August 4, 2009 | 11:14 am

    We have gotten off schedule this past month and are beginning to get back in the swing of things. Life just runs so much smoother when you have a schedule and routine!

    Thanks for sharing about your day. I’m sure people must ask you many questions about daily life in your house. I have a very good friend who also has 9 children, hers are now ages 5-20. I must say, I always enjoy visiting with her and having her children over. They have a true joy in their family, something that you don’t see every day!

    PS I’d love for you to start visiting at my new space http://www.othersuchhappenings.com. I will be leaving my HSB site just as soon as I get all my posts moved over. :)

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  3. Tristan from the Crew
    August 4, 2009 | 11:16 am

    I liked seeing your schedule. We thrive on schedules here too. My question is about such an early wake up time for the kids. Actually it is several questions!

    1. What age children are woken up at 6AM? You mention big and little, but does that include infants, 1yo’s or 2yo’s when you have them? (Our wake up time is 7am and we wake everyone over 12 months old.)

    2. Do you have any children who are not naturally morning people/early risers? I have some kids who naturally wake up early and cheerfully. I have others who, when given the chance, easily sleep until 8 or 9 am. When woken at 7AM as we do, they are slow to wake and not very cheerful. :)

    3. What would you do differently if your husband was not home in the mornings? This is our situation. My husband goes to work at 3AM (gets home around 5pm) so I get up for my morning scripture time but then there is noone to watch all the kids when I need to shower. With my oldest only 8 and the other four kids age 4 and younger I’m usually needed by at least the baby and often the 1yo too.

    Thanks for the post – I’ll be rereading it later!

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  4. Aimee
    August 4, 2009 | 12:01 pm

    We have a schedule too. (ours doesn’t start as early as yours though! I’m NOT a morning person!) I don’t think I could homeschool without a schedule. I know some people do, but I (and my kids) crave that organization.

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  5. JenT
    August 4, 2009 | 12:11 pm

    I enjoyed seeing your schedule. I tend to have to prod myself in the mornings to get going. I have recently been getting up earlier. I think my need is to have some time to myself in the mornings. If a child gets up before me I feel like I’m chasing them around all day instead of leading. :)

    I was wondering some more about character training. How do you do it? Is there set times or just when something comes up that you feel needs attention? Do you have some posts already written about that?

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  6. Amber
    August 4, 2009 | 1:26 pm

    Thanks so much for this! I love schedules on paper, oh if only I could stick to it for more than one day. I guess I’d have to think of it as a “goal” rather than something to stick to. Do you get enough alone time? That is the one main concern about homeschooling I have still (my son is only 3, we are still undecided) is that it is so hard on the stay at home parent, that they play the role of mom or teacher 100% of the time and have zero free time.

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  7. Kim
    August 4, 2009 | 1:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing your schedule. I am so inspired by your blog!
    One of the things that I struggle with the most is dealing with my 2 year old (keeping him safe and out of trouble), while I am helping my 4 and 5 year old with school things. They are simply too tired to do much in the afternoons when he is sleeping. I’d love to hear any tips you might be able to offer!

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  8. Mama Mirage (Jessica)
    August 10, 2009 | 11:27 pm

    I love schedules! :) Thank you for sharing yours!

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  9. Julie
    August 10, 2009 | 11:28 pm

    I was glad to catch up on your blog and see your schedule. I’d been curious about how you fit it all in. I dream of being a morning person, but am sharpest and SO productive at night – plus the few years I worked afternoon/evening shift before staying home with children, I didn’t have to set an alarm clock and learned that without fail I slept almost exactly nine hours every night regardless of when I went to sleep. I’ve always wished I could feel well with less sleep. I am amazed that your children can go five hours between breakfast and lunch. Ours are 3.5 hours apart and they still ask for snacks. I noticed you exercise during lunch. Are the children “on their own” and do you just grab something quickly for yourself?

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    Raising Olives Reply:

    Be sure to see my answers to JenT’s and Tristan’s questions in this post.

    Kim,
    I’m posting a partial answer to your question tomorrow and will hopefully fully cover it eventually. :) I don’t have a terrific memory, so if I don’t please feel free to remind me.

    Julie,
    Yes, our children are “on their own” during lunch, but I am just downstairs. I usually eat while I tidy the kitchen after exercising.

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  10. [...] may be interested in our schedule for homeschooling multiple levels together or check out the new parenting page.  Can you find what you’re looking for now?  [...]

  11. Shannon
    April 28, 2010 | 10:58 am

    Thanks for letting us have a peek at your schedule. (I’m new to your blog, so just now finding this post and reading it.) I wonder if there is a post somewhere on your site where you describe what your schedule was like when your kids were only 4-years-old and under?? Since I have 3 who are 4 and under, I am responsible for all the things you listed that your older kids take care of.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Shannon and welcome!

    I know where you are coming from and actually, yes I have posted a schedule from when all of our kids were young.

    In this post I included a schedule that we used back when our children were all 3 and under.

    Hope that is helpful. If you have any other questions or have difficulty finding something, please let me know.

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  12. Kati
    August 24, 2011 | 2:04 pm

    This is really helpful but left me with a few questions. When do you have time to give baths? Give snacks? Eat lunch? What do your little guys do for free time?

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    The little ones get baths in the afternoons or evenings. If we get busy and are unable to bathe them in the evening, I throw them in the shower before getting them dressed in the morning.

    You can see on the schedule that we eat lunch at noon.

    We generally have a snack during school time and don’t have an afternoon snack.

    We do a lot of things that aren’t listed on the schedule and from 2:30-5:30 everyday we have free time.

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  13. Amber Henderson
    July 19, 2013 | 2:31 pm

    When do you think it’s time to start a second core with sonlight? I have four children. The older two are in 4 th and 2 nd and my third son is just starting kindergarten. I have a fourth son who will be turning 3 this August so I’m hoping eventually to have the girls in one core and the boys in another. But, I need a suggestion for when its time to start a second one.

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