I am a homeschool mom. I am also a working mom. Nope, that’s not an oxymoron. In fact, I work 40+ hours a week and homeschool all four of my kids, as a single mom. Probably the most common question people ask me is how can a single mom afford to homeschool?
A fair question to say the least, but the bigger question is how can you homeschool when you have a full-time job, right?
It’s definitely possible to work full-time and homeschool your kids, but your daily homeschool schedule is going to need some tweaks. Let’s dig into several practical homeschool schedules for working moms. I’ll include the actual schedule I used when my kids were all in elementary school, when they were in middle school, and even now as they are in the teen years.
Simple Homeschool Schedule for Working Moms
Year ago I wrote about how much I hate the minute-by-minute schedule and how I use chunks of time and routines to create our daily homeschool schedule. In a sense, our schedule is still in chunks, although I haven’t always outlined it as such on the schedule. It still follows a similar regimen to the old one: morning chunk, lunch chunk, afternoon chunk, and evening chunk.
The difference really is in the detail that we follow in each chunk. Instead of a loose list of things to accomplish, I’ve assigned more structured time frames in the early years and then gone back to a more loose schedule as they’ve gotten older.
==> Morning Chunk
This is the part of the day BEFORE we start school. It begins with me getting up and starting my day off right with God’s Word, and then utilizing a fresh mind to work on upcoming projects. When the kids get up, they start with the morning checklist to help them accomplish a morning devotion time, breakfast, and morning chores.
==> School Chunk
I’ve done the school chunk many different ways. But in this stage of life, it’s working best as a concentrated chunk in the morning. (Remember to do what is right for you! It doesn’t have to be done in the morning.)
I start the day off by teaching our worldview curriculum to everyone. The kids work in the accompanying notebooks as I read. Then I have a little time with Luke (pre-k). We will do a few pages in his books and read together. Meanwhile, Nathan (2nd grade) is reading his story to himself. Once I am done with Luke, Nathan will read the story to me.
By this point, everyone is usually settled in with their school work. I work at the table with them, answering questions as they arise. During this time, I keep my work schedule light. I want the children to be able to interrupt me if they get stuck on something.
Do I teach them every single subject directly? No way! I’ve worked really hard to teach them to love to learn. I’ve taught them that they can learn anything by teaching themselves. I do help as needed and some days that is a lot. But my older children (4th and 5th grade) do not need me to micromanage their lessons. See more about the specific curriculum and methods I use here.
==> Lunch Chunk
Next we prepare lunch and I read aloud something to everyone while they eat. We read missionary biographies like Hudson Taylor or history, science, worldview…pretty much anything. One of our all-time favorites was Prayers that Changed History.
Each child has a lunchtime chore (often associated with preparing or cleaning up from lunch). When my kids were in early elementary, I would also check their weekly checklists after eating lunch, grading the day’s work.
==> Afternoon Chunk
Typical afternoon activities:
- Naptime or quiet reading time
- Time to explore interests
- Outside time
- Free time
Afternoon is one of the biggest chunks of work time I get. When my kids were babies and toddlers, they slept. For many seasons, I had a sitter come in a few days a week or even every day to help keep the kids engaged (and safe) while I worked. I love a homeschooled teen for this. They usually want the work and often have lots of experience with siblings. Since I don’t actually leave, even a 12-year-old can work well.
==> Evening Chunk
The evening chunk is flexible and should be based on your family’s needs. Typical activities include:
- Preparing, eating, and cleaning up after dinner
- Family time (taking a walk, reading, playing games)
- Showers and bedtime routine
Sample Elementary Homeschool Schedule for Kindergarten-5th grade
Below is what our schedule looked like when all of my kids were in elementary school. At that time, my kids were in 5th grade, 4th grade, 2nd grade, and preschool.
Some of the things to consider with this schedule: Still having a preschooler means your involvement is much higher than it will be in later elementary, so be sure you consider the ages of your kids. Also, for a work-at-home mom, a sitter is your best friend.
I like to do my own teaching, but I’m fine with having someone come in the afternoon to keep my kids out of trouble.
Sample Middle School Homeschool Schedule
As your kids get older, you can’t do things they way you used to. (<— Not rocket science, right?) Sometimes we do forget this though, and we keep trying to stuff big kids into a little kids’ schedule.
Below is our middle school homeschool schedule. At this point, my kids were in 8th grade, 7th grade, 5th grade, and 2nd grade. We chose to cram our school into 4 days a week and took every Friday off.
The schedule was different enough that I kept my middle schoolers and my elementary kids on a different grid. It was easier to follow. Below was the schedule my boys kept (2nd and 5th grade). I still had a sitter for the boys two days a week and a co-op that my kids attended while I stayed home and worked.
Just like the schedule above, I did work before the kids got up and every afternoon. Then I would often work a few hours in the morning.
I would also work a full day on Tuesday while the boys were in co-op (the girls were home, but they didn’t need much help in middle school).
Homeschool Planning Boot Camp
Are you needing a bit more inspiration and vision for your homeschool? I totally get it! I’m a working mom too and often need my vision refreshed.
I’d like to invite you to my FREE Homeschool Planning Boot Camp. In just 5 days you will be ready for your best homeschool year ever!
Click the image below for all the details. I hope to see you there!
Through practical tools & Bible-based resources, Kim Sorgius is dedicated to helping your family GROW in faith so you can be Not Consumed by life’s struggles. Author of popular kid’s devotional Bible studies and practical homeschooling tools, Kim has a master’s degree in education and curriculum design coupled with over 2 decades of experience working with kids and teens. Above all, her most treasured job is mother and homeschool teacher of four amazing kiddos.