Learn how to homeschool multiple ages with this sample large family homeschool schedule. This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com and contains information on the New York’s 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan. The content and opinions expressed in this post are my own.
It’s easy to find sample homeschool schedules online for specific grade levels and ages. I even have some here on my blog:
But, it’s not always as easy to find a large family homeschool schedule, one that includes how big families homeschool multiple ages.
Now, I’m not an expert homeschooler, nor an expert scheduler. Somehow everyone always thinks that homeschool families, especially large homeschool families, are these naturally well-oiled, well-run homes with perfectly behaved children, patience for days, and so on.
It’s just not true.
I think big families are just used to rolling with the punches (sometimes literally) more than smaller families and understand that best-laid plans always have a way of being derailed, but that tomorrow is another day.
Or, maybe that’s just how I see things. I can’t speak for all homeschool families.
That said, I do like to think we are actually pretty organized in how we run our days and our schedules for homeschooling, work, and life.
Before our newest additions (our second set of twins!) were born, we were doing summer homeschool and it was actually going pretty well! So, I am going to share that schedule with you all, as that is hopefully similar to what type of homeschooling schedule we’ll get back to whenever we officially get out of the twin newborn haze and start schooling intentionally again.
I suppose someday I’ll need to share how to homeschool with a newborn(s).
Oh, and for your reference, we currently have twin 10-year-old girls in the 5th grade, a 7-year-old boy in the 2nd grade, a 5-year-old girl in Kindergarten, a crazy newly minted 3-year-old girl who I guess would be preschool, and brand-new boy-girl twins. Our children have always been homeschooled.
How to Homeschool Multiple Ages
Before we get to the schedule itself, it’s helpful to discuss several things that make homeschooling multiple ages way easier and more manageable. These primarily consist of the following:
- Joint Subjects
- Minding Individual Learning Styles & Personalities
- Breaks & Snacks
- Block Scheduling
Let’s start with chores.
If your children are not doing chores, I would almost focus solely on establishing chore routines and habits in your home over schooling for a good week or two solid before adding in school.
All of our children ages 5+ have regular, daily chores. Younger than 5 help out when and where they can, usually responsible for their own messes, dishes, and laundry (not all of their own laundry – see my guide to what age a child should do their own laundry – and my list of chores for 3-year-olds too).
We’ve used and implemented different systems for chores in our home. We are currently using a chore wheel that we rotate every morning, just to switch up who is doing what. But, it has specified chores for after breakfast, after lunch/homeschool, and for Fridays (which is for bigger things like cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, and mopping).
Having set chores for each day helps our home and homeschool run smoother.
Joint Homeschool Family Subjects
There is no way you can homeschool multiple ages and multiple grades if everyone has a different curriculum for every single subject!
I mean, there probably is a way, but why??
Save yourself a lot of time and, where appropriate, teach family schoolroom style certain subjects.
For our family, this includes religion, science, history, art, music, and social studies.
You’ll of course have to adapt some materials and lessons for younger or older children so that it’s simple enough for the littles and challenging enough for your older kids.
There are many family homeschool subject curriculums out there that work well this type of learning.
Doing things like field trips is also great for multiple ages and there is usually something to please everyone. The same is true of things like monthly science kits for kids or other educational subscription boxes for kids or even playing educational board games altogether.
If you have littles at home (babies, toddlers, preschoolers) be sure to check out additional suggestions in my post 10 tips for homeschooling with toddlers and preschoolers.
Minding Individual Learning Styles & Personalities
One of the hard things, however, of doing joint subjects is minding your children’s individual learning styles and preferences. While I prefer to use the same company for English and Math for my children, it’s not always what is best for them.
Because the reality is, your kids are different (yes, even twins or kids in the same grade).
But, that’s what is supposed to be great about homeschooling – you can cater to your children’s individual learning needs and preferences.
For example, my children each have different things they want to be when they grow up. My aim as their parent is to help them reach their goals and dreams, individually. I want to help them make their own choices about college, careers, learning, and life.
This is why it can be super helpful to set up individual 529 college savings accounts like NY’s 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan.
What I like about the NY 529 Direct Plan is that our savings can be used at thousands of eligible colleges, as well as graduate, vocational, and technical schools, and even if our child doesn’t end up going the school route, other children can use the funds, or account proceeds may be used for non-qualified expense, but taxes and a penalty will apply to the amount withdrawn*.
As my husband and I took out student loans pursuing our degrees, we’d love to help our children save and pay for college plus get tax advantages now.* We want our children to avoid the burden that is student loan debt! Saving is way better than borrowing with interest later, even if we only have a small amount to save right now, as the NY 529 puts the power of time on our side!
You don’t even need to live in New York either to join! The NY 529 program has been around for more than 20 years and has several advantages over other state 529s like low fees and no minimum contribution.
Other great things are that you can make automatic transfers and payroll deductions to the account, friends and relatives can make gift contributions, and it is easy to join and even manage your account online.
Breaks & Snacks
Plowing through the different school subjects, back-to-back, so that you can get it done and over with, is not usually the best approach to school, at least if you want your children not to hate school or hate you.
We have a set snack time in our family homeschool schedule and often take a recess break during our homeschool block, especially when the kids start to get squirrely.
We often start our day off with a family walk up and down our street shortly after breakfast chores are all done to help wake up our bodies and our minds (and it forces the kids and myself to get dressed and ready for the day).
We do not stick to a strict time schedule. Never have. Probably never will unless necessitated by outside sources (co-ops, doctor appointments, play dates, piano lessons, etc).
We follow a block routine rather than the time on the clock.
We don’t use timers for subjects in our home (some do and that’s totally okay too). We just go with the flow of energy, focus, stamina, and our list of things to get done.
If certain things aren’t done before our 11:30 lunch, then lunch may get pushed back 30 minutes.
My big goal is to have all my teaching part of homeschool done before lunch. If a kid doesn’t finish all their work by then, then they will have to do it after their lunch chores and before their afternoon free time.
Sometimes this does mean that I will wake up our sleeper-in child, as the day can’t really get going until after she wakes and has her breakfast, but I generally don’t make our kids wake up by a certain time, especially as most of our kids are naturally early risers.
So, while I will be inserting times into my sample family homeschool schedule below, know that those are loose suggestions.
I like a schedule, but I also appreciate that we have freedom to sleep in, take longer to understand a subject or problem, or cut our losses if something isn’t working well that day, and so on.
You absolutely do NOT have to teach every single subject to your children yourself. Nor do you need to do everything yourself around your home.
It’s so okay to outsource parts of your homeschooling, homemaking, and child-rearing!
What you decide to outsource and how will totally be up to you and your family and your budget.
Outsourcing school subjects may mean your child does that subject 100% online. Or it may mean that subject is taught through a local co-op or drop-off group or organization. Or it may mean you hire a tutor for that subject. Or your child takes that class at your local public school (if allowed by the state and school district) or at the local community college.
Outsourcing homemaking may mean you hire someone to come and clean your house every week or every other week so you can take those duties off your to-do list and focus more on schooling your kids. Maybe you use a laundry service, meal planning service, or meal kits instead. Maybe it means your kids take over cooking on Tuesday nights, or you always order out on Fridays.
Outsourcing childcare may mean you hire an older homeschooled child in your area to come into your home to be a mother’s helper for a few hours to mind the toddler and baby while you homeschool your older kids. They can come once a week or even every day. Maybe instead you send your toddler or preschooler to an actual preschool or daycare for a few hours a week so you can run errands easier. Maybe you hire a full-time or part-time nanny. Maybe you use grandma or grandpa as babysitters when needed.
The point is, you do NOT have to do it all yourself!
Large Family Homeschool Schedule
While I know there are other great tips and ideas for making life work as a large homeschooling family, those have been my biggest reminders and takeaways.
Now, here is the schedule (remember these are loose time blocks) we were using before our newest twins were born:
6:30am-7:30 am Wake-Up Time and Breakfast
7:30-8:15 am After breakfast chores (put away food, clear off table, wipe down table, sweep floor, unload dishwasher, get dressed, brush teeth)
8:15-9:00 am Family walk up and down the street, or just family morning recess time outdoors (weather permitting). A shower for myself may happen too (or not). My 5th graders like to go to their rooms after breakfast and read books until school starts. The littles play.
9:00-10:30 am Begin school. Usually, we begin with a joint family subject like social studies/history, or science. Then I work with the 2nd grader on his English and Math while the 5th graders work independently on their English work and then they can do their math independently unless I need to instruct/practice with them.
10:30 am Snack Time. Recess. Break.
10:45 am Continued school time. My 2nd grader will likely finish quickly if he hasn’t already. I will check over the work of my 5th graders, have them do things like typing or handwriting practice if they are done with other subjects already, and may work some with my Kindergartner (who has been coloring, doing puzzles, watching an educational show like LeapFrog Letter Factory, playing with her younger sister, or participating a little in our joint subjects all morning) directly on learning to read and other K topics.
11:30-12:30 pm Lunch time! The kids and I will serve ourselves lunch.
12:30-1:00 pm Lunch clean-up and after-school chores. This includes putting away all the lunch food and supplies, clearing and wiping down the table, sweeping, wiping down kitchen counters, cleaning up the schoolroom, putting away all toys, shoes, socks, jackets, and other random stuff on the floor.
1:00-3:30 pm I put down the preschooler for a nap (sitting in her room until she falls asleep) and then work on this blog or other home/life to-do’s for a few hours. The older four kids will complete any additional chores (usually just on Fridays) which may include washing, folding, and putting away their own laundry, cleaning their own bathrooms, mopping the floors, vacuuming their rooms and the rugs downstairs, and helping with extras as needed (like mowing the lawn).
Once our kids have completed all their afternoon chores, they are generally allowed to have free time, with limited TV time (an hour) for video games, TV shows, or a movie. They may also just play, craft, create, go outside, read books, or whatever.
My husband often goes out in the afternoon to do some grocery shopping or errand running as he takes a break from his workday (which starts early and he is currently still teaching from home). He will sometimes take a child or two with him as he does so. He may also then mow the lawn or play video games with the kids himself.
3:30-4:30 pm We will finish up work as needed, and my husband will start dinner (he’s the cook). We make sure to wake up the toddler from her nap by 4 pm if she hasn’t already woken up so she can go to bed at a good time still. Kids play some more or help with dinner prep.
4:30-5:30 pm We eat dinner together as a family, enjoy a dessert afterward, and then clean up the dinner mess, making sure to wash all the dishes in the sink, load and start the dishwasher, and get everything all packed up and clean for tomorrow.
5:30-7:30 pm Family time! We will often play games or watch some TV together. If it is Monday, we will have Family Home Evening (FHE) where someone shares a spiritual thought, we sing and pray together, and so on. Other nights we may all go out as a family somewhere.
I may tackle more chores around the house like folding laundry. Or we may do a craft together (like creating our personalized homeschool bins) or play games, have dance parties, whatever!
7:30-9:00 pm Depending on the day and what we are doing depends on exactly what time the kids go to bed. We’ve been trying to move the bed time back to its more standard 8 pm time now that the sun isn’t staying up so late (all kids have the same bedtime – the big kids may be able to stay up in their rooms reading or hanging out with us as we deem okay, but with school in-session no later than 9pm).
To get ready for the bed, the kids will get on their jammies and brush their teeth. Then, we will come together for scripture study, prayers, hugs and kisses, and then goodnight. Either my husband or I put down the 2yo in her room, sitting in there until she is asleep, which can sometimes take a long time.
9:00-11:30 pm My husband will usually veg in front of the TV and fall asleep as he does so, watching his favorite Youtube/Twitch channels. I try and get some work done (pregnancy brain and physical stamina allowing), get myself ready for bed, and may watch a little TV myself, or just browse social media on my phone for far too long until I go to bed.
And then our day starts over very much like this one the next day!
But, please note that we don’t generally do every subject every day.
This past school year, we did History on Monday and Thursdays and Science on Tuesdays and Fridays, for example.
Last year, we even built-in Wednesdays as an off-day where we could go on homeschool field trips, craft/create more at home, go to the park, run errands (doctor appointments, piano lessons, etc) and so on. It was nice to have a break in the middle of the week for a down day/fun day just because.
As always, remember that things will come up that totally derail your best laid plans, especially with little ones to tend to.
Someone will be sick. The toddler will get into the nail polish. Emergencies will arise. Appointments will need to happen. Fun activities and opportunities will crop up on a school day. Work deadlines will require more time than usual. Bad attitudes will happen (from you and the kids) and burnout will happen.
Always have a plan but then go with the flow.
Let life happen. Life is learning.
If my schedule won’t work for your family, you can check out these other sample homeschool schedules for large families too:
- Homeschooling 5 Kids – Our Family Code
- Simple and Independent Homeschool Schedule – Royal Baloo
- Create a Weekly Homeschool Schedule – Sunny Day Family
I wish you all the luck and success as you figure out your large family homeschool schedule and routine!
For additional helps with homeschooling, read the following:
- The Truth About Paying Kids for Doing Chores
- Free Basic Chore Chart for Toddlers
- The #1 Reason We Aren’t Sending Our Kids to Public School for Kindergarten
- Questions to Ask During a Back to School Video Interview
- 24 Best Educational Apps and Websites for Kids
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