Homeschooling With a Routine and Not a Plan

I often say that I do not plan our homeschooling year.

By that I mean that I do not have a planner, I do not sit and write lesson plans, and I don't write down everything we'll be covering on any given day.

That does not mean that I homeschool blindly and just hope that we will somehow meet our goals for the year.  It's easy to teach without a planner when we keep some guidelines and a simple routine going.

I do homeschool with some guidelines in mind.

  • We buy each boy a math workbook (or two) for the year. I have them help me pick out a book that they think they'll enjoy working in and we plan to complete two pages a day.
  • We pick a couple of history topics that we want to cover and I find a bunch of picture books, movies, and activities that we'd like to use.  This year we planned on studying the Civil Rights Movement, the Salem Witch Trials, and the Industrial Revolution.  So far we've finished two of those topics and we'll probably sit down to plan at least one more to add to our year.  
  • We pick out a family read aloud and read a chapter or two together each school day.  We also pick out books on CD and listen to books in the car and each boy is required to read a book of his choosing each day for a minimum of 15 minutes. 
  • Each boy has their own spelling workbook and they work on one page each day or else, if they think they already know the words on the list, they can take a test on Monday and test out of that week's lesson entirely. 
  • We pick a state or a country to learn about together and read picture books, locate it on the map, talk about climate, attractions, and the lifestyle of the people living there. 
  • I try to make sure we do some art, science and play a few board games at least once week.
  • I try to make sure we head out on a field trip at least twice a month.  

We also have a routine that we have naturally fallen into over the years that makes homeschooling without a plan a bit easier.  

Most days, as long as we don't have a field trip or a group meet-up, we settled down to breakfast around 8.  I most often read aloud during breakfast (or lunch).  I find that is when my boys listen best and are fairly quiet.

Once the boys are done eating they either start in on their chores or they start in on their schoolwork.

I try to set out what books we'll be working with the night before so that each boy can start on their work when they're ready.  I'm nearby to help when needed and we tend to wait until everyone has finished their math, reading, and language arts work to gather together and cover those subjects we do as a group.

Any day that we are home we work on math, reading and some form of language arts-- cursive, writing, grammar, etc.  Typically we pick what form of Language arts we'll work on based on what we feel like doing or if we notice that there is one area we have really been slacking off on.

Once all the individual work is done we might work on a fun science experiment or project.  We might play a game or work on an art project.  We try to rotate what subjects we work on but if we're involved in a science or history unit we might spend a week or two at a time on just one subject.

I used to worry a lot about covering ALL the subjects every week but found immersing ourselves in history or science or geography for a few weeks at a time allows us to really study a topic in depth.  By the time we finish our unit we're ready for a change of pace and by the end of the school year we tend to have naturally covered a wide range of subjects anyway.

So tell me, how do you homeschool?  Have you found that having a planner works for you?  Do you prefer a routine like us?  Are you a full- fledged unschooling family that just lets learning unfold organically?

Linking Up With:
Oh My Heartsie Girl
JENerally Informed


  1. We use a rhythm vs. strict scheduling **usually** but this year, for the first half, I went with a full blown scheduled curriculum. We are back to full time next week and I'm pondering our next half still.

    1. It can be so tough to find something that works and continues to work. It seems like our techniques, routine, and schooling ideas are always changing.

  2. Every time I get a planner I get it ready and then forget about it!

    1. Ha! I fill it out and within a week we have an unexpected appointment, get invited on a fun field trip, or some other thing that has us putting our planner aside so I finally just gave up and realized it's not for us.

  3. With four sons, I found that I had to write things down for my own memory, otherwise a whole week would go by with no spelling.... Don't ask me how I know that.
    My thinking was that one of the reasons we homeschool is for the flexibility of not bolting our kids into desks and schedules.

    1. Yeah, I definitely found I started focusing more on flexibility and less on desk work and schedules... now that they're all approaching high school they seem to want more desk work and less flexibility.

  4. Sounds like a beautiful plan to me!
    Routine is really the key thing, I think. You are doing an excellent job with your boys!


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