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Mastering Homeschooling Schedules and Breaks

Schedules and breaks are critical for all students. 

But, not every single schedule will work for every student. 

Some students thrive under very strict schedules. Some absolutely crumble. It isn’t up to you to force your preferred schedule onto your students. It’s up to you to discover what is best for them. 

A schedule, with the proper set of breaks, can be one of the greatest tools that help students learn, grow, and take personal responsibility in their education. 

First, let’s take a look at the Structure of a Schedule

Think of the structure of a schedule as a framework. 

You don’t need to have very specific tasks set up for this framework. In fact, it will usually get in the way. 


Say you add English homework to a schedule for one hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays because the student usually takes that long. 

As the student goes through the class, the assignments they have will change drastically. 

Sometimes there will be long essays due. Sometimes there will be short reading. 

By pegging ‘English’ into these specific slots, you’ll be assigning too much time or not enough time most of the time. 

Instead, take that spot and put in ‘Priority Work’. 

Priorities change each week, each month. 

Start out making a schedule to assign vague tasks like chores, book reports, reading, writing, etc. to see what a week may look like. 

Then, during the current week, replace those vague tasks with what’s most important. 

The student will get used to a schedule, but also won’t be restricted by it. 

No schedule is complete without breaks. 

Breaks are really important for students, no matter what their schedule looks like. 

Even in the modern age, we’re still learning the best way people learn and produce. 

Breaks, both for the body and mind, are vital for the times when students are engaged. 

Not every break is the same. Here are a few examples of breaks that most students should enjoy, but consider the individual and their needs. 

Food – Food is a great way for students to take a break and refill their fuel tanks. Snacks, drinks, and meals are best when they’re part of the schedule that you’re creating. 

Chores – Light chores can be a great break for the mind. The idea is to get the student moving around and away from the subject they’re focused on. 

These sort of “breaks” shouldn’t be considered off time, by any means, just a break from the mental to the physical for a little bit. 

Walks – Having walks (or hikes or bike rides) on the schedule is a fantastic break for students. Not only does it get them moving – much more than chores – it’s something to look forward to in the day. It’s a better kind of recess because they’re learning from home and have so many more options. 

Free Time – Free time, meaning time away from school and homework, is just as important as everything else on the schedule. Free time should be as flexible as possible so the student is able enjoy it as much as possible. 

There are other types of things to put up on the schedule like sports, family vacations, appointments, and so forth. But starting from the ground up, building a solid schedule with an even more solid foundation, will not just positively impact your student’s life, but the whole family’s. 

Free Time – 

Walking – 


Routines and schedules are important for all students. But, exactly how much, and what sort of schedule, depends on a lot of factors. 

Some students thrive under very strict schedules. Some absolutely crumble. It isn’t up to you to force your preferred schedule onto your students. It’s up to you to discover what is best for them. 

Schedules can take a myriad of forms. Maybe there are chucks of time for “homework” but whatever subject the student wants to do is fine. 

Maybe every single task needs its own space on the calendar, clearly written out. 

The important thing to remember is that there are a lot of ways to create a schedule, both fluid, and concrete.


No matter what, breaks are going to be very important. 

We’re learning a lot about how we learn as people. Spending hours and hours with our heads stuffed in a book does not help us learn. 

You can experiment with what kind of breaks work best, but here are a few things to keep in mind. 

Bursts – Doing a burst of work with a real, serious focus followed by a small break is becoming very popular. Most people are really good at focusing on things for about 30 minutes until attention starts to wonder. Instead of fighting that, set up 15 minutes on, 5 minutes off, with bigger breaks at certain hour thresholds. 

Types of Breaks – Not all breaks are the same. Sometimes, a break to walk around the house or help with a chore is what’s needed, especially because it gets the body moving. Other times, all that’s needed is ten minutes away from the material, just so we freshen up before looking at it again. 

Food/drink – Unless the student is somehow abusing it, water should always be available. Hydration is incredibly important for all people, especially students with growing minds and bodies. 

Snacks can be a great way to take a break, get something nutritious, and reset. 


Notetaking is an important part of any student’s education but for the parent of a homeschooled student, it’s even more important. 

It’s up to the parent to make sure homework is completed, lessons are studied, and real-time is applied. 

But without proper notetaking from the student, the parent may not even know what’s due and what’s not. 

Notetaking is a skill! Students aren’t just born with it. As you train them to take notes, try to develop the habit of writing out on a different page all their homework/tasks for the day or week. 

Every day, this list is shared with the parent and it can help make the schedule for the next day or week. 

Notetaking is also important for classes and Scripture as well. Students should be experimental in how they take notes. 

Some get a lot out of it if they just write everything down. Hearing or reading it themselves is not enough to get the information to stick, so writing everything down is an easy way to tackle notetaking. 

The idea of notetaking can be foreign to a lot of students at first, especially if they haven’t really seen someone else do it, like an older sibling or a parent. 

A great way to help them understand it is by taking notes yourself and compare what each of you comes up with. This will also give you a good idea of what kind of style of notetaking might just be best for them.