If you have homeschooled for any length of time, you know that some years are simply magnificent. Life circumstances and educational goals fall into line beautifully.
Other years, life events happen that cause academics to occasionally take a back seat to more pressing issues at hand.
Over the past 3 years, our family has faced a handful of significant challenges. Each of those challenges looked differently, and I had to determine what our homeschool would look like in the midst of those events.
Some weeks, we had to scale back considerably because the bulk of my mental energy and time was needed elsewhere.
If you are also facing a difficult time, it can be a tremendous help and relief to put academics on the back burner for a couple of days or even weeks, if necessary.
I’ve worked many, many schedules over the years with a multitude of age ranges. If we need to pull back at all academically, I implement this lighter learning schedule until I can come up for air.
Sometimes this schedule is only for a week, and other times I need it to last for a month.
This post focuses on ideas for the Kindergarten through 2nd grade age range.
A Few Notes About These Sample Schedules for Homeschooling During Difficult Times
✔ I did not include Latin in the sample homeschool schedules. In our homeschool, Latin is a daily requirement whether we are on a “light load” schedule or not. I did not include it in these plans since Latin is (sadly!) not a staple in most homeschools.
✔ These schedule and resource suggestions are only meant to be used as supplementation, not as a full curriculum.
✔ While there are some online activities included, these suggestions are more hands-on and involve parents being engaged in learning.
✔ These schedules do not take into account schooling other children at the same time. If you are teaching multiple children and need to combine some subjects, it’s best to combine the extras portion or the memorizing portion.
Children need math, reading and phonics, and spelling on their own level to be successful.
✔ If you’re a box checker, feel free to download the free schedule in pdf form. You’ll see the sign-up at the very bottom of this post.
✔ Some of the worksheets and printable resources are free, and some are paid.
When Would I Need to Switch to a Simple Learning Schedule?
There are all types of reasons you would need implement a simple learning schedule for awhile or for a certain season of life.
Here are just a few examples of when a lighter homeschool load might be helpful:
→ If you are newly pregnant (oh the morning sickness!) or you’ve just had a baby or you have a baby or other child that requires significant attention from you
→ If you unexpectedly finished your curriculum early and want a bit of breathing space before you start the next curriculum
→ If your public or private school children are home due to school closings and you would like for their learning to continue
→ If you’re a homeschooler in crisis mode – you’re taking care of a sick parent or another child, or have another significant life even that requires large amounts of your mental and physical attention
→ You have brought your children home from public school and are de-schooling for a bit
→ You want or need to homeschool through the summer but don’t want to plan and implement a full load of classes
Regardless of your reason for temporarily switching to a more simple learning schedule, I hope you find the following ideas and resources helpful.
Now on to the schedule and resources!
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Sample Homeschool Schedule for Kindergarten – 2nd Grade
In this section, you’ll find a sample homeschool schedule with related resources for Kindergarten through 2nd Grade. The daily subjects are in bold with several learning ideas.
Remember to sign up at the bottom to print the pdf if you would like this in a check box, hard copy format.
Daily subjects include: Bible, Math, Reading and Phonics, Literature, Handwriting, and the Extras.
We always start our day off with Bible, but you can certainly do these subjects in any order you choose.
Choose a well-known story from the Bible and read that same account each day of the week. Also, choose 1 simple memory verse found in that Scripture to memorize.
Feel free to read the Biblical account from different sources each day. On Monday, read the story from a children’s Bible. On Tuesday, read the story from the NIrV from the Bible app. On Wednesday, read from the translation you use at home (our family uses ESV). On Thursday, have your child re-tell the Bible story using the coloring pictures. On Friday, read from the children’s Bible one more time.
Your children can color the pictures while you read from the Bible.
Practice your chosen Bible verse each day and help each other memorize it. Everyone can recite their memorized verse on Friday!
Here are the Bible coloring pages to go with the Bible stories:
✅ If you’re an All Access Pass member, click on the Christian page and download all packets from there.
Children need to practice math and math facts every day. There are only two steps to practicing math on this suggested schedule:
Step 1: Work through 5-8 minutes of flash cards.
For Kindergarten – 2nd grade, choose addition or subtraction or mix in both at the same time.
Make sure you set the timer! Flash cards seem less painful when you realize there is an end in sight.
You can make homemade flash cards using basic index cards, or you can purchase some.
Our favorite flash card set is by Star Right. They are hole punched so they can be placed on a ring, and they are super sturdy.
Step 2: Choose 1-3 math worksheets to complete each day.
Browse through the Math Worksheets and printable activities here at Mama’s Learning Corner and download enough for the week.
You’ll find links to color by number, color by sum or difference, addition, subtraction, bar graph practice, and more.
If you need teaching help, make sure to look at Kahn Academy’s section on addition and subtraction.
✅ If you’re an All Access Pass member, click on the Math Page and download straight from there.
Reading and Phonics:
It can be difficult to teach reading and phonics at home without explicit direction and instruction for you as mom and teacher. Please keep in mind these resources are only meant to be a supplementation – not a full curriculum.
There are also two steps to daily reading and phonics practice:
Step 1: Have your child read aloud to you each day.
Choose books that are at your child’s reading level or even a little below.
Aim for 10-20 minutes of reading aloud each day. Feel free to break up the reading into segments if your child tires quickly. After all, decoding is hard work!
Step 2: Choose 1-4 phonics worksheets for your child to complete each day.
For early readers, the Kindergarten Reading and Phonics Packet is a great choice since it focuses on CVC words.
Browse through the variety of phonics worksheets here at Mama’s and download enough for the week.
You’ll find links to CVC activities, long vowel sounds, writing booklets with picture dictionaries, sentence matching, clip cards, and more.
Starfall is an oldie but goldie online reading program if you’d like to implement some independent learning.
✅ If you’re an All Access Pass member, you can click on the Phonics and Reading page to download all of the free and paid resources here at Mama’s.
While they might seem similar, reading excellent literature is vastly different from the task of learning to read.
One activity explicitly teaches phonics and how to decode words while the other exposes children to the beauty of the world through the written word.
Literature should be a part of our every day, regardless of whether we’re “doing school” or not! You can easily achieve this with picture books, especially in the younger years. In late First Grade and Second Grade, your children may be ready for chapter books that have pictures sprinkled throughout.
Here’s how to do this every day:
Choose a new picture book to read each day. Make sure you are sitting with your children so they can see the pages easily. Read the book thoughtfully to them, asking questions or giving clarification if needed as you go along.
Take a few minutes to discuss the story once you have finished reading. Ask questions like: How did the event make the boy feel? Why did ____ do what he did? What would you have done differently? Does this story remind you of any others? What was your favorite part?
Simple dialogue throughout the story and after it is read can add so much to the experience of reading with your children and learning about him or her as a person.
Some of my best memories with my children have happened over sharing a book together. So don’t skip this in your day!
If your picture book is more dense with text or the story line is a bit more difficult for a young child to follow, choose to read the same picture book every day for the week. Find a new aspect of the book to discuss each day.
If you have a book of children’s poems, it’s lovely to read a few of those each day. Some of our favorites are: A Child’s Garden of Verses, Richard Scarry’s Best Mother Goose Ever, and A Child’s Book of Poems.
The bottom line is: Read one rich picture book each day to your child and enjoy it with them.
You can browse through some of our favorite books that are organized by topic or season.
Young children in this age range need to practice handwriting daily. Letters need to be formed correctly and then practiced with guidance and reminders when they are formed incorrectly.
If your child is just learning how to write letters, download this set of Letter Formation cards for extra visual help and practice. Just work on one or two a day and then practice writing that letter correctly.
If your child is adequately writing letters, have your child practice 1-2 handwriting worksheets each day, with you helping along as needed.
You can browse through the section of handwriting worksheets and copywork here at Mama’s.
Sallie Borrink also has several sets of distraction-free handwriting worksheets if that would be more helpful for your child.
This is a link to an older video of how I used Handwriting Without Tears with both of my younger daughters at the same time. You can glean some great tips from that video.
If you need help with pencil grip, take a look at Handwriting Without Tears How to Hold a Pencil video.
Something Extra: History, Science, Art, or Music:
Just choose ONE thing from this list of ideas. Don’t make this too hard.
This is just the icing on the cake of the other core learning, and you should only do it if you have time. No stressing if you don’t!
How to implement this in your home:
It’s often easier to choose just one topic and do it for the whole week.
For example, if you choose chalk pastels, choose a new one to work on each day for the whole week. If you choose an Evan Moor History Packet, make 1 of the activities each day for the week.
It’s much easier to gather the materials needed and make a quickie plan when you’re only “doing the next thing” in the craft book or history activity book or science kit.
Here are several ideas from which to choose:
Science Kits – These are ready made kits that are literally open-the-box-and go.
Through the years, we’ve purchased many science kits sets from Thames & Kosmos, and they remain our favorites!
An ant farm or a butterfly farm also present great science opportunities if you want to add on something extra. After setting up one of the farms, your child can spend a few days observing and writing in a composition book his findings.
Learn constellations – Download an app for your phone (like the Night Sky), and learn a few constellations each week. You could even practice learning the star patterns and spellings using a set of constellation flash cards.
Create a chalk pastel – My children have done chalk pastels for years and they absolutely LOVE them. There are always cheers all around when I pull them out!
I have yet to meet another type of art that all of my children can do together, regardless of age and stage – from my 3 year old all the way up to my high school young man.
Nana takes her students through each stage of the chalk pastel process (which is super easy and forgiving!), gently guiding and directing.
A plethora of topics are available – holiday themes, historical themes, scientific themes, and more. Especially popular is the ‘I Drew it Then I Knew It’ series – so incredibly fun!
You’ll find a few generous tutorials on the Get Started Page at You ARE An Artist.
Evan-Moor History Pockets – If you’re not familiar, Evan-Moor History Pockets are themed books that have 8-10 activities about a specific topic such as ancient civilizations or Greek and Roman Myths. You will need to copy the templates from the books and just follow the easy instructions.
Each project in the Pocket is self-contained, so you can choose to do all of the Pocket ideas, or just one. These are very versatile activities!
Laurie Carlson Activity Guides – You can read about how I used these history activity guides when I was pregnant with my #5. It made learning history a breeze because there was minimal prep for me. 😉
These activities use basic supplies from around the house to create the projects. Mom or child can read about the specific project – neat details about the time period that add a lot of value to the projects. Time periods include Old Testament Days, Knights and Damsels, The Wild West, and more.
Themed Worksheet Packets for 2nd-4th Grades – Years ago, I published several worksheet activity packets for the 2nd-4th grade age range. Your kiddos will need a few books on the topic from the library to read about the topic before completing the sheets. Each packet lists the books I used from our local library.
You can see a list of topics on the shop page for these themed worksheet packets.
Write and draw in a nature journal each day – Intentionally choose something different to draw and examine each day and write and draw about it in a composition book.
If your child needs some direction, you could assign something to find and observe – an ant, a roly poly, a tree, a flower, a weed, an interesting cloud, a pine cone, anything growing in the garden.
Cut and Create! Farm – Years ago, we used this old school book to create an enormous farm scene on our hallway wall. It was incredibly fun and took us two weeks! In fact, I’m planning on creating a big farm scene with my 3 year old boy this summer when we have time to work on it.
The Cut and Create! Books are definitely old books, but so much fun and a great project. Once you copy the patterns, you can just hand your kiddos the stack of templates, then let them cut and create a big scene to their heart’s content!
You have to hunt through them a little, but there are several topics: zoo, nursery rhymes, holidays, seasons, transportation, and more.
Animal Encyclopedia – Have an animal encyclopedia? Read one animal per day and write a sentence about it. Spend a minute finding a coordinating video on You Tube or find a Wild Kratts video (my kiddos favorite when they were little!) and that’s icing on the cake.
We have and use often the Encyclopedia of Animals by DK.
Have you had a difficult season of homeschooling? What did your schedule look like during those times?
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