During first grade most families choose to start ramping up the academic work. Most first graders are ready for this, but it’s important that we remember they are only 6 and 7 year olds! They need us to help them keep a balanced schedule. Follow these tips to create an optimal first grade homeschool schedule.
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5 Educational Elements
- Academic Subjects
- Extracurricular Activities
- Enchanted Learning
- Free Play
Our First Grade Homeschool Schedule
Above you can see our first grade homeschool schedule! I work in blocks of time so that it’s more flexible and we aren’t watching a clock too closely.
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Choosing curriculum and deciding what we’ll be teaching our kids is often one of the first things we think about and plan. That’s a good thing because it’s the core that will influence everything else we decide to do throughout the year!
Want to know what curriculum we chose for first grade? See our choices here!
Morning Basket Time
For us, this is a core academic subject. This is where we work on mindfulness and character development. Both of those things are SO IMPORTANT and it’s a great way to start the day off on the right track.
Our First Grade Character Development Book: Mali & Keela
During Morning Basket Time we also enjoy a poem of the week, do a mindfulness or breathing exercise, and read 1 or 2 seasonal books.
We do this while the kids eat breakfast & it only takes about 30 minutes.
We put a huge focus on reading, handwriting and the basics of writing sentences in Kindergarten and First Grade. These are vital skills that will equip our kids to go out and discover and learn more independently.
With my first grader, I spend about 1 hour between our Logic of English Foundations lesson, creative writing, and reading a leveled reader with him.
This is such a nice, relaxing time every afternoon. We spend 30 to 60 minutes reading a book together. I usually read aloud to them, but we also enjoy listening to audio books!
We do math for about 30 minutes, 4 days a week. That’s all the time that first grade math takes!
We spend about 45 minutes to an hour on history 2 days a week. We read books, discuss, do a project or work on a lap book, and sometimes watch a short video. For us, it works better to spend more time on history 2 days a week instead of less time 4 days a week.
Just like with history, we do science for 45 minutes to an hour 2 days a week. We do an experiment, discuss, watch a short video, and work on science notebooks. Just like with history, this gives us more time to dig in.
It’s so important to have some structured time for movement. We like doing Cosmic Kids Yoga, and include that every day.
Total Time Spent
In total we spend about 4 to 5 hours on academic work 4 days a week. Keep in mind that I’m choosing curriculum that is engaging and that my kids enjoy! These are usually fun hours of learning and discovery with my kids.
We’re not replicating school at home, so don’t think we’re spending 4 to 5 hours sitting at a table, doing worksheets.
What kinds of extracurriculars do you do? There are so many different things to choose from, sometimes the most important thing is to show restraint in choosing only a few!
Make sure that you don’t over schedule your kids. They need some fun extracurriculars to make friends and branch out in their interests, but they don’t need to be overwhelmed.
Think about what extracurriculars your kids want to participate in & make a budget! This can get expensive fast.
We choose to do a co-op one afternoon a week, a weekly park play date, lego club, and STEAM kids at our library. At this age, this is plenty for my kids! Yours might need more or less. Just find the right balance for your family.
Julie Bogart talks about this in her book, The Brave Learner. These are where you put the icing on the cake of your child’s educational experience.
We us Prodigies Music for our homeschool music time. It’s super fun & all my boys can do it.
You could also invest in an in person group class or individual instrument lesson for your kids. We’ll likely add this in a year or 2.
My kids love doing art. I only do specific projects with them twice a week, but they always have access to all of the art supplies, so they can create anytime they want!
My kids definitely take after me with their love of games! We enjoy playing all kinds of games together multiple times a week.
We do a special poetry teatime once a week & they kids always look forward to it. I make a sweet treat and they each get to pick a poetry book to read from. We now have a good collection of poetry books that we all enjoy!
Related: Brave Writer Lifestyle
Find a local homeschooling group and start joining them for field trips! It’s a fun change of pace and builds in experiential learning.
It’s also important to thoughtfully plan field trips that relate to what you are learning. This will deepen the learning and help it stick! Plus it’s just so fun!
Weekly Library Trip
Library trips are so important! You don’t need to buy ALL THE BOOKS in order to homeschool. Utilize your local library. We go on Fridays because they also have an awesome free activity called STEAM Kids. It’s something different every week & is so much fun. Plus I’m able to pick up all the books I need for the next week & return my books on time so that I avoid late fees.
Make sure you also use this time to teach your kids how to find specific books and show them where they should go to browse for new things to read themselves.
Related: 7 Library Tips for Homeschoolers
No first grade homeschool schedule is complete without Free Play time. Put this in your schedule! Really! You need to guard your kids’ play time at this age. Make sure they get time to play every day, and they have quality toys to play with.
This includes both time inside and outside. Just time to explore, play and have fun.
Teaching kids life skills is so important! They need to know how to do things and you need to be able to keep up with housework while homeschooling. Scheduling chores into your day will help you do just that!
A first grader should be able to put away their own clothes, sweep, clean up their toys, dust, and dry the dishes. They’ll still need your help & usually need you working alongside them, but this is a great step toward being able to do it independently when they’re older.
First Grade Homeschool Schedule
And that’s it! Once you have all of these things on your schedule, you’re done! You might to tweak it as you go throughout the year, but this will give you a good base schedule to work from.