Homeschooling: How We’re Managing + Free Printable Schedule and Ideas

In Canada, parents have been thrust into homeschooling! My kids made the astute observation that,

“Now you’re our Mom, but you’re ALSO all of the things at the school!! Janitor, principal, teacher, tutor… and chef, our listener when we need to talk….Wow, you’re a lot of things at once.”

Anyone else feel that they’re right?

It’s actually not all on my shoulders. At our school, at least, the teachers and principals are doing a lot behind the scenes. The kids even have video chats twice a week to catch up with their class and get their assignments.

Watching school assigned videos.

A lot of parents are posting that their kids are loving the flexible schedule or a “just do that homework whenever” timetable, with more free time. My kids…well, they hated that. They felt immediately unanchored…as if they were being pushed out to sea on a raft, with no lifevest. Isabella made it clear that I would have to make a schedule with daily expectations or she would. If she had made her own schedule, she would have packed it so tightly, she wouldn’t have time to eat.

I have made 7 schedules so far, and all were either too light and not specific enough- or slightly too packed with “keep busy” in the afternoon. The schedule had to be busier in the morning; when they were ready to learn, but lighter in the afternoon; when they’re getting tired. I also had to make enough gaps in the schedule so that, when we’re inevitably running behind, we still have enough time to cover all the expected tasks.

The little schedules that could….save our days, so to speak.

Since Hunter has autism, that last point turned out to be most important. I missed reading to him in the morning a couple of times and, on those same days, move around some of the tasks (or “classes”) and autism won on those days. He hasn’t had a meltdown for so, so long but that caused it. I think it was his new schedule being changed after so many changes in his life already. We had no warning there wouldn’t be school anymore, then trips and extracurriculars were cancelled, then planned special events…it’s been too much for him. Emotionally, both of the kids are just wiped out. We went for a walk the other day and having to cross the street to properly do the social distancing thing was weird for all of us. Hunter said it feels like “war times”. (And he is a history buff that has read countless non-fiction books about the war, so he would know, I think).

Mentally and emotionally, being bombarded with news about the pandemic and words like “crisis”, “lockdowns”, and “unprecedented times” is wearing them thin. I don’t watch the news with them in the room anymore. Although we try not to completely blind them to the situation, Josh and I do filter the information and make sure that it comes from us, in trickle form.

Some days, we try not to mention it at all. I’m okay with them in a bubble every once in awhile. It helps them cope.

Playing Wii Fit to get in some movement is great when it’s too cold to go outside- a good stress reliever and brain break, too.

The mental and emotional exhaustion has manifested in physical form with them. Hunter has had more stomachaches and headaches lately. Isabella sometimes acts like she’s suffering from chronic fatigue and her anxiety attacks are more frequent. We talk about our feelings a lot and I try to check in with how they’re doing when they want to share.

We have found ways to make the days seem different, rather than one long day. Getting dressed help. As does class on weekdays and doing only fun stuff on weekends. Having a Monday-Friday class schedule, activities to engage them (when they’re up to it in the afternoon), and a list of “boredom busters” has helped a lot. I even change the classes covered each day so that each day is a change. “Oh it must be Tuesday, because I’m studying math.”

That kind of thing.

STEAM LEGO Challenge! Learning can be fun.

I don’t know what your school is doing, but ours is running everything through Google. Google docs, classroom and hangouts are where assignments live and meetups happen. And the teachers are doing a great job!

However, there is just so much on there.

For good reason…..I think it’s how it has to be. But, for my kids, they see last week’s assignments in case kids didn’t finish them, this week’s assignments and a few assignments coming up, just in case kids are ahead, and it overwhelms them.

Isabella and Hunter don’t know how to filter it- so that they just see all of the classwork piling up at once…. and more and more new assignments coming in. Their brains melt.

I found this out during one of Isabella’s anxiety rants. Thank goodness.

The kids and I start our day with reading, to help start calmly and center us.

Here’s what I did.

I told them that I would handle looking at Google Classroom. During the evening, I busted out my laminator, my index cards and my laptop. I typed up a schedule that was structured but no too packed. I laminated it and put an arrow (I use a post-it but you can use whiteboard marker) on today’s day of the week so they knew what day to look at.

Then, I took a peek at Google Classroom for each of them and wrote down what was coming up for each subject, for one week. (None of it has strict deadlines, but there are suggested timelines, so I tackled it with those in mind.) Busting out my index cards, I wrote out the day of the week and then “date:—“. I filled in the date with pencil so I could reuse the cards. (I try to be eco-conscious when I can). Underneath, I wrote in pen the subjects we would do that day. In pencil, after the subject, I wrote the specific assignment to look at that day.

The office supplies nerd in me kicked in during this task. You don’t have to go down the rabbit hole with me, but here’s the extra step I did. After I printed the schedule, I highlighted each day in a different colour, along with the tasks for that day. When I was writing up the index cards, I used the coloured ones I got from the dollar store and colour coordinated it with the highlighted schedule. Morning schedule is on one page, separated by child, with their name at the top. The afternoon schedule is the same for both of them, so is just one separate sheet (also highlighted). The index card, in the corresponding colour, is delivered to them in the morning. I know, I’m crazy. But I was going crazy with the tantrums and meltdowns and pleading to ‘please make it more like school at home, mom, please’.

These can be customized for your kids, with date, check boxes and specifics written in pencil, so they can be erased and reused. For example: “Math- work on fractions” with work on fractions in pencil to be changed next day.

After I did this system, I tried it out. It instantly gave the kids focus when opening up the classwork schedule. And it worked! Hallelujah!! They would open the classwork, quickly scan to that specific assignment and get it done. So. Much. Relief.

Mornings are for classwork and in the afternoon it changes by day. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are for chilling out, playing, doing whatever craft or activity you feel up to. Tuesday and Thursday are for guided STEAM activities that I found on the internet (of which I made a master list for them to choose from). Bored on any day? There’s a “boredom buster” list on the fridge. Choose anything.

So far this has been the calmest week since the kids were told to stay home. I know it seems like overplanning, but if you have kids like mine, you know it isn’t. Put your hand up if you have similar kids!

I’ll share the printables below. Go nuts with colour coding if you love that kind of stuff, like I do! Don’t if you’re not up to it and not crazy for pens and highlighters (like I am!). This is supposed to make your week easier, not harder.

If you’re interested, the colours I used are:

Monday- blue

Tuesday- pink

Wednesday- green

Thursday- yellow

Friday- white (aka, I ran out of different colours).


(I’m putting the grade my kids are in as part of the title, although I think the first schedule would be suitable for kids from Grades 1-5 and the second would be suitable for Grades 4-7 or 8. 🙂 )






Let me know if you have any questions. If you try this, please let me know how it goes for your family!


1 Comment

  • Wisdom from Hobbits and Elves. • Babbling Panda April 30, 2020 at 09:00

    […] Homeschooling: How We’re Managing + Free Printable Schedule and Ideas classic literatureelvesGandalf wise wordshobbitshomeschoolhomeschoolingJ.K. RowlingJ.R.R. TolkienLord of the RingsLOTRteaching moments in bookswise words […]


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