The Best Time of Day to Homeschool: Options to Consider

Traditional school starts at the same time every day, with a clearly defined beginning and end. But homeschooling offers so much flexibility that it can be a little overwhelming to consider what the best time of day to homeschool might be. 

For most families, the best time of day to homeschool is in the morning. This is when kids are most likely to be engaged and focused. Plus, it allows your family to have free time in the afternoons and evenings for extra activities and programs within the community. 

That being said, every single homeschool family does what works for them – and it’s not always the morning. The best time of day is whenever your child is able to learn and whenever you are available to teach / help. 

Homeschooling in the Morning

A morning start to your homeschool works for many families. This tends to be when schools begin, so it’s an easy way for us to think of a school time as well. In mornings, our kids have fresh brains and are looking forward to a fresh start. They are less likely to be distracted by something else if they are focused on school first thing – instead of having to stop something they want to be doing instead. Plus, since most kids can finish their work in a couple of hours, morning clears the rest of the day for personal interest activities, free time, and participating in community programs in the afternoon and evening. 

Works best for: 

  • Families who have a parent or caregiver available in the morning
  • Morning people
  • Those who like being part of extracurricular activities or programs

Afternoon Homeschooling 

Admittedly, not everyone is a morning person. Choosing to homeschool in the afternoon allows for a slower start when people struggle in the morning. It also allows for the completion of other tasks before starting your school day – which can be helpful if you are a working parent who needs to do work before you start school or if you have chores or other projects to focus on first. The afternoon can also have a longer period of time to work that morning (depending on what time you get started!). This still allows space for participation in evening clubs and activities.

Works best for: 

  • Those who don’t like getting up early (such as teenagers) 
  • Parents who need an intentional morning work time
  • Kids who can focus better in the afternoons

Homeschooling in the Evening

Homeschooling in the evenings is definitely not as common but it can be a great fit for some families – especially if parents work throughout the day. It allows for free time during the day to participate in personal interests and community activities before coming together for intentional learning time. It’s a handy way to refocus a child before bed and brings the family together at the end of the day. 

Works Best For: 

Homeschooling on the Weekends

Weekend homeschooling tends to feel less structured because it’s outside the typical sense of “school” that we associate with Mondays through Fridays. This allows for lots of free time, participation in personal interests and community activities throughout the week. It gives a sense of intentional family time together on the weekend as well. Weekends can be great make-up days when you’ve skipped days through the week due to illness, appointments, or other busyness. 

Works Best For:

  • Families with parents who work during the week
  • Families with busy week community activities
  • Teens with jobs 

Scattering Homeschooling Throughout the Day

Another option is to scatter learning times throughout the day. This allows for individual learning cycles of the children you are teaching and works really well when they aren’t interested or able to focus for longer periods of times. It also provides breaks throughout the day for other activities such as classes, appointments, errands, and outside time. If you have multiple children, this can be a helpful way to rotate through each one as needed. 

Works Best For:

  • Families with multiple children in different levels of learning
  • Families with lots of commitments or medical appointments
  • Those who don’t handle long periods of intentional structure or focus well

Changing It Up

Maybe you can’t commit to a set schedule because your life is unpredictable. Changing the schedule every day might work for your family then. This means that one day, you might get all your school work done by lunch and the next you are only starting to do your school work after supper. It varies according to the day. 

Works Best For: 

  • Families with unpredictable schedules
  • Families who like to go with the flow and don’t work well with structure / routines

Figuring Out The Best Time of Day to Homeschool Your Kids

The most important thing is to figure out what time of day works best for your family. Some questions to consider:

  • When will the children best focus on any intentional learning?
  • Do you work or have commitments at specific times of day that you must schedule around? 
  • Are you and/or your kids morning people or night owls? 
  • Do you have multiple children and will you be able to fit in their learning needs in one specific block of the day? 
  • Are you flexible with your day or do you need it to be at a certain time? 
  • What outside activities and classes are you participating in and how do they interrupt your day? 

The answers to these questions will be help you decide when you should set aside the intentional learning times for your homeschool days. Once you have narrowed it down, pick the time that seems like the best fit and give it a try. 

Remember – just as you don’t have to commit to a specific homeschooling method throughout your whole homeschool journey, you aren’t tied to your decision of exactly when to homeschool in the day for ever. You can change and adapt on the go based on the day, the season, or the needs of your family in the moment. It’s just helpful to have the basic plan in place so that you prioritize learning in your homeschool.

Lisa Marie Fletcher
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