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Does your child have an easy-to-follow schedule that can be seen at a glance?

Heart of Dakota - Easy-to-follow schedule - Teaching Tip
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Teaching Tip 

Does your child have an easy-to-follow schedule that can be seen at a glance?

Do you love schedules or loathe them?  Either way, there is one helpful item that we have found our students need.  It is a list of subjects in the order the subjects “ideally” should be completed each day.  Without such a schedule, the child remains completely dependent on you to dictate the day.

A schedule doesn’t need to be fancy.

This listing of subjects can be hand-written or typed.  It is helpful to use the subject names from the boxes in the Heart of Dakota guide.  It also helps to note a time allotment behind each subject.  This way the students have some idea of how long the subject is expected to take.  On our schedule I also include the room of our house where I expect the child to complete the subject. I write start and end times next to each subject (but this part of the list is purely optional).

You can use the same list all year!

We use the same list all year. We place the schedule in a plastic page protector.  Each day our students check off each subject with a dry erase marker.  At day’s end, they use a dry eraser to clear the schedule for use again the next day.

Freedom comes when the order of subjects remains basically the same.

Keeping the subjects in the same basic order each day really pays off in setting a routine. Your student will come to expect which subject comes next, saving both of you time.  The actual time on the clock when each subject occurs is less important than the routine.  Even if the time of day at which you complete those subjects varies from day-to-day… the order remains the same. Try making a simple, easy-to-follow schedule for your child and see what you think!


This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Kim B.

    I just lost my paper with our “schedule written on it this week. I didn’t have time to rewrite one so I decided to just go with the flow and have a routine instead. Funny how your article just came up on my email reinforcing this choice! I wasn’t loving sticking to a ti.rd schedule, but was needing order. Thank you for your timely encouragement! And you are right…the kids are benefiting from the loose schedule much more than from a strict time oriented one. I am loving opening my email up and reading through your articles….Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad this blog post came right at the time you needed it, Kim!!! We are also so glad you found the routine order described in this blog post to be helpful to the flow of your day. We hope you have a wonderful rest of your week homeschooling your family with HOD!

  2. CarrieLeeAnn Benner

    Hi, I have tried several things to set a schedule. I have three children in different books; 10yr old in Preparing Hearts, 8yr old in Bigger Hearts and a 5yr old in Little Hearts. My oldest and youngest child reveres on schedules while the middle child does not. He wants to do things differently everyday. Sometimes I’m okay with this others, it drives me crazy because he will want to take forever on, lets say a coloring activity, but math for some reason takes him 1.5 hours (which shouldn’t). I try to do the “hard” stuff first, the stuff he doesn’t like but he fights me because he wants to do the “fun,” “easy” stuff first. How to I get him into a routine or schedule without the constant fighting? And telling him I’m the authority, boss, mother, whatever, doesn’t work either. In fact makes it worse. Thanks, Stressed Mom

    1. This is a good question! We do let our older children have input in their schedule/routine, but 8 yo is often too young to try to do this. Younger children will always want to do the easiest subjects, or the subjects they personally like the best, first. This leaves a pile-up of disciplinary or difficult subjects to be completed all in a row later. Little ones are just not mature enough to know how best to pace their day, and they don’t naturally create a routine of their own. For these reasons, we would suggest implementing Carrie’s suggestions in this blog for your son. To do this, you can either hand-write or type the subject names from the boxes in the Bigger Hearts guide with a time allotment behind each subject. This will help your son have some idea of how long the subject is expected to take. Then, just list which room of the house you expect him to complete the subject. Finally, write start and end times next to each subject, so your son can see if he’s ‘on track.’ You can put it in a page protector and have him check off each thing with a dry erase marker as he completes it. Remember, you are the teacher, and he is the student, and regardless of how much he may want to be in charge of his school day, you are the better one to be in charge right now. Having the routine in place will eliminate having to talk about it every day, and it will also balance your teaching time among 3 guides. He may not like it at first, but he will grow to like it when he finishes his school consistently on time each day – you will appreciate this too! Hope this helps!

      1. Carrieleeann benner

        I will try this. What do you suggest a good amount of time? For example, I don’t think math should take that long. My husband thinks 30 minutes is good for his lessons and I think he should be able to do it in 15 min. He is supposed to be in 3 grade math but I did not think he was ready for it based on his scores for placement in Horizon math so he is in Horizon math 2. I still have to do most of the things with him for reading too because he is behind in that subject. Is there a place I can find that is a guide on how long each box should take to get a good start and adjust based on his skill level?

        1. Thanks for getting back to us! Suggested time allotments are not included in the guides, as time does vary based on the age and abilities of each student, and anything we put in the guide is more definite. However, here is a link to Carrie’s blog article on suggested time allotments for each of the guides…

          If you are not using HOD for certain subjects (i.e. Horizons math), you may need to allot more or less time based on the substitution that has been made. Hope this helps!

          In Christ,
          Julie Grosz, M. Ed.
          Heart of Dakota

          1. CarrieLeeAnn Benner

            Thank you! I will try this for a few weeks and see if this elevates some of the stress we both are feeling. Carrie B

  3. Sounds good, Carrie! I hope it does! Have a good rest of your homeschool week and a good weekend as well!

  4. Sarah Battle

    How does this apply to the jr high/high-school age? As they’ve become independent in their guides, I’ve allowed them to direct the completion of subjects. We use stickies on each box and move them as needed. It works however, I do get frustrated when they don’t ‘turn in’ anything they’ve written. How do you handle your older kids and a schedule? Thx!

    1. Hi Sarah! We still do a schedule for our high school students. You can see an example of one of Carrie’s schedules at this link:


      I do my correcting of high school work during my teacher-directed blocks of time. I put this on the schedule, so they know when I am meeting with them. Here is a link to my schedule with times to correct work here:


      Here is a link with details on how things can be efficiently corrected for high school:


      Hope this helps, Sarah!

      In Christ,

  5. Sarah Battle

    I also meant to ask about writing pens. (I read about the pencil types, etc.) Shouldn’t they transition from pencil to pen at some point? It makes a mental difference knowing they can’t erase. Your thoughts?

    1. In high school, we let each of our sons choose what they most prefer to use to write! They know they will be working through the editing list each time. So, no matter what they use to write, they will probably have to edit something! Hope this helps!

      In Christ,

  6. Heather Galvas

    Hi, do you have sample schedules that you’ve used? I searched the blog post, happily anticipating a link to a sample schedule and didn’t see one.

    1. Here you go, Heather!

      Carrie’s Past Schedule for Pilot of High School, MTMM, PHFHG, and LHFHG:

      My Schedule for MTMM, USII, and College:

      Let’s Share Our Schedules (on our Message Board, over 200,000 views):

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