Planning the Home Education Year: Part 9 – Planning Your Day

by | Homeschooling

Part 1 – Outline your beliefs
Part 2 – Finding your child’s dominant intelligence(s) and learning style
Part 3 – Choosing a learning style
Part 4 – Locating the curriculum/program and finding resources
Part 5 – Adapting/Modifying the curriculum
Part 6 – Mapping out the year
Part 7 – Mapping out the months
Part 8 – Planning the Week

In Part 8, you planned the week by actually planning the activities daily. You’ve finally arrived at the point where you can plan what your individual homeschool days will look like.

Outline a Daily Rhythm

As a family, you have already established some kind of routine—whether you did it intentionally or not. You probably have a regular wake-up time, a general time when you eat lunch, and a time when you have dinner. In between, you’ve either filled it in with chores, outings, or perhaps, play-based activities.

For homeschooling, become aware of what you’ve already been doing and replace the activities/outings so that they are now more academic-related. Don’t try to restructure your already set-in rhythm unless it was chaotic or didn’t work for your family. Your child has already internalized the patterns of the day, and by changing things up for homeschooling purposes you might cause anxiety.

Here’s how to keep it simple:

daily rhythm blocked mealtimes

Block in your mealtimes and work your “schooling” around those.

I started brainstorming our daily rhythm by blocking the meals. For my son, meals are sacred and cannot be skipped or delayed.

Your child might not be so demanding with feeding schedules. Yet, I highly recommend that you use your mealtimes as anchors to planning your homeschool day.

While you may not have a set time when your child eats breakfast, you know that it does happen sometime in the morning. The same for lunch and dinner. They usually happen somewhere between midday and early evening, respectively.

Begin by blocking in those meals in your Homeschool Reflections journal.

Based on the developmental level of your child, decide how many activities you can manage to fit in between those meals. As you can see from my brainstorm above, I have included an activity before breakfast. This doesn’t always happen since wake-up times are unpredictable. However, I have that pencilled in for those days where the wake-up is earlier. On those days, we attempt four activities.

I have two activities blocked somewhere between breakfast and lunch, and one activity between lunch and dinner.

Ask yourself:

  • How many formal activities can my child handle in one day?  (2, 3, 4 or more? It all depends on his age and developmental level.)
daily rhythms with times

While you don’t have to, some families prefer to list the exact times when everything will happen in their day. I tried this and found it too restrictive.

What types of activities to include in each block of time

Both my son and I function better in the morning hours, so I like to have the bulk of the “schooling” done in the morning while leaving the afternoon activities informal and for rest. However, there are some activities that lend themselves better to certain times of the day.

Below, I share with you some suggestions for activities within each block of time. Please note that you should not do all of these activities in a block or even in one day. These are simply ideas you can select from.

For a neurodivergent or disabled child, I suggest varying the activities from fine motor to gross motor; from sitting/floor play to standing; from a quiet activity to a more active one. The Waldorf approach refers to this as in-breath and out-breath. Every time you plan an energetic activity, it should be followed by a calming one in order to balance the activities.

Before breakfast

I try to keep this time of day mellow. We’re only just getting started and we’re welcoming the day in a gentle way. We often do the storytelling in bed, and the songs/music happen while I’m preparing breakfast.

After breakfast

  • Dress-up, brushing teeth, combing hair (daily personal care)
  • Neighbourhood walk (where some of nature/science activities can happen)
  • Crafts
  • Painting
  • Modelling
  • Baking
  • Songs
  • Storytelling, reading or puppetry
  • Gross motor activities
  • Fine motor activities
  • Academics (math, ELA, art, science, music, etc.)
  • Educational videos
  • Free-play
  • Etc.

There is usually a snack in this period, which includes self-feeding practice. As I prepare lunch, my son needs to be in a safe place, and that’s when I resort to the television//tablet/videos.

After lunch

  • Finishing up a morning activity (academic or other)
  • Storytelling, reading or puppetry
  • Free-play
  • Rest (my son doesn’t really nap anymore, but he has to be on his bed for about 45 minutes to 1 hour—he enjoys “resting his bones,” as I like to call it!)

Using this general guideline for our daily rhythm makes it easier for me to plan what we’ll do each day. But, I take this one step further.

I have designated a day each week where we work on one particular element: painting, modelling, crafting/handwork, or baking.

weekly planning Waldorf elements

Setting specific activities to explore on specific days of the week helps a child internalize time without having to rely on a calendar. This is significant for children who are not developmentally ready to understand how a calendar works. Above, you’ll see that on this particular week, I didn’t do any modelling with my son because Monday was a holiday.

In the image above, you can see that I’ve written each activity on a sticky-note paper, with the addition of “outing” on a fifth one. The Waldorf approach suggests selecting the same day each week for these activities. For instance, baking always on Monday, painting always on Tuesday, etc. This is done to help build an internal rhythm of the days of the week for children who are not developmentally ready to understand a calendar.

While this is what I aim to do for the most part with my son who is not developmentally ready to understand how a calendar works, I know that it’s not going to be realistic for us. We sometimes have appointments and visitors. This is why I wrote the activities down on a sticky-note paper—they can now easily be moved around on a weekly basis.

I aim to have the activities set for specific days each week, but when it’s not possible, I may switch two (or more) around. What’s important is that my son gets exposed to each of these activities on a weekly basis. It also makes planning easier. When I know that we’re to paint today, I can look at my brainstorm for monthly activities and select a painting activity that I want to attempt, and planning is done in seconds.

“Our task is to educate the human being in such a way that he or she can bring to expression in the right way that which is living in the whole human being, and on the other side that which puts him/her into the world in the right way.” ~Rudolf Steiner

Putting it all together

Parts 6 to 9 include all of the details you need for planning the year, the months, the week and each day.

I’d like to show you how I put all of this into one neat place so that you don’t find yourself with note sheets and calendars all over your house.

I’ve never found a planner that works for me 100%. But, I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel either. I’ve taken bits and pieces and assembled them to make my own planner—designed specifically for our needs. I’ve included all of the links to these free printables in the resources so that you can put one like this together yourself. I recommend personalizing your planner in a way that best suits your family’s needs. Do a little research. There are plenty of free online printables available.

homeschool planner coverpage

You can create your own planner cover by selecting a photo of choice and giving it a title. Then, laminate, hole punch and bind it along with the rest of your planner using a book ring.

colorful blank calendar for homeschool planner

The first sheet in my planner is a blank calendar—for general brainstorming as it comes up throughout the year.

full year calendar for homeschool planner

Remember this guy from part 6? Hole punch it and add it to the planner.

planning the months in planner

Here’s the monthly planner sheet from part 7. It goes into the planner, too.

monthly calendar in planner

I have the rest of the planner divided by month. At the beginning of each monthly section, I have a monthly calendar for more detailed planning (including special holidays, etc.)

weekly planner in homeschool planner

I have printed this weekly planner sheet (discussed in part 8) four times for each month. 

notes and observation in homeschool planner

After each weekly planner sheet, I’ve inserted a loose leaf for notes and observations for the week. I also use the back of the weekly planner for songs and chants that I make up and want to remember.

weekly element planner in homeschool planner

At the back of the planner, I’ve laminated the blank weekly template and use that to move around the sticky notes on a weekly basis.

The beauty of putting together a planner with book rings is that you can add and remove papers as you wish, but it’s much more portable than a 3-ring binder.

notes and observations sheet in planner

Using book rings makes this planner easily portable. You can fold the booklet over and write in it comfortably. It’s less bulky than a binder. You have all of the sheets you need in one place, and you can lay it on your kitchen table or on the floor with your child without it hogging up the entire space.

There you have it!  You’re all set for easy homeschool planning so that you can give your child the full attention he needs. The rest of this series includes tips for finding community resources, assessments/evaluations and finally, parental reflections.


My homeschool planner cover page – Free for you to download and use
Blank monthly calendar – This link takes you to a blog planner, but you’ll see the link to the “Calendar pages blank”  if you scroll down – free
Yearly and monthly school calendars – Free and free
My weekly planner – Download this free
Weekly template for the back cover of planner – You’ll need to scroll down on this link to find it, free
Planning & Organizing Pinterest board – My ever-growing Pinterest board contains more planner sheets

If you’d like some help planning for homeschooling, I offer individual consultations.  I’d love to be of service to you.

Learn how I can support your and your family here.


More Resources

Continue reading my essays, activities, and case studies for supporting the education of disabled/chronically ill and neurodivergent children.