Homeschool Scheduling 101: Keeping Kids on Track {Free Printable Schedule System}

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The last couple weeks, we’ve been talking about Homeschool Scheduling; How to set up your curriculum and time to stay sane this upcoming school year. I haven’t yet talked about the biggest trouble maker when it comes to keeping a Homeschool schedule:

Off Task Kids.

Having a routine can be the difference between a Homeschool that works for you, and a Homeschool that causes daily tears. I am currently schooling two boys in Kindergarten and Second Grade, and last year, I created a system that actually works to keep the kids on task.

Time Management for Kids free printable card system for homeschoolers

Basically, this system is a lot like the idea of “workboxes” that Homeschoolers often talk about. The problem with workboxes in my home is that I really don’t have materials to stick in a box- and I don’t have room to PUT a box. Instead, we have a lot of programs that are mom-intensive, and I need a teachers manual and white board to teach them, and lessons that involve everything from DVD lessons, the computer and the iPad. A box just didn’t work for us.

I took the idea of workbox cards, and turned them into a system that I can put in the kids binders (like I did last year) or hang up on the wall for quick reference (which is the plan for this year).

Each child gets their own schedule sheet. It has three columns, one with a clock face, one for “to-do” assignments, and one for “done” cards. The night before we start school, I take my schedule cards (I keep them on a laminated page in my binder- so I have all my choices visible and easy to find) and I place them in the To-Do column for each child. On the clock face, I shade in the amount of time I want to take to do these assignments. For example, I shade 15 minutes for chores, 45 minutes for math, and 30 minutes for afternoon reading. In the “done” column, I place the “reward cards.” For example, on Tuesday, I want to take the kids to the park in the afternoon. I also want Bug to play some math games on the iPad, and we’re going to need a snack in the morning. I put the Snack Card on the sheet for when Math is finished, and the iPad card for after reading, and the playground card very last on the page. When Bug finishes Math, he gets to move the Math card to the “done” column, and take the snack card to be traded in for a break and a snack.

Schedule Sheet

The clock face with it’s shaded time is a HUGE help to me, with Math especially. Sometimes, my kids kick their feet. I set the timer for the amount of time allotted (45 minutes in this case) and the kids and I work diligently. When the timer rings, we’re done. It doesn’t matter how far we got, either Bug can finish the work independently as “homework” in the evening, or we can just pick up again where we left off tomorrow (see, the flexible schedule we talked about last week really comes in handy here!).

Using the timer and a reasonable amount of focused time does a couple things- It lets the kids know that we really aren’t going to do math forever. It makes sure one bad lesson doesn’t throw off our entire day, and it keeps me in control of the situation. If I let Bug kick his feet all morning with Math, I won’t have time to teach the other subjects I want to teach. It’s not fair to him, me, or the other kids.

The reward cards can also be used to discourage feet dragging. For example, if I put that playground card after Math class, and Bug is not diligent with his lesson, I can always take it away. It’s a carrot. Use it wisely. I don’t recommend taking the rewards away often, because then they lose a lot of their power of incentive. Most of the time, a promise of a set amount of time to work, and a reward to come is enough to keep the kids on task.

You can download your own copy of our Printable Schedule Card System for FREE- don’t forget, my files are copyright protected, and are for your own personal use only. They are not to be altered, shared, or hosted, in any form, by any means. By downloading, y0u are agreeing to these terms of use. Thank you!

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    • says

      Hi Victoria! Our Scheduling Cards System is linked in the post, and you can download it at our Teachers Pay Teachers store. We don’t have chore cards, unfortunately. Hopefully, you still find the printable helpful, it’s made a world of difference in my kid’s time management skills.

      Have a wonderful holiday!


  1. says

    Such a great idea, I don’t know how I missed this! I purchased those doug & melissa organizer boards but they are SO heavy there’s no where to mount in my kitchen which is where I really need them otherwise we forget about them. These will be perfect. Thanks!

  2. says

    This looks great. We used the workbox system for a year and I loved it but when we renovated the classroom I did not have space for the workboxes anymore. I am going to check these out.

  3. says

    Oh this is a great system. My kids are a bit older and I am using the workbox system (we augmented it a bit) which is doing well in our home. But I love to see how people do it differently. I do mine so I only have to update the boxes 1 time a week 😀 and cheat by using an out of the box curriculum.

  4. says

    This is such a great system! We also tried the workboxes and it just didn’t fit our style. Now I can reuse all of those workbox labels and apply them to a system more like yours. I also love that you used games, snacks, etc. as “rewards” and incentives to get the kids moving. We’re already doing those activities of course, but my little ones like to see things in concrete form, knowing that LeapPad time will come at the end of math will hopefully keep the day moving, and prevent us from getting stuck on one subject.


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