Consider your child’s personality when scheduling artistic subjects

Teaching Tip

Consider your child’s personality when scheduling artistic subjects.

Do you have a child who loves to take his/her time when doing any assignment that requires drawing?  If so, you may wish to consider placing subjects that require drawing or artwork as the last subject.  One of our sons really enjoys doing each art-related assignment meticulously. While this results in beautiful work, it can also make this mama want to constantly hurry him along! This results in stress for both us.

Schedule art-related subjects last in the day.

The solution for me was to schedule any art-related assignments within my son’s HOD guide after lunch.  This was when he did his last subjects of the day.  In that way, my son could take as long as he wanted to complete the assignment.  He’s on his own time then, and I am not rushing him. This is because I try to be done with most formal teaching from his HOD guide by then.

Various assignments can fall into the artwork category.

Notebooking assignments and lab sheets for science often fall in this category.  Timeline entries and Draw and Write entries fall in this category for us too. The painting assignments in CTC, the composer study in Rev2Rev, and the nature journal in MTMM are also in this category.

Even if you don’t have a child who is artistic, any assignment with drawing typically takes more time.

Once you figure out which drawing assignments are taking more time, consider placing these projects last in the day.  This will help keep the rest of your schedule on-track. And, when your child is on his/her own time, he will be less likely to drag an assignment out.  Try a schedule redo and see if it helps your day run more smoothly!



School day too long? Check your times for each subject with the author!

Teaching Tip

Approximately how long should each subject take?

Great question! The Heart of Dakota message board lists approximate times for each subject in each of our guides. If your day is too long, these lists can help in pinpointing time stealers. Simply jot down the start and end times for each subject for a day or two in the guide you are using. Then, compare your times to the times provided in the links below to find your time stealers. You can see information for each of our guides in the board posts linked below!

  • Little Hands to HeavenRevival to Revolution suggested times can be found here.
  • Mission to Modern Marvels suggested times can be found here.
  • World Geography suggested times can be found here.
  • World History suggested times can be found here.
  • U.S. History I and U.S. History II suggested times can be found here.
What do you do if a subject is consistently taking too long?

First, look over the plans for that subject. Ask yourself whether you are changing or adding to the subject in any way. Then, move toward doing it as written in the plans and resist the urge to add to the subject. Additional helpful tips are often given in the “Introduction” and the “Appendix” of the guide. Refer to the tips that pertain to the subject you are targeting.

Second, note whether the subject is coded as ‘I’ = Independent, ‘S’ = Semi-independent, or ‘T’ = Teacher Directed and then move toward doing the subject as coded in the plans.

Third, check whether your child needs additional help to do the subject as written. Then, do any training needed to help your child be more successful with that subject in the plans. This training can take time as you gradually move your child toward success.

Fourth, check to see if the subject is a weak area for your child. Plan to be available to help whenever your child is working on a weak area.

Do you enjoy following the clock, or do you prefer a less structured approach?

Either way, doing a time check periodically can help your days run more smoothly. See how your day compares to the times suggested for each subject in the links above. Then, follow the steps to pinpoint any time stealers. Try it, and see if your days improve!


PS: Check out these other articles if your school day is running longer than you would like…

Have a Written Routine and Provide it to Your Child

Is your child placed in the right guide?

A Flexible Schedule That Still Has Set Key Times

From Our House to Yours

A Flexible Schedule That Still Has Set Key Times 

Do you have a night owl who likes to stay up late and start school late? Or, maybe you have an early bird who likes to go to bed early and start school early? Or, maybe you have a child who is just “in-the-middle” who likes to start school mid-morning and end school mid-day? Then of course, there’s YOU (as a homeschool mom) to consider too! You yourself might be an early bird, a night owl, or an “in-the-middle” person. In our home, we have a night owl, a few early birds, and an in-the-middle person. So, how do you make a flexible schedule that still has continuity for everyone? Well, you choose set key times for everyone, but allow flexibility around those key times!

Key Times for All to Make a Priority

Below you can see the key times our family has set for all to make a priority:

8:30-9:00 Shower/grooming, chores, room (30 min.)

9:30-9:45 Breakfast (15 min.)

11:25-11:45 Cocoa break (20 min.)

1:00-1:30 Lunch and cleanup (30 min.)

2:20 Leave for work

Key times keep us moving forward and make us aware if we are falling behind or wasting time.

We need key times in our days to keep us all moving forward. Key times make us all aware if we are falling behind or wasting time. They act as markers for each of us within our own schedules. The early bird who got up early to finish school early can see he is off track for his goals if lunch has arrived for everyone and he still has a lot of his school left to do. The in-the-middle person who doesn’t want to do ‘homework‘ at night can see if he is off track for his goals if the time to leave for work has arrived and he has not finished his school. The night owl who doesn’t want to get up early can see he is off track for his goals if night has come and no ‘homework’ has been done for tomorrow.

Key times give us times to all be together cohesively.

Key times give us times to all be together cohesively. They give us routine amidst flexibility. Everyone can plan on doing their chores at the same time, so there is no need to be quiet as no one is trying to do school. Several can plan on having help doing bigger chores, such as clearing snow, watering flowers, or feeding/watering/exercising the pets – because they know they won’t be interrupting each other’s schoolwork. Everyone can plan on breakfast and lunch being ready at key times, so all work hard to arrive on time. All can look forward to having cocoa together mid-morning, so everyone knows they have that break in their day just to talk and hang out. Everyone can plan on wrapping up their school day by the time they leave for work.

Key times are planned in an order that helps the day go smoothly.

Key times are planned in an order that makes sense. For example, chores must be done before breakfast, as unloading the dishwasher and setting the table are part of our chores. By mid-morning, everyone is needing a break, wanting to talk, and longing for beverage. A cocoa break between breakfast and lunch fills all those needs. Lunch and cleanup must be consistent so each person can make it to work on time. Key times keep order to the day so things happen in an efficient manner.

Flexible Times for Everyone

Start and end times can be flexible for everyone. That way, the early bird can start school early. The night owl can do homework at night. The in-the-middle person can structure work time in the middle of the day. Each person can have a snack whenever he is needing it. As the homeschool teacher, I can be flexible with how many teacher-directed meeting times I plan with each child. I may want to meet more often for shorter segments of time with a child who needs help staying focused. Or, I may want to meet fewer times with an older student who works well with large blocks of uninterrupted independent work time. For the child who struggles with transitions, I may add extra time in the schedule for transitions. If I need my teaching to be done by 1:oo PM, I may only schedule independent work after 1 PM.

I hope this post helps show how having set key times in the homeschool day promotes unity but also respects individuality! Try having set key times in your day, while still allowing flexibility in the rest of the day, and see if you like it!

In Christ,


Loving Our Schedule This Year… A Look at Scheduling Older Students’ Days

From Our House to Yours

Loving Our Schedule This Year… A Look at Scheduling Older Students’ Days

We are loving our homeschool schedule this year! Wyatt is a junior in college, and he is earning his Business Finance degree from Liberty University Online. Riley is a 12th grader, and he is using Heart of Dakota’s USII guide. Emmett is an 8th grader, and he is using Heart of Dakota’s Missions to Modern Marvels. We are one week into our schedule, and we are truly loving it!  I can see us sticking with this schedule all year long, so I thought I’d share it here!

Starting with the Time Allotments and Meeting with Each Student

I always like to start my schedule by jotting down each guide’s suggested time allotments. (Click here for the suggested time allotments.) Then, I pull out my HOD guides and jot down about how much time I think my part will be for each box of plans.

Next, I meet with each of my sons separately. I show them the times for each box of plans. They give me their opinion about when they want to wake up and get started, what order they want to do their boxes, what they want to do for ‘homework’ the afternoon/night before, when they want to be done, and when they could use a break. Of course, they know the final schedule may or may not end up to be that exactly. However, they appreciate being a part of the process! I can also tell what they each feel they will need my help with the most, and that helps me make those things a priority.

Considering What I Need and Want in the Schedule for Me

At this point, I consider what I need and what I want in the schedule for me. This is important too! When we as moms love our homeschool days, our children pick up on that attitude and in turn enjoy their days more too. Needs come first. I need to have time to make breakfast, lunch, and prep for supper. Also, I need to be to work in the afternoon on time. I need time to teach my “T” boxes. Also, I need time to shower, get ready for the day, and do some daily household chores.

Wants come next. I want to do my Bible Quiet Time first thing in the morning. (This is actually more of a need than a want, but I list it as a want as there have been times in life when I’ve had to move this to the day/night – uhh, like when I’ve just had a baby.) I want to exercise. Also, I want time to make bake/cook fun things for the boys. Then, I put that all together and type a schedule with everyone in mind, including my college student who wants to be part of meals, breaks, and gathering times too. Everyone unanimously loves this schedule this year!

Emmett’s MTMM Schedule

6:00-6:10     Wake up

6:10-6:45     Bible (30-35 min.)

6:45-7:20     Science/Lab (30-35 min.)

7:20-7:45     History Project (20-25 min.)

7:45-8:10     Rotating History (20-25 min.)

8:10-8:30     Independent History (15-20 min.)

8:30-9:00     Shower/grooming, chores, room (30 min.)

9:00-9:30     Reading About History (30 min.)

9:30-9:45     Breakfast (15 min.)

9:45-10:05   Meet with Mom. Narrations. Correct work. (20 min.)

10:05-10:15 Who Am I?/Nature Journal mom’s part only (10 min.)

10:15-10:35 Finish Who Am I?/Nature Journal your part on own (20 min.)

10:35-10:45 Read grammar (10 min.)

10:45-11:05 With Mom for grammar – oral and 1 written part (20 min.)

11:05-11:15 With Mom for dictation (10 min.)

11:15-11:25 Make hot cocoa; put away finished school (10 min.)

11:25-11:45 Cocoa break (20 min.)

11:45-12:15 With Mom for math (30 min.)

12:15-12:45 With Mom for WWTB and/or mom’s part of DITHOR (30 min.)

12:45-1:00   Finish WWTB; read/finish your part of DITHOR (15 min.)

1:00-1:30     Lunch and cleanup (30 min.)

*Afternoon homework, before supper:  Storytime (20 min.);  President/State Study (25 min.)

Put away school neatly

2:20        Leave for work

Riley’s USII Schedule

6:15-6:50     Reading About History (35 min.)

6:50-7:30     Literature (40 min.)

7:30-8:00     Economics (30 min.)

8:00-8:30     Living Library (30 min.)

8:30-9:00     Chores, grooming, room (30 min.)

9:00-9:30     With Mom. Narrations. Correct work. Discuss Economics. (30 min.)

9:30-9:45     Breakfast (15 min.)

9:45-10:15   Clean up breakfast. Open time. Get math ready. (30 min.)

10:15-10:45 With Mom for math. (30 min.)

10:45-11:00 Finish math on own. (15 min.)

11:00-11:25 History Activity (20-25 min.)

11:25-11:45 Cocoa break (20 min.)

11:45-12:15 Finance (30 min.)

12:15-12:50 Speech/Grammar (35 min.)

*mom will check in with you sometime here for finance questions, work on counter, etc.

12:50-1:00   Make lunch (10 min.)

1:00-1:30     Lunch and cleanup (30 min.)

After lunch and before supper: Science/Lab (45 min.)

Put away school neatly.

2:20        Leave for work

*Before 9:45 PM Bible (40 min.) and Latin (20 min.)

Wyatt’s College Schedule

Wyatt’s College Schedule:

6:15-8:30    Bible Quiet Time/College (2 hours 15 min.)

8:30-9:00    Shower/grooming, chores, room (30 min.)

9:00-9:30    Open time

9:30-9:45    Breakfast

9:45-10:15  Clean up breakfast; open time (30 min.)

10:15-11:25 College (1 hour 10 min.)

11:25-11:45 Cocoa break (20 min.)

11:45-1:00   College (1 hour 15 min.)

1:00-1:30     Lunch and cleanup (30 min.)

1:30-2:20     College/open time (50 min.)

*Put away school neatly.

2:20        Leave for work

Key Times for All Sons to Make a Priority

8:30-9:00 Shower/grooming, chores, room (30 min.)

9:30-9:45 Breakfast (15 min.)

11:25-11:45 Cocoa break (20 min.)

1:00-1:30 Lunch and cleanup (30 min.)

2:20 Leave for work

My Schedule

7:00-7:30  Bible (30 min.)

7:30-8:30  Exercise (1 hour)

8:30-8:45  Shower (15 min.)

8:45-9:00  Make breakfast (15 min.)

9:00-9:30  With Riley for narrations, correct work, Economics questions (30 min.)

9:30-9:45   Breakfast (15 min.)

9:45-10:05 With Emmett for narrations, correct work (20 min.)

10:05-10:15 With Emmett Who Am I? / Nature Journal, my part (10 min.)

10:15-10:45  With Riley for math (30 min.)

10:45-11:05  With Emmett for oral and 1 written part (20 min.)

11:05-11:15  With Emmett for dictation

11:15-11:45  Get ready, pack lunch, supper prep

11:45-12:15  With Emmett for math

12:15-12:45  With Emmett for mom’s part of WWTB/DITHOR

12:45-1:00 Check in with Riley. Finance questions, correct work on counter

1:00-1:20  Finish supper prep

1:20  Leave for work

We are loving our Heart of Dakota life with this schedule!  I hope this encourages you to make a plan with a schedule that helps you love your homeschool days with your older students too!

In Christ,


As you begin planning a schedule for school…be realistic!

Teaching Tip 

As you begin planning a schedule for school…be realistic!

It is so easy to make a perfect school schedule on paper that falls apart in practice!  So, here are a few tips to help you make a more realistic schedule.

Consider whether you are a morning person.

When making a “school” schedule, be sure to take into account whether you are a morning person.  Then, set a realistic start time for your days. I am not a morning person!  So, for me breakfast at 9:00 with teaching at 9:30 is realistic. It is better to make a plan you can stick to rather than a “wishful” plan that quickly falls by the wayside.

Consider your child’s best work times.

It is also wise to take note of your child’s best work time.  Is your child a morning person?  Or, does he/she do better with a slower start? It is a good idea to schedule accordingly. For example, don’t schedule a child who has a hard time getting going in the A.M. with his/her hardest subjects first.

Consider your little ones first.

When planning for school, often our first thought is to schedule the school-age children.  If you have a 2 or 3 year old, it is more important to schedule that little one first.  If we expect our little ones to just “go with the flow,” what will happen?  A busy 2 or 3 year old can drag everyone else along as he/she quickly derails the day!

Spend some time over the next week noticing when you and your children are at your best.

As you begin mulling over a schedule, remember to be realistic with your expectations! Your year will run more smoothly if you schedule both you and your children when you are at your best!