Home Learning for Young Children: A Daily Schedule

Multicultural mother and 3 year old child doing art together

Establishing daily and weekly routines provides a helpful structure for learning at home. In this article, you'll find a sample schedule for a typical day and suggestions for how to integrate a learning theme into the activities. 

Establishing daily and weekly routines provides a structure for learning at home. Parents and children know how the day will unfold; routines create predictability and also anticipation for the fun and comforting things that will happen throughout the day. It can be helpful to identify a learning theme to explore together over the course of two weeks.

You'll find a sample daily schedule below, with ideas for how to bring in the theme into every part of the day, from breakfast to read alouds to art and science activities. 

Morning

30 minutes

Breakfast. Discuss foods, what is being eaten, where the food comes from (e.g., eggs come from chickens, cereal comes from plants)

10 minutes

Go over rules for learning at home. Example: When I am working, you will be working too. We all have jobs even though we are home. So we will help each other out with the schedule we will make together.

15 minutes

Create a schedule together and discuss expectations.

*Note: You can use the timer on your phone to help keep a daily plan if needed. It will be important to convey these expectations early on, especially with multiple children at home. Creating a visual of the schedule is suggested.

15 minutes

Good morning songs, days of the week, and months of the year.

  • Find songs in English by Dr. Jean and Greg & Steve
  • Find songs in Spanish by José-Luis Orozco 
  • A brief look at a calendar and what the day is today, the weather, and the activities planned for the day

45 minutes

Introduction to the theme and a read-aloud book.

  • For example, if learning about farm, read a farm book, then sing songs based on the farm theme like Mary Had a Little Lamb or The Farmer in the Dell
  • Sing songs based on the theme 
  • After reading the book for the first time for fun, go back and ask comprehension questions:
  1. Who was in the book?
  2. Where did the story take place?
  3. What did you like about the book?
  4. Can you tell me what happened first, next, last?

30 minutes

Work on the theme using manipulatives; integrate math and science as well as literacy into the theme. Share activities that pertain to the theme, for example:

  • Play with the farm and count the animals
  • Ask questions, then allow for free play
  • Have a numbers chart at this time to go over the numbers 1-10, then gradually increasing the oral counting, then a visual representation of the quantity and the number

30 minutes

Work on the theme by using an art activity.

  • Color, cut, paste, paint, do a craft based on the theme
  • Teach how to clean up after each activity

15 minutes

Review the theme and ask questions about what was learned, review the read-aloud book, and display all the work completed.

Mid-day

30 minutes

Outdoor play.

30 minutes

Wash hands, bathroom, and snack time for older children (or lunch for younger children).

15 minutes

Go through books independently, based on the theme.

Display the alphabet on the wall via a chart and after looking through the books, name the letters and showcase the letters in the theme-related books.

30 minutes

Lunch.

1 hour

Nap or rest time. Or free play with the theme. Choose toys or an activities that go with the them, for example:

  • If studying plants, you could plant some seeds together in a baggie with a paper towel

15 minutes

Snack time.

Afternoon

45 minutes

STEAM time: Construct something using science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. For example:

  • Blocks or rocks, cutting, pasting or gluing and making a 3-D construction
  • Use shoe boxes, tape, cans, or other recyclable products to create something that goes with the theme being learned (e.g., barn, house, or greenhouse)

30 minutes

Read books together — print books in your home library or digital books.

1 hour

Outdoor play.

1 hour

Technology play, for example:

  • Use technology to help children research, visit a virtual museum or aquarium, read books, or play fun learning games

1 hour

Prepare dinner together.

  • Talk about the recipes and measurement and develop oral vocabulary about the food: its color, texture, where it is grown, ways to prepare it
  • Use measuring spoons and measurement cups to show half, fourths, eighths

Sample themes

  • Family
  • Community Workers
  • Farm
  • Plants
  • Pets
  • Mammals
  • Fish
  • Wild Animals
  • Vehicles/Transportation
  • Weather
  • Water
  • Beach
  • Forest
  • Clouds
  • Solar System
  • Reptiles
  • Insects and Spiders
  • Food
  • Recycling/Ecology
  • Biomes
  • Ocean
Rebecca Palacios (2020)

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables