Unschooling: Our Daily Rhythm


After I shared our Family Planner with you I got quite a few emails looking for more information. How do we organize our day? Where does "schooling" fall into our schedule? When do I have time for play?

I thought I would share our daily rhythm with you to give you a feel for how we organize our weeks for the most relaxed, joyful, natural learning experience we can. For me removing distractions (telephone and computer specifically) is critical for me to be present and available and in the flow of our rhythm.

Developing a family rhythm is not just for homeschoolers. A rhythm is helpful for transitioning your children in and out of their school day as well as for parents home with babies and toddlers. We all thrive when we have a predictable, comfortable rhythm.

There are of course many exceptions every week. Field trips, appointments, errands, play dates, and gatherings all pull us joyfully from our routine, but it is the springboard for our days. Here is how we roll (most days anyway).


7:30 – 9:00 Early Block

First thing in the morning we get ready for our day. Each child has their own checklist that contains tasks like "hang up your jammies, make your bed, and put away laundry". (Little ones like Lupine initially require hands-on assistance and a picture checklist, while Sage can go it alone with a written checklist.)

We wash a load of laundry, cook, eat, and clean up from breakfast, and begin our day together. I check email and do a little computer/LuSa work during this early slot.


9:00 – 11:30 Morning Block

This is our inside learning time. As unschoolers I believe it is more important to simply be available to my kids rather than schedule specific lessons, but this is the time so much of the learning happens here. While we don't follow a curriculum there is learning happening at a startling rate – much of it before lunch time. We read books, play games, work in the kitchen, do projects and experiments together. We play with numbers, blocks, the microscope, puppets, art supplies. It is our "school" time.


11:30 – 2:00 Mid-Day Rest

After our morning block we prepare, eat, and clean up from lunch. We take some time as a family to tidy up from our morning and also all do our housekeeping chores during this time. (I clean a different room each day (in a perfect world anyway), so this happens during this slot. The kids also take a bit of quiet time to be alone, playing quietly for Lupine and reading or drawing for Sage. During quite time I can tend to some LuSa business and check emails.


2:00 – 4:30 Afternoon Block

This is our ideal time to get outside and play. In the summer we hike and forage, bike and swim; in the winter we walk the dog, sled, or ski. In the winter I need this block scheduled because (like Lupine) I could easily stay in all winter. Sometimes the outside time is just a few moments, sometimes most of the day. There is flexibility and flow in our rhythm.

4:30 – 6:30 Dinner Time

We fold and put away laundry, cook and eat dinner, and tidy up from our day. The kids often play alone while I cook or stand beside me and help.

7:00 – 8:00 Bedtime

Our kids have a fairly early bedtime. It works so well in our world, as regardless of what time they go to sleep both will rise with the sun. Lupine is lights-out by 7:00 or 7:30 at the latest, Sage an hour later. We read lots of books to unwind for the hour before lights-out, then the day is closed for our kids.

23 thoughts on “Unschooling: Our Daily Rhythm

  1. Jenn says:

    Seems like a very nice rhythm and thank you for putting it up . I was wondering where you find the time to make all of those great products.

  2. Rachel Wolf says:

    Most of my crafting is done with my children and the products for our body care business are made by Pete and our crew of helpers. It is always a balancing act!
    ~ Rachel

  3. Alexandra says:

    Hi Rachel,

    The rythm of your days sounds so homey and family friendly. I know that previously you lived in the city so I wanted to ask you if you and Pete had any difficulties in living without television and internet (when I say internet I mean without staying at least 3 hours a day on the net).

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    Oh, TV and internet. TV I gave up before I even had children, I guess in 2000. I rarely watched so it was minor. Just today I was talking to Pete about how for me staying away from the internet, however, is like quitting an addictive drug. The net sucks you in.

    For me breaking free has been based mainly on the observation that I can live a real life and accomplish real things when I am up and doing – not sitting and staring. Dont get me wrong – I can lose an evening on Ravelry or in blogland as easily as the rest. I just focus on not doing that most days as best as I can.

    ~ Rachel

  5. Lindsay says:

    This is great, we have a semi structured day. My child is only 2 so I go by what he wants at the moment. I really take off the cues of him. I do like what you do and hope as he gets older we will do the same.

  6. Karla says:

    I find it so ironic that I just found your site! I was looking for a recipe for homemade baby toothpaste, and decided to check your current posts.

    My kiddos are 3 and 1, and I’m hoping to homeschool them. The more I look into resources, the more I get excited about the idea of unschooling.

    And I’m teaching myself to knit. 🙂

  7. Nahuatl Vargas says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us, I was afraid to ask but very curious about it.
    It is very helpful, I wish I could homeschool, rhythm works much better that way, but I only have one child, and he likes very much to go to kinder, so I’ll wait to see.

  8. Rachel Wolf says:

    When I first established rhythm it was with Sage at two. He absolutely shined once he got the flow. He is a sensitive child and knowing what came next made him safe, secure, comfortable. All the best!
    ~ Rachel

  9. Rachel Wolf says:

    Welcome, Karla! Im glad you found your way here.  Make yourself at home! Unschooling is nothing short of amazing. Just tonight Sage (8) taught me the difference between type 1, type 2, and type 3 levers based on the location of the pivot, fulcrum, and load. Um, what?! Amazing…

    And knitting? My sanity.


  10. Tracey says:

    Your day sounds so lovely. It is nice to see how unschooling works in your day. We have a few scheduled lessons that we do in the morning and then the rest of the day is interest driven.

  11. Nikki says:

    Your routine seems very similar to how our unschooled days looked. Sadly, my daughter (6) was curious to try school and has really enjoyed it, my son (almost 8) soon joined her and is also enjoying it. I wouldn’t be surprised if we one day go back to it though, but for now they’re doing what they enjoy.

  12. Rachel Wolf says:

    Sage has absolutely no interest in school, in fact and aversion to the concept. Lupine on the other hand talks and plays school often. My response so far has been to find other activities/kid time for her to fill up her social cup. Well see how long this strategy works!

    ~ Rachel

  13. Julie says:

    Thank you for this post, love seeing a glimpse into the life of another homeschooling family. You are so right, daily rhythm is important. Sounds like lots of learning is going on in your house. 🙂

  14. Christy says:

    I was wondering what are your plans for when your children are pre-teen and teen age? I have 17, 14, 9 & 5 year olds and the high school aged children would not learn a lot on this type of schedule (two younger WOULD of course). What are your plans for future where their education is concerned? I have always schooled our children from home. Thanks for your website!

  15. Cheryl says:

    I LOVE this idea of “blocks.” Our day tends to fit into that style of scheduling rather than a at this time we do that type. I’m so glad I found your blog!

  16. Annie says:

    This post is so, so helpful. My oldest is 4 and I am just trying to sort out our homeschooling rhythm and so far what I’ve created is too rigid and not working at all. The idea of blocks of time with intended activities for each block works much better for the way I move through the day, especially with a tiny, napping baby in the house. I also see us heading in the unschooling direction, but my daughter craves structure and this is the first thing I’ve seen that puts those two things together. Thanks so much for sharing!

  17. heather says:

    i love this post! we are a homeschooling family, but my children are still quite young (6 and almost 3). i love seeing my children learn so naturally, in everyday moments, and i had gotten so wrapped up in it that i’d lost most of the structure and rhythm because i started to reject it in favor of flexibility… and now i’m seeing how important it is… and how flexibility is so much a part of rhythm anyway! i’m glad i found your site… and your post… beautifully written, and so very needed for me!

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