The key to making your customized homeschool schedule is to first consider how you use your day. Ask yourself about recurring interruptions, conflicts that often come up. Instead of letting those things grate your nerves, use them to shape your day the way that you need it, and those things will no longer have the same importance.
I've thought of some tips that might help in planning out your schedule, whether as a newbie homeschooler, or as a seasoned veteran who might need a change of pace.
1. Determine what needs to be done daily. Assessing your school plans ahead of time (like over the summer, or while planning your curriculum), can help you to figure out what needs to be done and when. We do our core subjects daily because we feel that the core subjects need to be the emphasis. Bible is an exception, because although it is considered as an elective, we put an emphasis on it in our family. Because of this, we have Bible all four class days, as well. By looking at what I want to make sure gets through to my children with a level of gravity, I was able to decide that Spelling/Vocabulary, Grammar, Math, History, and Bible were the Core subjects, and I was able to mark those down as daily.
3. Narrow down the list. I have my list of things that I want to do, still though... like art or music lessons, baking and sewing, things like that, but I refer to it in moments of free time, over the summer, and during spring break. Sometimes when the kids are complaining about being bored (don't YOUR kids do that??), I can refer to my list and get out a music lesson, or a Netflix History Channel lesson. These might not "stick" with the kids, but sometimes I get lucky, and they will ask me about that time when we learned about yada yada. Over the summer I let them do a fun, self-led research project that we turn into a lapbook project. So there are so many times that you can take those little extras and make them fit into your day without going overboard with your regular schedule.
4. Work out the days. Before you even begin with times, you have to consider the days. As I said before, when we started, we followed a generic school schedule, doing school Monday through Friday, but we began to run into obstacles. My husband is off of work on Tuesdays and Wednesday; I found that he was always wanting to go out and do things, making it impossible to get school done! Because of this, I would try and cram school into the next day to make up for it. This was putting a lot of pressure on me, and I'm sure, on the kids. It dawned on me (ok, actually I was complaining about it to my mom, and SHE suggested it), that we should change our schedule to his schedule. And BOOM, there it was. We worked Thursday through Monday, and our weekend became Tuesday and Wednesday. It was as simple as that. I suggest thinking out your recurring appointments, your husband's schedule, ad other things that have effected your schooling in the past, and work around it.
5. Consider the times. I am NOT one to sit and watch the clock, so I personally do not have an "off" time for the day. There are too many distractions and activities that complicate the day to be able to limit myself like that. I do, however, have a start time to our school. Considering what time you wake regularly, or what time your children wake, can help you to decide what time is best to begin. We always begin school at 9 am. Even if I'm lazy and I sleep in, I will just have to eat my cereal over the Bible lesson. We have a general stopping point for lunch around noon. At that point, we all have lunch, and I give the kids a little chore and recess time (as well as a recuperating time for Mom!!). We get back together at 1 to finish the day.
7. Be FLEXIBLE. Once you have done all of the above, and gotten a basic schedule, the next step is to just be flexible! Realizing that sometimes you have a whole week ruined by illness or unexpected emergencies means that you have to allow extra weeks or extra days to fill in the blanks. I plan my schedule based on 40 weeks of school. I only DO 36 weeks of school, but giving myself the chance to move my schedule back a week or so means that I can keep my constants constant and my variables varying :) What I mean exactly by this is, if I scheduled 36 weeks, including the generic 2 weeks at Christmas, and one week of spring and fall breaks, I would end school for the summer in April. By allowing for the additional four weeks, I know without a doubt that we will finish school BY the end of May. Why is that so important? Because SUMMER is important! If we know that we will be done by the end of May, my husband can plan for a summer vacation without us ending up scrambling or not finishing the school year. Sometimes you just need an extra week.
8. When in doubt, cut the extras. There have been days where hardly anything got done in school. Between doctor appointments that had to be scheduled on school days, or unexpected guest, or sickness, sometimes we cannot do it all, even if we mean to. I have learned the all important trick of cutting the extras. If there is no way to finish a school day, I choose the non-core (remember the list?) subjects from our day. It is important to remember that they are not your priority classes, so don't be tied to them like a ball and chain.
And that, my friends, is all that I can think of, as far as making your life easier for now! I hope this helps! What is your process for making your schedule?