The easy answer is … the routine that works for your children and your family.
When we send our children to a traditional school, we have shifted the burden of responsibility for their education to a “system” that provides limited choices. And the limitations extend far beyond just the curriculum. The choice of when to sleep, eat, go to the bathroom; the choice of how long to read or study a particular topic; the choice of travelling at a particular time, etc.
Do I choose to have my child start the homeschool day at 0800, and follow a specific schedule and curriculum? Why would I do this? I am only replicating the worst parts of a traditional school in my own home.
How do I choose what my child should study? In fact, is it even appropriate for me to choose what my child should study? What are my child’s strengths, weaknesses, and desires?
Therefore, because of choice, there is no “best” routine for homeschooling.
So, how do you choose what is best for your child.
In my view, the first place to start is with goals. Some parents choose lofty goals such as “doctor”, “lawyer”, or “Ivy League school”. Others may choose “whatever makes her happy”. Yet again, another response may be “I have no clue”. Other goals may involve religion, sports, art, music, etc.
Once you decide upon a goal(s), the next step is to determine the optimum means to achieve the goal.
If the goal is an Ivy League education, then you research the criteria for the school(s) … (and realize they may be different for homeschoolers) … and then design a curriculum to achieve the goal. If music is the goal, then lots of time for practice, etc.
The actual routine you select is, again, whatever fits best with your situation.
In our family, our (11 year-old) daughter is a “night” person. It is almost impossible to get her to do anything productive before 1000. Therefore, no learning activities are assigned before 1000 … it would be pointless.
For the remainder of the morning, she is “assigned” piano and violin practice, and any homework due for her upcoming classes.
The fact that she has “classes” is interesting. After conducting research on different learning options, I found that my educational philosophy aligns with “unschooling”. Most people assume that unschooling means that kids are allowed to freely roam through the educational landscape, without purpose or goals – just see where the fancy takes them. However, in our case, unschooling has developed into a discussion about what to learn, and how to learn. Then, as a result of these discussions, we choose a means to follow the interest. In our daughter’s case, that involves Latin, art, piano, violin, writing, reading, etc. Therefore, we have selected some (mostly online) classes to address those topics.
So, most of her “classes” are in the afternoon. Later in the day, she again practices piano and violin. The evenings may involve discussion, reading, etc. Mostly it is her own time – she may chat with her friends, pursue her passion of (digital) drawing or animation, or play games (mostly online with her friends). She often multitasks, and does several of these activities at the same time.
Another important aspect is to realize that your routine is likely to change over time. This is completely natural. Many families go through a period of adjustment before settling into a “routine”.