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I'm only about 4 months in, and I'm sure there isn't proper kanji in the following Duolingo example, but...

The sentence to translate was: On Friday, I'm going to return home early.

My answer was: 金曜日 は うち に はやく かえります

They say another option is: 金曜日 は はやく うち に かえります

I put はやく right before the verb because I've seen other sentences with this same form. I'm assuming their option was more proper? Is there any sort of rule(s) for adverb placement in situations like this?

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Both are correct and practically you don't have to worry too much.

That said, as you thought, the second one may be heard slightly more often. The basic word order is, Subject-Adverb-Object-Verb, where 'Object' should be understood broadly (including a phrase like うちに).

Just from one example I stumbled on a web search

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As you see in the table, except for 陳述の副詞, SAOV has the lowest response time(反応時間)/error rate(誤答率), which suggests the order is most 'natural'. (FYI 陳述の副詞 seems to refer to words like おそらく, きっと adding modality).

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