I love seeing how other families homeschool. Day-in-the-life posts are a fun way to peek into someone else’s day. Remember, there is no one way to homeschool successfully. You may think our routine is wonderful or horrible. Hopefully, you will be encouraged that creating a rich, individualized education for our outside the box kids is totally possible.
Who I Am
This is my 25th year of home educating. With 8 kids, some of those early years are a blur but I know for sure that things have changed a ton since we first started. I’ve learned so much about learning stages, providing accommodations, working slowly in the early years, and most importantly – having the right expectations. If I was riding in an elevator with you and had just a minute to give you an explanation of what is most important I would say:
Kids can’t learn when they’re stressed.
You’re not going to want to homeschool if you’re stressed. So take a deep breath and slow down!
Teach them with curriculum and methods that work.
Teach them at their level (even if they’re reading at a 1st grade level in 4th grade).
Teach them consistently (our kids need lots of practice).
Allow plenty of time for your kids to pursue interests and work in their strengths. Their future success does not hinge on whether they take Algebra or can write a 5-paragraph essay.
Research shows that their future success hinges more on their ability to persevere, know their unique strengths and weaknesses, know how to ask for help and where to get it, and strong emotional coping skills. Notice that level of education and IQ are not on the list.
Who I am Homeschooling
Junior/Senior: She should be a senior but we’re contemplating doing a 5th year of high school. There is a LOT of freedom in homeschooling. She would like another year before facing college so we are staying open about whether she will graduate this year or not. She has a list of ‘requirements’ to be able to stay in high school another year; things such as being self-motivated, being a contributor to the running of the home, getting a job, and getting her drivers license.
Sophmore: My only traditional learner, this kid is self-motivated and doesn’t need much input from me. Is this how all traditional learners learn? I’ll never know!
7th Grade: This boy has the most profound learning differences of all my kids. He certainly keeps me on my toes (and on my knees).
5th Grade: This boy is mildly dyslexic so I teach most subjects with the two youngest together.
Graduates: I’ve also graduated 4 kids from our homeschool. To read more about what I’ve learned from those early years, read this post where I share what worked and what didn’t and what I would do differently.
Our Curriculum Choices
Our Homeschool Routine
I prefer to work with a routine rather than a schedule. The main difference between a routine and a schedule is a routine is a general order and a schedule attaches times to those things.
If we had an ideal schedule it would look something like this.
- 9:00 am: Bible and exercise
- 10:00 am: Equipping Minds (online Working Memory and Cognitive training)
- 11:00 am: History, Grammar, Spelling, Handwriting, Elephant Learning
- 12:30 pm: Lunch and World Watch News
- 1:00 pm: Teaching Textbooks or whatever we want to do that day.
I prefer a routine because life happens every day and we don’t always start when the ideal schedule dictates. Routines help me stay flexible while providing the structure and habit that makes our days run smoothly. Whether we start at 9:00 am or 12:00 pm, we do pretty much the same core things every day.
I posted recently about how our routine works and how to establish one in your home. You can read more about that here.
Establishing your core routine is another homeschool hack that has made a big difference in our homeschool. I refer to this as a Minimum Viable Homeschool Day and it’s a simple way to make sure you’re getting your priorities covered every day. You can read about being more productive by establishing a Minimum Viable Homeschool Day here.
Our Homeschool Day in the Life
So now you know about how I have planned for our days. Let’s see how it really goes!
6:00 am: I’m up. Bible Study, coffee, and working on this blog post! I check email, mark my planner, and generally prep for the day.
7:15 am: I head out to the gym. Most of my kids wake up slowly but today my 10-year-old is up and I can bring a guest so he comes with me. 🙂 While we’re at the gym, the other kids wake up and get started with their morning routines. Yes, I have arrived. There were many years where I didn’t have this flexibility and freedom.
8:30 am: Back home. Kids are eating breakfast, drinking coffee, hanging out, and chatting. I love our slow mornings.
9:30 am: We set up my laptop and play our Maintaining Brains Everyday video. The boys do these brain exercises every morning for about 10 minutes. We bought the video download for $19.99. Check out their website to see the amazing benefits of doing these exercises.
After this, we set up the dining room table for the boys’ Equipping Mind tutoring sessions.
10:00 am: Equipping Minds online tutoring sessions. Each boy spends 30 minutes with their Equipping Minds coach, Clayton, working through the variety of games that help strengthen working memory, processing speed, attention, comprehension, executive functioning, critical thinking, visual-spatial reasoning, and communication skills to help overcome learning, emotional, and social challenges. We’ve only been working with this program for a few months. I will report what kind of results we have soon.
11:15 am: The boys and I sit at the dining room table to start history with Story of the World: Middle Ages. My older kids often make their way into the room during these read-aloud sessions because they enjoy the stories too. They’ll often comment on something that they learned or add an additional fact that they have learned in their own studies.
While I read the chapter, the boys either color or illustrate their coloring and map pages. Sometimes we’ll add one of the activities from the activity book but usually, we just read and work on the map pages for each chapter.
12:00 pm After history we are feeling hungry so the boys play while I make lunch. I make a huge salad that all the kids will eat. I’ll often make some chicken or fish for the kids to go with their salad otherwise they’re looking for a snack after about an hour!!
During lunch, we love watching World Watch News. It’s a daily 10-minute current event news program for kids and teens. We love the quality and variety of the topics covered. There is always a top news story and some interesting news from around the world.
12:30 pm: We’re back to the school table and quickly run through:
Grammar: A quick 5-10 minute daily grammar review program, Daily Grams, that we are loving. It’s quick and simply laid out. It provides just enough practice and review for the concepts to really stick.
Spelling: We’re working through All About Spelling Level 2. Right now it’s still a lot of review but I’m loving the daily practice with spelling rules that they know. Every lesson introduces a new spelling rule while the dictation exercises review previous rules. This program provides the perfect amount of review. I can speed up or slow down depending on how quickly the boys are mastering the topics.
Handwriting: Both boys work through a pay in their cursive workbooks.
The boys take a break while I check in on the high school girls. They are largely independent but can get distracted by phones or YouTube so I like to check in throughout the day to make sure they’re on track.
1:00 pm: I have a business phone call. The boys have a list of chores to be completed and can have some time outside while I finish my call. I LOVE the flexibility of working from home and homeschooling.
2:00 pm: My meeting is finished so each boy runs through a lesson of Math on Teaching Textbooks. Some days we’ll add in a lesson of Elephant Learning and online math game that helps improve math sense which helps with math overall.
3:00 pm: We’re done with school for today. We have a standing Friday afternoon play date with a few of the boys’ friends so we tidy up and prep for their arrival.
I spend another hour answering emails and posting photos of our school day to my Instagram account.
It’s officially the weekend! We’ve had a good week. Nothing outrageous but we got our basic school done everyday this week and are looking forward to visiting friends and going to the beach to cool off this weekend.