When strangers find out that we home school, inevitably I hear one of the following:
Oh I could never do that!
What about socialization?
Do you stay in your pajamas all day?
While homeschooling is increasing in popularity, it is still shrouded in mystery for most. I’d like to share a glimpse into a typical day in our week to lift this veil and show everyone that yes, you can do it; there are more times we need to decline socializing if we are going to get our work done; and sure we stay in our pajamas on occasion, wouldn’t you?
By Jessica Gunby, Tri 4 Schools parent
*Note – This is part two of a two-part series on homeschooling. Check out part one here.
I am the mother of four children ages 7, 9, 11, and 13. This past year my children completed first, third, fifth, and seventh grade. Every homeschooling family has a schedule unique to their needs so what I share below is just an example of how we keep ourselves organized. This is also a general structure, as we all know life requires flexibility!
Appointments, meetings, and other activities often require that we shift time frames and do school later in the day or evening as needed. When my husband has a day off, we spend time with him. When he must work on a Saturday, we often catch up on school then. We want to cultivate the love of learning in our children so school doesn’t always happen between 8am – 3 pm.
A few notes before I begin. We use the Classical Conversations program as the backbone of our schooling for all our children. This means that we gather with other homeschooling families one day a week, called Community Day, for accountability and to work through a shared curriculum.
What is a Community Day?
On our community day, my younger children (in first and third grade) are in class with other students their age and participate in memory work, science experiments, fine arts projects, and presentations for the morning. In addition to these same morning components with her peers, my sixth grader also participates in the afternoon class on English grammar and writing for 4th-6th graders.
As the parent, I am in class with my children throughout the morning and afternoon. I supplement at home with curricula in math, spelling/reading, science, and history.
My 7th grader meets with a class of his peers as well, and participates in six seminars weekly: logic, exposition and composition, research, grammar, debate, and rhetoric. This translates into the subjects of math, literature and writing, science, Latin, geography, and apologetics. All of the seminars are led by a parent tutor and the students attend class without their parents. His is a complete curriculum and I do not need to supplement additional subjects unless I choose to.
What About the Rest of the Week?
The other four days of the week we are at home doing our work and this is roughly our schedule:
|6:30am||Wake Up||My husband wakes up the kids and I start getting breakfast ready.|
|7:00am||Breakfast||We all eat together and read our morning devotions before dad leaves for work.|
|7:30am||Chores||Each child has an assigned household chore that stays the same every day and is given based on their age and abilities. Once we get breakfast cleaned up, we head outside to do farm chores. We have a small farm and the kids all have assigned animal chores as well.|
|8:30am||Morning Schoolwork||Everybody starts with math. I have found it best to tackle this subject first thing in the morning when all are fresh and the most focused. We all start at the dining room table and if the older two children don’t have questions about their lessons, they usually complete their work at the desk space in their rooms. I stay at the table with my younger two children and help to read their lessons and answer questions as they work.
As my older two children finish math, they move on to another independent subject. My 7th grader may work on his geography, as he practices drawing the countries, capitals, and features of all the continents. My 5th grader may do her spelling program that uses an audio CD or read her science chapter. I stay put at the dining room table and take turns with my younger two for their spelling, phonics, and reading lessons.Whoever isn’t working with me gets a break to go play Legos or listen to a story on CD.
I check in with my 7th grader and make sure he is on track with his assignments. He usually starts his science research paper next, making his note outlines or starting to write his paper. My 5th grader will do some independent reading as she wraps up the morning of work.
|11:30am||Lunch||During lunch, I review memory work with my younger three. We also read some timeline cards, history facts, science facts, or great artist facts. My eldest has been through all this information already so it is good review for him to listen over lunch and contribute information he remembers as well.|
|12:00pm||Afternoon Schoolwork||In the afternoon, I spend most of my time with my older two students. I will get my 5th grader started on her English, diagramming sentences, editing exercises, and grammar work.
While she is busy on that, I will work on Latin with my 7th grader, helping him study vocabulary and working some translation exercises together.
My younger two children will listen to their history book on CD at this time or play outside together.
I then bounce back to my 5th grader and see where she is at on her writing assignment for the week, making sure she is on track starting her outline, writing her paper, or editing it. My 7th grader will work on his exposition and composition next, and I will check in on his progress, reading his draft and making corrections or working through ideas before he starts his next paper. They will finish the afternoon with reading, while my 3rd grader practices piano.
|3:00pm||Free Time||By this time, my older two are done with their assignments. I usually take an hour of quiet time at this point in the day. This allows me to get caught up on household duties or just some quiet reading of my own. The kids all occupy themselves with reading, outside play, or quiet inside play. Sometimes we meet up with friends at the park or go for a bike ride.|
|5:00pm||Evenings||Our evenings will vary based on the time of year and activities. We juggle basketball and piano lessons. Maybe we meet Dad at the YMCA for swim lessons and workout time. I may have bible study or a mom’s night out gathering. Like any family, every day is different.|
As I said at the outset, every family will have their own variation of this schedule and ours will inevitably change every year as my children grow and their needs change.
Of course, I left out the screaming fits, the calls to dad in tears, or the moments when I hide under the covers in my bed. Some days are slick, some days are rough but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
We’re honored to partner with Classical Conversations this year to raise awareness of the variety of options in education for our kids. Homeschool families can elect that their race entries from Tri 4 Schools go towards a health or fitness activity or group curriculum. To learn more, visit classicalconversations.com.