Our School Day

Dear Reader,

A big question for those considering or beginning homeschool is what does a typical day look like? There are now some homeschooling parents who were themselves homeschooled. But most of us our ourselves products of the public school system and we have no models, good or bad, for homeschooling.

One of the best parts about homeschooling is that you can make it fit your family. It doesn’t have to look one way or another. But it can also be helpful to know how it looks for others. So I thought I would share how our days are structured this year. I say this year because we have not always done things the same way or in the same order. And we may change yet again if the need arises.

We have two kinds of work we do–individual work which each child does on his or her own and the work we all do together. In the past I have done the latter first. But this year we are trying it in reverse. So each child does their own work before we get together and do our joint work. I have made scheduled for them which list the assignments for given days so they can see what they need to do. There is still a lot they need my help with. We tend to be up by 7am so I have told them at 8am I am available to help with their work. Often there is waiting involved. I can only explain one math concept or read one set of spelling words at a time. Having all their assignments listed allows them to do something else first if they need to wait for Mama. But sometimes everything else is done and there is still waiting. We are not up to 100% operational mode yet but so far this individual work does not seem to take more than an hour, less for he little ones. My 6yo only has math and handwriting or explode the code and on some days reading aloud with Mama. My 7yo has math, handwriting or copywork, spelling, and some days reading with Mama.  The older children have math, copywork or writing journals, Greek or French, spelling, and sometimes an extra assignment like a poem to write or a grammar worksheet.

Thus far we have always been able to begin our together work by 9:30am. I have it on the schedule for 10am, but usually the kids are done with their own work and would rather begin sooner and so be done sooner and get on with their days. We all sit on the floor of the homeschool room for the together stuff. For most things I allow them to do quiet non-distracting things with their hands while they listen and we discuss. They may play with legos, color or draw, or do handicrafts like sewing or crocheting. We begin our time together with prayer and then move on to a brief Bible study. We have various subjects we alternate through so that one day we will read fables by Aesop, another we may do poetry, another art, another read a living science book. We alternate a brief grammar lesson (2 days a week) with map drills. We have not jumped into history full steam yet this year but when we do it will be  big chunk of our learning. I plan to read to them from two sorts of books each day–a spine book that covers the events and people of our period in a narrative style and a myth or legend. We are studying ancient Greece at the moment so I think this will work well as there are so many myths and stories to read.

Typically I will have the kids narrate one or two things to me orally each day and maybe do a written narration with pictures two or three days a week. With four kids, they do not end up narrating too often. This is a skill we are still working on but I think we are progressing. My intention is also to have us listen regularly to music by a given composer. A lot of this will be done in the car I suspect.

All of this work is done in the morning. I have tried to keep our mornings free this year which I hope will make our weeks seem less hectic. In the afternoons, we have a number of outside activities. With four kids, it doesn’t take many activities each before our schedule feels pretty full. Not everything is worked out yet for this year. I am still debating whether to add in certain things that my kids want to do. I also would love to have some outside time every day. I am not sure we can aspire to the three hours Charlotte Mason suggests but it is quite a goal to aspire to. We are planning to do nature walks every other week with another family so I think that will help. We have nature journals but have not been too diligent about adding to them.

So that’s our schedule . . . for now.



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