Do you know a stereotypical home school family? You know the type. The ones that are very shy, very conservative, and typically wear a lot of denim? Neither do I. I know those families do exist, but I think if you look a little closer, you will notice that most homeschooling families in 2018 are families just like yours, that are simply homeschooling because they believe that is what’s best for their kids. For some, homeschooling enables them to control what their children are learning and who is teaching them. For others, religious beliefs are a big influence on their decision. I’ve even met a few families recently who homeschool because they don’t feel their children are safe in a school setting. Whatever the reason, homeschooling has become a much more mainstream schooling choice in recent years. While there are MANY reasons we choose to homeschool, my biggest reason is the flexibility it gives not only our schedule, but more importantly for learning. Before I get into that, let me give you a glimpse into what our homeschool day looks like.
9:00am- Morning Meeting– Our morning meeting is a time for myself, my daughter Ella, and my son Lincoln to come together to start our day on the right note. We begin with “Prayer and Praises” where we pray over our day and any other things that we want to talk with God about. We also sing a few of our favorite praise songs and hymns. Then we move on to our bible lesson and verse memorization. From here, we move onto our calendar time and “What’s the Weather”. (I plan to buy a new calendar/weather center, I just haven’t gotten around to it with moving this month, so I’m improvising for now.) We end our morning meeting with some movement (We call it “Move-it Move-It” time) whether that means yoga, playing outside, or even just having a dance party. This is a great way to burn some energy before needing to sit and focus for a few hours. Our morning meeting typically lasts about an hour.
Core Subjects-After our morning meeting, we move onto our “Core Subjects” that we do every day and spend the most time on. For Ella, this includes practicing her piano (she works best in the morning so doing piano first thing helps to avoid too much arguing about this “chore” for her), Math, Reading/Language Arts, History, and Science. Ella will do Piano, Math, and silent reading on her own, so I work with Lincoln on his Pre-K curriculum during this time. He’s still a bit young for school, so we only do as much as he is interested in (although we can typically get through one 15-20 minute lesson pretty easily). From there we do Ella’s Language Arts while Lincoln gets a break to play. After Language Arts, we do History and Science as a family (although Lincoln is not required to participate). Core subjects can take anywhere from 2-4 hours.
Extras– Once we are done with our core subjects, we have fun for the remainder of our school day. Our “Extras” include a computer course, creative writing, cooking and art. These are all low-key courses that the kids enjoy doing and I try to make as fun as possible. I also make sure that the kids have plenty of time each day to pursue their individual interests whether that means practicing a sport, researching a topic, or working on a project.
You’ll notice that after the start-time of 9am, I don’t have any times on our schedule. This is where my enthusiasm for homeschooling really starts. You see, since Ella isn’t in a class with 20-30 other students, we can stop and take extra time on subjects she is having more difficulty with, or completely skip our extras one day because we decide to continue our science experiment or go on an impromptu field trip. Our school days are also much shorter than the typical classroom schedule because we don’t have to take time for things such as lining up or classroom management (although our learning also includes some redirection). I sent Ella to Kindergarten for 4 months and quickly realized that the teacher simply didn’t have time to modify lessons to fit each child’s learning style and level and Ella just wasn’t thriving in that setting. The flexibility in our day is so nice because it really allows me to tailor our day to help Ella succeed and enjoy school.
After school we take a break, often watching a short educational show or video. We’ll spend a few minutes after that doing some chores and then we’re done working for the day! Ella never has homework to do after dinner, so we get to spend our evenings having fun as a family or outside playing with neighbor friends.
This year we are using the following curriculum for our day-to-day learning:
- Language Arts, Science, and History- The Good and The Beautiful (You can access and use levels 1-4 for FREE). Check out this post for more on why we love TGATB.
- Bible: Kids of Integrity and studying the Fruits of the Spirit (No curriculum for this part, just reading the bible and having discussions)
- Math (For Ella): Teaching Textbooks and Xtra Math (For learning Math facts)
- Piano: We are currently using Hoffman academy due to our recent move and not being able to continue with Ella’s previous teacher (We LOVED her and are so sad we had to be done). We will probably look for a piano instructor in town once we are a bit more settled.
- Extras: These are all just resources I find online to use or come up with my own ideas. For example, today for Art, I gave Ella a few pieces of thin wire and we made abstract sculptures with them. Some days, I will reference sites such as Easy Peasy or other curriculum/ lessons for things such as typing etc.
There you have it, a typical homeschool day for us! Another great thing about homeschooling is that we aren’t forced to commit to one curriculum. If later on this year, I feel like something isn’t working for us, we will find something that does! I know homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but so far we love it for our family. I often get asked “Will you continue through highschool?” and honestly, I don’t have an answer for that. We take it year by year and we’ll see where it takes us.