Have you ever wished you could be a “fly on the wall” in a typical homeschool day? I have had friends say that they wished they could do that with me so they could see what it really looks like to homeschool. Of course, if I had them over to observe us, it wouldn’t be real. I would probably put on makeup and my kids would be on their best behavior. But that’s not what it’s really like. I’m going to attempt to give you a glimpse into a real homeschool day. The photos I included are definitely #unfiltered. I didn’t get all dolled up and have a professional come in and do a photoshoot. I didn’t clean the house, so try not to look closely at the background. You will see piles of laundry and dust bunnies.
I’ll start with our schedule. It’s pictured above in my handy dandy 3 ring binder. I’ll even provide a link to the actual document and give away ALL MY SECRETS! Bonus, it even includes my meal plan!
For our annual schedule, I use the 6 weeks on/1 week off plan. This allows me to plan for blocks of approximately 6 weeks at a time and then take a week to catch up on missed work due to illness or other less noble excuses. I also use that week to plan for the next 6-week block and change things that didn’t work so well in the previous weeks. If we get all that done, we can have a lazy day watching Netflix or visit a zoo or museum. I have found this method seriously improves morale around here.
The daily schedule is my way of proving that on a good day, we really could get everything done. The “fly on the wall” truth of the matter is that it rarely works out the way I have it planned. This really frustrated my Type-A daughter who frantically announced during our first day of school that we were 45 minutes BEHIND SCHEDULE! I calmly explained to her the beauty of homeschool is that we don’t have to look at the clock and panic. Instead, we just do these things mostly in the order listed, no matter what time it is. My daughter was fine with that as long as she could use a dry erase marker to check off what she finished each day. Which I happily obliged. I planned this schedule with time buffers built-in. So even with a late start, we still usually get it all done by 3:00 and free time is never missed!
So we start every day with our Bible Reading even if the laundry we sorted put us BEHIND. For Bible time, I play an audio recording on my phone and we follow along in our Bibles. We joined Bible Study Fellowship this year, so we also do a little of their homework at this time as well. We usually only read 1 chapter and talk about it, so 30 minutes is plenty of time.
Next, I do math with William while Emma works on typing and/or a spelling program online. We use Saxon Math and I know many of you hate it, but we LOVE it! Maybe because I figured out after many years how to tweak it and make it work in the real world. Someday I will show you the best way to use Saxon in your homeschool, but that’s an entirely different post for a different day. I sit with William and we do mental math and learn the new concepts. Then I assign him his problems for the day and Emma comes back for her Math time with me.
When I am done with Emma’s instruction, she gets started on her problems and I have a few minutes to check email and drink more coffee. Soon, William is done with his math. We check it and he heads off to do his typing/spelling online. Again, I have a few minutes to breathe between answering questions. Did I mention, that on Monday we are also changing laundry loads every hour or so as well…
Once all the math, typing and spelling wraps up, we gather together at the dining room table (no fancy schoolroom here…) and do our language arts curriculum together. Remember that all kids mature at different rates and no child will fit into an all one grade level mold. Your child might be doing 7th-grade math and 4th-grade reading or vice versa. This is natural and actually much more normal than a child performing at the same level for every subject. One positive to that is having different aged kids doing the same level in some subjects. We use the same level of The Good and The Beautiful Language Arts for both kids and that makes life much easier for me! We do this for about 45 minutes and then spend some time reading aloud or listening to an audiobook together. Sometimes we even eat our lunch while we listen! This is our current read-aloud and we LOVE it! It came highly recommended by Sarah Mackenzie at Read-Aloud Revival. If we aren’t eating while we listen, I like the kids to have something to do with their hands. Emma likes to knit, crochet or color. William chooses Legos, hanging upside down on the couch or just listening intently. He loves this book!
After lunch and read-aloud time, we spend an hour doing either History, Science or PE. On Mondays, we do History. Tuesdays we do Science. Wednesdays we like to go to the local trampoline park and jump for their homeschool day, so PE! Thursdays we do History again and Friday is our co-op day, so we scrap the schedule altogether. The kids usually take a science class at the co-op so that kinda counts as another day of science.
The history curriculum we are using this year is Diana Waring History. We listen to her audio CDs on car rides and at home. Add in some literature to go with the time period and we are good to go. We also use Draw and Write Through History to supplement.
For science, we are using Mystery Science Online. There are free mini-lessons and paid larger ones. The kids watch super interesting videos, with breaks for discussion and experiments.
At the co-op, the kids are taking classes like Woodworking, Botany, Improv, Sewing, and Coding. They also get to participate in lots of great field trips and park days. Mix in American Heritage Girls and Upward Sports, overall, it’s a pretty well-rounded education and socialization is certainly not something we worry about!
I hope you enjoyed your time as a fly on the wall of our typical homeschool day! It’s a completely different lifestyle from other educational models and it doesn’t suit everyone. But our little family wouldn’t have it any other way!