On Tuesday of last week we began our second year of homeschool. To say I felt confident going into the new school year would be a slight over-exaggeration. 😉 However, having one year under my belt, I definitely felt a lot better about everything than I did at the start of last school year. This year I have a first grader, kindergartener, and preschooler, and three other little ones not yet “school age” (although I do try hard to include everyone in our daily learning activities).
Over the last month or so I have had a few people ask me how I “do it all” (in regards to homeschooling the kids). Honestly, I don’t know, LOL! I often point out the fact that teachers in a public school setting have MANY more students to teach than I do, so I don’t necessarily feel like I’m doing anything extraordinary. Other than just pushing through the hard days and embracing the good days, we just do what we have to do.
Here is a rough idea of what a “normal” homeschool day looks like for us. 🙂
We wake up (aka- my little alarm clocks come running into my room) around 7:00. Some days this is earlier, some days this is later. But for the most part, 7:00 a.m. is an average wake-up time (for the kids… mentally, I’m not up and running until 8:00 or so, LOL!)
We meander downstairs and hang out in the living room and watch an educational TV show (Word World, LeapFrog, Word Girl, Ruff Ruffman, etc.– Like I mentioned above, I am not mentally up and running right away in the morning so I need this 20-25 minutes of “vegging out” to come to grips that, yes, another day has arrived) while I nurse the baby. I also change the diapers of my three non-potty-trained kiddos.
I muster up the strength to get up and get breakfast started, usually around 7:30ish. I try to serve something different each breakfast (pancakes, waffles, eggs, toast, bagels, fresh fruit, etc.), but with having a newborn baby in the house, lately we have been having a lot of cold cereal. We clean up our dishes, table, floor, and kitchen when we are finished eating. I have one of the older kids unload the dishwasher from the night before while the littler ones come with me to get dressed for the day. Then the “big” kids get themselves dressed in the outfits they picked out the night before. Everyone brushes their teeth and hair. We are ready to attack the day by 8:30. 🙂
We all sit down around the dining table and do our daily routine. We sing the days of the week and the months of the year songs followed by talking about what day it is using a calendar. Then we go over our Bible memory verse (one new verse each week). I read out loud our Bible reading for the day and discuss is with the kids (this coincides with my first grader’s curriculum). If there is enough time, we play either Simon Says or Mother, May I before beginning our lessons. I’m hoping to get out any extra wiggles while also working on their listening skills. 😉
By 9:00, I get my first grader set up on the computer and he starts his daily reading lesson. Right now he is reading his first chapter book, “The Tale of Jolly Robin”. I have him read out loud so I can hear him and help him with any words he may be mispronouncing. My kindergartener does her reading app on her Kindle Fire (we splurged this year and bought Kindle Fires so our older three will each have their own… both for school/learning apps and for long car trips.) I bring my 18 month old to the toy room upstairs and make sure he is settled with his favorite toys (right now he is obsessed with trucks and tractors). I give my almost-3-year-old and 4 year old letter worksheets to color quietly (we are learning about one letter each week including the letter sounds). Then they get to practice using scissors and glue sticks by cutting out their pictures and gluing them to construction paper.
When my first grader is done with reading, we discuss what he read and he writes a little bit in his reading journal. When he is finished with reading, he moves on to math. This usually only takes him about 15 minutes, depending on how quick he catches on to the material. I send my almost-3 and 4 year olds upstairs to either play with their little brother or play by themselves. They can each pick out a “new” tote of toys to play with (totes of toys in the closet we don’t keep readily accessible). This will usually keep them entertained for 20-30 minutes. My kindergartner comes to the table and we work on reading together. We are using the McGuffey Readers as a learning tool, which is what I also used for my first grader. I love them! When she is finished with her lesson she moves on to handwriting (Handwriting Without Tears) By this point in time, my first grader is usually done with math, so I have him sit at the table and work on handwriting, too. Right now he is working on his block printing skills. I’m hoping to start cursive with him later this year.
Between 10:00-10:15 the baby is usually up and hungry so I feed her while the kids have free time. If the weather is nice I send them outside with snacks for a half an hour or so, to burn off any excess energy they have built up. 🙂 I take this opportunity to get lunch started. This also gives me time to get out any materials I need for art, English, etc. (and to make another cup of coffee if needed, LOL!)
Once free time is over, I set the little ones up at the table for “art class”. Usually they play with Playdoh, color, paint, etc. While they are busy making a mess, I mean, being creative, I start my kindergartner on the computer for her math lesson. On the other computer I start my first grader on his English lesson. He usually has a worksheet or two to complete, so I make sure he can print what he needs. When they are finished with their lessons, they can have art time as well.
I help the little kids clean up their art supplies around 11:15. Everyone helps set the table for lunch, and I try to make sure we are eating lunch by 11:30. After lunch, together we clean up the dining room and living room again. I get my 18 month old, 2 year old, and 4 year old ready for their naps at this point. My first grader and kindergartener are free to watch another educational TV show on Netflix (my first grader is currently obsessed with Beakman’s World) or play a game on their Kindles.
Once everyone is settled quietly where they need to be, I give myself a little break. 🙂 This usually includes me folding a load of laundry or loading the dishwasher. 😉
After I feel refreshed, my first grader, kindergartener and I will move to the living room. We own a Smart TV that has internet capabilities (another thing I LOVE) so we do the last portion of our homeschool day basically from the comfort of our couch (which works out perfectly because the baby is usually hungry again by then, so I can feed her while teaching the others). 🙂 This includes our history, science, formal art and “critical thinking” lessons, all of which are available online. When we are finished with those lessons (which usually takes about 45 minutes), we log on to YouTube and watch whatever videos we can find related to what we learned that day. Around 2:00 the kids have free time to play, read, draw, whatever they want, because our school day is done. 🙂
So that is our day in a (very large) nutshell. Remember, this is only a description of an IDEAL homeschool day. Obviously life isn’t wrinkle-free so there are days we have to adjust and adapt to whatever is going on. But basically the actual lesson-type learning is done in a total of 2-3 hours, which leaves the kids plenty of time to play and be kids! 🙂
For those that homeschool, let me know what your homeschool day looks like! I would love to hear what works for your family.