Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Day in the Life: Homeschooling

I had a phone conversation last night with yet another friend who is looking into homeschooling this next school year. I'm always more than happy to share what we do since we have found a groove that seems to work for all of us. I try to always caveat, though, that each family has to figure out what will and won't work for them. Flexibility is key. Your plan that works for the first part of your school year may need to be tweaked for the later part. Staying inside everyday to do schoolwork in the cold season may seem like torture once the weather turns nice outside.
With that in mind, I thought I would share a completely honest look at how school works for us day to day for this particular time. I literally just picked up my camera and snapped some pictures of things so there will be messes and things on the floor and our shelves aren't the most organized they've ever been. You'll have to just forgive our mess and realize along with us that education on a whole is more important than a constantly immaculate house. So here is how most school days go:

The boys are both usually awake sometime between 6:30 and 7:15. I don't wake them unless I have to. I figure if they're still sleeping they probably need the sleep. We follow our usual morning routine of breakfast, getting dressed, teeth and hair brushed and all that. As you will see, Jeremiah asked very nicely to be able to stay in his pajamas today and I let him.
Then we head to the table and get going! This is usually about 8ish. We start out with whatever is first for that day. This morning we started with history. We happened to be at the end of a group of chapters and were doing some review cards. They worked on them for a long while but were tired and bored so we set them aside (which explains the colored pencils all over) and started math for today. We can come back to them later. Joshua is using his Saxon book with a notebook to write his answers in so we can reuse that textbook for the other kids. Jeremiah's 1st grade Saxon materials is a couple of books worth of worksheets so we photocopy them on the printer. He's working on one of those.
These are our school shelves. We keep our text books here. That bottom left compartment has the "school toys" Jeremiah sometimes plays with. Each of the boys has a side on top to keep their folders with their loose schoolwork in them. They each have one for history and other miscellaneous projects.
This is Jeremiah's math folder. Completed work goes on the right. His upcoming worksheets will be on the left. He loves that this folder is Cars Movie and it makes him look forward to doing math just so he can get out this folder. I don't generally grade their work, but Jeremiah likes showing me that he's gotten them all right, so I put a grade on top to make him feel good about it.
This is command central. I sit in this spot so I can do things like blog, I suppose. :) I generall don't do that, of course, but I have the computer here to be able to look things up when the boys have questions or pull up videos to watch. I find coloring sheets or look up ideas for things that are coming up. There's the phone in case the hubby calls or texts and over to the left is our scheduling apparatus.
This is how I keep track of what is going on when. The individual page is our weekly general schedule. We often shift things around but this helps me keep track of what I'd like to get done each week. You'll notice it ends at noon. That's when we do lunch. I do work in a break about halfway through the morning so they can run around the house or have a snack. Whatever they may be needing that given day. Today they're playing with the helicopter you see on the table.
The calendar is where I put the individual assignments. Helps me keep track of what chapter we're starting or what activity from our textbooks I'd like to accomplish that day. It also gives me a place to leave notes for upcoming field trips or other reminders about dental appointments or museums that are free that month. So far I have our year planned out until the beginning of May so we can be finished with our main textbooks before the baby comes.
We usually finish up our formal school day by reading a chapter or two... or three out of whatever chapter book we're working our way through. This year so far we've gotten through the 2nd year of Harry Potter, Sleeping Beauty, A Christmas Carol, The Jungle Book, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and we're working on Percy Jackson the Lightning Thief among others. Some have been more interesting to them than others. They also really enjoy the Magic Treehouse series so we're working our way through those as well.
Then they journal at the end of almost every day. The hope is that a quick review of some of what we learned that day will help cement it into their memory a little more. Jeremiah usually draws rather than writing.

So that's it! We have lunch, they read a bit on their own and play. We may run errands, go grocery shopping or go to a park or have a sports practice in the evening. That's what we're doing right now. That will certainly change as we figure out what does and doesn't work best for us at any given time.
I hope you find that a little helpful, at least, and now I need to get back to focusing on what I really should be doing this morning!

1 comment:

Beach Bumz said...

Thanks Nicole! That helped a ton.