Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Day in the Life of Homeschooling a 10 and 12 Year Old



Ours days all look a little different, but mostly the same. Homeschooling a 10 and 12 year old who both do the exact same work is pretty much a dream job for me. In our 6th year of homeschooling we definitely have a groove in place that works well for us.

Our days are pretty easy breezy. The majority of our work is done sitting in the living room together, cozied up with blankets and hot tea or coffee. The kids do their worksheets on their clipboards in comfort. Instruction happens with the whiteboard. We snuggle together on the couch to watch videos. Sometimes we venture into the dining room for an activity when we need more space.

Morning


I wake two hours before the kids to have my quiet time, computer time, and to exercise and start getting ready for the day. And to drink lots of coffee in a quiet house.

The kids wake up around 9 a.m., have breakfast, get dressed (if it's not a pj day, and sometimes it just is), and have some personal time, which usually consists of a Pokemon episode or watching some Youtube videos.

We start school at about 10 a.m., and have found that tackling some of our least favorite subjects first gets our brains moving and get us more motivated for our day. We complete math, spelling, and grammar, watch CNN Student News, read out of McGuffey's and do copywork, and read from our current The Chronicles of Narnia book. Then the kids read out of their personal books for about 15-30 minutes before we have lunch.

Lunch


I usually give the kids a good hour for a lunch break. They eat and run to their devices for some play time. I do the same thing.

Afternoon


In the afternoon, we typically do all of our history, science and literature activities. This might include a couple of videos, a movie, an experiment, or a hands-on project. We also read out of our current literature read aloud. The kids always finish their day with more personal reading, anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

At approximately 4 p.m., depending on when we actually got started that day, we end our schooling. We put in 6 hours a day. The kids evaporate for some alone time. And I usually lay down on the couch for a 20-30 minute power nap, unless we have somewhere we need to be.

Evening


We don't have a lot of evening activities, except for Brynne's sports. She just finished basketball season and softball season starts in the next couple of weeks. She will have practices two evenings a week until games start, and then we will try to get in one practice a week plus games. We spend the rest of our evenings relaxing, reading, playing, and watching t.v.  I try to have dinner done by 5:30 p.m. so that we can eat, clean the kitchen, and be done for the day.

I used to put the kids in their rooms by 8:30 p.m. with instructions to not show their faces again and to have the lights off by 10. I  just needed to be done being a mom and needed a quiet house without any questions or demands. But now they are old enough to get themselves to bed. So, instead, I retire to my room by about 9:00 p.m., close the door, and trust that they will get themselves in bed with lights out by about 10:30 p.m. or so. They are great kids, so they do. In fact they are usually in their beds at the same time as me, or shortly thereafter. They are usually on their computer/iPad and/or watching t.v. until they shut off their lights. I don't shut off my light to go to sleep until 11 p.m., so I know they are where they should be. We have agreed that as long as they are not unbearable in the mornings when it is time to get started with schoolwork, they will be allowed to continue to have this responsibility for themselves when it comes to bedtime. So far, so good.

And then we start it all over again the next day.

The Days When Things Are a Little Different


On Monday and Thursday afternoons we have to be finished with formal school by 3 p.m. so that Brynne can attend Girls on the Run, an empowerment and 5k training class. While she is there Eli and I do our own 5k training.

On Wednesday afternoons Eli has speech therapy for an hour. While we are gone Brynne reads. Eli takes the opportunity of the 30 minute trip each way to get his reading for the day completed, too.

After Girls on the Run on Thursday afternoons, we host an enrichment class at our house for four other kids. This year we have been doing a WWII class, and when we are done we are going to branch off into a Lego class for the boys and a creative writing class for the girls.

Freedom Friday


On Fridays, I don't teach. Well, usually not. I have given the kids responsibility for their own studies on Fridays. They have guidelines to follow, but are otherwise free to learn what they want as long as they are learning. They like to watch episodes of Brain Games, play Minecraft or Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 (one hour limit), and/or learn about something on Youtube. They are required to read for one hour. They also finish up any assignments they didn't get completed that week. I use Fridays to do some housework, run errands, and get groceries. I just leave them a list of what they have to complete and what they have decided to learn that day to fill up their school hours and then I hit the road. It's been a pretty nice system. I love coming home to checkmarks on the whiteboard. I have some pretty great kids.

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And that is pretty much what our days look like. Every other week Rick is home working, but his office is on the other side of the house off the kitchen. Sometimes he wanders in to share in what we are doing, especially if it relates to science.

Kyndal comes in and out some days for visits, and Dawson has school and work with a varied schedule so he is also around off and on. Between barking dogs, phone calls, texts, and visits, we have lots of interruptions throughout the day, but we just pick back up and move on.

I am not sure I would change anything about the rhythm of our school days. They move right along and we get most things accomplished without any problems or grumbles.

Life is good.

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