We are now in our 3rd year of homeschooling, and each year we have done it a bit differently. The first 2 years were very relaxed; mainly, my daughter read a lot of books, worked out of a math workbook, and we played a lot. This year we have been a bit more structured about it since my oldest is now in 2nd grade and my son has started kindergarten. I thought I’d share how a typical day for us goes, in case you’re thinking of homeschooling and wondering what it might look like, or just curious as to what goes on in our crazy house.
Typically, the boys get up around 6:30. Maren sleeps longer. I used to try and wake her up early and make her practice her piano and violin before we started school, but I’ve realized she’s just happier if she sleeps until 7:30 so I might as well let her. We get dressed, eat breakfast, and play during this time before school. Sometimes Joshua will want to get a head start on his schoolwork so he’ll go ahead and practice or do his math workbook. Maren drags her feet and will try to read a book in her room instead of getting dressed. I try to focus on the little boys at this time since they don’t get a lot of attention during schooltime.
We start school at 8:30 with our “homeroom”, which involves reading the scriptures together, singing our hymn of the week, saying a prayer, reciting our scripture of the week, and calendar things. We also talk about our value of the month and a couple of times a week I’ll read a value story out loud while the kids work on their handwriting papers. I generally print my own handwriting papers off of my computer using a lined and dotted font I have. I have also used the books “Draw Write Now” which my kids really liked. Once we got to a certain point though, my son started getting really upset that he couldn’t draw the pictures as well as he wanted, so he would shut down and throw a fit. It was best to switch back to tracing for a time, and we’ll try the “Draw Write Now” books again in a little while. Maybe once or twice a week I’ll have the kids write in a journal and they can count it as handwriting if they write neatly enough.
Each day I write a list on the white board hanging in our school room of what each child needs to finish to be done with school. This helps avoid resistance and melt downs from my son. Joshua’s list will usually look something like this:
Mommy time (read books, play games together)
Math – flashcards/puzzles
Read by self - 20 min.
Maren’s schedule usually looks something like this:
Punctuation sheet (a couple times a week)
Typing or email
Math – Timed test
Music theory (a couple times a week)
Maren gets mommy time as a reward for getting all her other work done, and we will do something she chooses. A lot of times she just likes to cuddle and talk.
While they are working independently, I work with Christopher on his alphabet and counting. Maren and Joshua can pretty much do their work in whatever order they like unless it’s something they have to do with me, in which case they do other work until I’m ready, or if it’s all done they can read or do puzzles. They like checking off their work on the white board as they go.
For typing, we use Type to Learn 3. Joshua does this sometimes, but mostly Maren. We use the Singapore Math books, supplemented with various math games and activities. Maren’s working on her multiplication tables so she does timed tests occasionally to try and pass off tables and earn prizes. We have a computer program called Music Ace Deluxe that Maren and Joshua do music theory practice with. I bought a workbook of logic puzzles called “Perplexors” by Mindware and Maren really likes to do these. We use the “Story of the World” for history, and for science I have been just picking subjects and checking books out of the library. We’ve studied forms of matter, simple machines, magnets, electricity, and are currently learning about habitats. For our language arts, I bought the Grammar Island/sentence Island etc. . . curriculum from Royal Fireworks Press. So far, Maren and I are liking it.
I try not to stress too much about their curriculum right now. I think it’s most important at this point for them to love reading and learn how to think and puzzle things out. Once they can do those things, they can learn most things they need to know from books. So if we only get through practicing instruments, homeroom, math, and do some reading, I call it a good day. If everything is going smoothly and we’re able to get through everything, great! If not, oh well. I’m not going to stress about it. They’re young. They’ll be fine. They learn a lot from reading.
We take a quick snack break around 10, and then are usually able to finish our school day by lunch - about 11:30. Joshua is usually done before that and Maren sometimes has to work a bit after lunch if she’s been dilly-dallying. After lunch we do quiet/free time, and then we can do crafts or other activities after I’ve had a chance to recharge. After about 3, when they baby’s up from his second nap, we go out to either our afternoon activities or to play at the park or go for a walk. If it’s too rainy we’ll have a movie day or just more free time. We eat dinner around 5 and then it’s clean up, get ready for bed, and reading time. If we’re all cleaned up by the time daddy gets home, and if daddy gets home before bedtime, we play the wii together, which the kids love.
We use myjobchart.com for the kids to check off their chores each day and earn points. Once they’ve done all their morning chores, they can use their points to do various activities, like video games, computer, TV, etc . . . or they can save up their points and turn them in for bigger prizes or money. I also take points away for behavior that is not acceptable in our family, like hitting, saying no to mommy, pushing over desks while throwing tantrums, etc . . . Since we have discussed such consequences ahead of time, it makes disciplining easier. I also give them extra points for finishing books and doing extra work around the house. The kids like earning points and it has been a good motivator for them.
Whew. That’s how the days go in our house. Sometimes.