The daily routine of a homeschool family can be a mysterious one to a non-homeschooler.
What do they do all day at home?
Sometimes I wonder that myself, neighbor. We engage in conversations about our daily lives and the question never fails to surface…how long does it take you to do school? The truth of the matter is, my kids are pretty much learning something all day long. Watching reruns of Star Wars: The Clone Wrs does not count as learning, but otherwise, they are doing things all day that stretch their brains and expand their minds.
So instead of saying “homeschooling is done every waking hour,” I usually say something like…
…the kids do their seat work for about 1-2 hours a day and the rest is hands on, reading, doing, experiencing-types of learning. I’m not sure they’re looking for a minute-by-minute testimonial of our homeschool days, but just for fun, I’m going to do it here.
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So, how long does homeschooling really take?
That’s a really interesting question, but for us–not just in homeschooling, but in life in general, I like to look at my day in blocks of time. Early morning before the kids are up, morning, early afternoon, late afternoon, and evening. When I view our day like this, it feels much less rigid than a black and white schedule, but more of a daily routine, or a rhythm. Let me share what each of these blocks of time looks like for us.
Early morning routine
This is only a happy time if the children are not
up. My kids have no business being up before 7:30 (trust me, everyone is crying by 10am if they are) and they almost never are up before 8pm. In this early morning time block, I like to drink my coffee, read something that feeds my brain like the Skimm
or this book
or this book
. I also throw in a load of laundry and try to get a quick workout in if I can. This is when I try to get ready for the day too. I have found that my morning routine
is best when I am ready before the kids are up. It just works best for me.
Morning time in our homeschool
When the kids come downstairs, we do breakfast
right away. This is also the time they get dressed, make their beds and do a few quick chores
(five minutes…tops!). Sometimes certain kids want another piece of toast or another bowl of cereal, so they grab those and bring them to the table, where we gather around and have Morning Meeting
We cram a lot of stuff into that hour-long Morning Meeting
, so even if we get nothing else done for the day because of sickness, bad attitudes, or busyness, we still get a lot of school done. For instance, today in Morning Meeting, we went over our calendar for the week, practiced our memory work, talked about winter weather for science where Jack made a connection between yesterday’s sunshine to today’s fog = water vapor. Then we read for ten minutes about Hinduism and the practice of yoga in that religion and we read about the mystery of who really invested oil paints in art history.
When we tie up our morning meeting, ideally, it is 10am, but usually it’s more like 11am. We adjourn our meeting and head to the schoolroom
for their desk work. This is their math lesson and their language arts loop.
We set the timer
for about 30 minutes for math and 20 minutes for language arts loop, depending on how we’re doing for time and if we have any afternoon activities. When the timer beeps, it’s more than likely lunchtime.
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Afternoon time in our homeschool
After lunch it’s really just depends on the day. Normally though, it comes down to gymnastics, group work like history projects or science experiments, nature walk, or poetry teatime
. Today, the morning fog had subsided and left an amazing hoarfrost in it’s stead. It was beautiful and we had to get out and see it.We walked to the lake and out onto the ice for a while. When some loud crunching sounds made me nervous, we tailed it back to the trail and walked for a long while, looking at the frost, discussing the shapes of the snowflakes, and why the fog left the frost.
The long walk left us chilled, so hot cocoa in front of the fire was a must when we got back home. Everyone needed to chill out, so we did a quick search on Netflix for good documentaries. We were so excited to find one on Richard III, the protagonist of our latest history lesson.
He was the not-so-nice king of England that allegedly locked his two nephews up in the Tower of London so that he could be king. He was later killed in battle defending his crown, but was overrun by the House of Tudor…Henry VII to be exact, father of the one we all know…the one with the wife issues, Henry VIII. Richard was buried in the tomb of an old church, but the church was since torn down. There was actually a parking lot built over the basement tomb and archaeologists dug him up! They learned that his back was actually crooked, like all the legends said it was and they also learned exactly what killed him in battle and what his face probably looked like based on his facial structure. But, I digress…I can’t resist a change to talk about English history! (#myfavorite)
We snuggle up in warm blankets to warm our toes while we get a visual delight of the very thing we had just read about–history coming to life on screen. All eyes are captivated, save the teenager who’s upstairs working on his science. I’m getting laundry done while we watch, because that job is done every day, or else we drown in it.
Late afternoon time block
After the show, everyone disperses to their corners to read, draw, or play. This is the time of day I usually find some good Periscopes
to listen to while I prep dinner. The kids are supposed to read a little while of their required reading each day. This block of time is usually when that gets accomplished.
Evening time in our house
After dinner, I’m sorta beat. Like really beat, actually. The kids all have their specific jobs after dinner and Jarrod usually puts Vera to bed around 7pm. The middle two kids get ready for bed and the three of us usually sit around the living room together to read our current read aloud. Right now we’ve just got a couple chapters of The Long Winter
left. I’m not sure what we’re going to read next.
After they go to bed around 8 or 8:30, I make sure the kitchen is cleaned up and get the stuff ready for Morning Meeting the next day. I fill out assignment notebooks
and make sure I have copies made of things I need. Then on some nights, I write here…usually about homeschooling.
So how long does homeschooling take each day? It all depends on how you look at it. They’re only really sitting and writing in seats for a couple hours, if that. the rest is just…life. But if you’re curious, surround yourself with great literature, and fill your home with interesting things to intrigue your children into wanting to know more, that all counts too. When you live an interesting life, all of it is learning.
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I have been loving your scopes, Alicia, but this is my first visit to your blog! Your enthusiasm and love of teaching your kids is so lovely! ~Nicola
I like your morning meeting. We call ours morning roundup. Thanks for sharing your day. It's fun to see what other homeschoolers do.
I love your blog, been following for some time now yet never commented. Thanks for the ongoing inspiration 🙂
We do laundry every day, at least 3 times a day or we drown, too. Your morning meetings sound really great! I'm hoping to expand ours a bit in the future, but with so many littles in our world, we have to keep it under an hour or else!!!
People probably DO think that we spend the day hunched over our desks! I'm so glad that you shared this. It is very similar to what our days look like, as well. Minus the snow! 😉
I love this post Alicia! It always helps me to not feel guilty-like I should be doing more "book work" during the afternoon. But if we filled up all the time then when would my kids have time to cover our school/play room with infared beams-aka my Christmas ribbon?! And then tell me all about said beams?
It is so inspiring to read about the rhythms of other people's day!
Nice post! There are so many similarities in our homeschooling approaches. I too, prefer the concept of routine to schedule. One of my standard replies to those curious about our day includes an explanation of how efficient homeschooling can be vs. a classroom. Love your your final thought "When you live an interesting life, all of it is learning". Amen!