The following is written by Angie Kauffman of Real Life at Home.
I would never have guessed a few years ago that our homeschooling days would look like they look this school year.
When I pulled my boys out of public school as they finished first and second grade, with a daughter almost preschool-aged, I just assumed we would exclusively homeschool for the duration.
In recent years, my boys continued to be convinced that they would be homeschooled through graduation, while my now elementary-aged daughter talked about a desire to be homeschooled through middle school, and then to attend high school.
However, last year, just before starting third grade, she requested to try school outside of our home for the first time, while her brothers stayed home. It was odd to have days of only middle school work with my boys, while she went away.
This year, our days have looked even more different. While my daughter has continued to go to school full time, my sons decided to do more of a hybrid homeschooling approach this year.
Unlike years past, we are now up bright and early on school days. Of course, it’s not unusual for us to not be up quite early enough. This sometimes means that our early mornings are hectic.
Thankfully, because my kids are all older, everyone is able to ready themselves. We go for easy breakfasts and try to make sure everyone has everything they need before they head off to school.
My boys are both taking English, while one also takes science and math and the other takes history and a college/career prep class. They picked the classes to do in a hybrid setting mostly on their own, with me urging that they both take an English class outside of home, if they were going to be taking classes.
I often use this time to work on tasks related to my blog or podcast, project manager work I do for another site, tasks around the house, or any other things that need to be done (including sometimes just taking time to unwind).
In the afternoon, gears switch and we move to subjects at home.
This includes math, science, and history (as appropriate for the particular boy that hadn’t already done that subject in the morning), as well as plenty of reading, some French, and programming through Youth Digital.
Once morning and afternoon lessons have been done by everyone, no matter where they were done, we often have to deal with one of our least favorite things about the approach that the kids have picked this year: homework.
One of the up sides to homework is that it has forced me to do some of those things that I hadn’t been doing with the kids in the past, such as dioramas, science fair projects, power point presentations, bread baking, loom knitting and more.
Yes, baking bread and loom knitting have been projects we’ve worked on for homework assignments. So, it’s not been entirely bad.
Another thing that we have been working on this year in the hours outside of formal lessons has been life skills/home ec skills that we seemed to always put off working on in the past. I’ve been working one-on-one with the children on things like cooking, cleaning and laundry.
We’re also using after-school hours to allow the kids to try out classes and lessons that interest them.
This school year, our daughter has been able to try cheerleading, dance and gymnastics, though not at the same time. One of my sons is about to take some short term classes on both videography and podcasting.
This school year has definitely challenged us in many ways, although, I am also very aware that it probably wouldn’t be going nearly as well if we were dealing with very strict, rigid schools.
Instead, we’re dealing with schools where we were even able to arrange to take all of the kids out of school for a week for a vacation (even if it did mean some carschooling on our drive to Florida).
Other changes have included needing to learn to be better managers of our time.
My husband and I have also had to use a lot of prayer and discussion as we navigate the difference between what we thought we would be doing and what our kids have asked to do, while finding compromises that we feel work well for both our family as a whole and individual family members.
Do your children do any classes, co-ops, or activities outside of home as a regular part of your school day/week?