Angie’s homeschool day in the life (with a 10, 13, and 15-year-old)

Angie's homeschool day in the life (with a 10, 13, and 15 year old)

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.

Family Field Trip to the Museum

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.

homeschoolday

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.

Mornings

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).

math

Afternoons

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.

After School

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.

diorama for a book

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.knitting with a loom

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?

About Angie Kauffman

Angie, a domestically challenged nerd, writer, and mom of three very fun kids, is the founder of Real Life at Home, as well as the Real Life at Home Podcast. She loves music, lives on caffeine, and is married to her best friend. Angie can also be found on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.

Comments

  1. I love how each of your children are doing something different, and how you are grappling with what you expected this time would look like vs. what it actually looks like. This is our first year (I’m homeschooling our eldest son) and I arrived here unexpectedly, but now I’m loving homeschooling so much that I’m struggling with my daughter going to K next year. She wants to, but I’d rather her here. Your conflict spoke to me 🙂
    Cait Fitz @ My Little Poppies’s latest post: Valentine’s Day and Hothousing

    • That’s a hard spot to be in. We have had various kids talk about wanting to go to school off and on ever since we started homeschooling. It wasn’t all the time, but it definitely came up here and there. But, it wasn’t until my daughter wanted to go last year that it seemed like a viable idea. Several years ago, we even took a tour of the elementary school that my boys used to go to because two of the kids really wanted to go. But, after the tour, that seemed to get rid of their interest for a while.
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  2. Thanks for sharing about your day! I love the idea of hybrid homeschooling, especially for older kids – it seems like the best of both worlds, although I’m sure there are challenges there too. Did you find private schools that actively advertised the possibility of this kind of schooling, or did you have to negotiate your arrangement with the school? I’d love to hear about anyone’s experience with this.

    • We have one private school here that seems to actively work with the largest homeschooling group in the area. Included in this, they make it known that they will accept homeschooling students part time or just for a class or two. The prices were quite high though, as far as I was concerned. I don’t know about the other private schools in our area, but some of them may have been open to that kind of thing as well.

      Although it varies by school district, in our state, homeschoolers are able to attend school for up to three classes and still be considered homeschoolers. I don’t really know that they would allow it at the lower grades, but that’s actually how we’ve done it in our family this year. So, my boys are attending the public schools that they would have been attending. They actually know some of the kids that they were friends with way back when they were in elementary school (since we still live in the same house as we did back then.) From what I understand, there are some states where homeschoolers are also able to do this kind of arrangement and/or can play sports at the schools or participate in extracurriculars.
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  3. I love how you have embraced the possibility that the best education may look different for each of your children.
    This is my first year homeschooling my third and second grader, while my 2.5 year old started his first year of Montessori preschool. Everyone has asked what our plans are (including high school!) and my stock answer is that we will take each year and each child year by year. We have decided next year will continue much like this year, but we are very open to the fact that we or our children may decide to make changes as time goes by. At some point, I can very much see my oldest, my social butterfly, needing/wanting to go back to public school. At the same time, my middle child, uniquely gifted, may decide that home is the best place to get a customized education. I could very easily get frustrated with the confines of a school schedule and pull my little one home for his last year of preschool/kindergarten. Instead of being overwhelmed with our choices, I’ve tried to look at them as blessings and opportunities.

    • It definitely gets complicated when you start thinking that one setting may benefit one child, while another benefits another child. The first time that one of the kids ever talked about a desire to go to school, I was very rigid in my thinking on it and felt like it had to be all the kids at homeschool or all the kids at school, with no room for individual children doing different things. It’s been complicated to do both, but it’s working for right now. Of course, I do have a realization that things could change at any time and I could find myself with all of the kids back home again or all of the kids at school full time. We’re just kind of rolling with it and seeing what’s working for the kids and what’s not.
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  4. I have wondered if either of our girls will express a desire to go to public school. My eldest spent kindergarten in public school where she was picked on and bored. Now, at 9 she loves the home environment and I doubt she will want to go back. Quote from her, “I don’t have to deal with mean girls.” Sad but very very true. This fall she took a homeschool art class and didn’t like it. The projects were very close ended, step by step with no room for creativity and in a grades 3-5 all projects involved pencil, marker or colored pencil with much repitition. That’s it. No paint even. So she decided not to continue. Except for Sunday School that’s the only outside activity she has ever done besides rec soccer and t-ball in kindergarten. My 5 year old is different, she is very people oriented. She played rec soccer and will do t-ball in the spring. She also just started a Creative Movement class, a mix of drama and dance with one of her church friends and loves it. She might end up choosing public school down the road, I don’t know.

    • Augh – mean girls. We have dealt with that a bit at the public school with my daughter, although her most heart breaking (for her) experience with that was a few years ago in our homeschooling group. So, oddly, one of the things that I looked forward to for her about going to school was that she was going to widen her group of friends. It hasn’t been without bumps in the road where that has been concerned, but it’s been good for all of my kids (so far) to be able to branch out a bit as far as friends go. (For my boys, that was mainly because our homeschooling group is small and there are only a couple of other boys that are close in age to them. Literally – like two. LOL)
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  5. Well, last fall my daughter took an art class, a vet class and drivers ed through the local high school. She did this only for the first trimester which is less than 3 months, and only to earn extra credits towards her high school diploma and to meet the driving requirements for our state. Honestly, she and I were both so relieved when it was all over and we no longer had to comply to a school’s schedule, calendar, rules and homework! 😉 But isn’t it nice that both worlds can be combined successfully? I can appreciate your family’s hybrid-homeschooling style. Way to go!
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    • It definitely was difficult to get used to having to be on someone else’s schedule, I agree! We were so used to homeschooling exclusively for so long. I loved the flexibility that it offered us for travel. But, we’re just having to work around that now, although I do miss just heading out for a trip on a whim. (We actually took all of the kids out for a week right before Christmas though. That was pretty fun, and all of the schools were pretty cool with it. So, that was nice.)
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  6. I am curious about your outside classes. I would love an option like that, but all we have around here are co-ops, something I’m not interested in at this point. Where did you find your classes?
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    • Angela – at least one of the local private schools offers that kind of thing around here, but at the middle school/high school level, we’re able to enroll in up to three classes through the public schools. It’s not an option that a lot of homeschoolers take, but I know at least two other families that I’m friends with that are also doing it. I totally agree that co-op just isn’t the same thing. We were in a co-op for several years and enjoyed it, but this is very different from doing that.
      Angie Kauffman’s latest post: Mixed Media Valentine Keepsakes

  7. Joan Smith says:

    We did hybrid homeschooling with our children years ago. Being flexible, cooperative, and polite went a long way in dealing with the local school system. I was glad to see the Saxon Math page in your blog…one of our best curriculum investments!

  8. So happy to hear that you’re integrating YD with your homeschool curriculum! We can’t wait to see the finished project!

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