Kris’s homeschool day in the life (with a 15-, 17-, and 21-year-old)

Kris's homeschool day in the life (with a 15-, 17- & 21-year-old)

Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

After I turn off the alarm (usually by 7:45 at the latest), I turn on my phone. As soon as it boots up, there’s a text: “Up yet?”

I smile. That means that our new addition, a puppy, has not let her person sleep much – or woke her up too early.

“Let me take a shower, and I’ll watch her,” I reply. Because it’s not much easier to take a shower with a new puppy than it is with a new baby. At least the baby won’t eat your shoes while you wash your hair.

This is how our days have been starting out lately, though Belle, the shepherd/husky mix pup is getting better at letting her person, my 21-year-old, sleep until at least 7:30 or 8. Funny how that would have been an ungodly hour a few years ago.

A homeschool day in the life

This is the kid who liked to stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning doing her school work so she could sleep until nearly noon the following day. I was warned that she’d never be able to adjust to “normal” hours. She has. Unless a puppy keeps her up half the night.

By 8:30 or so, I’m on puppy-sitting duty as I sip my morning Spark, a vitamin/energy drink that’s my alternative to the coffee for which I never developed a taste.

Puppy-sitting isn’t a bad deal. Belle is very smart and already whines at the door to go out. Mostly, I just keep an eye out to make sure she’s playing with the big dogs instead of chewing up something she shouldn’t or terrorizing the cats.

I work from home as a blogger, writer, and social media manager. Now that I have late-sleeping teens, I spend the first couple of hours of my day working. It’s much easier than when they were younger. I don’t even have to be exceptionally quiet. No one is going to wake up until I force them out of bed.

I typically do that around 11:30. Yes, that’s even later than it used to be. Now that they work primarily independently, though, it’s not a big deal. As long as they do their schoolwork, I’m not particular about the time of day they do it.

My oldest usually resurfaces from her nap by then, if not before, as well. She usually works mid-afternoon to 9 or 10, so she may be in and out as we go about our day, depending on what’s on her pre-work schedule.

Josh gets up easily most days and stumbles to the kitchen table to work on grammar and handwriting before lunch. Yes, handwriting. I never really pushed cursive when the kids were younger. With Josh’s dyslexia, he found it more confusing than many kids might.

Now that they’re both at the age where they need to sign things like driver’s licenses and job applications, they wanted to get a handle on cursive.

Gus, the cat, is a math whiz.

Josh cares only to the point of being able to sign something neatly and read notes from his grandparents. Megan has surprised us both by discovering that she loves the artsy feel of cursive. She takes her time with it and has beautiful handwriting.

I don’t talk to Josh any more than necessary before lunch. He’s not a morning person. (He gets that from me.) We both work at the table quietly, other than random calls to remind Megan to get up. Persistence is key.

It’s every man for himself for lunch these days. After lunch, the kids usually take an hour or more to follow their own interests. We’ve found ourselves at a very unschoolish sort of place this year. I’m as surprised as anyone.

Megan may write or work on video editing. Josh may play guitar or work on computer-related things. He’s already built one computer from parts this year. He upgraded it with his Christmas money and is planning to sell his starter parts to a friend who wants to build a computer.

It’s really cool to me how educational it’s been, from learning about the various parts, what they do, and which are the best for his price range, to price shopping, to reasonably pricing his items to resell.

He ran into quite a few problems with the upgrades he did after Christmas but was able to work through them and figure them out. I told someone the other day that he gets an A for the class based on the fact that I no longer have a clue what he’s talking about, even though I consider myself fairly computer-savvy.

Usually by 1:30 or 2 everyone is ready to hit the tasks that require the most brain power. That means math (thank goodness they use Teaching Textbooks!) and science. Josh is doing Chemistry with Chemistry 101 and Megan is doing astronomy, using Experiencing Astronomy.

You may wonder about that since last year they were both using workbooks. Near the end of last year, I told both of the kids that I was tired of trying to cram information that they cared not a whit about down their throats. I told them if they could come up with a plan, I’d be willing to go on a more interest-led learning path.

Computer class was one result of that. Josh has also been learning more about audio/visual stuff by volunteering at church. He’s gotten competent enough that he was asked to run the sound for a wedding recently.

Another result was astronomy and Megan’s study of the Titanic and World War I, which precipitated a field trip to the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and two to the Kennesaw Museum of History and Holocaust Education.

My crew and Josh’s BFF (one of our co-op friends) on our first trip to the Holocaust Museum

They both work pretty steadily through the afternoon and early evening. I have to remind them to do their homework for the civics and government co-op we’re doing with a couple of friends on Fridays. The class is actually much more interesting than we’d expected and having friends makes it even better. The kids, Megan’s BFF and Josh’s, often work on their homework together over Skype or FaceTime.

My only real stipulation about when they work on a particular subject is that they have to do math early enough for me to help, if needed, before I start dinner, which is usually around 5:00.

Those are the highlights of most days for us. We have finally gotten to the place in our lives where there is such a thing as a typical day – at least until early evening. Then, with two teens and an adult child living at home, it’s anybody’s guess as to where everyone will be.

How the days have changed:

Are you homeschooling teens yet? Do you have a fairly predictable routine?

About Kris

Kris Bales is the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest voice behind Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She and her husband of over 25 years are parents to two amazing teens and a homeschool grad. Kris has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. She also seems intent on becoming the crazy cat lady long before she's old and alone.


  1. Mama Rachael says:

    Oh Kris, thank you for showing us your day. This is inspiration to me. With a 5 year old doing kindergarten this year and a 4 month old, with hopes of more babies joining our family, it can get rough and I get bogged down at times with “when will he learn to read!?” But to see your day with your big kids is just wonderful and gives me a vision of what I’m working towards. Thank you!

  2. I have three college kids, ages 19, 21 and 23, and two live at home currently. I have one 14-year old. Our homeschool days are pretty relaxed, predictable, but also flexible. To continued my connection with my teen, we have our read-alouds and a morning time together.
    Camie’s latest post: We’re Having a Heat Wave!

  3. Hey Kris, it was so nice to see inside your day. Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate the reassurance of your kids waking up late when younger and how it didn’t “wreck them for life” as I have been warned over and over again. I have one sleeper and man I have to drag her out of bed at noon if it is day when I am home. 😛 By the way, I shared this post in my working homeschool mom’s FB group for encouragement, so thank you so much!
    Jen|Practical by default’s latest post: Teaching With Technology-Online Unit Studies

  4. I absolutely love how relaxed your day is! It’s so nice to see that you allow teenagers to follow their interests with school and you just gently guide them along and keep them on task.

  5. I would love to know what handwriting resource(s) you use for your teenage kids. 🙂

  6. I love everything about this. Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. Kris, do they totally take charge of their independent learning? For instance, your daughter is learning about the Titanic and World War I. Does she work on it for a certain amount of time per day or do you just let her do what she wants in this area? I hope that makes sense. Are you requiring paper writing these days or only Easy Grammar?
    I have four children ~ 19, 16, 15, almost 13. We do have a routine, but life is a bit crazy right now, so the routine is somewhat hit or miss. I enjoy hearing what learning looks like for other families with teens. Thanks for sharing!

  8. THANK YOU. I have a husband who is a police officer and works 3rds. Since we have always homeschooled, I let the kids stay up late and sleep in so theu can hang with him when he is home. They get up early when needed (co-op and church) but every other day they sleep until noon. People act like I am crazy, but we have always been better at night. It’s 11:49 pm and one of them just finished up her school.
    Thank you for making me feel normal:)

  9. Jen Medeiros says:

    Hi Kris,
    I always look forward to “homeschool a day in the life.” Thank you for sharing your day with teens…..I homeschool a 13 year old and it is so encouraging to read about another family doing the same. I also allow our son to “sleep in.” He has become a night owl and I am ok with that. Thankfully homeschool does allow for this needed freedom:) I appreciate your homeschool style. My son has a tutor that helps him with some core subjects but most of the day is interest led and independent reading. We still have not found another family to bond with…..we started homeschooling a couple of years ago….and continue to pray for a co-op. I love the idea of taking field trip with other homeschool friends:) Thank you for your encouragement.

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