This post written by contributing writer Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.
I used to think we were really atypical homeschoolers as far as our schedule is concerned, but over the last few years more and more late-starting homeschooling families have spoken up and let me know that we’re not alone. Late-risers unite!
My children are 17, 13, and 11. Studies have shown that teens need more sleep than elementary-aged kids or adults and I love that homeschooling allows my teens to adopt a schedule that lets them focus on schoolwork when they’re at their mental peak for the day – which is not before noon.
I try to get up between 8:30 and 9:00 so that I have time to get my daily workout in before we get busy.
Sometimes I do my personal Bible study before waking the kids, but I’ve found that I really enjoy our Bible study time together more than I like studying on my own. I’ve discovered that as my children mature in their faith, they’re becoming pretty insightful beings and I love dissecting scripture during our family Bible study.
I wake the kids when I head to the shower between 10:00 and 10:30 so that they can start to become coherent and take care of whatever household responsibilities they may have for the day.
I try to work on laundry daily, so most mornings, after I’m ready to face the day, I fold the load that’s in the dryer from the day before and get a load started washing. I put that load in the dryer around lunch time, so that it’s ready to fold the next day. That helps keep the laundry manageable.
We start school no later than 11:30. First up is our family Bible study. We usually read a chapter a day unless it’s really long or really meaty. When we come across a chapter with lots of good stuff to discuss, we’ll break it into a couple of days. We discuss and journal our responses to the reading, pray together, and work on scripture memory.
Photo by Kris
Once our Bible study is complete, Brianna (17) goes off to begin her independent work. I read aloud to my younger two, then, they work independently while I start lunch prep.
Depending on how long it’s going to take to fix lunch, they may tackle math. Otherwise, they save it until the end of the day since it’s done on the computer and doesn’t require my help unless they need a concept explained. We’re usually ready to eat between noon and 1:00.
We take a fairly long lunch. It’s my time to check my email and social media accounts and read blogs. The kids watch TV, play video games, get online, talk to friends, or play outside.
We resume school by 1:30 or 2:00, which is when we do the bulk of our schoolwork. The younger kids are using Trail Guide to Learning. That means that in the afternoon, they’re either doing history or science (alternating days), copywork or dictation, and hands-on projects.
We supplement Trail Guide with All About Spelling because Josh (13) has dyslexia and needs more explicit spelling instruction than Trail Guide provides. We also use WriteShop, even though Trail Guide includes writing assignments, for the same reason, though we do try to incorporate the writing topics from Trail Guide in with the WriteShop lessons as much as possible.
Photo by Kris
The younger kids and I usually spend about two hours after lunch on group subjects. Then, the kids do silent reading and math on their own. Josh also does daily dyslexia therapy games and weekly online tutoring with Lexercise.
Brianna works independently throughout the day. She’s currently following her interests with history by doing an in-depth study of World War II, using the Uncle Eric books and Bluestocking guides as our spine.
Like the younger two, she uses Teaching Textbooks for math and WriteShop for writing. She’s using Real Kids 4 Science Chemistry Level 2 science. You can find out more about how we’re using each of these products on our curriculum page, if you’re curious.
The kids are usually finished with everything they need my help with by 3:30 or 4:00 and they’re done for the day by 4:30 or 5:00. This leaves me plenty of time to get dinner started around 5:00.
Bedtimes for my late-rising crew range from 11:00-12:00, youngest to oldest in 30 minute increments.
Sometimes I wish that were earlier, because it’s hard for me to sleep before everyone is in bed for the night and the older I get the more I find I’m ready for bed at a decent hour. Generally speaking, though, it works for us.
A look back:
Does your family have an atypical schedule? In what ways does the flexibility of homeschooling allow you to meet your family’s unique needs?