Kris’s Homeschool Day in the Life (with a 16-, 12-, and 10-year-old)

Written by contributor Kris of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

I used to think that there wasn’t any such thing as a “typical” homeschool day. However, this year, with no outside classes (currently), we seem to have settled into a fairly predictable routine.

Well, we had, anyway. With the start of the new year, my younger two kids are starting a completely new curriculum, which means that we’ll be tweaking our schedule and figuring out a new routine that works with our new curriculum.

That’s life on the edge in a homeschooling household.

Of course, some things remain the same, like the fact that we don’t get up at what most people consider a normal time. One new habit I am working on creating this year, though, is getting up earlier, so no more of this for me:

Photo by Kris

My new goal is to be up by 8:30. Once I get consistent with that, I’d like to move that back closer to 8:00. I start my day with a quick breakfast to fuel my workout and some quiet time with God. Having lost nearly 90 pounds, working out is not optional.

Photo by Kris

After my workout, I wake the kids and they start on their morning checklists and chore chart while I shower. I try to start a load of laundry every day and fold the load in the dryer from the day before.

We try to start school no later than 11:00. This gives the kids time to wake up (we’re not morning people, if you hadn’t guessed) and get some basic household chores finished. None of the kids like to eat first thing in morning, so we typically do our Bible lesson and something fairly light and simple, like Daily Grams and Easy Grammar (for the younger two) before stopping for lunch around noon.

Photo by Kris

My oldest, age 16,  uses Switched-on-Schoolhouse, so she works independently on all of her schoolwork after we do our morning devotions as a family.

Depending on how long it’s going to take me to get lunch ready, the younger kids either do their math (Teaching Textbooks) while I’m fixing lunch or at the end of the day after we’re finished with the schoolwork that we do together.

Photo by Kris

For our family, the bulk of our schoolwork is done in the afternoon, after lunch. We were on a rotating schedule with history (M/W) and science (Tu/Th) and either a light day or a catch-up day on Friday. Our new curriculum follows this schedule, as well.

We had been doing writing on M-W-F, with Monday being a writing day, Wednesday editing and Friday final drafts. Spelling was Tu-Th. That’s going to change with our new curriculum (Trail Guide to Learning, if curiosity is driving you crazy), since it’s done in something of a unit study fashion and covers history, science, geography, spelling, writing, grammar, reading…everything except math.

We finish off the formal part of our school day with reading – silently for my independent reader and aloud to me for my almost-fluent one.

What is your favorite part of your school day?

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. Thank for sharing this, Kris. I’ve heard so many great things about “Trail Guide To Learning.” Please keep us posted on how your family likes it. And kudos for your weight loss & workouts.
    Jessica’s latest post: New Year, Old Routines

  2. I’ll be interested to follow on your posts about Trail Guide – it’s one that we had considered for this year and it’s still on the table for next year.
    Eddie’s latest post: Ways I plan to be better this year

  3. We homeschooled for 8 years. My kids are similar is age-spacing as yours. One of the best times of our day was after lunch, Since we did a good bit of our school in the morning, after lunch we set aside a half hour or so for a read aloud. My kids always loved stories and even as teens I still read aloud. They are all grown and gone now, but we will still refer back to a character or a line from a book. It is like those characters would become family friends!
    I miss those days…
    Living the Balanced Life’s latest post: Who makes the rules?

  4. Yours may be the first schedule I’ve read that challenged me but didn’t make me want to kill myself…or turn to hard liquor. So, thanks!

  5. “That’s life on the edge in a homeschooling household.”


  6. It is so refreshing to read a life of a homeschooler and see that your not waking up at the crack of dawn. I would love our life to start later in the morning, and perhaps after preschool is done and I officially have no where to go we can start relaxing. Thank you for your post.
    Rebecca’s latest post: A slow start.

  7. So your kids’ minds are fresh for learning in the afternoon? Okay, I’m inspired. I think we may try that on some days… Thanks for sharing your day!
    Valerie’s latest post: Coaching the Strong-Willed Child

  8. We start later in the day too, usually around 10am. We wake, the girls draw for awile while I have coffee, then we have breakfast. I like this a lot, but I have to admit that starting later in the day leaves little time for physical activity before the sun starts going down (winter). I wish there were more hours in the day.

  9. Great post! Glad to find your website. Very helpful! We also don’t get up super-early. I am a better mom and teacher if I get enough sleep. One of the advantages of homeschooling is that kids can learn anytime…evenings, week-ends, holidays, in the car, on vacation. I hope to implement a version of your checklist and chores for my 6yo and 8yo this month. Thanks 🙂

  10. Enjoyed hearing about your day…sounds similar to ours. So glad to find you writing over here!

  11. Thank you for not being among the vast chorus of people who tell me over and over that I just need to start getting up earlier! 8 is normal for us as well, and that is plenty early for me and my brood! We have a slow start, then start “school” (the oldest is in preschool, so it’s really not a whole lot right now) around 10:30 or 11. We’re frequently done by lunchtime and our afternoons are filled with naps at this stage in our lives. Part of me is looking forward to the day when school can bleed over into the afternoon. Part of me is really enjoying the quiet! 🙂

    I don’t rub it in often, but when my friends who school their children outside of the home complain about the hours, I occasionally mention that getting up whenever I want is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling!
    Melissa Jones’s latest post: MommyBee Designs

  12. My girls are preschool age, so we are really more unschooling than anything formal. So my favorite part of the school day is when they take a sudden interest in something. I love watching them enjoy learning! I love that you start later too … I don’t get moving around here till about 9 am. 🙂

  13. I love that you are brave enough to follow your own schedule. We have the same sort of challenge at the other end of the day: our family happens to be early risers. I feel like I have to hide from my friends the fact that I like getting up at 5 in the morning, and we are all up and working by 6:30. I also have to hide the fact that by 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. I turn into a pumpkin and have to go to bed! Just doing what is best for your family is the best part of home schooling.
    Jen @ anothergranolamom’s latest post: Kids in the Kitchen: Fluffernutter Monkey Bread

  14. Late works for us, too. I used to worry that I was doing my kids a disservice by not making them get up early or go to bed before 9, but my 18yo and 16yo both now hold jobs that require them to be in early and it’s not a problem. If it works in your homeschool, then do it!

    Melissa, I stopped listening to the rhetoric about getting up early. For me, my mind is clearer late at night when the whole house is quiet. Do what works for you 🙂
    Kendra Fletcher’s latest post: {pretty, happy, funny, real} for 5 January, 2012

  15. 8:48…that’s early around here! Though, I’m really glad to hear someone else has trouble getting started before 11:00. My eldest once answered “lunch” as the first meal of the day on a fun quiz. Technically…she was correct. 🙂 Thanks for the great blogs!

  16. I just absolutely love that you don’t start until 11 a.m.!! That so fits my style.

  17. I like that you’re not stressed with outside classes or time pressure. I’d love to have that. I’m curious how do your kids meet up with friends and how often? Great job on loosing weight and staying motivated while homeschooling every day!!

  18. I love your laid back style and aren’t freaked out by starting later in the morning; I LOVE that idea! I’d love to ask you a couple of questions, if you don’t mind. I just switched my 4th & 6th grader over to Easy Grammar, which they love, and I was wondering if you do Daily Grams along with that, or alternate?

    Also, how did/do you like Switched on Schoolhouse?

    I enjoy your blog and have gleaned so much from you!
    Patty’s latest post: If I Knew What Kara Knows….

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