Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool
“I feel like soon it will be time for me to get serious about my spelling.”
He brought the topic up in the car over the holidays, on our way to drive by cool Christmas lights.
“I know I can do it, I just haven’t really wanted to put the effort in until now. But I think I’m getting ready.”
I could do nothing but listen, smile, encourage. After all, I have no frame of reference for this type of education myself. I would never have been able to make this type of comment as a young teen, since I never truly owned my education until college.
When allowed to choose, I’ve seen that my children eventually notice their need for the subjects that, in a typical school setting, kids are forced to begin and master so early they never have the chance to even comprehend their relevance.
And who can ever stop someone from learning when they have decided they want to, and when they have all the resources and time they need at their fingertips?
The answer? No one.
I share this conversation to shed light on the philosophy that undergirds our family’s days, which now include a 14-, 13-, and 12-year-old.
Here’s a quick overview of our typical homeschool day:
- Jamie’s Morning Work Session
- Breakfast School
- Family Work
- Learning Time
- Lunch/Drop Everything and Read
- Learning Time
- Afternoon Projects
- Dinner/Evening Routine
And here’s what each of those blocks means:
Morning Work Session
I start a typical day with writing time (anywhere from 15-45 minutes), followed by quick checks and any necessary work on this blog, my Facebook page, or email. This way I know I’m beginning my day with calm and focus, no matter what twists and turns come in the hours that follow.
Afterwards I log off, physically and mentally. Then I take a shower and dress before our homeschool day officially begins.
While the kids eat, they learn! I direct and guide this time, which allows me to focus on whatever I feel like we currently have a need for or feel inspired by.
Right now that includes:
- A loop that rotates: Phonograms, Grammar, Math
- Periodic Table
- Bible and Devotional Reading
- Etiquette e-course (This life skills online course has been SUCH a good addition to our routine!)
- Current read-aloud (We move into the living room and get cozy with blankets for this.)
Each child has an assigned area/task (downstairs, upstairs, kitchen, or dinner prep), so I give job assignments and send them on their way. I love that having older kids equals many hands that make light work! I check their work afterwards for quality control. 😉
Then we all do any needed self-care that hasn’t yet been completed: fixing hair, brushing teeth, etc.
This is an open block of time, both before and after lunch. I see myself as its guardian/protector. My job? To “hold the space” for learning and inspiration.
Like Kari shared in the fall, I try to ditch multi-tasking during this period in order to stay focused on our education, more available to help when needed.
Not every day is the same, and we don’t want it to be! That would be boring, and we don’t believe learning has to bore us.
This time is usually devoted to reading (LOTS of reading!), creative writing, projects someone gets inspired by, computer work, math, spelling, online mentoring via TJEd High, and reading lessons.
Drop Everything and Read/Lunch
We take turns preparing a simple lunch, then gather to eat while we “Drop Everything and Read.” I love it because I get to enjoy my own book guilt-free!
It’s fun when everyone is engaged in their own titles; we occasionally share snippets if someone laughs out loud or reaches a good bit they just have to share.
More Learning Time
See above! Around 3pm is when we usually transition to the afternoon part of our day.
With the frigid temperatures we’ve been having, this doesn’t last too long at the moment, and has included lots of sledding in recent days!
Reading, chatting, musical instruments, computer time, showers for kids, introverted recharging time for the mama.
After eating we rotate clean-up duties, then watch a show or two together before the kids head upstairs.
The routine above is fairly typical, and it’s open enough to allow for flexibility, too, which I love. Two mornings a week a dear friend comes and “holds the space for learning” so that I can devote time to writing and blog work. She teaches the kids Spanish as well!
Right now our week also includes piano and horse riding lessons, homeschool co-op, a wilderness program for my boys, and church youth group.
If I attempted to label what our family does, I’d probably call it “wholehearted learning.” It’s a lifestyle, not a regiment. A philosophy, not a program.
Part of me loves schedules and charts, but I find anything that doesn’t allow for a natural flow feels stifling. I don’t plan too far ahead, because I’ve learned through the years how quickly things can change. Instead, I pay attention and try (imperfectly) to do the next right thing, believing God will get us where we each need to be in the end.
That concept works just as well now as it did when the children were younger, because no matter what age we are, life always unfolds one precious day at a time. Thanks so much for following along!
My how the days have changed:
- 2011: My homeschool day in the life with a 5, 6, & 7-year-old
- 2012: My homeschool day in the life with a 6, 7, & 8-year-old
- 2013: My homeschool day in the life with a 7, 8, & 9-year-old
- 2014: My homeschool day in the life with a 8, 9, & 10-year-old
- 2015: My homeschool day in the life with a 9, 10, & 11-year-old
- 2016: My homeschool day in the life with a 10, 11, & 12-year-old
- 2017: My homeschool day in the life with a 11, 12, & 13-year-old
If you found this post helpful, check out Jamie’s upcoming book, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy. Preorder it before the release date of May 7th and receive four bonuses worth $75!
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