Written by Kara S. Anderson
A note from Jamie: Welcome to the first post in our 2020 Homeschool Day in the Life round-up–as we celebrate a DECADE of this series! Grateful to Kara for kicking us off…
As I sit down to write this day in the life, it’s my very favorite week of the year – the Week Between, as we call it.
We’ve just wrapped up Christmas, and we’re all home, waiting on the New Year, playing board games, drinking cocoa and doing puzzles.
We have an audiobook going frequently, but TV and movies are sprinkled in too. It’s a little lazy and I love it.
So for this Day in the Life post, I’m reflecting back on the fall, and our rhythm. I have such big kids now – almost 16 and almost 13 – two teens!
In many ways, things are much less hands-on for me. I thank my children’s teachers.
But we are still planning and keeping a transcript, and meeting the social and emotional needs of teens. It’s full-time, but in an entirely different way than my first Day in the Life post here in 2014, when my kids were just 6 and 9!
So what follows is a typical day from Fall 2019.
I am up first now – no longer are my kids waking me, and instead, I wonder how long to let them sleep. I’ve read a lot about the importance of sleep for teens, and our days go much more smoothly when the kids wake on their own.
Still, there is mama guilt as the sun warms and rises… shouldn’t school start at 8 a.m.? And when do the desks and uniforms arrive?!
I also make it a point to get the kids’ math for the day set up before they wake.
And I drink plenty of tea, and go through my morning routine to get ready. Sometimes if time allows, I take the dog for a walk and listen to a podcast.
My kids wake late morning, and I try to make a good breakfast-lunch hybrid. Think egg sandwiches, omelettes, or something with bacon so we can avoid sugar crashes.
The kids do their math, and sometimes I work on these math games (afflink) with my daughter.
After they eat and tackle math, my son is on his own for a chunk of the afternoon.
He’s very self-directed at this point. For instance, yesterday he took an old laptop and learned how to install a new operating system. He also works a lot on music and is very interested in politics, economics and history.
The only other subjects we do together are Spanish and Chemistry.
Of course, he’s invited to take part in other classes and programs we do, and sometimes will join in. But I know he knows HOW to learn now, so he works mostly independently.
Early afternoons are mostly my daughter and I working together. We do a loop of Bitsbox, Kiwi Crates, You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels, SQUILT, Nature Study, Take Time for Art and other crafts, projects and activities that she is interested in.
We also loop in games, cooking and seasonal stuff, like making cinnamon ornaments or organizing and decorating projects.
The life skills stuff that we focused on back in preschool is paying huge dividends here!
Depending on the day, the kids alternate between skateboarding with friends (when the weather cooperates), or we go to the YMCA. The Y is where a lot of “language arts” gets done in the form of reading or listening to audiobooks.
We also go to the library a lot. Basically, any time the kids see a book that interests them, our first step is putting it on hold.
We used to spend a lot of time browsing the library, but this stage of life seems to be more about putting books on hold, so we’re at the library a few times a week picking up books and returning old ones.
Some afternoons we need to run errands or go to appointments too – Orthodontics are no joke in the teen years.
Later in the afternoon, we do a quick clean-up, reset the kitchen and start dinner.
The kids alternate showers or shower after dinner.
They tend to stay up later than me now, and that’s okay – I get tucked in early with a good book, and they fall asleep according to their own circadian rhythm.
I think the biggest thing that has changed this year in our homeschool is that I am outsourcing a lot more.
It’s taken me a while to find resources we really love, but now things feel very natural. I love that the time I spend with my daughter is often us working together instead of me “teaching.”
And I’m getting okay with my son’s independence, although this spring, we plan to connect with the local community college about classes, and soon, he’ll have his license.
That seemed so far off when I first wrote a Day in the Life for Simple Homeschool back in 2014, but I’m really enjoying this stage of life with big kids! They are interesting, unique people who love learning.
The intensity of the early years feels so worth it.
Do you outsource in your homeschool? What classes and programs have worked well for you?
My, how the days have changed:
- 2019: Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 12 & 15-year-old)
- 2018: Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 10 & 13-year-old)
- 2017: Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 10- & 12-year-old)
- 2016: Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with an 8- & 11-year-old)
- 2015: Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 7- & 10-year-old)
- 2014: Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 6- and 9-year-old)
What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!