Written by Kara Fleck
We’re in a season of change here at the Fleck house: after five years of my being a full time caregiver to a relative who lived with us, our lives are in transition.
The kids and I are getting used to this new normal. It is just us now, which is nice. I was grateful for my time as a caregiver, but I’m also grateful to be able to fully focus on my children again.
However, this is a life adjustment that is taking some getting used to, and I think it has been more emotional than any of us anticipated. I’ve learned that when life changes are going on, it is better for my family to keep everything else in our lives simple.
Our homeschool time is currently essentials only. I’ve eliminated as many extras as I am comfortable letting go of.
So what does a simple homeschool day look like for us?
We’re focusing on our reading and writing assignments from Build Your Library and daily math practice. My high school student is also adding in SAT test prep and her French lessons.
That’s it! Here’s a peek at one recent day:
We don’t have an official start time for lessons, and that is continuing to work well for all of us.
I spent the early morning on this day drinking coffee, reading, knitting, and letting Alexa read me the news. I went over my lists and plans for the day and listened to music.
My two youngest girls, ages 7 and 10, were the first to wake up and we ate breakfast together before settling in with their reading.
Amelia had a few Sci Show Kids videos to watch that go along with her science and nature study. She’s been learning about bats and owls.
My older kids came down about an hour later. After they had eaten, they too started their assignments for the day. Our homeschool was going full steam by 10 a.m.
My twelve year old prefers to start with math and my seventeen year old usually starts with whatever subject has the most reading and then works her way down to the shortest assignments.
We rotated through math assignments (my younger three share one computer) and the younger girls finished up their reading.
Lucy finished a book so I had her write the title in the back of her assignment notebook, where the kids keep a simple reading log. I also made a note of it and took a picture for my instagram. I’m keeping track of all the books our family reads and listens to in 2019 (mainly because I’m curious as to what the final number will be).
Lunch is pretty casual. I have been doing sort of a “working lunch” approach to the mid-day meal. We don’t really break, we just eat while we watch CNN10 and each child continues their individual reading and writing.
I don’t mind books at the table. It makes me smile, actually.
Once the younger girls finish their school work, they do their daily chores and then the day belongs to them. They know not to let play get too wild while their older siblings continue schoolwork (and most of the time they actually do keep it fairly calm).
We’re chomping at the bit for spring and warmer days because we really miss being able to be outdoors on a regular basis. It’s been a long, cold winter here in Indiana.
For now, puzzles and bead kits and play dough are the afternoon activities of choice for the little girls.
My son finished with his work around 2:30. He did his daily chores and then he played a video game online with a friend who is also finished with school.
My high school student has a writing project left to do and a documentary about the history of the English language to watch. I bring my knitting into the living room and she and I hang out together. This time with my teen is treasured, I know I’m lucky to have it.
The calendar is going to turn to her Senior year, her final year of homeschooling, next fall. How is that even possible?
Once my teen finishes, she does her daily chores and then she has the rest of the day free. She’s working on a new cosplay, so she’s been sewing up a storm. As someone who cannot sew, her skills impress me and I can take absolutely zero credit for them! She’s got other adults in her life who are happy to pass along sewing knowledge and she fills in the gaps with youtube video tutorials.
I write out everyone’s next assignments in their notebooks and check over their work from today. Then the afternoon is free.
The last few days I’ve been watching a TV show called The Librarians with the kids. We’ve also been working our way through some of the games and puzzles we were given for Christmas.
Lucy has been teaching herself how to play the ukulele (again, youtube videos to the rescue, as I know nothing about ukuleles).
Dinner tonight ended up being leftovers or sandwiches, depending on who was heading out the door to practice and who was staying home. We’re eating more meals as a family than not these days.
However, the nights of martial arts practice it’s easier to feed the crew in shifts and just get bodies revolving out the door.
I hope that doesn’t make me sound like I resent the practice time, because I don’t. It’s been such a wonderful thing to watch my kids grow with their sports. I know they value the friends they’ve made, too.
The plan is that tonight after practice I have some reading I’d like to get done and my knitting has been calling my name.
Now, I know that one family’s simple is another’s complicated. But this feels pretty bare bones to me compared to how things were up until the holidays. Although as I look back at it all written up, we’re actually getting quite a lot accomplished.
Is this scaled back Fleck Academy how I ideally like our homeschool to run? Well, no.
I’m craving a family literature unit study and more nature studies. I miss field trips, having a composer study, and large scale art and craft projects.
One of the kids mentioned the other day that they would like music lessons. I hope the next season brings those things into our lives.
But for now this is what we can manage, and manage pretty well if I do say so myself, so I know we’re on the right track.
Today was a good day. Stringing together as many of those as I can is my goal.