Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
After I turn off the alarm (usually by 7:45 at the latest), I turn on my phone. As soon as it boots up, there’s a text: “Up yet?”
I smile. That means that our new addition, a puppy, has not let her person sleep much – or woke her up too early.
“Let me take a shower, and I’ll watch her,” I reply. Because it’s not much easier to take a shower with a new puppy than it is with a new baby. At least the baby won’t eat your shoes while you wash your hair.
This is how our days have been starting out lately, though Belle, the shepherd/husky mix pup is getting better at letting her person, my 21-year-old, sleep until at least 7:30 or 8. Funny how that would have been an ungodly hour a few years ago.
This is the kid who liked to stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning doing her school work so she could sleep until nearly noon the following day. I was warned that she’d never be able to adjust to “normal” hours. She has. Unless a puppy keeps her up half the night.
By 8:30 or so, I’m on puppy-sitting duty as I sip my morning Spark, a vitamin/energy drink that’s my alternative to the coffee for which I never developed a taste.
Puppy-sitting isn’t a bad deal. Belle is very smart and already whines at the door to go out. Mostly, I just keep an eye out to make sure she’s playing with the big dogs instead of chewing up something she shouldn’t or terrorizing the cats.
I work from home as a blogger, writer, and social media manager. Now that I have late-sleeping teens, I spend the first couple of hours of my day working. It’s much easier than when they were younger. I don’t even have to be exceptionally quiet. No one is going to wake up until I force them out of bed.
I typically do that around 11:30. Yes, that’s even later than it used to be. Now that they work primarily independently, though, it’s not a big deal. As long as they do their schoolwork, I’m not particular about the time of day they do it.
My oldest usually resurfaces from her nap by then, if not before, as well. She usually works mid-afternoon to 9 or 10, so she may be in and out as we go about our day, depending on what’s on her pre-work schedule.
Josh gets up easily most days and stumbles to the kitchen table to work on grammar and handwriting before lunch. Yes, handwriting. I never really pushed cursive when the kids were younger. With Josh’s dyslexia, he found it more confusing than many kids might.
Now that they’re both at the age where they need to sign things like driver’s licenses and job applications, they wanted to get a handle on cursive.
Gus, the cat, is a math whiz.
Josh cares only to the point of being able to sign something neatly and read notes from his grandparents. Megan has surprised us both by discovering that she loves the artsy feel of cursive. She takes her time with it and has beautiful handwriting.
I don’t talk to Josh any more than necessary before lunch. He’s not a morning person. (He gets that from me.) We both work at the table quietly, other than random calls to remind Megan to get up. Persistence is key.
It’s every man for himself for lunch these days. After lunch, the kids usually take an hour or more to follow their own interests. We’ve found ourselves at a very unschoolish sort of place this year. I’m as surprised as anyone.
Megan may write or work on video editing. Josh may play guitar or work on computer-related things. He’s already built one computer from parts this year. He upgraded it with his Christmas money and is planning to sell his starter parts to a friend who wants to build a computer.
It’s really cool to me how educational it’s been, from learning about the various parts, what they do, and which are the best for his price range, to price shopping, to reasonably pricing his items to resell.
He ran into quite a few problems with the upgrades he did after Christmas but was able to work through them and figure them out. I told someone the other day that he gets an A for the class based on the fact that I no longer have a clue what he’s talking about, even though I consider myself fairly computer-savvy.
Usually by 1:30 or 2 everyone is ready to hit the tasks that require the most brain power. That means math (thank goodness they use Teaching Textbooks!) and science. Josh is doing Chemistry with Chemistry 101 and Megan is doing astronomy, using Experiencing Astronomy.
You may wonder about that since last year they were both using workbooks. Near the end of last year, I told both of the kids that I was tired of trying to cram information that they cared not a whit about down their throats. I told them if they could come up with a plan, I’d be willing to go on a more interest-led learning path.
Computer class was one result of that. Josh has also been learning more about audio/visual stuff by volunteering at church. He’s gotten competent enough that he was asked to run the sound for a wedding recently.
Another result was astronomy and Megan’s study of the Titanic and World War I, which precipitated a field trip to the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and two to the Kennesaw Museum of History and Holocaust Education.
My crew and Josh’s BFF (one of our co-op friends) on our first trip to the Holocaust Museum
They both work pretty steadily through the afternoon and early evening. I have to remind them to do their homework for the civics and government co-op we’re doing with a couple of friends on Fridays. The class is actually much more interesting than we’d expected and having friends makes it even better. The kids, Megan’s BFF and Josh’s, often work on their homework together over Skype or FaceTime.
My only real stipulation about when they work on a particular subject is that they have to do math early enough for me to help, if needed, before I start dinner, which is usually around 5:00.
Those are the highlights of most days for us. We have finally gotten to the place in our lives where there is such a thing as a typical day – at least until early evening. Then, with two teens and an adult child living at home, it’s anybody’s guess as to where everyone will be.
How the days have changed:
- 2012: Kris’s homeschool day in the life with a 10-, 12-, & 16-year-old
- 2013: Kris’s homeschool day in the life with a 11-, 13-, & 17-year-old
- 2014: Kris’s homeschool day in the life with a 12-, 14-, & 18-year-old
- 2015: Kris’s homeschool day in the life (with a 13-, 15- & 19-year-old)
- 2016: Kris’s homeschool day in the life (with a 14-, 16- & 20-year-old)
Are you homeschooling teens yet? Do you have a fairly predictable routine?