Written by Purva Brown of The Classical Unschooler
Well, it happened. The moment I had been waiting for has come. I’m homeschooling three children. Funny thing is, it’s not that much more work.
Math & Other Morning Musings
This was the year my oldest daughter officially became a tween and started needing more sleep. My two boys are more likely to be up early. So to avoid morning meltdowns, we instituted a rule of no coming out of their rooms before 7 a.m.
Our “real” morning then begins as the sun is peeking out. The boys shuffle out, eat breakfast and read or play on their electronics until they are joined later by their sister.
This is my time to plan our day, read something inspirational and write. I make the most of it, settling between my covers with books and laptop as I look over my to-do list, cross off items and add some on.
School begins officially at 10. The children know to do their specifically assigned chores and be ready. We tackle math first. As it is usually the most challenging, we like to get it out of the way.
It’s odd how when math is done, the rest of the day seems easier.
Since people have asked me what we do for math, I will include that we use the online IXL curriculum (afflink) for the older children. (I print out worksheets and flashcards for the youngest. I like to focus on basics much longer than most homeschoolers.)
IXL is currently our spine for all our schoolwork. I don’t feel the need to do every last unit and every last problem it includes. Instead, I pick and choose and when I see they have enough proficiency in an area, we move on. This is also true for language arts and social studies.
I use IXL as a basic guide and only one of our tools. Curriculum, in my experience, is a great servant and bad master. I keep it in its place.
Languid Language Arts & Other Fun
Later in the morning, after the children have had plenty of breaks, (and second and third breakfasts!) we move on to language arts. I like to fill in their vocabulary gaps and do a little grammar and punctuation with IXL.
Besides that, they read a lot, so I don’t bother with anything formal for it. There will certainly be no diagramming of sentences!
We also love our time with science and social studies. Again, using IXL as a spine, I can get creative with it. This is where I see the most self direction in them.
My middle son loves science and can’t get enough. My daughter loves social studies. So I do my best to find them educational videos or documentaries or books we can include in to this time. We absolutely love BBC Earth for this and have watched almost all their documentaries on Netflix.
Those who know me personally know that I’m quite into lifting weights, so I incorporate a little physical activity for the children.
Since we have a garage gym, it’s easy to get them out there doing simple movements like push ups, pull ups, squats, lunges and some basic lifts. They love it and it keeps them healthy.
Afternoons & Evenings
The way our school is structured, it takes us about 2 – 3 hours to get through it. This is a sustainable pace.
While they are working on their individual assignments, I prep dinner, so that my afternoons are free. I use them to read, catch up on my to-do list, or simply take a nap. The children make lunch, eat and then play on their electronics.
They know, however, that they do need to get out and play as well. We are very fortunate to live directly across from a park. This is also an awesome opportunity for them to meet other kids in the area.
Our general rule is an hour of outside play time. When they come back, we have dinner.
We tend to be early dinner eaters, so our kitchen is clean by 6 p.m. or so. The children settle down into coloring or hang out with my husband for an hour or so. About 7, they get ready for bed, say prayers and play together quietly in their rooms.
Wind down or reading time occurs at 8 and we have a strict rule for lights out at 9 p.m. This gives my husband and me time to relax and be together without feeling like we’re on task all the time. We usually head to bed ourselves at 10 p.m.
So there it is. This is how we are currently set up, but I know this time to be fleeting. So many changes occur with the children as they grow that I know it’s just a matter of time before we change this routine again.
The most important thing is that we keep the formal part of school short and light and leave time and energy for conversations. On that, we all agree.
My, how the days have changed:
- 2018: Purva’s homeschool day in the life (with a 5-, 8-, & 9-year-old)
- 2017: Purva’s homeschool day in the life (with a 4-, 7-, & 8-year-old)