Written by contributor Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home
The sky is just starting to lighten. From my regular perch I watch a new day come, wait for the riot of color as the sun pops up over the mountains. The next few hours are mine. This is the “me” time that stay-at-home moms crave: my creative time, productive time, devotion time, exercise time. I write, pray, run, plan, catch-up, check things off—and add things to—my to-do list. I shower quietly, without my ears tuned to the cries of “Mommy!”
You with little ones don’t have this—I know. Your little ones are your alarm clock.
But one of these days, you’ll have middle and high schoolers who sleep in late—and you won’t.
My kids often sleep as late as 10:15; in fact, I have to awaken my 12-year-old most of the time. I have heard variations on this statement more than once: “They’ll need to wake up early in the real world! You’d do better to prepare them for that now!” Indeed they will. Possibly for the rest of their lives, our children will have to awaken by 7 a.m. or earlier. This is a luxury I can give them as teens, when they need sleep even more than they did as children.
My kids’ school day begins roughly at 10:30 or 11.
My goal is to get two hours’ worth of school in with my seventh-grader before we break for lunch. On Mondays we have a full day of co-op classes, so we follow the same schedule Tuesday-Friday.
- Bible. He’s currently working through various reading plans on youversion.com.
- Math. Teaching Textbooks (algebra).
- Language Arts. Easy Grammar, Spelling Power (Wednesdays), basic essay writing (my materials), reading comprehension workbook (for ACT prep).
- Independent reading. My 12-year-old does not love reading independently, so we have to actually schedule this in.
- History. We are studying World War II in depth this year, so we’ll read together from a history book and our novel du jour. (See my 2012 curriculum fair post to read more about our specifics.)
My daughter, a sophomore, completely sets her own schedule. She takes all her classes through our co-op (my husband and I each teach one of hers): American literature, U.S. history, U.S. government, ecology, and geometry. She knows what she needs to get done and when. I check in with her periodically throughout the week, but she is a responsible, well-organized, and self-motivated girl. She gets it done and asks for help if she needs it.
I am protective of our mornings at home, keeping appointments and activities to the late afternoon hours as much as possible.
About once each week we have a golden day spent entirely at home. Those are days that we’ll do a week’s worth of science in a couple of hours, work on a Boy Scout merit badge, or just spend some time playing a board game with my parents.
But normally, once afternoon hits, my day is most often spent being a chauffeur. We have something different every day, from regular activities like guitar lessons and geometry class, to bi-weekly orthodontist appointments and teen outings with our homeschooling group. We also have regular evening activities like Boy Scouts, youth group, dance lessons, and government class. Our schooling is by no means limited to daylight hours or weekdays.
At this point in our homeschooling career, our focus is on:
- Working independently
- College prep
- Clear thinking
- Service to others
- Deliberate academic, social and spiritual maturity
If you are a parent, you know it: learning happens all the time, not just in the traditional school hours of 8-3, and certainly not just between the pages of a textbook.
A look back on Sarah’s homeschool day:
Do you find that your determination to “get things done” in a certain time frame ever undermines your homeschooling vision?