We started homeschooling because we felt convicted by Deut. 6:6-7 to infuse God’s word into our kids’ days. . . and because traditional school was a bad fit for my asynchronous learners. We’ve continued it, because homeschooling has provided us with a lifestyle of togetherness too precious to pass up. Daily the Lord has humbled us through this journey, and offered us grace to cover all our insufficiencies.
This is a glimpse of a typical day SIX years into this journey!
We wake up between 6-7, usually from Pip (9) slamming the bathroom door (in six years, that hasn’t changed!) We pray together as a family at 7:30 before Dad heads off to work, and then we all focus on chores — the kids set the breakfast table, take down the recycling, and prepare a fruit bowl, while I take the morning hour to do laundry, vacuum, etc. The kids have free time to play after they finish their morning chores, and I take the half hour from 8:30-9 for my personal devotions.
Breakfast and Books starts our school day. I found years ago that little kids wiggle less and listen more attentively when I read to them over a meal (basically, they’re a captive audience). We cover devotions, history, biography, and a smattering of science during this time. This month, it looks like this:
- Devotions (we’re reading Nehemiah, along with our sermons at church)
- Little Pilgrim’s Progress (2 chapters)
- Professor Noggins trivia questions: The Rainforest (the kids pick a topic each month, and we read one card daily)
- Where Is Machu Picchu? (1 chapter; this is another series from which they choose each month)
- The Story of the World: The Modern Age (1 chapter)
- Sassafras Science Adventures: Anatomy
After breakfast we clean up and start 1:1 Time, our most time- and work-intensive part of the school day. I’ve found that some topics are great for us to tackle together (e.g., history as above), but as Pip is 9 and Bean is 6.5, I need to focus on reading, writing, and math with them individually.
Bean’s time comes first. While I’m doing 1:1 time with her, Pip works on the computer — he does several lessons on DuoLingo (he loves learning languages, and has dabbled in Portugese, Italian, French, and Japanese this year), writes a sentence in a story he’s been working on for a while (he’s calling it a “novella”), and does his Sunday school homework. Then he has free time until Bean is done — usually he loses himself in Legos or a book.
Right now Bean is in first grade, and so at first her 1:1 time looks like a lot for a girl so young. . . but it’s done in very short chunks, taking only about an hour total. She also narrates a lot to me instead of writing responses. Part of the beauty of homeschooling is that you can meet kids where they are, going as deep or as shallow into a topic as they need. Here’s what her 1:1 time looks like now:
- Guided reading (she reads to me): Little House in the Big Woods
- Math: The Good and the Beautiful Math 2
- Grammar: Well-Ordered Language 1A
- Creative writing: Story Starters Grades 1-3
- Composition: Writing and Rhetoric Narrative I
- Science: Mammals (Memoria Press)
- Poetry Study: National Geographic Animal Poems
- Read aloud (I read to her): Peter Pan (unabridged)
- We also read a math or science storybook each day.
After we finish, Bean does some lessons on DuoLingo and then some drawing lessons or painting (see above), while Pip and I have 1:1 time, which right now looks as I’ve outlined below. Yes, he’s doing chemistry in third grade! Again, this is one of the joys. He took an interest in chemistry early in the year, and his enthusiasm has made tackling the subject fun and doable rather than drudgery:
- Math: Beast Academy 5A
- Composition: Writing and Rhetoric Refutation and Confirmation
- Science: Focus on Middle School Chemistry + Lab work (super doable and fun curriculum)
- Poetry Study: Poetry for Young People: Rudyard Kipling
- Literature: Shakespeare Stories (this is a wonderful book!!)
- More Literature: Swiss Family Robinson (unabridged, I read to him and we discuss)
- More Science!: Basher Technology
After all this is done, it’s usually about 1 pm. We then have Cozy-Up Reading, during which the kids grab snacks and we snuggle on the couch for read -aloud time. Right now we read a chapter from each of these:
- Usborne Illustrated Stories from China
- Robinson Crusoe (unabridged)
- Ralph S. Mouse (Beverly Cleary)
- The Wilderking Trilogy: Secret of the Swamp King
Pip and Bean eat a late lunch around 2 pm (when I’ve tried to get them to eat earlier they balk), and then our afternoons depend on the day of the week:
On Mondays and Fridays the kids take rock climbing lessons.
On Tuesdays twice a month we love No Sweat Nature Study webinars.
On Thursdays we usually work through an experiment from Groovy Lab-in-a-Box, an awesome subscription program.
Any afternoons that aren’t busy with the above, we visit with friends or head to a park (if it’s nice). We also try to do a field trip with friends once a month — favorites this year have included the aquarium and the Museum of Fine Art.
Our days no longer allow me much time to cram in outside work. The older the kids get, the more full our days seem to be, and so I find myself stealing writing time in snippets throughout the week — when they’re at rock climbing, but most often at night after they go to bed. If, that is, I can stay awake myself.
After the day’s activities, Dad comes home and we have dinner together, followed by family worship (basically our devotions). Dad leads the study, and we pray and sing a hymn together. It’s a sweet way to close out our day, together as a family and in praise of the Lord who’s been so kind to us.