Let’s take a deep dive into what homeschooling looks like at the moment. I think I answered any questions I got on IG in this length journal post, but if I left anything out, just let me know. Also, all my homeschool journals, curriculum review, and general posts can be found on my Homeschool Page!
Here I am, October 2023, homeschooling H (6th grade) and K (4th grade). All our curriculum picks can be found here. Now… Dear diary…
It continues to be true that embracing the season I’m in makes or breaks my mindset. I adore the younger years of homeschooling and often believe I romanticize the days of reading books, taking nature walks to find a leaf, and doing crafts. The younger years are so cozy. Now in- do I call them the middle years?- we are adding more things in, some that take us out of the home more, and we are all really enjoying it!
The girls are taking a creative writing class one day a week and it’s been a fun switch up from our usual focus on structured writing. We are keeping up with IEW structured writing (LOVE) at home, but the creative class is a fun and freeing mental playground for them. They both look forward to it each week and get in the car afterwards begging to read me what they wrote. I love it.
The younger years, too, seemed (if I’m remembering correctly, who knows) to have a predictable rhythm to them, largely structured by nap/quiet times and routines. We still have some of that but are able to embrace more variability. Each week right now looks a little different, but it’s working. Our days away from home (co-op, writing class, etc) make the days we do have at home feel special. We enjoy both kinds of days and right now I feel like we have an ideal blend of both at the moment.
On Sundays I mentally walk through our week, not only to make our meal plan, but to roughly gauge what we will cover each week. Our staples are math, reading, and writing. We focus on those every day. Then I sprinkle in read aloud, geography, science experiments, Mystery Science, life skills, outdoor time, social functions, etc where they fit. It’s a loose system.
I started writing the kid’s schedule for the month on a large paper calendar stuck to our pantry door. They each have a dedicated pen color and it’s been helpful in giving them a visual of their commitments. K is involved in a lot (TKD, theater, soccer, piano) and H is adding some responsibilities (like regular pet sitting) to her commitments (art class, soccer, piano).
A gift of each passing year is further embracing that “school” intertwines with life. And one thing I find I still having to remind myself of is that we have the WHOLE day to get lessons done. Some days we have everything checked off by noon and an open afternoon. Other days the kids move slower or get distracted by baking cookies and it’s fine to let life happen, then get to math a bit later.
I’m reminded right now (mid-October) why I love starting school in July. It makes me feel like we get 6-8 solid weeks of lesson-focus under our belts before our favorite season (fall and Christmas) arrive. We still do our lessons, of course, but it’s nice to feel some flexibility to enjoy the beautiful weather and cozy vibes of a time of year we all love so much.
Let me do a quick mental check to make sure I’m not overly romanticizing our days as I write this in the quiet, early morning hours…
The girls can fight like… well, like sisters I suppose, with the best (worst?) of them. It drives me absolutely crazy to overhear them purposely baiting each other into stupid spats. Like, why? Why push her buttons and get her riled up for no reason? Sometimes I step in and other times I let them work it out themselves. When I step in, it’s usually to redirect and it usually involves chores. They can count on me saying “it sounds like y’all are bored and need some help. K, can you clean the back porch and H, why don’t you take out the trash?” Ha.
In between, though, they are still best friends, whether they see it or not. H will help K run lines for her theater, they’ll still play imaginary games like survival in the backyard, K will save half of the cookie she got at TKD to share with H, they get into giggle fits at bedtime, cracking each other up over who knows what.
I have another post in my head that focuses on just the tween stage we are in, so I’ll redirect this post back to a focus on homeschool. Let’s end with a quick fire from questions I received on IG:
How are you liking Saxon Math?
Saxon is dry but proving to be super effective for my kids. I think all credit here though goes to Nicole. We love, love, love Nicole the math lady! Both girls log on and watch the videos on their own. Some days they do all the problems and some day I will have them do just the odd problems and then the next day I have them do the evens.
Is there anything you wish you would have done in the earlier years to better support where they are now?
Oh, great question! Two things: First, All About Reading. It’s an incredible program and I regret not doing it consistently with H. She took up reading so quickly on her own I never hammered in phonics. K is rocking reading and her spelling is improving and I just love the foundation All About Reading provides. If I could go back I’d do this from the beginning with both girls.
Second: embraced the freedom of the young years even more. I did an OK job with it, but I wish I would have fully believed that reading books and doing life together was enough until roughly age 7.
Juggling multiple grades: How much is together versus self taught?
This year has been a huge leap for us where a big chunk of H’s work is now on her own. It really is so freeing! H does math and language arts largely on her own (I’m around to help and check). K does math of her own, but I’m hands on with her for language arts. Together we do geography, read alouds, and life skill stuff. Also see: Practical Tips for Homeschooling Multiple Ages
What is your daily schedule/routine?
I feel like I addressed it in the bulk above, but for a quick, direct answer- every day is different but we tend to have a nice flow to our weeks. Mondays we are out for a bit for creative writing, so math and read aloud is in the afternoon. Tuesdays are a solid school day for us, starting with math first thing, then language arts, geography, read aloud if there is time, and piano lessons. Wednesday is co-op and then they finish up math lessons in the afternoon. Thursdays are another solid at home day, and Fridays act like a catch all for anything we didn’t get to during the week.
When and how do you take time for yourself- like so your nervous system isn’t fried!
This made me laugh 🙂 Every year is different, but I’ll admit that “me time” has never been my strong suit beyond early mornings. I love my quiet mornings of getting up by 6:00, as the kids alarms don’t go off until 8:00. Otherwise, they have outdoor time every day and then I have some quiet and David and I workout everyday which is our time. And one day a week David takes them to soccer and I have a quiet house to myself for 2.5 hours! For the most part, though, I know the years are fleeting and appreciate getting to spend so much time together, and keep that in the back of my head on the days they’re a little nutty!