Welcome to the forth installment of our blog series: A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler.
In each installment I will introduce you to a homeschooler and their family and ask them a few questions about a typical day in their homeschool. There are so many different styles and methods of homeschooling, I hope that you enjoy this sneak peek into a few of them!
Hello, My name is Jen and I am the writing voice, blogger and coffee drinker behind Practical, By Default and the Host of The Working Homeschool Mom Club. I help working moms balance work and homeschooling by providing encouragement, support, and inspiration.
I am homeschooling two teenagers while working both inside the home and outside the home. Thus my crazy relationship with coffee 😉
I’ve been doing this juggle for 11 plus years and our homeschooling style has reflected the ebbs and flows of our life. We started with a very “school at home” approach, the same way many new homeschoolers start out. We slowly relaxed over time and are more of a “do what works until it doesn’t” kinda style now. I use a lot of online programs and love to pull a little from here and there to make it work for us. I am a big believer in letting go of perfection, having fun with your kids, and putting yourself on the list.
We reside in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada with our two cats and one bouncy dog who believes everyone should love him.
Q: Do you have a set schedule that you use each day? Please explain.
Jen: I work a flexible or changeable schedule. It is never the same. I typically have 3 types of “days”: A day I work at home and homeschool. A day I work outside the home and homeschool and lastly a day where I do all 3. Thus why I call it a juggle. You can read in detail what those look like here: A “Day” in My Life Series.
Therefore no I don’t have a set schedule. This year we decided to do a 4 day school week and this has vastly helped us feel like we have enough structure to feel like we are accomplishing things and enough wiggle room for life to happen. Because it does. Please note my children thrive on schedules and routines. They love checklists. When life gets it they way or unexpected events popup or work schedules change that is when we have issues.
I struggle sharing my schedule because homeschooling is very personal. It is unique each family. What works for my family may not work in yours. And that is okay! However, I also like to share these “behind the scenes” stories so you can see that homeschooling isn’t always pretty, clean, neat and tied with a bow. Homeschooling is hard, exhausting and just plain ugly some days. And some days are normal, boring and uneventful.
Q: As a homeschooler what does a typical day look like for your family?
Jen: My goal is to wake early and yet when 6 am comes I beg for more sleep. I swear I can never get enough. I drag myself out of bed with my saving grace being coffee. For the next hour, I’ll drink my coffee, eat breakfast, walk the dog and read. I might even get a bit of work done if I am super on the ball. If I am home that day the kids will venture out around 7:30-8 and make their own breakfast. Having kids that can cook is a blessing. Trust me.
Since homeschooling teenagers is totally different in a good way than I was expecting, I am just going to say…if this idea scares you. Take a deep breath and know you can totally rock this.
My daughter is in Grade 9 and she drags out her bin and gets set up at the kitchen table. My son is doing Grade 10 and he retreats to his room with his tablet. They both work independently with the understanding I am here to listen, direct or help them if needed.
One way I connect with my children is they both do a few subjects with me each week. My daughter and I do science together and practice her ASL. My son and I do French and Writing. No, I do not speak ASL, French, and English. I know bits and pieces and they teach me the rest. Then laugh hysterically when I mess up. 😉 I love having the kids teach me things as it helps them learn too.
We eat lunch at our own time and again the kids make their own. We do school until it is done. There is no set time to begin or end. They each have a list for the week and they decide when to do what. This allows us to have enough flexibility for all the pieces to fit. I call it finding balance.
After school is chores. They each have 3-4 chores which include making their bed, picking up the stuff the drop all over the house and pet care. The other chores are rotated until they are comfortable doing most household tasks on their own.
Then it is free time. They read, play games and play outside. While they do school work, I do household tasks, clean, do online work or whatever I need to do. I make sure that everything that I am doing is something I can walk away from to help. If I am home during school time I have made it vital that I be present if needed.
After school I work on video creation, writing tasks, etc anything that needs to be done that I can’t be interrupted for.
Around 5 pm my husband and I go to the gym. We talk about the day and what workout we have to do. We warm-up together and then he goes one way and I go the other.
This is my “me time”. My time to think, reflect, find the good moments and get rid of stress. A whole 30 minutes to hang out in my head. Sometimes this is a good thing, others, not so much.Later exhausted we meet back in the car. We talk about supper plans and what is the plan for the evening on the drive home. This is our “us time”. It might not seem like much but it is nice to connect and make sure we are on the same page.
When I get home I make supper and work around the house until 8 pm. At 8 pm I quit. I am no longer available and I get to focus on what needs to be done. This, of course, is only when I am home or do not have a meeting etc.
Q: Do you think you’ll stick with your current routine in the future? Why/why not?
Jen: No I don’t. We’ve learned in the past that life changes and we need to change with it. So we reassess, regroup and adjust as we go. As a family we do this once a month. We keep what works and throw away what doesn’t.
Q: Do you have any advice for other homeschooling moms?
Jen: Yes. So much advice. The most vital piece I think every mom needs to really let go of what they “think” homeschooling is supposed to look like. Once you let go of that it makes life so much easier.
No one is perfect. Not me. Not you. When you mess up, say sorry, fix what you can, hug, or eat ice cream. Tomorrow is a new day. Bad days do not make you a bad parent.
There is going to be a day when you will probably be tempted to flag down a school bus and throw your children on board. This is normal! Have a plan for this.
Lastly, get a support system in place. If you can do it in person, great. If not find something online. Find a person or group who totally get it-it being what you are trying to do- and get you. Someone who you can laugh with, who will let you cry and show you the best places to hide chocolate. Don’t do it alone.
Thanks for getting to know a little more about homeschooler Jen and how her family homeschools.
Join us again soon to meet another homeschooling mama in our next installment of this blog series!