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Welcome to the sixth installment of our blog series A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler.
In each installment I will introduce you to a homeschooler 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!
I taught math (middle school, high school, and online) for 6 years. I now homeschool my two boys, ages 2 and 4, in Washington State (although we will be moving soon). Since we haven’t hit “official schooling age” yet, I’m enjoying living a very flexible, play-centered, relaxed life with my kids. Our days are filled with adventure and friends, and our home is filled with educational toys and books and all kind of learning-rich resources. I haven’t settled on a homeschooling style yet, but I have been super impressed watching my kids and seeing how much they learn through unstructured, self-directed play. So far, I feel like everything that I see in preschool/kindergarten curriculum can be learned more enjoyably, effectively, and authentically in real life, especially through frequent conversations between parents and children. I am so thankful that I get to share my days with my children and experience life again through their eyes. Kids are so eager to learn and understand things and are satisfied with simple things (unless we condition them otherwise 😉 ) – I’m becoming more determined to help them maintain these joys of childhood as long as possible and not apply unnecessary, artificial pressure that surrounds us in this test-centric, data-driven educational world we live in today. Having been a teacher, I know that it’s too easy to lose sight of a child’s individual strengths, personality, and interests in the race to pass tests and finish textbooks. My main goal in homeschooling is to help my children develop a life-long love of learning and spare them the agony of rushing from bell to bell and book to book according to someone else’s agenda. I want them to pursue interests they find relevant and meaningful, although I still intend to provide a well-rounded presentation of all the basic, essential concepts. So, I guess that’s a long way of saying that even though I’m not sure what our homeschooling life will look like several years from now, I hope that we will be able to continue enjoying learning new topics as spontaneously and enthusiastically as a toddler learns to walk and speak. 🙂 <feel free to check back with me in 5 or 10 years and see where I stand on this!>
Q: Do you have a set schedule that you use each day? Please explain.
Sandra: We don’t have a set schedule. After a few decades of waking up to alarm clocks, cramming my time and mind full of busy work, and never giving myself a chance to settle down or calm down, I am absolutely loving the opportunity to live a very flexible, spontaneous, and often slow life. The boys wake up around 7 a.m. and they watch a couple shows while I work on waking up. Then we have breakfast (although our breakfast and lunch are usually two ends of one long food continuum — mostly healthy food though!) and time for free play. Sometimes they need suggestions for activities or redirection when they get too crazy, but our mornings are usually pretty happy overall. Our go-to activities are reading books, playing legos, and making crafts, but there are plenty of other interests that come and go as well. We’re usually out of the house for a play date or activity by 10 am, then back home by noon or 1 for lunch and naps/quiet time. Sometimes we go out again in the afternoon, but now that it’s getting rainy and cold and dark, we tend to stay inside. It’s been a learning process for all of us to figure out how to spend multiple peaceful hours at home together, but we’ve made great progress on that front! We also bought a trampoline, which has helped a lot ;). We do a lot of spontaneous learning activities during these times at home, and I know they’re learning so much during our outings as well. Although I don’t schedule it in, we usually end up doing several hours of “school work” each week including math, science, reading, history, art, music, life skills, geography, “engineering” (my category for building things and working on computer skills, including typing and coding). Most of our toys, games, books, and online programs that we use as educational resources are free (websites, library, hand-me-downs) or super cheap (dollar store/thrift store). Also, a huge percentage of our learning time happens spontaneously through questions they ask or things we talk about during long car drives.
Q:What does a typical homeschooling day look like for your family?
Sandra: In addition to the above answer, I have a couple blog posts that I wrote when I first began blogging that give a good picture of our homeschooling adventure days :). https://realworldlearners.com/the-little-things-a-life-in-the-day-of-a-homeschooler/and https://realworldlearners.com/letting-the-day-unfold/. (Note: my blogging style has evolved since I wrote this post ;).)
Q: Do you think you’ll stick with your current routine in the future? Why/why not?
Sandra: I imagine that we will continue adapting our routine and homeschooling philosophy as we go. If we move (we probably have a cross-country move coming up) or have another baby (you never know about those!), I think we would re-evaluate things and make adjustments for the transition periods. Also, I’m staying open to the idea of purchasing curriculum sets as the boys get older, so we’ll see how that plays out.
Q: Do you have any advice for other homeschooling moms?
Sandra: Enjoy the freedom! You don’t have to replicate “big school” in your small home – you are really free to do what works for your family. Keep researching and experimenting to see what best meets the needs of your own kids and matches your own principles and standards. And don’t rush – work with your kids to help them learn at a happy and comfortable pace – there’s really no need to learn all the details of geology and life cycles and historical monuments and parts of speech by certain dates on a calendar – go with the flow and enjoy learning alongside them. 🙂
Thanks for getting to know a little more about Sandra and her homeschool.
Join us again soon to meet another homeschooling mama in our next installment of this blog series!
Want to check out more “Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler” articles? Click below!
#1 Sarah from RaisingRoyalty.ca
#2 Bonnie from TheKoalaMom,com
#3 Sheri from MommyHypocrite.com
#4 Jen from PracticalByDefault.com
#5 Kim from Kim And Kairas Great Homeschool Adventure
#6 Sandra from RealWorldLearners.com