A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler! – Jen from PracticalByDefault.com

A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler! – Jen from PracticalByDefault.com

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 homeschooling mom 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!

Meet Jen!

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:What does a typical homeschooling 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 Jen 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

A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler! – Sheri from MommyHypocrite.com

A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler! – Sheri from MommyHypocrite.com

Welcome to the third installment of our blog series “A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler”.

In each installment I will introduce you to a homeschooling mom 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!

Meet Sheri!

Hello, I’m Sheri. I am a homeschooling Mom of five children. I have two girls ages 12, and 11, then two boys ages 9 and 7 and my baby is 4 years old. I had a full-time career as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative till about 8 years ago. That’s when I quit my job, at the age of 40, and with only 3 children at the time, became a stay-home, homeschooling Mom. I live in the United States in Texas. I am a traditional, homeschooling Mom, which means I use a graded textbook/workbook curriculum.
Visit Sheri at www.mommyhypocrite.com

Q: Do you have a set schedule that you use each day? Please explain.

Sheri: I have fluctuated from a tight 30-minute increment schedule to having loose routines. Both types of schedules have worked for different seasons. We moved about 7 1/2 months ago to a five-acre ranch. So we have a routine right now as we adjust to our country life. Monday to Thursday we utilize our curriculum. And Friday is what I call our Charlotte Mason Day. It’s all the other material that I decided not to use for our day-to-day homeschooling, but loved and couldn’t part with it. So, I use it stress-free on Fridays. Those items cover drawing, crocheting, art study, coding, foreign language and other areas of study.

Q:What does a typical homeschooling day look like for your family?

Sheri: My husband gets up and opens the barn for our free-range, pastured chickens before leaving for work. I am up about 7:30 and I make him breakfast. The rest of the crew is up around 8-8:30. They have a quick snack and then go out to the barn to tend to the animals (16 chickens, 2 barn cats, and our 2 dogs). Then, they come inside have breakfast and complete their indoor chores. Every child has several chores they can handle and utilize a chore app to complete them. I make breakfast and we usually hit the schoolbooks by 10:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m. I am a traditional Mom at the moment and I use ACE Ministries. It works very well for us because it allows my older three to be independent while I focus on teaching the younger two. It covers Math, English, Spelling, Social Studies, and Science as well as Literature & Creative Writing. I have, however, used many different curriculum in the past with a classical, unit-study and Charlotte Mason flair to it. If it is a Wednesday we all pack up our studies and lunch and go to piano lessons at our Church. In addition, some days they finish their studies earlier and have the afternoons to explore personal interests and go outside for physical education.

Q: Do you think you’ll stick with your current routine in the future? Why/why not?

Sheri: It is hard to say whether I will stick with our current routine. I always say that the schedule or routine is working, until it isn’t. When there are five children in a family there are developments in each child that may require more attention or a new focus and at that time a different routine would be considered.

Q: Do you have any advice for other homeschooling moms?

Sheri: Yes! It is okay to switch curriculum. I did it twice mid-year. If it isn’t working don’t force it. Cut your losses and move onto something that will work for you and that your children will love. Also, don’t be afraid to be a traditional Mom. Meaning using textbooks or workbooks. There are many different homeschooling methods and philosophies and using textbooks can be a good fit. In addition, remember that this time is short and having a clean home really isn’t as important as it seems.

Thanks for getting to know a little more about Sheri 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

A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler! – Bonnie from TheKoalaMom.com

A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler! – Bonnie from TheKoalaMom.com

Welcome to the second installment of our blog series “A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler”.

 

In each installment I will introduce you to a homeschooling mom 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!

Meet Bonnie!

Hi! I’m Bonnie Way, a second-generation homeschool mom with five kids ages ten to newborn. I was homeschooled for grades 1 through 12 in Alberta and went on to earn two university degrees. This year, I’m homeschooling my oldest three daughters in grades 4, 3 and K. We follow three different curriculum, so I guess you could call us traditional homeschoolers (book learners!). I appreciate having teacher’s manuals and textbooks to keep us on track. I started homeschooling when my oldest started Grade 1 and we’ve used mostly the same curriculum since then. We live in Vancouver, BC.

Q: Do you have a set schedule that you use each day? Please explain.

Bonnie: Yes, I like to have a routine in place. I don’t say we have to have things done at a certain time, but I try to reserve mornings for school and afternoons for free time or extracurricular activities. We homeschool roughly four days a week.

Q:What does a typical homeschooling day look like for your family?

Bonnie: We wake up around 8ish in the morning (we’re not early birds here!). If the girls are up earlier, then they can read or play quietly until I get up. I’ll shower and get everyone breakfast. Then while I’m making my latte and going over our lesson plans for the day, my oldest two girls do their music practice (one is taking violin and the other piano).

When they are done, I do science and / or history with them, or assign reading to them. They do their language arts workbooks on their own, and my oldest does her math on her own. Sometime during the morning, I’ll do math with my Grade 3 and Kindergarten students. After that, it’s up to them to finish their schoolwork, and I’ll check it.
While they work on school assignments and reading, I check email, blog a bit, do housework, etc. Around noon, they each have one chore (e.g., unload dishwasher, start laundry) to do. I try to keep our extracurricular activities to the early afternoon. This year, they are doing music, skating, swimming, and catechism classes. They are also involved in a few monthly girls’ clubs.

Q: Do you think you’ll stick with your current routine in the future? Why/why not?

Bonnie: I’m always evaluating what’s working for us. I found our third year of homeschooling to be the smoothest. It seemed we’d found a curriculum and a routine that worked well for us. So while I’ve made small tweaks to the routine, it has mostly been the same since we started homeschooling.

I’ve always tried to get school done in the mornings, as it just doesn’t seem to happen if we leave it to the afternoon (or try to do it after being out for the morning). My curriculum has also always followed a four-day week, which gives us a flexible day in our week for errands, extracurricular activities, or catch-up days.
This year, I started having the girls practice music right after breakfast, at the advice of a friend and after seeing that leaving it until the end of the day wasn’t working. So I’ve made little adjustments like that, but overall, our routine works and we’ll probably stick with it.

Q: Do you have any advice for other homeschooling moms?

Bonnie: My husband and I always talk about the “right education choice for the right child at the right time.” I know that homeschooling isn’t the right answer for everyone, but it works for our family. At this time, I can’t imagine doing school any other way with my daughters. I love having them at home with me and knowing what they are learning about and being able to link their education to our everyday life. I love seeing their relationships with each other grow as they spend time together.

At the same time, that doesn’t mean our homeschool always goes perfectly. I have days when the girls don’t want to do their school and complain it’s boring, or days when everyone is grouchy and the house is a mess and I just want to pack them onto the school bus. I think it helps to look at the big picture of life and education. Doing so keeps me on track, because I’m always reassured that even on the hard days, we’ve made the right choice for our daughters at this time.
If you’re going through a rough patch, I’d encourage you to also step back and look at the big picture, and consider what’s the right choice for your child. It doesn’t have to look the same for every child, and it’s certainly not going to look the same for you as it does for your friends. Maybe something in your routine needs to be tweaked; maybe a bigger change needs to be made. Only you know what’s right for your family.

Thanks for getting to know a little more about Bonnie 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

A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler! – Sarah from RaisingRoyalty.ca

A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler! – Sarah from RaisingRoyalty.ca

Welcome to the first installment of our new blog series “A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler”.

 

In each installment I will introduce you to a homeschooling mom 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!

Meet Sarah

 

Hi I’m Sarah, I’m a single mom to 6 girls, and we live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. I’ve been homeschooling since 2007, when my oldest was 3 years old. I have one child with severe ADHD, one special needs child, and one gifted child (and a first-grader, kindergartner, and my surprise baby, born July 2017!)  I am an eclectic homeschooler, using bits and pieces of curriculum, as well as creating my own, to meet the needs of my wide range of ages and abilities. I use workbooks, unit studies, lapbooks, textbooks, video, and even interactive video games to educate my kids. I also work from home as a virtual assistant and small business consultant, with my business XeraSupport.com. And I blog our homeschool adventures and tips at RaisingRoyalty.ca

Q: Do you have a set schedule that you use each day? Please explain.

Sarah: I learned a long time ago (around baby number 3!) that being tied to a clock would never work for my family. Rather than a set schedule, we have a general routine that we follow.  This lets us adjust to the changing needs, and still get most of everything we need to get done, done.  I share exactly why we do routines rather than schedules on my blog.

Q:What does a typical homeschooling day look like for your family?

Sarah: Currently, I’m educating 5 children – 8th grade, 3rd grade, two 1st graders and a kindergartner.  In the morning, I’m up about an hour before my children, in order to plan my day out and gather my thoughts. Then I wake my girls, and while I’m making their breakfast, they are getting dressed, brushing hair and tidying their rooms. I dress and feed the baby while they are eating. After breakfast, they work together to clean up the kitchen, and I pull out our school pages. I hand out clipboards with their assignments on them, and then sit down to work with my youngest. My girls bring questions to me as they come up, and we work through them together. After my kindergartner is all finished, I get the baby down for her nap, and then I start making lunch. Our big meals of the day are breakfast and lunch, so I’m defrosting meats, peeling potatoes, or doing whatever I need to make lunch. My first graders (my 6 yr old and my special needs girl) finish before lunch, and help clear away school so we can eat. My 3rd and 8th graders usually do their science or history after lunch, since it’s a bit more involved than our core subjects. My kindergartner will nap in the afternoon, my special needs child uses a tablet for the afternoon to supplement her education, and I will spend the afternoon working on my blogs or for my clients. When my older two are finished school, they go and read quietly or play video games until the nappers are awake. Then they start dinner, while I’m feeding the baby again. After dinner, we have an evening activity most evenings, so we’re usually headed out. We come home, get ready for bed, and once they’re in bed (even the baby), I’ll sit down to work again, and do the bigger cleaning chores that didn’t get down during the day (like folding laundry, cleaning bathrooms, etc.) Then I’m off to bed/baby feeding.

Q: Do you think you’ll stick with your current routine in the future? Why/why not?

 

Sarah: I’m not sure what the next year will look like just yet. My oldest is going to a local high school for their arts program, so not having her here will make a big change to our day. Plus, my current baby will be a toddler, and that will make for a busier time for me. But generally, our systems of meals, school and activities are working well, so aside from some adjustments, I don’t see that changing.

Q: Do you have any advice for other homeschooling moms?

 

Sarah: It takes a minimum of 3 years before you hit a groove. And for some of us, it takes longer – especially when you have major life changes like babies, moving or, as in my case, divorce. So don’t feel like you are the only one who doesn’t have it all together right away. Most of us homeschooling moms constantly feel like we’re trying to juggle and someone greased the balls. We all drop a few from time to time. It’s not a big deal.  Don’t be afraid to adjust mid-year when something isn’t working. And don’t be fooled by social media. We make it look pretty in the pictures. Behind the scenes, it’s probably just as chaotic as your home.

Thanks for getting to know a little more about Sarah 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

Educational Toys to Entertain Your Toddler

Educational Toys to Entertain Your Toddler

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With my own toddler running around I know first hand just how active and busy they can be!

While I’m trying to homeschool my oldest two, I often find myself having to stop to find something to entertain my toddler every few minutes. Even when we aren’t doing school work, he is still so busy! I always keep my eye out for toys that will be able to entertain and keep him busy for longer periods of time. And if they can be educational too, BIG BONUS! Would you like to see some of the toys I’ve found recently that I absolutely LOVE? You can click directly on a product below and it will take you to the site with more information. And you can also purchase the item there as well if it looks like a good fit for you and your toddler.

I just love wooden toys, and I’m also a big fan toys that work on fine motor skills. My little guy could spend half an hour taking something apart and trying to put it back together again! That’s 25 minutes longer than a lot of other toys. I don’t know about you, but I can get a lot more accomplished in half an hour versus 5 minutes! If there are any awesome toys you’ve found that can hold your toddler’s attention and are also educational, please tell me about them in the comment section below!

 

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