A Typical Day in our Homeschool Life
A look at our typical homeschool days. 🙂
I don’t even know how to start this post.
The first words I typed were “Oh dread.” (I don’t even say “Oh dread,” but somehow I typed it.)
Then I tried “It’s complicated.” and “There’s a reason I haven’t written this post before.”
But the people have spoken. And over the last year (or four) I have had a lot of requests for a post on “a typical day” in our life as a home school family. The only problem is…
We don’t have one. (I mean, a typical one.)
So, fasten your seatbelts. This isn’t your pretty picture of a bunch of kids gathered around a big table with their heads in books…A day starting promptly at 8:00 and ending sweetly at 3:00. Oh believe you me, I dream of that scene. All of those photos on the cover of home school catalogs? Love them. And there were a couple years…back when the older boys were all elementary age (and hadn’t gotten into surfing,) we had a little bit of that. It definitely fit my personality.
But now we have surfer boys, whose schedules follow the seasons and the swells. And Dave’s schedule? Two weeks on, and two weeks off (with some night shifts in the off weeks,) makes for an inconsistency of its own. Further, there are shifts between when the waves are on the north shore (usually October until April) or the South shore (the rest of the year.) Does any of this fit my personality? Let’s just say I’m being ‘stretched’ in all kinds of ways, thankyouverymuch.
With all of that said…
Let’s jump into a typical home school day in our home:
(I suggest you start with last year’s post about Abeka, the curriculum that we have been using for about three years now. Though there are a lot of great curriculums available, Abeka has proven to be a really great choice for our family!)
5:15: I’m up with coffee and my Bible. I try to squeeze in some social media/writing time when I can…(I’m not completely consistent on my wakeup time. Depending on how late I had stayed up, writing deadlines etc., I might sleep in closer to 6:00.)
6:00 Dave gets the boys up, and two or three of them will hop in the car to find some waves. They eat breakfast on the fly, and if the drive is far, will sometimes sleep a bit more, or do devotions. If Dave is off work, he will stay with them, video them, and watch them surf. If he’s working, he’ll drop them, then head to work and call me to tell me when and where to pick them up.
7ish…Levi is up. If one of the boys stayed home, I might get to take off for a 30 minute run or workout on the elliptical machine. Brothers will give him breakfast. If no one is home I hang out with Levi, do breakfast, and read/etc. Whoever is home does morning chores which might be dish duty, taking out trash, or a living room vacuum/cleanup.
9:00 Levi goes to a little Montessori school three days a week. (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9:00-noon.) Last year it was preschool, but Teacher Nancy, (bless her heart,) has offered to do Kindergarten work with Levi this year. If it is not a “Teacher Nancy” day, Levi is home and we start his Abeka videos and book work. (no idea how that will work out, this is brand new this year for Levi!)
9:30 The other boys roll in. (or if Dave is at work, I go pick them up.) They are in board shorts/wet suits and they are starving. But they are also very refreshed and happy from their surf session. They all shower while I make egg burritos or heat up some hot cereal. *Sometimes* they do quick chores.
10:00 Boys eat while trying to read a quick devotional…I start hounding: Hurry up! School is waiting.
10:30 Each boy is in a separate room, Abeka videos are on. Let’s break this one down by individual kid/personality:
JOSIAH: Josiah does school in his room, with soft jazz music playing in the background. He has hot coffee on his desk while he watches Geometry teacher give a lecture on the computer. He has binder open, taking notes, fully engaged. His door is open and I peek in as I make rounds throughout the house…
JONAH: Jonah does school in our back room (rec. room.) He has a big desk and is semi-organized. He has become super focused though, and listens intently to his lecture on video.
LUKE: Luke takes about fifteen minutes to build a special fort for the kitty to sit with him, make hot cocoa, and set up a display of his favorite rocks and crystals across his desk. The dog (who is an outside only dog,) can be found sleeping under Luke’s feet, and the cat is in the prepared fort, and Luke finally starts school by….
10:45 Luke watching first lecture of the day.
12:00 IF Levi went to Teacher Nancy’s, I pick him up.
12:30 Everyone has done at least a two classes. They’re hungry again. We heat up leftovers, make smoothies, and take a lunch break. Josiah and Jonah both bring food to their computer to eat while they continue to do school. Luke prefers a leisurely lunch. When he’s done, he begs for a popsicle for “dessert,” and then since he has to eat the popsicle outside, he naturally ends up chasing a wild chicken down the yard with a sling shot. Mom yells at him and eventually he gets back to work.
1:00: Josiah and Jonah watching videos and doing work. Levi (hopefully) watching his videos and doing seat work. Mom keeps an eye on all of them, but stays near Levi during this time.
1:30 I make the rounds on each kid. Check to see how their progress is. I look inside each of my teacher guides to ask “Did you do Quiz 27?” or “Have you written the thesis statement?” “Do you need help choosing a science project topic?” Sometimes they need a bit of help on something, or I need to give an oral quiz. They watch lectures on video, and most of their work is simply put into a turn in tray which I get to when I can. Sometimes daily and sometimes weekly. (and sometimes…well, I shoot for weekly.)
2:00 Trying to keep Levi busy. Puzzles. School. (he has no interest in cartoons, but loves video games on devices, so that is always a battle/challenge for me to decide if/how much, etc.)
Boys plugging away at school. Fifteen minute breaks are granted at which time boys skate outside in our skate bowl, play some music, or catch up on chores. Luke taking fourth bathroom break and fifth water break of the day. When I get on his case he shows me that he just aced his math test, so how can I argue? Plus, that smile.
3:00 If Dave is at work, he is now calling to say he will be home by four, and wants to take the boys surfing. There is some tension. I am frustrated that they are really just getting in rhythm with school. “But surf is epic right now. Can they finish school tonight?” Ugh. We compromise with “You can take them if you take Levi too.” (I’m no dummy!)
I start hounding boys to watch another video, get your work done because Dad is coming and you still have two more lectures to go…
3:30 Make snacks, smoothies, anything to put in their bellies.
4:00 Dave pulls in. I might remind Josiah or Jonah that they still need to write the outline for their essay. It is 50/50 if they go surf anyways, or decide to stay home to get work done. The older two are super diligent so I trust their judgement and they know the deadline so it will get done. Luke negotiates deadlines, but honestly–does really good work. We’ll see how many more years he can get by like that, but for now, it’s working.
4:15 Guys are gone surfing. I do laundry, pick up the pieces. Correct things in turn in tray. Hop on computer. Prepare dinner. Breathe.
6:45 Guys are back home. Shower.
7:00ish Dinner. Family eats together. Talk about the day, the surf, and etc. Kids do clean up chores, etc.
7:45 Reminders that school is not done. “But Mom…Dad filmed us…Can we just watch a few minutes of our video?…” and etc.
8:00 Mom reminding again.
8:15 School work is actually being done. For anyone who actually finished the day, there are other activities: Photos are being edited for mom’s blog. Jonah and Dad jam on the guitars. Levi runs in circles. Josiah works on web design or writing or video editing…Lots of activity.
9:00 Start trying to get kids in bed. Tell them they have reading to do, and poetry and Bible verses to memorize for school.
9:30 Still trying to get kids into bed. (Breathing…)
9:45 Some boys are in bed reading (go ahead and guess who,) and
Luke some others take fifteen more minutes to get into bed and read for five minutes before falling fast asleep.
10:00 I hop on computer, schedule some Facebook posts and check email…Fall into bed and read for maybe ten minutes before lights out.
And, my friends, that is probably as typical of a day as I could give you!
(I hope you’re not sorely disappointed.) Trust me when I say that some people have really nice, neat home school days! Just not us, right now anyways.
Also, keep in mind that I am focusing this post on our “homeschool schedule.” I’m not even trying to cover when/how I do my blogging or writing work, Dave’s work both as a doctor and a farmer, etc. I just can’t cover it all in one post! 😉
A couple additional notes:
–Two to three nights a week kids have youth group. This either follows or replaces an evening surf, and also puts them to bed a little later than we like…
–Also when surf isn’t great, boys spend more time doing school (often covering a day and a half or even two days of school to make up for lost time.) They also take more breaks then to skate our bowl, do individual projects, do more chores. (and mom is happy!)
–Two surf sessions a day is “typical” but not an everyday thing. This might happen two-three times a week. There are occasional days where no one surfs at all.
–One Friday a month we do a food-distribution with the Hawaii Food Bank which cuts our day in half, and it seems like at least twice a month we are interrupted with dentist appointments, or other random things.
–ALSO NOTE: We start school at the beginning of August. In this post I shared what a typical day has looked like in the past, but I will add that this year I am writing up some more strict schedules for things like bedtime. I’ll let ya know how that goes. I’m really hoping to have everyone IN BED by 8:30 to read, and lights out by 9:00 this year. Also looking to start the day consistent early (and refreshed..) Hey, a woman can dream!
Feel free to ask questions, share some of your day, or anything else below!
**AND as always, if you have found this inspiring, or even just amusing, please use social media share buttons to pass it on to friends! Mahalo!
Sending much love and Aloha!
GIVEAWAY WINNER! Thank you all for the FUN Summer Lovin’ comments! Jill (Mom of three boys and a girl!) was randomly chosen, and I have already sent her an email. I give two days to hear back, and if I haven’t heard I will draw another name. Thank you again to 808Dude for offering the fun giveaway!
Homeschooling is the great way to learn, education your kids. Even adults are also getting homeschooling due to responsibilities which are unable them to go to regular universities. Another way to get education easily and that really help your career with the sound degree are online university.
My days are hectic and can’t be nailed down to a schedule since both of us work outside the home and have 2 homeschoolers in the house with 2 college and working kids coming and going. It’s crazy, hectic and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I found your blog last week on the God Centered Mom Podcast and I love it! I homeschool my three boys 13, 11 and 5 in Austin, TX (we are transplants from San Diego). I loved reading your typical day, because it reminds me of how homeschooling can be different every day and it doesn’t need to look like the magazine covers we see. What a great reminder for me that it’s okay that my house gets chaotic throughout the day as I round them up from breaks that involve wrestling, jumping on the trampoline, nerf or laser gun wars, etc. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!
Jennifer! SO happy you found me through God Centered Mom Podcast. I loved doing that, Heather is such a gem!
I’m always encouraged to hear from other homeschool families carving out their own “best way” to do things. It isn’t easy, but so worth it, right?! Much aloha to you, and hope you’ll keep in touch here! xo
Thank you so much for posting this!
It was detailed enough to give a really great insight into a homeschooling day. I really enjoyed reading it. 😊
Oh so glad. As long as your head wasn’t spinning too much! I think a homeschool day can be as mellow or as crazy as a family makes it! Much Aloha-
Thank you for posting this! I’m always curious about how other families handle their homeschool routine. It sounds like you have a great balance between structure & flexibility for fun activities. Ours is pretty flexible, but sometimes gets to be a bit too much so. We school year-round, but recently started a 6-week-on/1-week-off schedule, which I think will lend a bit more structure to our time. Great post!
You all make me exhausted just reading! What kind of devotional a do you find for your kids to read? That sounds like a good idea!
Sorry to wear you out Tracy! 🙂 haha. Yes, my kids read Bible apps on their phone often when they are on the go. The whole family also enjoys “Jesus Calling” devotional, and our younger boys use the kid version. However, just this morning my husband and I were checking out Fellowship of Christian Athletes Devotionals on line, and they look very good. If i find a great one I’ll try to share about it here! aloha-
Thank you so much! So fun to read, but also makes me feel exhausted for you! Wow! Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring.
Regarding your comment about trying to get everyone to bed earlier and up earlier, that is a never-ending goal for me and my son. I feel kind of neurotic, but the only thing that helps me is writing out a detailed schedule. I have an AM schedule, a PM schedule, a cleaning schedule, a meal plan… eegads! Not that we follow everything to the letter (some days I completely ignore them), but at least when things inevitably fall apart, I can get back on track easier. It’s weird but all that scheduling helps me have more time to enjoy life and raising my son <3
Oh Erin I love that! I seriously started with a “summer schedule” too, and I’m not naturally a scheduler at all, so it is a big step for me! 😉 I told the guys that I would have to do exactly that for our school year. 🙂 Yay–I’m so hoping it will help!! Aloha to you-
Hi Monica! I really enjoyed reading about your typical day! I remember you from soccer. Our boys played together back in the day. I believe it was our love for the Lord that was a connecting point for us. Anyway, I didn’t realize you home schooled! I do as well and really enjoy hearing from other people that their days are as chaotic as ours. Sometimes I feel like I’m just trying to keep my head above water. Hopefully, we will run into each other or can have coffee sometime 😀
Thank you Michelle! Great to hear from you. Glad homeschooling is good (even if crazy) for your family also. Please keep in touch–it would be so fun to see you again! aloha-
Monica, thanks for this post! I’ve always been curious about what a “typical” day in your home must be like. Seems like homeschooling definitely suits your family, that’s awesome!
As far as prayers for God in nature–I couldn’t help but think of The New Zealand Prayer Book, which is used in New Zealand and Polynesia and its prayers, while similar to the prayer book my Episcopal church here in the USA uses, are more in tune with the earth, sunrises, sunsets, water, harvests, etc. I totally understand if it’s not your cup of tea, I just thought I’d include a link here if you’d like to check it out, maybe some of the daily prayers might resonate…or maybe not, and that’s ok, too! 😉 (this is me, offering a God-related link, but not wanting to step on anyone’s toes or press any particular agenda!)
Thank you Wendy! I always love to hear from you, and I also always love your thoughtfulness but humble hesitation! 🙂 Of course I’m excited to check out your link!! Thank you, and I do hope you are all having an awesome summer!
Thanks for the giggle this morning. It’s good to know I’m not the only mom out there with the far from picture perfect homeschool experience. My days are spent juggling my daughter to and from her oncology appointments and reading therapy appointments and my younger son to and from his Ocupational therapy appointments, begging him to stop rolling on the floor and do math, taking care of chickens and my little bit of livestock and somewhere in there making sure school is accomplished. Dishes and laundry?!? Hmmmm, sometimes not! My sweet, eldest son, all I can say is, thank the good Lord for our easier children. He knew I would need one 🙂 I taught that boy to grade papers last year and we called it office aid! I love your stories of life.
Oh Rebekah–I can just see it. You sound amazing. (and the oldest son, golden.)
Oncology appointments? I don’t like that…Is your daughter battling cancer?
You hang on and keep up the amazing work. God bless you-
I love your blog! A friend passed along a link to a recent post and I have fallen in love with it – and always feel like you are speaking my language completely! We live in the Outer Banks of NC with 2 water loving (surfing, sailing, stand up paddling) middle school boys and we constantly balance to keep all things fit into the schedule. As you reference devotionals for your boys en route to surfing, it made me wonder if you’ve found any particular great ones that seem to fit the lifestyle of your family and boys. I love the rare times when I can find great material that blends spirituality and faith with their love of the ocean and nature – while they connect with their youth group and our church, they both are quick to reference that they are closest to God when they feel his strength and beauty under their feet on a wave or the wind in their sails. I appreciate any suggestions you or other readers might have!!
Thank you April…Yes, I think our families would really relate to each other. Isn’t is special and so utterly awesome that our kids get to experience God in nature like that? That is one thing a video game will never give them! 🙂 Awesome. At this point my boys all like to read the “Jesus Calling” for kids devotional. My oldest just reads from the Bible. We have used other “kid/teen’ devotionals, but I love your idea…Not sure if there is something like that out there! (or if we should write one! :)) Aloha-
Thank you do much for sharing! This will be our first year homeschooling for kindergarten and I’m so nervous. I do have two 13 years Olds going to public school, hoping one day to homeschool them too when I get the courage. This post gives me hope cause we have so much chaos during the day (mainly my 2 year old daughter) that I’m not sure how our school days will go. I have wanted to try Abeka too so good to know. Love your posts!
Thank you Erica! Yes, Abeka allows me to simply be the “facilitator” and allows kids to do school when it works for their schedule. I feel like they are all getting a great education too, so it’s a win-win. You’ll have a blast with Kindergarten I am sure! Keep me posted! Aloha-
OK great! Will do! 🙂
Hi Monica, I had a good laugh – especially picturing Luke chasing the chicken! I only have two boys but am not sure I have the patience to home school them. It’s time for us to apply for our youngest to start high school next year, and although there was ABSOLUTELY no chance that the high school we’ve chosen for Sam wouldn’t accept him (he’s smart, polite, sporty AND his brother is already there!) he kept asking what would happen if they didn’t accept him. I think he was hoping we would give in and send him to a prestigious, expensive private school (NEVER going to happen!) but eventually I told him that I would quit my job, take on more freelance work and home school him, so he’d better PRAY HARD the school did accept him!
And of course the high school did accept him 🙂
Awesome!! Well done! Sounds like you have your game plan together. So great. 😉
you and your family just sound simply amazing 🙂
Wow- that’s a marathon! Sounds like you and Dave are great partners and parents. I share your dream of an early and predictable bed time. Do you tend to follow the Hawaii DOD school schedule?
Thank you Shannon! Yes, I forgot to mention–we do try to keep on the public school schedule. Just helps to not feel like they’re stuck doing school when other kids are playing. 🙂 So far it works out pretty well…Even if hot August feels a little soon for me to be schooling!
Hi Monica. It was fun reading your “typical” day. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and always get a kick out of seeing how much we seem to have in common… My husband is also a physician.. we live on Oahu.. have teen sons (though only two).. have home schooled them for years.. are Christians. We even use Abeka curriculum. It’s great to read about the adventures and lifestyle of your wonderful family. Keep up the great work of encouraging families.. and especially moms of boys! I always keep an eye out for your family when we are on the North Shore.. maybe I’ll work up the courage to say hi if we ever see you there.