What does a day-in-the-life look like for homeschoolers?
The answer to that question depends on the family. Some families spend the day un-schooling and practice child-led learning instead. Some families spend the day using a family-style curriculum with all age groups gathered around the table. Some homeschool families don’t learn at home at all but can be found traveling the world using experience as their teacher.
In our homeschool, we use a combination of philosophies that comprise our vision for home education. We practice child-led learning, we use family-style curricula, we incorporate whole-child education, and we get intentional about providing social opportunities and enriching experiences for our children.
With all that being said, this day-in-the-life I’m sharing with you is the routine we fall back on when we’re not out enjoying the world. I don’t schedule “free days” into our homeschool because traveling and/or field trips are not always feasible to schedule on the same day every week. We just take field trips when we want to and pick up where our lesson left off the following day. Extracurricular activities, such as cooperatives, sports, and elective classes have not been added to our routine because they’re not available where we live amid the pandemic.
Here’s a snapshot of our day-in-the-life when we’re stuck at home. It’s somewhat blocked and color-coded. Blue is our morning homeschool block and pink is our afternoon homeschool block. Scheduled meal and snack times are in brown—but we all know that’s a joke and eating happens way more than what’s displayed here. Lastly, it’s important to note that lessons actually only take about 10-20 minutes. The rest of that time is spent doing hands-on activities and/or independent assignments.
Our 2020 Homeschool Routine
8:00 am | Morning Checklist (30 Minutes)
I created a checklist for my boys so that I don’t have to micromanage them in the mornings. That checklist includes praying, making their bed, getting dressed and groomed, brushing their teeth, and light morning chores, among other things.
8:30 am | Breakfast (1 Hour)
I taught my boys how to make basic breakfast foods like eggs, waffles, and toast. They will usually have a combination of those items with a side of fresh fruit, which I usually keep on hand. Of course, cereal and oatmeal are also an option.
9:30 am | Outdoor Time (1 Hour)
After reading studies about how physical activity improves behavior and academic performance in children, I decided to schedule outdoor time before our lessons. During this hour, I encourage the boys to get active. They ride their bikes and scooters, they jump on the trampoline, they run, and sometimes we’ll go on a family walk around the neighborhood. In the case of inclement weather, they’ll work out indoors to a YouTube fitness video for kids.
10:30 am | Snack and Devotional (30 Minutes)
This is when our morning basket time begins. We grab a snack and maybe some hot cocoa or tea and hang out in our homeschool learning space while reading our current devotional, 100 Indescribable Devotions About God and Science.
11:00 am | Social Studies (Science on Fridays) (1 Hour)
Our family-style history curriculum is also part of our morning basket time. This year, we’re using Oh Freedom | A Conscious U.S. History Curriculum. Right now, we’re reading Before Columbus by Charles Mann and Sees Behind Trees.
On Fridays, we do our marine biology unit by the Good and the Beautiful curriculum. This is a fun time for experiments and hands-on enrichment activities. We typically outsource science, but this year we’ll be doing it at home.
12:00 pm | Lunch Break (1 Hour)
By this time, everyone needs some time to regroup. We’ll make lunch, eat, and have some time to get those wiggles out. My kids’ favorite go-to lunch is grilled chicken breasts and cheese sandwiches with a side of steamed carrots and fruit. They also really like chicken and vegetable soup with crackers.
1:00 pm | Math (40 Minutes)
We’ve spent the morning together, now it’s time for each child to delve into their individual curriculum. Both boys are using CTC Math. We like CTC Math because it’s an online program with video instruction and self-grading assessments—making my life easier. The boys each have their own laptops so they can work on math at the same time. I typically sit at the dining room table with them and do some work of my own.
1:40 pm | Language Arts (40 Minutes)
This year, we’re using Language Lessons for a Living Education. My fifth-grader can pretty much do his language arts curriculum on his own, I just make sure to spend the first ten minutes with him to ensure he understands the lesson topic and what’s expected of him. During this ten minute period, my 2nd grader will complete a quick Spanish or Japanese lesson on Duolingo. When I’m finished with my oldest, I’ll sit side-by-side with my 2nd grader and we’ll complete his lesson together
2:20 pm | Reading (20 Minutes)
So, for about twenty minutes, I encourage my boys to read for enjoyment. Every now and then I ask them to read to me so that I can assess their fluency. They have a reading log where they record everything they read.
2:40 pm | Yoruba (20 Minutes)
In the last 20 minutes of our instructional homeschool hours, we’ll learn a bit of Yoruba using the online curriculum, Yoruba Basics. Yoruba is my Nigerian father’s native tongue. I’m hoping the boys learn a few sentences so that they can speak with their grandpa.
3:00 pm | Project Time (1 hour)
This is what many call “self-directed learning” or “child-led learning.” During this time, my boys can work on projects of their choosing. They usually like to follow tutorials on how to code their own games. Art tutorials are also a hit. At the end of the hour, they will show their dad and I what they’ve accomplished.
4:00 pm | Homeschool Complete
It’s the end of our school day and time to start preparing dinner. The reason I’ve structured our days to run so long is to ensure our boys have something to do since extra curricular activities are limited this semester. In fact, they’ll usually want to work on their projects a bit longer than the allotted time, which is always allowed.
Well, there you have it! Our homeschool routine for 2020. It’s a big change from last year when we had our classes, field trips, and play dates with our homeschool group, but it’s been working for us so far. I hope everyone has an incredible school year. Until next time!