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Typical Homeschool or Unschool Day Series

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A day in the life of the homeschooling Rebecca

first published on Rebecca Getting Real, Dec 4, 2011



There is often a lot of questions out there by people wanting to know exactly what homeschooling looks like. What really happens in the nitty gritty of the situation. Well I can only tell you what happens in my house. On days when it is good, it is great. The learning happens so fantastically that is it a breeze. Other days it can be a struggle. Especially when Ms Bossyboots doesn't want to do her lessons and tries to avoid actually completing any work. Those days can be quite tiring.

Over the last year I have been unlearning a lot of my methodology as a teacher, because what works in the crowd control of a classroom, doesn't work with only one learner. Often I receive comments that because I am a teacher, it must be easier to homeschool. Sometimes that is true, and sometimes it is not.

Anyway. In my head I usually already have an idea of what we are going to do that day. I have a very intimate understanding of where each of the girls are on their learning journey, and where they need support and where they are working towards. This is where homeschooling differs the most from teaching in a classroom. When I previously taught, I grouped the like abilitied children together. I could tell you what each group was working on, but if you were after an individual report, I would have to check my records.

Withe homeschooling there are less distractions, and the work is more intensely focused.

There are many different types of homeschoolers out there. And each household approaches it in different ways. There are Classical Educationist, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, Unschoolers, School at Homers, as well as the secular and non secular. There are many more terms, but I hope you get the idea that no two homeschoolers are the same, and therefore their days would look different to mine.

P.E.

I try and include a bit of fun each day, for consolidation of new skills, and review of previously learnt material. We use structured workbooks for reading and maths. These are a pre written program that we loosely follow and I insert and tweak as we go along. I assess each term according to the Australian Standards and check off what I know that they can do, and what we have covered.



So many of my friends say things like, "Oh I could never do that!" which I do find kind of embarrassing.

Anyone can homeschool. It helps if you can read though! I suppose all that is really needed is the ability to ask, "Where to from here?"

My typical day starts at about 6 am with wake up. I give myself the first 3 hours to sort out household stuff. My list follows: cooked breakfast for the husband, pack him his lunch (yes he is a lazy git in this regard but it saves me money to make sure he has food), breakfast for the children and I. Get Up and Go Chart Supernanny  (teeth, bed, hair, shoes, socks), start the washing cycle, kitchen, floor, then I have a shower and get dressed.

We generally start our first lessons at about 9am. We work through about 2-3 lessons and then have a snack. No more than one hour. Then the children have a play.

These first lessons can vary, but usually the first one is rather informal and easy, like a board game (sight word bingo, word snap), spot the difference barrier game (oral language program),  a reading folder game or something that starts to warm their brains up for learning. It is a rather short lesson lasting only about 10 minutes.

Literacy

Then we complete our reading. We use the Fitzroy Reading Program . Some days they complete the lesson on the computer and then swap to bookwork and always we have reading. Some days it is just bookwork and reading. Others it is baking, writing cards, letters, and reading treasure hunt hints.

We use Reading Eggs  to supplement and stimulate. I try to vary it as often as need be. It varies depending on what they are up to in the workbook, whether we are starting a new book and whether they are able to sit and do a formal lesson or are edgy and need a less structured one

The next lesson usually is  handwriting and/or history lesson. We use the Story of the World Vol 1  as our history. The children enjoy the read to's, which we usually complete in the car via ipod. They love history.

Then it is time for a break. A quick feed to carb up, a 20  minute play and then it is back to the lessons. Whilst they are playing I am sweeping the floor, hanging out the washing and putting on the next load, and cleaning up the snack mess.

Next lesson. Here I like to complete their counting and maths. This is usually more formal than informal. I have a structure that I found worked in the classroom very well. Every maths lesson we start with some sort of counting or place value verbal activity. We are currently using the Math U See  Primer for Ms Busyfingers (5) and Alpha for Ms Bossyboots (6). I also use Mathletics  and Studyladder  which I love to break it up. Some days one or both will throw a fit if I bring out the text book. Using the computer is a wonderful tool in our household.

We review the previous lessons work, and then we continue on with the next activity, review that and then we are finished. Some days they reject any formality and we end up playing a maths game. Most of the time, this is then followed with our Social studies or science lesson. We currently use Marrets  prep work books. I teach around the topics and use the activities in the texts to reinforce learning.

By now it is about 11:30am. It is usually time to put the baby down for her nap and start cleaning up for lunch. The children go off and play. If everything has gone well, we are done without tears or tantrums. If not then I will hold lunch over their heads to encourage them to complete their work. They do not eat, until their work is complete.

Park Play


The afternoon is ours to play with. I usually try to remember to hang out the next load of washing now whilst the children are eating and then I make my own and sit down for a half hour  lunch break. Then it is onto the other stuff that needs to happen, changing sheets, sweeping floor again, vege patch, tidying the deck, playing with Sir Sookalot. Facebook, blogging, phone calls. I try and fit in going to the gym in the afternoon also, somedays it works, others it does not. All the usual family stuff. This is also when we have most of our playdates. I try to have them at least once every two weeks. After all, they are never alone and never without a playmate. One of the benefits of having 4 children in the family.

5:00 start preparing dinner, play, bath. TV is off after the bath and we have family play time, book time if BubbaMoosh is being co-operative and lets me read to the others. 7:30 book boxes and bed. The girls are allowed to read quietly in bed until they fall asleep.

There is an ebb and flow to each day. I find that by sticking to a general routine, the children all know what to expect. That is not to say that the schedule goes out the window on occasion, but that is what our day generally looks like.

Rebecca is an Australian home educating mother and blogger.

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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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