If you are reading this chances are that because of current world events you are seriously considering homeschooling, or you are just a very curious person. Either way, I'd like to tell you what homeschooling looks like in our family and how we lived it out.
But before I really start, I need to tell you that after 22 years of homeschooling all four of my children, from birth through high school graduation, I no longer homeschool. I am a homeschool retiree. I miss it so very much. How I loved the time with my children and learning along side them. (not saying that they didn't drive me crazy at times!) I am now a homeschool retiree. But I can tell you what it did look like for us.
Before you continue reading, please remember that every family is unique. Your family rhythm will be different than others and that is fine, good, normal enjoy the differences.
Which category do you fall into?
- I do not want to put my child in public school. I believe it is an atmosphere where education is hindered. But I do not feel comfortable being the one to educate my child. I plan to do public school, at home. I will continue using public school curriculum, schedules, teachers, etc. (This is not homeschool this is public school at home)
- I plan to leave the school system and homeschool for a short while, but I hope homeschooling will be a short term solution.
- I have been considering homeschooling for a while and now know it is time to take the plunge.
- I have homeschooled for years and will continue to do so.
If you answered one, two, or three, then you will want to continue reading. If your answer was number four. I'd love for you to continue reading and please comment below with any suggestions that you think would be helpful to a new homeschool family.
You might be wondering, “How would homeschooling change the way we live?”
Homeschooling is an extension of parenting.
Homeschooling is a lifestyle. It is learning in the midst of living your everyday lives.
Let me ask you a few questions?
- Does every day of parenting look exactly the same?
- Does your family life look like your neighbor’s or your friends?
- When you plan out your day, with your children at home, does it go as planned?
- Are there days that you think you do not know how you will go another day as a mom?
- Are you doing this parenting thing right? Do you sometimes feel like a failure?
Homeschooling is no different. It is parenting 24/7! You will continue to have the same feelings and questions. Hard days will come, expect it, but here is the great news. There will be so many days that you are just bursting at the seams with love, for your precious children. You will see their little and big accomplishment and it will make you so proud!
Homeschool is not public school at home.
Don’t try to replicate it.
It is living at home together, interacting, learning through life, rubbing each other the wrong way but having the chance to learn how to deal correctly with problems, conflicts, frustrations when they happen.
Homeschool is doing school in the midst of life and doing it how and when it works best for your children and your family.
I used to tell people all the time. I only have 18 years to nurture and shape my children, to teach them about Jesus and live out our love for Him in everything that we do. I don’t want someone else or an institution taking half their life away from me and teaching them something that I may not agree with. 18 years is not much time to teach them everything I want them to learn. You blink and they’re gone!
Homeschooling gave me that time.
Academics are important, but if I raise the best scientists, mathematicians, entrepreneurs, etc the world has ever seen, but my children don’t know how to be the best wife, mother, father, husband, friend, employee, they can be, then I failed. Academics are just a small part of their life.
Homeschooling is living life together and everyone learning and growing. I learned a great deal by teaching my children, about every subject that I don’t remember learning in school. I enjoyed learning alongside them. That was one of my favorite homeschool perks!
Growing in my walk with God and my prayer life was an added blessing. I had 8 eyes and ears always watching me. I needed God every minute of the day to help me be the mom and teacher that my children needed. I couldn’t do it alone. God used my children to teach me.
You will see things in yourself that you are not proud of as you spend more time with your children. There will be things that need changing. This life will also show you how strong you are, how capable you are and it will be a daily reminder of how much you love them!
What does a typical homeschool day look like?
It might look a little different every day. Your family is unique and your homeschool should be too.
Always remember this - your family is unique. Don't try to be and do exactly what you see other families doing. I can't stress that enough. While there’s nothing wrong with getting ideas and inspiration from what others are doing, just don’t get caught up in trying to replicate it perfectly.
This was a typical day for us when my children were young, baby thru elementary.
Wake up- They usually woke up about the same time every day, but I did not have a set start time. Let them get the sleep they need! One of the many perks to homeschooling!
School started I typically started with the most brain-draining subject first, like math, (numbers) and learning to read.
The younger they were, the more breaks we took. School was always done before noon even with the breaks
I concentrated on Reading Writing and Arithmetic. The other subjects are just extras at this age. Your children have 12 years to learn. They will be “in school” for a long time. Help them develop a love for learning. Don’t’ push don’t “force learning time” when they are little. You don’t want them to hate school by the age of seven and still have 11 to go!
How do children learn best?
Little ones learn best through play.
Read books together.
Talk about nature when taking walks. Find a butterfly, bird, spider, snake, beautiful flower, etc/, and then talk to your children about what you see. Go home and find it on the internet and talk about it some more if they are really interested.
Play lots of games. Especially ones where they are learning and don’t even know it.
Go on lots of field trips. I recommend this for all homeschool years, not just for the little ones.
Art and music are the fun part of a day, do not make it a school subject when they are young. It is fun, active learning.
As your family grows
As my children grew and the oldest moved into the older elementary years, we extended “school time” into early afternoon doing history all together after lunch. Sonlight was my favorite history, geography, reading curriculum.
The older they were the more they did on their own. The time it requires you to teach your child depends on the program and curriculum you chose as well as their age and learning ability.
By 9th grade, my children were doing school on their own. I was there to answer questions which some days and subjects there were many, but for the most part, they were able to work on their own. They had learned how to teach themselves and find answers to many of their questions.
By 12 grade they were doing all or almost all college-level courses and getting college credit at the same time (concurrent enrollment/ Dual enrollment). I was not involved in teaching any longer but was there to support and guide. Find out more about homeschooling teens successfully here.
Where did we do school work and for how long per child?
We did school all over the house, one at the table, one at the kitchen counter, one in the family room and one in the piano room. But this was always changing. Basically, we did it all over the house, sometimes in the car, sometimes in a doctor's waiting room. It can be done anywhere you choose!
This is about how much time it took each one of my children, on average to do school.
If your child is taking much longer than you think they should for any subject, do some digging, research, observe to find out why. There could be underlying issues like learning struggles or needing to learn time management. You might be giving them more than they can handle or should do in one day.
Remember, you are the teacher. You decide. What is best for your child. It doesn’t all need to be done in one chuck or the same amount every day. That is the beauty of homeschooling. You will figure out when and how your family learns best. It takes time, be patient and PRAY for wisdom!
If you want to do two days worth of school in one so you can take the next day off, do it! If school is overwhelming one morning, take a break and finish in the afternoon or the evening! YOU decide what is best.
What to do with the rest of the day
You will find that dance, soccer, baseball, music lessons will fit in your week so much better when you have the whole day to work with and not just a few hours after school. It is easy to overcommit because you think you have so much more time. Don’t do it. Learn to enjoy a slower life!
Let them play!
Talk with them.
Teach them about life as you live it.
Travel. So much can be learned when you travel.
Enjoying the journey,
Michelle Osborn is the owner and founder of Yellow House Book Rental, specializing in providing homeschool curriculum for rent or purchase, as well as counseling and guidance for homeschool families. She is a wife of 32 years, a 22-year homeschool veteran, and mom of four amazing children and five adorable grandchildren. Three of her children are now entrepreneurs, running their own businesses and doing quite well. Michelle’s passions include serving by leading worship at her church and encouraging homeschool moms through one on one, social media and speaking engagements. She has found her niche in helping parents homeschooling their teens through the high school years and on to pursue their dreams
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