One of the questions I am asked quite often is, “What is a typical homeschool day like at your house?” I’m not sure there is such a thing as a ‘typical day’- not with a hyperactive husband who has a thousand hobbies, three kids, a grown son who comes by regularly to raid the fridge for leftovers and fill us in on the latest guy drama, and a mom with Alzheimer’s- but I’ve found that a basic schedule helps me deal better with the unexpected than trying to live by the seat of my… skirt.
We’ve tried some different planning methods and school calenders over the years, usually to coincide with Mr. Raber’s schedule so we could spend time together as a family. We have settled on a plan that is flexible, but with most of the calendar in ink instead of pencil (with lots of gray smudges).
We begin our school year the beginning of August, and take our first break during Thanksgiving week. Then our long Winter Break is from December 15th to January 15th. We hit the books again until the first week of May for our Spring Break, spend some time in review and skills practice, then decide what method we will use for our yearly evaluation- assessment or standardized testing (we usually opt for the CAT because of time flexibility and price). We take the month of July off for our Summer Break. This gives us over 40 weeks of ‘school’, much more than is required by our state.
Our week is also structured differently. Monday mornings are reserved for an extended Bible study class, but then we get ready for the week- doing household chores and yardwork, taking a trip to the library, then kicking back a bit for the rest of the day.
From Tuesday to Saturday, our days look like this:
- 7:30-8 Wake up, morning chores
- 8-9 Breakfast and Bible study
- 9-12 Math and Language Arts
- 12-1 Lunch
- 1-2 Tuesday is Shop and Home Ec, Wednesday/Thursday is Science, Friday/Saturday is History and Geography
- 3-4 Any assignments or projects that require extra work, afternoon chores, and then free time
- 4-5 Quiet time for reading
- 5- Supper and Dad time
We also started working toward helping the kids learn time management and sorting priorities by making them more responsible for their own lesson plans. They know what needs to be done for the year, the semester, and each month. They can take their books and our schedule, and break down their assignments to their liking, as long as the work is being accomplished at an acceptable level with evident improvement in areas such as writing skill, penmanship, computation, etc… It’s the best method we’ve found for inspiring self-motivation.
If this gives you some ideas for your own school calendar, GREAT! But even better is if it helps you to see that you can structure your year and your days to fit your family and make homeschooling an enjoyable, versatile lifestyle.