My view while I write this post on my laptop while my 10 year old is next to me inside the nature center at the lagoon in a nature writing class with his friends. You can see the fingers of the lagoon reaching inland and the ocean is blanketed in Saturday morning fog just beyond.
One thing I enjoy about homeschooling is that I can take a broad view of our lives and learning experiences when leading our family (specifically through calendar management). We collaboratively discuss curiosities, cravings, and responsibilities to create a life in which we can all be joyful and moving forward down our paths to become our best selves. This means that any one day is not really representative of our homeschooling life as our balance unfolds over a broader span of time (free of mandates our children’s needs can be our guides). So I wanted to give you a snapshot of a week in our homeschooling life, with the goal of pulling back the curtain for other families to peek in.
Monday and Wednesday: Homeschool Days
On these mornings I greet my children with, “Happy Homeschool Day!” to which they giggle and roll their eyes. On these days we focus primarily on curricula (with the biggers). Each child chooses 3 subjects and I move between the children and my own work (like email coaching). We then have space for chores, home play, and we leave for extra curriculars in the late afternoon. Our buckets act as an outline for their personal responsibilities on these days (read all about those here) through which we focus on nurturing ourselves academically, physically, creatively, our family, and our space.
FAQs for homeschool days:
Extra Curriculars: Each child chooses one. Right now I help teach my 7 year old’s Krava Maga class, my 10 year old moves between ukulele, voice, and rock band, for which we sometimes make YouTube videos together, and my 3 year old plays soccer. When they commit to an activity, they only have to follow through for the amount of time we must pay in advance (typically one session or one month). Beyond that, they can move around and try different things as often as they desire.
Younger Siblings: While us bigger folks work, our little guy plays on his own. I’ll bring out an activity or set up a toy for him sometimes (feature). He is usually sprawled out on the floor next to us with his own chosen activity. Other times he sits in my lap or writes in his “subjects” like his brothers. When he comes to his brothers, they tend to incorporate him into their activity (for examples, my 7 year old reads a book each day and often it is to his little brother and their creative and physical choices almost always include at least one brother). The trickle down sibling homeschool effect results in younger siblings getting a spark for a remarkable amount of knowledge. We tend to overlook the benefit of “being with” (in our zealousness to be fully present and interactive with our children, which is also important, but must be in balance). You don’t always need to be pouring energy into everyone. It’s actually quite beneficial for each child to have some time to just be in shared presence, but have the space to find their own way (this phenomenon plays out beautifully in the context of a healthy playscape, which is part of why I love playscape coaching). All that to say, there is no pressure to entertain each child at every moment.
Natural Rhythms: We honor our body’s natural rhythms. We wake when we are fully rested. We sleep when we are tired. This results in a routine around which we base our commitments and the flow of our schedule.
Subjects: I choose curricula for each child for each subject based on their individual needs, as opposed to subscribing to any one program for every subject for every child (here are some of our favorites).
I sometimes hear parents unsure of how they will be able to teach their children all of the academic content, often in the form of, “I’m not qualified to homeschool my kid.” Here’s the thing, anything your child can learn, you can learn. You are both often learning together in collaboration and you are there to help support your younger learner but that doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers. You just have to provide access to the answers (or a means to explore the questions).
Tuesday: Learning Center Day
On Tuesdays the biggers attend classes at their learning center. In these classes they are doing collaborative group work with a consistent group of peers, learning from different teachers or adults who are passionate on a particular subject, with a variety of materials we don’t have at home, studying topics of interest to them (like CSI science, living history, or Lego robotics, to name a few).
While the biggers are at learning center I am either enjoying some one-on-one time with my little or he is with me teaching Sage Baby class or playing with my dad while I am supporting families with in home Sage Coaching.
Thursday: Make Up Day
On Thursdays we try to schedule menial appointments like doctors or dentists or errands and finish up any projects from the week. Some weeks this feels like a full Homeschool Day and other weeks it doesn’t at all and we’re body boarding at the beach. This is our flex day to meet whatever needs we presently have.
Friday: Homeschool Community Day
On Fridays we rotate between HACkschool, Book Club, and Besties.
HACkschool, or Homeschool Adventure Club, is something I started where an intentional group of homeschooling families get together out in the world having various adventures that aid in growth like docent led tours of historical sites, nature tours, museum workshops, community service, sport samplers, etc. We have 2 adventures a month.
Book Club is a group my friend started where we read a chapter book together as a family and come together at a park for riveting discussion and activities around the books one a month.
Besties is the label in my calendar for the Fridays free of HACkschool and Book Club when we get together with our best homeschooling friends, who also have 3 boys, for anything we feel will balance out our month.