Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Homeschool Day in the Life, 2015

Dianna’s Homeschool Day in the Life (with a 9-, 11-, 12-, & 14-year-old)

Written by Dianna Schnabel of Joyful in Hope.

5:37am: I wake up just before my 5:40 alarm blares. My husband is showering for work and I need a few minutes to wake my brain before getting out of bed.

6:00am: My husband wakes our oldest (14-year-old) and middle (11-year-old) daughters since they attend public school and have buses to catch. Meanwhile I take a few minutes to get dressed and finish rubbing the sleep from my eyes.

Here’s the thing: I am not a morning person. Light helps. My husband (per my request) leaves the bathroom light on and door open to replicate sunlight during these dark winter months. We also have two kitties that pounce on each other, and me, so that helps too.

6:15am: I putz around the kitchen—loading the dishwasher, prepping veggies for the crockpot, etc.—while my girls get ready for school. They’re gone most of the day so I like to get in some chat time before they leave.

6:55am: Two down, two to go. I eat breakfast and do my devotions before waking my homeschoolers.

7:30am: Andrew (12-year-old) and Alyssa (9-year-old) begin their morning checklists while I jump on my computer to get some work done. I work for a realtor part time from home, answering emails and organizing client contact info.

8:00-9:00am: Some days the kids and I will get started on schoolwork right away, but sometimes we mess around first, watching funny and/or educational videos on facebook and youtube. Friday morning we had an impromptu art history lesson after Alyssa asked why the people in some paintings have halos. Who knew that halos in art dated back to ancient Egypt? Not me.

9-ish: We officially start school. Our primary curriculum this year is an ancient history unit study from My Father’s World (MFW) titled Creation to the Greeks (CTG).

Bible We start with a Bible reading—we finished Joshua on Friday—and discussion. This takes longer than it probably should but it’s one of our favorite subjects and we usually get into some pretty fun conversations.

History More reading aloud and discussion as we study ancient history. Our readings are often supplemented with coloring pages, notebook summary pages, or map labeling exercises.

Vocabulary Another favorite of ours. We use English from the Roots Up, studying Greek and Latin root words as a means of interpreting language.

Science We stopped using the textbook that came with our MFW curriculum because the daily “experiments” were more annoying than educational, and the material was presented in a babyish way that patronized the kids. Instead we are reading Archimedes and the Door of Science, as well as poring over picture/factoid books about volcanoes, earthquakes, and weather.

Read-Aloud The kids very favorite part of the school day—read-aloud story time. MFW schedules fantastic realistic/historical fiction stories with varied cultural and historical backdrops. Each book follows the protagonist on an adventure that leads to their spiritual awakening. The only problem we have with these books is that MFW only schedules one chapter per day, so we are always ahead of schedule. During the resultant book gap I read the kids some of my childhood favorites, such as A Wrinkle in Time, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and My Side of the Mountain.

11:30am: Once we finish the MFW portion of our schoolwork we take a lunch break. Since it’s just the three of us we kind of forage around for leftovers or sandwich makings. After lunch the kids go outside to play. I may walk down to the park with them for a few minutes, but then I generally spend a half hour or so working on the computer.

1:00pm: We start back to work, this time with math and reading. Alyssa practices her times tables while I go over Andrew’s pre-Algebra lesson with him (we currently use Saxon Math). One of the kids then sets the oven timer for 30 minutes, during which they read, and I either read or work. Once or twice a week we add in a French lesson with First Start French from Memoria Press. We love French!

2:00pm: This usually marks the end of our school day, at which point the kids are free to do their own thing. Andrew likes to play Legos in his room, while Alyssa plays with her dolls. Occasionally I’ll let them set up Minecraft on the living room TV so they can build Egyptian pyramids or volcanoes.

3:30-4:00pm: My other two kids get home from school and I drive Alyssa to dance.

5:00pm: My husband gets home from work and we make dinner and help the girls with their homework.

7:00pm: I pick Alyssa up from dance while Matt works on his own schoolwork (he’s finishing up his bachelor’s degree). When we get home Alyssa eats dinner and we all watch TV for an hour or so.

8:30pm: It’s been a long day for everyone; time to get ready for bed. Bonne nuit.

We have a lot of “favorite” subjects. What’s yours?


  1. First of all, the winter haiku cracked me up. That was me here this morning (in New England- another snow day).

    I loved reading about your day. You and I have the same childhood favorites as far as books. Don't you love reliving them with your kiddos? Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Cait! I do love reading these books to the kids. Even more, I love that they love them.

  2. We have been reading Archimedes and the door of science also! We liked it a lot and enjoyed trying out several of the concepts! My boys really enjoyed reading My side of the mountain as well! I would say science and history are favorites around here!

    1. Archimedes and the Door of Science works for us because we love living books. I guess I'm a Charlotte Mason type of teacher at heart. Have you tried The Story of the World series for history? We're in volume one now: Ancient Times.

  3. Favorite subjects around here include anything but writing (which is, of course, my favorite so I can't possibly understand why my boys don't like it)! They are most passionate about math at the moment but also love learning about history and enjoy coding on the computer.

    1. I hear you on the writing, Jess! I was a creative writing major in college but my kids hate writing. Or so they say. My girls do a lot of story writing on their own time, which I guess doesn't count (to them) because I'm not forcing them to do it. What do you do for math that your kids love? It's always been our worst subject.

  4. My son loved the pic with the your son and the cat! Our favorite subjects are science and reading. This was a great day. I'm so glad you shared it with us. :)

    1. Thanks, Camie! My kids love being able to play and cuddle with our pets while they do schoolwork. One of the many perks of homeschooling!