Reality schooling {Sonlight Blog Party}

This is the fourth installment in a year-long blog party designed to help Sonlight celebrate 25 years of serving homeschoolers. In January, I introduced our family. February’s post was all about how we first started on our journey as a home educating family. Last month, I shared some words of wisdom garnered from our years of homeschooling. This month, we’re getting real and sharing a day in the life of our homeschool.

Psssst. If you’ve ever worried that you’re doing it wrong, this is the post for you. Prepare to have any illusions of homeschool perfection shattered by what you see here. Because the sermon I am about to preach could easily be titled, “It May Not Look Pretty, But It Gets The Job Done.”

If you’re a regular reader here, you already know that we’re less than a week out from welcoming our eleventh family member. And if you’ve ever homeschooled during the tail end of pregnancy, you know that the chances of even the most orderly, school-at-home family maintaining perfect focus during those heady last days are pretty slim. So take a family like ours– one that rabbit trails with fair regularity– and insert the drama of numerous weekly appointments alongside the excitement of “boy or girl?” and yep… school isn’t as tidy as it is in other seasons.

And I’m o.k. with that.

Because these days are numbered. This window of anticipation and awe is short lived. And there’s lots to be learned right here, in the place where the read-alouds are interrupted by an in-utero baby putting on a dancing display, or where we can serve one another by being the official filler of Momma’s water bottle.

So… what does school look like right now?

Currently, school starts before Christopher leaves for work. Three mornings a week, he teaches Physical Science to the older boys, as well as investing daily one-on-one time with Phineas in a special reading schedule. In addition to getting the ball rolling with three of our “students,” this also buys me some time to focus on individual reading lessons with John Mark and Birdie via Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

After that, the older boys (Mathaus is what we consider a 9th grader, Jack is in 7th) begin their independent work. For Mathaus, that’s currently a check-in on his stock portfolio via the Market Simulation, debugging the HTML code of other learners, or plugging in to History Alive– all via The O’Leary Academy. Jack prefers to hit math (Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 Complete Set 2.0) right off the bat. They are welcome to check off the day’s boxes in whatever order they wish, and each has his own flow for the morning. Both boys have their own assigned work in a variety of areas, the morning and early afternoon hours are spent on those things with me nearby, but not actively teaching.

Meanwhile, the littles and I work through the day’s tasks in a rhythm that’s not always the absolutely identical, but usually fairly closely in step to the day before. Key to helping us stay on course and Phin maintain routine is the Easy Daisy Teacher Kit , Childrens Magnetic Schedule Starter Kit, and Family & Extracurricular Activities Add-On Pack.

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Those handy dandy magnets give a visual cue to my kiddos of what to expect. As you can see, on this particular day, we hit the basics–Circle Time (when much of our SL work gets done), reading, math– and even snuck in some art in the afternoon.

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In those afternoon slots labelled “Snack Time” and “Play Outside” for the littles, I meet up with the big boys as they are done with what they have on the docket for the day, talking through work, correcting, answering questions … whatever needs to be done. That’s my favorite slot with them, currently; I love the conversations you have with homeschooling teens! Mathaus has French, AWANA (via skype) and other lessons to fill his afternoon, too.

While the younger set is generally done with “school” by 2, my older boys often work until 4, sometimes later. Some of this has to do with the rotation of tech (they share a laptop), some of it is the workload (Mathaus logs more time than his brother, obviously), and some of it is the rabbit trail effect (though it’s not “official” school, both boys log in to Khan Academy and Code Academy pretty much daily).

After school, Jack usually makes his way outdoors to build bridges, split wood, or get his hands dirty in some other project. Mathaus likes to dabble in other projects, like playing keyboard or guitar, reading, writing, or …

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whipping up homemade candies. (No, you cannot steal him. Sorry.)

That’s it right now, in a nutshell. Life, lived around the framework of education. A whole lot of flexibility, a whole lot of learning, a whole lot of going with what works right here, right now. Like I said, it’s not perfection. It’s not even pretty. But it is real. You can’t ask for more than that.

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3 thoughts on “Reality schooling {Sonlight Blog Party}

  1. Long-time lurker and fellow SLee checking in to say I am praying for you all as I watch the news of Nepal. Praying for peace in your hearts and safety for B. Hugs and blessings to you all.

  2. “It May Not Look Pretty, But It Gets The Job Done.”
    Amen, sister! I love that we can live genuine lives with each other.

  3. Getting the job done… that’s what it’s all about! I love the flexibility of your day! Thanks for sharing!

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