What is Homeschooling Like?

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Here’s the inside scoop on homeschooling from the perspective of a mom who taught her kids at home for ten years. I share what a typical school day is like and explain the pros and cons of homeschooling. So you can make a better informed decision if homeschool is a good option for your family.

Today, my good friend summed homeschooling up in one easy statement:

Homeschooling is hard, and it’s very rewarding.

and I agree with her completely. 

The responsibility for educating children belongs to parents. Whether your children are educated at home or in public schools, it’s all the same. We make sure they go to school (even at home), get their schoolwork done, and help them when they get stuck. As parents, we pass the importance of learning to the next generations. 

Well, I’ve done both public and homeschool. I taught my children at home for ten years. Last year they went to public school for the first time. Both are great options with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. I’ll show you on a practical level the inside scoop on homeschooling. 

The COVID-19 school closures have sent kids home. Now, families are public homeschooling, so many parents are considering homeschooling on their own. They ask doubting themselves: 

 Can I homeschool?

Yes, you can. And all the options available for home education make it possible to create an outstanding program for your children. All it takes is some basic planning. I’ve been homeschooling my children for the past ten years. And with a smile, I say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.

Homeschool parents are trained. We have met the education standards of our country. Every parent is able to direct the education of their children up to the level of their own completion. Majority of parents actually have higher education at college level and some advanced degrees. I have been impressed many times by the backgrounds of many homeschooling parents – mathematicians, doctors, attorneys, musicians, biologists, linguists, teachers… These parents want to gift their children with an exceptional education and are very successful.

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Let’s take a closer look at what a typical homeschool day is like , so you can make a decision that makes sense for your family. I wish I knew all of this before I started. 

What Is Homeschooling Like?

No two homeschools are exactly alike. The biggest advantage of homeschooling is customization. There are many styles of homeschooling, an abundance of learning materials, and online and community based groups. Each child can have their own plan. For families with many children, even some of the subjects can be learned together. All it takes is a little research and planning to find what best fits your children and family. 

Sometimes, all the options are too overwhelming. It’s really easy to simplify the planning stage, but that’s for later. 

On a practical level, I’ll show you what homeschooling looks like on an ordinary day. 

A Typical Homeschool Day

The school day starts the night before. Everyone has their own bedtime traditions. I did my best to make sure the kids got plenty of sleep and I got some time to relax. We did our bedtime routine at eight o’clock followed by lights out at nine o’clock. The more sleep everyone got, the better the next school day would be. 

Morning Routines

Usually, I woke up early to do some self-care – walking around the yard, reading the Bible, enjoying a cup of Columbian hot brew. It’s important to take care of the teacher first, so the teacher can take good care of the students. I served breakfast around 8 and we all ate together. Afterwards, everyone had personal hygiene and chores to complete. Even the toddler helped clear the table because she wanted to be a big girl. The older children were great examples of responsibility. 

Next, the schoolwork began. Everyone had their own schedule, including me. I worked individually with each child on a block schedule. I always had the preschooler join us at the table to color while I gave reading lessons to her older brother. That made her lessons really quick later on. I chose a curriculum with short daily reading and math lessons. The great thing is that once the student is a good reader, they work independently for the most part.

Everyone was busy working on their assignment. I did lessons on the kitchen table. My eldest prefered doing his work sitting on the couch. My daughter did hers in the girls room at a desk. Some liked background noise and others prefered absolute silence. We did memory work and read alouds in the living room together. 

It was an ever changing dynamic. As they grew, studied different subjects, their needs changed. And home was the perfect place to meet all their needs. 

Lunchtime 

Again, we all ate together. Some had lunch preparation responsibilities. Everyone helped clean up. Afterwards, we had our quiet read aloud time. We took turns reading out loud while they did a quiet activity. It was a privilege to get all your school work done before lunchtime. That meant your afternoons would be free for other activities. 

They put their completed reading and math lessons into a basket on my desk. I corrected their work with the key and returned it to them. They had to correct their errors by the next day. Again, no errors meant no extra school work in the afternoon. 

Once everyone was done, we were free to run errands, to go have fun at the park, to visit some friends, or join in an event. 

Weekly School Groups

One day a week, we did a cooperative homeschooling group, Classical Conversations. We learned about math, grammar, latin, history and science facts. There were weekly science experiments, presentations, and art projects. Upper elementary students did writing and research. For a few years, I tutored a class of children. It was great to learn together in a community.

My kids favorite part was the free play on the field and in the gym after class. 

Sometimes an ordinary school day was a fieldtrip. We went to Gene Autry Museum, California Science Center, San Fernando Mission, Natural History Museum, the Griffith Observatory, Getty Art Museum, Leo Carrillo campground, the Los Angeles Zoo, Legoland, Ronald Reagan Library, Will Rogers State Historic Park… sometimes as a group, sometimes as a family. They learned a lot from each of these places and had a good time out too. 

Every Homeschool is Different

I’ve met a lot of homeschooling families over the years. I’m going to give you a sample of all the flavors. There are different methods like: unschoolers, unit study, classical, charlotte mason, montessori and ecclectic. Some do their work year round, at night, on weekends, and graduate early. Others use tutors, do classes online or are even a part of a charter school and have in-person classes. There are all kinds of ways to educate children at home. 

Every year I asked myself this practical question:

Should I put my kids in public school?

I weighed the advangages and disadvantages of homeschooling to make my decision. This is what I considered to make my choice:

The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

I appreciate the importance of learning in both public schools and homeschools. The dedication of the teachers is impressive at public schools and home. Both serve a very important purpose in our society. And both are successful at what they do, even though they have different methods. 

Benefits of Homeschooling

  • No daily drop off and pick up at school
  • Schedule is flexible
  • A lot of curriculum options
  • Students had choice of interest in studies
  • The variety of homeschooling styles
  • Reading and math program at students level
  • Work can get done quickly
  • Family-style learning
  • Can meet with cooperative groups
  • Opportunities to focus on child’s individual needs
  • Child works at their pace
  • Time and memories with family
  • Parents know their child’s academic abilities in depth
  • Parent learns alongside children
  • Opportunities to socialize with all age groups

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