What Is a Typical Homeschool Day?
When trying to come up with a topic for my blog, I often go to my homeschool Facebook groups and see what questions keep popping up. One question I see quite often is, “what does a normal homeschool day like?”
I can definitely understand why that question is so popular. When I first started homeschooling, I really wished I could be a fly on the classroom wall in some other homeschools. What were they doing all day? Was I doing it right? Were other parents doing it better? What is a typical homeschool day, anyway?
I’ve come to realize that every homeschool is going to look different. There really is no “typical homeschool day” because every family is different. Just because I do something one way, that doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong if you do it another way.
Also, one day can look very different from the next, at least around here. With the ADHD around here (mine and my kid’s), we do not like too much routine. We need some routine, but too much is stifling. So, I mix it up as needed.
If you’d like more information about how I plan so that we have structure and flexibility, request my free guide: Planning Your Homeschool for Flexibility and Freedom.
A Typical Homeschool Day
This is an example of a typical homeschool day. Our days don’t all look like this, but many days are generally like this. My kids are 9 and 12 at this time, so keep that in mind. Your day will vary based on your kids’ ages and preferences.
There is a lot of controversy over whether or not to wake homeschooled kids early to start the day at a “normal” hour. Some argue that they need to learn to get up early if they are going to get a job someday. Some argue that they don’t need to get up that early so why make them?
I tend to be on the let sleeping children sleep side. I know that sleep is vitally important for mental and physical health. Sleep also helps with learning, so getting kids up early seems counterproductive to me. I’m also not much of a morning person myself. I need some time alone with my coffee before the kids get up. On a typical homeschool day, I let them sleep until they wake up or until I decide to check see if my tween daughter is still alive.
A Low-Key Activity
In a typical homeschool day, we might start with reading a book or watching a documentary about history or science. If I got up really early and I’ve already eaten breakfast, I might read to the kids while they eat. Again this entirely depends on our moods, the weather, and probably the phase of the moon. Some days we might start with math. Other days we might go outside after breakfast. At least one of the dogs usually joins us in all of our activities.
An Engaging Activity
By this time, we’re all more awake. I try to start with an engaging activity like a science experiment or a history mystery.
Then, the kids will probably go outside for some “recess” if the weather is nice.
I really want my kids to learn Spanish and I don’t speak Spanish fluently. I’ve been using Duolingo to learn Spanish and the kids have started using that also. While I’m getting lunch ready, they might sit down and do their daily Spanish lessons.
Sometimes it seems like our days revolve around food. Meal times do provide a structure and rhythm to our days. Lunch is not anything fancy, though. Ree Drummond, I am not. As you can see in this photo, lunch is usually a sandwich. I might add chips and fruit if I’m really feeling ambitious.
My son is using Beast Academy online for math this year. Sometimes we might play a math game instead. We love to use board and card games in our homeschool. Games are more fun than worksheets and it adds variety to the day.
One thing I insist on is some reading every day. I let the kids pick what they want to read because I want them to enjoy it. Now that my daughter is in middle school, I do have books that I think she should read, so I let her pick from a stack of those. They often choose to read on their own at bedtime or other times when they’re looking for something to do.
Most days my daughter does some writing (she loves to write) or she might do an exercise from The Giggly Guide to Grammar. My son might do copy work, dictation, or another language arts exercise.
Chores and Pet Care
Then, it’s time for chores and pet care. Each child has one assigned chore each day and they have to care for their own pets. Sometimes nagging is involved, but it’s become such a part of the routine now, that they know they have to do it and don’t complain most days.
After that, the kids are free to pursue whatever interests or hobbies they want. Sometimes they choose to play video games. They might also decide to play outside, work on an art or Lego project, or play with a friend.
Before the pandemic, they participated in some sports and other activities (scouts, music lessons, etc.) but we’ve put those on hold for now. For now, we’ve been enjoying the down time and the coziness of more time together at home as a family.
Not Every Day is a Typical Homeschool Day
So, that’s a “typical” day in our homeschool. Not every day is like that, of course. In fact, the term “typical” doesn’t really fit any of our days because there is a lot of variation. No two days are exactly alike.
Some days we do more, some days we do less. Some days we go on field trips or play educational games together for most of the day.
I know that there are families that thrive on routine and order. That’s not us. We need a certain amount of routine, but not too much. We often mix up the order of subjects based on our moods or what else we have planned that day.
I am most definitely not a scheduled by the clock homeschooler. If you are, that’s okay too, though. Do what works for you. Don’t get hung up on thinking you have to do it like me or anyone else.
A Word About Planning
We are pretty relaxed in our homeschool. We set goals at the beginning of the year. This gives structure and focus to our homeschool. I then decide, in general terms, what needs to be done each day and each week. We focus on the most important priorities. I include other things as the kids are interested and as opportunities arise.
This approach allows me to be somewhat laid back. As long as I know that we’re moving steadily toward our goals, it doesn’t matter what order we do things in or even exactly what we do each day.
For more information on how we plan our homeschool year, check out Planning Your Homeschool for Flexibility and Freedom.