What does homeschooling look like in 2020? Here’s a peek behind the scenes for this single parented large family!
This year is definitely different than other years, and frankly, I have really enjoyed the slower pace. Our days are still rather busy, but we’re home a lot more!
This year, my children are 3, 7, 9, 10, 12 and 16. And they are all home! Even my 16 year old, who started public high school a couple of years ago, is home doing distance learning this year. As well, my 3 yr old is insisting she gets “school” too, so technically, I have 6 home learners this year!
I’ve trained my children to not get up until I do. So typically I rise between 6 & 7 am, and get myself ready for the day. Since I also run a business at home, I may spend 30 minutes on a work-related task first thing, depending on how much time I have.
Around 7:30, I wake my 3 yr old (if she isn’t already awake) and we have a morning cuddle time. She’s still nursing, so this is often a gentle wake up for her, and a chance for me to enjoy the quietness a moment longer. After she’s fully awake and dressed, we go wake the rest of my children.
I make breakfast while my girls get ready for their day. We have a shower schedule and they all have chores, so they all know what to do before breakfast, with very little direction from me.
They eat together, while I take some time to drink my coffee, look over my daily plan and respond to emails. After breakfast, my girls clean up and finish any remaining chores they might have missed earlier. We have a chore schedule that is assigned and rotated every two weeks, so everyone has a specific task or area to care for.
Time for School
Once everything is cleaned up, we sit down at our school tasks. New this year is adding in my 3 yr old for preschool. At her insistence, she has “school” to do, just like her big sisters.
I work with my 3 yr old at our dining table, and my girls take their books and projects to a few different places in the house. Usually one or two are at the table with me. My oldest is usually on the couch with her laptop. My 10 year old will work on the floor, or in her room, or on the couch — or all three, depending on her mood. My 12 yr old usually cuddles with the cat in my room while working.
We’re eclectic homeschoolers, meaning we use whatever works! I use a combination of workbooks, unit studies, lapbooks, and online-based programs to educate my children, but we don’t do any subjects together. It’s all individualized and independent.
I’m usually available for questions or explanations as needed.
After I’m done with my 3 yr old, we’ll break for snacks. Then I’ll take my littlest one to our playroom, which is conveniently right beside our laundry room. So she can play while I do laundry.
At lunch, my girls and I rotate making the meal, and my girls clean up. I have a set meal plan, so it’s easy to assign if I need to.
After lunch and chores, I put my 3 yr old down for her nap. She still naps 2 hours every afternoon, thank goodness!
My girls spend their afternoons in music practice, and a variety of projects they’ve chosen for themselves. Sometimes it’s elaborate art projects, or handcrafts (crochet, sewing, making bracelets, etc), or sometimes it’s a board game, Lego, or pretend play. We have a large backyard with a trampoline, swing set, playhouse and other fun equipment, so they often head out there on nice days too. And they get up to an hour of free play on their tablets.
My only rule for this period is that they’re quiet or outside. I spend my afternoons working and if they wake their little sister, I’m not happy with them.
We also have a variety of afternoon and evening programs that my girls are a part of. The majority of these are virtual, this year, so it’s really easy to participate. We have language classes, music lessons, choir and Girl Guides via video call, so depending on the day, they’ll grab a tablet and sign on for their class.
My older girls rotate making dinner, so I remind them to start around 4, while I’ll finish up work. We try to eat dinner together every night. Then we have evening activities and so whoever’s on a call heads to it, while the rest are reading, playing quietly or watching a movie. We try to keep activities in the evenings to be a little quieter, so they can wind down for bed.
Bedtime is between 8 and 9, so they start getting ready around 8. I still tuck them all in, and after all the younger ones are in bed, my oldest will hang out in my room while I’m working. Sometimes she’s finishing up school work, reading or drawing, and sometimes she’s texting with friends or playing video games. It’s nice just to hang out though!
She heads to bed around 10:30-11 pm, and it’s back to work for me. I work steadily until about midnight, when I start shutting things down. I check on the laundry, get ready for bed and do my final daily review, to prep for another busy day.
I hope you enjoyed this little snapshot of what homeschooling looks like in 2020 for us. Remember that every family is different. But this is what is working for us right now. Staying flexible is so important and one of the best parts of homeschooling. And we love it!