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People often ask me if I like homeschooling. My answer is an enthusiastic YES!!
Then they ask if it’s hard. My answer is another enthusiastic YES!!
Nothing that is worth the effort is ever easy. Homeschooling is my job and therefore, it requires effort. Here is a breakdown of how much time I spend homeschooling.
Plan goals and objectives (1 hour)
I start by determining our goals and objectives for the year. Goals give me a clear vision and standard against which to measure success as well as frame my choices of what we will study and how much time will be spent on each subject.
Plan subjects and time periods (2-3 hours)
Based on the goals and objectives I set in the step above, I determine what subjects we will cover this year and details such as time periods, composers, and artists. You can read more about the subjects we cover.
Choose resources for the year (10-15 hours)
Choosing the resources is a multi-step process because I do not use a boxed curriculum. I begin by requesting books from the library to preview. I choose these books based on recommendations from friends and other trusted sources. See my favorite sources on this post.
Then comes the fun part! Some years, I get away for a planning weekend with friends. We go to a lake house that is graciously loaned to us. We take loads of books…and books…and books. We enjoy fellowship, brainstorming, mentoring, and uninterrupted time to plan the next school year. Occasionally, I still need to preview a few books later if I need to read more of the book, but the majority of our resources are chosen and scheduled (see the next step) by the time I come home. This is what it often looks like:
Some years I am unable to make it away for a weekend so I set aside a long weekend at home to do the majority of the planning for our upcoming school year.
Plan specifics (2 hours)
The first step in planning the specifics of the school year is to determine the days we will have lessons. I take a calendar and mark any vacations we plan to take (whether away from the home or just off school). Then I determine how the terms will fit into the remaining days.
Next, I make a schedule of the ideal order to complete our lessons and how long I expect each lesson to last. This allows me to see if I have too much scheduled and if I need to move the lessons around to different days. I love using sticky notes for this part of the process because it is easy to move lessons around until the puzzle fits together nicely.
It’s annual school year planning weekend at the lake with friends. I tried a new method of planning this year I started with a mind map (and prayer!). Then I used white boards and color coded sticky notes to layout the schedule. This allowed me to move subjects around easily to see where they best fit into the day. I will use this method again!!
Finally, I plan which pages, chapters, or lessons of each book will be completed each week. While it is helpful to have an idea of how much you should cover each week (such as 1 chapter, 2.5 pages, etc.) I hold these plans loosely to allow us the flexibility to have rich discussions or take advantage of relevant rabbit trails in subjects that do not have firm deadlines.
Record plans in a Homeschool Planner (2 hours)
Finally, I enter our yearly plans into a homeschool planner. If you do not have a favorite homeschool planner, you can watch this video to find out the questions I asked myself when choosing a homeschool planner that works for my family
Update Planner (30 minutes)
Each week, I review our weekly assignments and make any adjustments necessary based on what we accomplished last week and any additional activities we have scheduled for the upcoming week.
Request books from the library (15 minutes)
I purchase most of our books because we love books around here and enjoy reading them again. But there are some books I don’t purchase such as reference books for nature study and literature read-alouds. (I just cannot keep enough literature books on hand!) After looking at the plans for the next couple of weeks, I request from library whatever books we don’t have on hand.
Continuing education (variable)
Each week, I try to read books, listen to podcasts, or watch videos that will educate me as a teacher, parent, and individual. I try to cover a variety of subjects so I can continue my education as well as become a better parent and teacher.
I also participate in a Charlotte Mason Discussion Group each month. We read through Ms. Mason’s Original Homeschooling Series and discuss her teachings. If you do not participate in such a group, I highly encourage you to meet with a friend to do so. (If there is not one in your area, consider starting one.) The fellowship and discussion are wonderful for you as a teacher and as an individual!
Supervise lessons (3-4 hours per day)
We usually complete our lessons between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. When the girls were younger, we completed most of our lessons together as a family (and finished before lunch). Now, we have about an hour of family lessons and then they split apart to work on their individual lessons.
Supervise life skills (1 hour per day)
Life skills include chores, meal preparation, tidying the house, getting ready for bed, grocery shopping, and anything else that comes up during the day. This is not done all at once but spread throughout the day. I am not always directly involved but am at least aware of their progress. I list these activities here because they are part of my children’s education, which is so much more than just academics.
Field trips and errands
I try to stay home at least two days each week. The weeks we manage to stay home three days are glorious! The other days we run errands or get together with friends. These activities can include a nature walk or park day, getting groceries, going to appointments, going on a field trip, or visiting friends.
End of Term Planning
Plan exams (1 hour)
At the end of each term, I plan Charlotte Mason style exams. This allows me to see what my children learned over the course of the term. I ask questions not only about the books we read but also about field trips or special events we attended. Really, anything we learned during the term is fair game. Most of the questions are oral narrations and I typically type their responses while they dictate them to me, but we also incorporate written narrations and projects.
End of term evaluations (1 hour)
After exams for the term, I evaluate the previous term with questions such as:
- What went really well?
- What would I like to change next term?
- Are there any curriculum changes I need to make?
- Do we need to make any schedule changes?
- What character trait did I see strengthened in my child this term and what still needs improvement?
Plan next term (1 hour)
Based on the answers to the evaluation questions, I make any necessary changes to next term’s lesson plans and schedule and update my planner as necessary.
That summarizes how much time I spend homeschooling. Even though it consumes a great deal of time, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This is truly one of the BEST jobs I could ever have.
You might also enjoy: Simplify homeschool planning with these seven steps
This post has been linked to: How much time does homeschooling really take?