A day/week/philosophy in/of the life of our home schooling
We start our school week on Sunday because the rule at our house is that if you finish your work by 5 PM the day before it is due you can keep any schedule you want. To keep that privilege you must do three other things. You must be able to meet your obligations both inside and outside the house. You must maintain a good attitude toward others and life in general. You must turn in B or higher level work.
On Saturday I e-mail the kids their school assignments for the week. I don't care how or when they get them done as long as they are done by Thursday at 5 PM and are done well. Technically they are not supposed to watch TV or play vid games until their work is done but I don't really monitor that unless I'm particularly worried anymore. I usually just have faith and trust them to come through for their own education and passions.
I also print out a master list, three hole punch it and put it in my grading binder. If I don't check it off, it didn't get done. They are required to show me the work or e-mail it to me. Telling me doesn't work because I will forget what they said much of the time. It must be written out. This drives the kids crazy sometimes as they would MUCH rather just talk to me than write it down. I can't blame them but such is life.
They are going for an academic degree because they both think they want to go to college. Much of what we do is with an eye to college or life on their own, prep.
I grade by the keys the curriculum comes with or by my own criteria. I also give them a "daily effort" grade based on their attitude and work ethic. I put these grades into my Excel Worksheet ASAP. It makes averaging a snap. Their grades are based on 1/3 daily effort grade, 1/3 work turned in and 1/3 any tests they take. I truly hate grading but I do think it's important the kids have standards to live up to and a concrete grade to know how they are doing. Each year I do more based on what I think about the work (a lot of it is essay) and less answer key stuff.
So back to a day in the life:
Most days I wake them around noon or as I call it, the "morafternoon" with lunch. Some days I've already been out working and come home, some I've been able to sleep in, ahhh! I usually work 2-3 mornings a week, though I also have a few weekend and night gigs.
My husband works two months on night shift and two on days. He will work two or three nights/days then have two or three off on a revolving basis. So if he is off this Saturday, Sunday and Monday, he will be working the next.
We never have a full Friday/ Saturday/ Sunday weekend off with him. We do have him home more during the week than many Dad's though. Our schedule is therefore always in flux and a bit crazy.
I've always been a night person no matter what life demanded of me. So it suits me to let the kids stay up. Most of the time I go to bed before they do. The rule is you don't wake anyone, up unless it's a true emergency or they need to be somewhere very soon, on pain of death!
After that is what I like to call Prime School Time. This is from whenever they are done with lunch to 5 technically. However many days we head off to the library, the local science museum, errands, tennis, driving lessons, or some other activity during this time.
If that happens they must borrow from "free time" in order to get school work done. They can work at 3 AM if they want. I don't really care. The idea is that they learn before they go off to college or work how to realize their obligations and keep a schedule that will maintain good health, good work and so on.
They remember the 7 plus hours they used to do in public school and then having home work. So they are plenty happy with their work.
During the week they have precious few chores to do. This kids are pretty lucky in this area compared to some of thier peers but then I don't do that much myself. Mostly it just picking up after themselves or feeding the turtles or something like that. I often offer opportunities to "make money."
That means, they can volunteer to do things I don't feel like getting up and doing. If they volunteer, they can make a little money. I usually won't tell them how much until I see how well the chore was done and how cheerfully. I will not negotiate but I'm a fair and generous, if frugal employer. If they don't volunteer, they may get ordered to do it or I may do it myself, depending on my mood and how much work needs to be done.
When we are about to go out of town or have people over, I give them things to do to help clean up. Mostly these are things that will hurt my body so the kids get to do them. Again, we are not the cleanest neatest family. I tend to "spread out" when working on a project. I'm always working on a project or three. Also if "it" is not right in front of me I can't "see" and "it" will get lost so, um, no, not the neatest person in the world. I have "stacks."
The kids have a desk, book shelf and computer in their rooms but we have more of all these in other rooms. When asked if we have a home school "room" I say no. We might even go to the park for lessons if the day is pretty. Any room, the front porch, the old tree house, the car and many more places have been our "classroom."
Mostly the kids study their lessons by themselves. I'm usually here to answer questions, help them or find more resources but they learn much on their own. They consult each other. My daughter tutors my son in algebra which has the added bonus of helping her stay fresh and/or patch any holes in that subject herself
We do a lot of discussion together about concepts and ideas. I'll ask did you read X? Then I'll ask what they discovered. A conversation ensues. I can easily tell if they "got" it or not. Regardless, we enjoy and learn much this way.
We also do a lot of reading. Some of it is for pleasure. It's truly surprising how much you can learn from novels if you think about the concepts in the novels, the world views, the historical or geographic area, how much of that fiction is fiction and how much is woven with fact? This sort of thing fascinates me.
I'm very much a "no busy work, follow your passions", kind of education facilitator. If the kids can show me they know a math concept, I'm satisfied without them doing a hundred problems. Unless, of course, you are trying to make sure they can compute with speed.
Writing is very important to me. The rule is that they must write two page reports in 9th grade, and add a page for every year thereafter. Another rule is that I better not be able to google a phrase or sentence from their report and find it on the Internet or in any of your sources materials. That's a huge no, no.
They have to pick a writing project every three weeks. They have two weeks to write it and one week to polish it, three weeks total to get it turned in. They have some specific areas of writing they must work on during the year but for most of the rest they can write game reviews or anything they want.
Reading is also very important to me but I'm not very into requiring all the books I had to read in high school or anything like that. I personally believe that requiring a child to read for twenty minutes a day (as most local public schools do now) can kill their love of reading. I only require them to read two books on or above their level, take the quiz on it if there is one at Bookadventure.com, and write a book report each year.
Other than for study and research, they can read or not read, anything they want the rest of the year. I do require them to read The Diary of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain and Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes before they get out of high school. This year my daughter has six or so novels and a great many poems to read for British Lit. In the past I've required certain good books in certain subjects for both kids, such as Ender's Game. I went over every book my husband and I were required to read in high school. I honestly don't think any of them are all that important so none of them went on my list of required reading.
This year the kids are truly following their passions for the first time in their education. My son has told me to make his Japanese (Rosetta Stone, free from the library online, though that is going away soon) assignment one a day instead of one a week for instance. Okay, son, I'll do that! *L* It's a beautiful and inspiring thing to be around. It's been one of my goals since we started homeschooling, five plus years ago!
We usually eat at noon, 3-4 7-8 and possibly they will get a snack later as well. The noon and 7-8 meals are usually family meals but my husband is rarely with us at noon.
At the 7-8 my husband usually cooks that meal. If he is home we eat it by candlelight then take a walk after the kitchen is cleaned up. If not we usually have left overs from what he has cooked before.
My boy is often seen making ramen noodles cause he is always hungry. My girl often wants to cook a different protein than the one I make or their Dad makes, since she became a "veggie".
I usually cook only when I have a craving for something that only I make. Most of the time I don't feel like I have time. I tend to keep packages of peanut butter and crackers in the car and other somewhat healthy easy snacks in the house. I won't go hungry but I rarely go to much trouble either. I like fresh veggies and fruit a lot too. We all enjoy cooking at times but for my husband it's a real passion.
So, that may not explain it, but that's how we do our days, weeks, year and life. Every day is different. If the kids suddenly decide they are avid to study something we do that, but they have their core high school subjects they work on too. I've bought them very good curriculum (which they have helped pick along with me) to use for those subjects. I consider their main job to be students right now.
My goals for them are to be able to maintain themselves, their cars and homes, well. I want them to be happy and comfortable with themselves. I want them to be comfortable making choices in their lives. I want them to pick out healthy positive people to be in their lives. I want them to contribute to society in a positive way.
Oh and I would very much like them to give me grand kids when they are about 33 or so and have been happily married for, at least a couple of years. LOL!
Other than that, I don't have a particular path I want them to follow. This is their journey. That path is theirs to find or possibly make and to enjoy.