Typical Home School Day with 6 Kids

typical

Typical Homeschool Day With 6 Kids

We are frequently asked “How do you do it?”

Most of the time I answer “Day by Day.” 

 

Each of our children is so unique and they each learn in such different ways. One day of homeschooling in detail… this is going to be tough. Our home school days vary from the “sit down” school days to the “doing things” home school days. I am guessing that most people want to know about the “sit down” home school days when they ask, so that is what I will write about today.

 

Our “Sit Down” School Day Schedule:

 

6:00 am – I am a morning person. So this is the time I am awake and start setting the school day up. I love the quiet of the morning. Even when the kids start getting up, about 6:30, they will see me working at the dining room table and will understand two things:

  1. Today is a “sit down” school day
  2. Mom needs some time to get it set up

My setting up of the school day works pretty easily in the morning. What they will be studying for the year has already been prepared in the summer. What I plan on finishing this year I planned in the summer. What I know I need them to accomplish this week I have noted from the previous week’s work and so it’s pretty straight forward.

I write up the days work on a 5″ x 8″ sheet of notebook paper, I love these little notebooks. Each child has one of these written up by me that morning for a check off sheet. I list each subject and what I expect the child to accomplish for that day in that subject. At the end of the day I expect the work finished and the check off sheet returned.

Our “sit down” school day is always finished by noon. We have a life and doing “school” is only part of it. Here is a sample of what one of the lists would look like:

 

lesson

 

 

7:00 am – I am usually done getting things set up by now. Each child’s pile of books for the day is in a stack on the dining room table along with their assignment list on top for them to check off as they do each thing. I will usually review each list with each child and highlight anything I feel may be unusual or they might find interesting.

An example might be if I usually have a child only do 1/2 hour of reading and there is 1 hour listed on their sheet. The explanation might be that the child needs to finish up the reading book he is working through so his book report can be started the following day or week.

breakfast

 

8:00 am – noon – School starts around 8:00 or 8:30 on a “sit down” school day. Some kids will take their lists before that and start on maybe their reading so that their school work is finished up faster.

Chores and breakfast has been finished up before we sit down. Plans for lunch have been discussed. Kids are all dressed and have pencils and their piles of books and their lists.

 

We each take a spot at the table. Mind you it’s a BIG table.

Side note: Usually my two oldest girls do their school upstairs in their room. One is a freshman in college so she does all her work online and we review anything that she wants review at night. The other is a junior in high school and is doing courses for college online and also has a list made up for homeschool but it is a monthly list of things to accomplish. That’s the way she likes her work laid out for her and it has worked well for her for years.

At the table I usually sit at the end of the table with my 2 youngest children on either side of me. After them on either side are the next 2 older children.

They do not do all of their work sitting at the table. Their reading they usually take into the living room on a comfortable chair, whether it’s their history reading or whatever.

I don’t think they love doing “sit down” school but it’s a necessary part of our lives. We do not do sit down school 5 days a week. I think it is more like 3 days a week. The other days they are working on projects or writing plays or building drones or something that does not involve mom making a list to follow. So, when we go to do a “sit down” school day it’s not so bad, since they had their break of a day or more.

 

I do not believe that all learning comes from textbooks.

I do believe that textbooks are a tool and I use them like a tool. They do not control our lives but add something to it. They are useful but not necessarily how my children learn best.

As we are sitting around the table the children will ask questions and I will read lessons to my 7yo and we try not to be too loud so that those reading can concentrate. Everyone is trying to get finished so they can do something else. I only schedule enough work as to fill 3-4 hours.

10:00 – The kids are looking for a snack about now so I usually have them each do their spelling tests, one at a time, and once finished they grab themselves a snack. We use Spelling Power for spelling, so there is a test each day. Each word the child spells incorrectly he/she writes the word 10 times, like I said, I don’t use curriculum “as written”. When they are done writing their words, it’s off for a snack, kind of an incentive to finish up quickly.

While snacking they are still working. Snack and drink on the table at their right with books and pencils in hand. Sometimes I will ask that the drinks get finished up quickly so they don’t spill on the school books.

Something funny: Most of the time they all do the same subjects at the same time. Like math, all of the older children use Saxon math and usually there are 3 different level Saxon math books open on the table at once, the three boys. My 7yo daughter  is still using ABeka Math but will switch over to Saxon this next year or so, but her math will be out also. Not really sure why they all seem to do the same subjects together but it usually works out that way.

Is there squabbling? Of course… One child will ask another “not to say numbers out loud” the other child will say “but you are” and the first child will say that “he is not as loud as the other child”. Whatever, I remind each of them to not say numbers out loud, or if they need to say a number out loud to me, to make sure they announce “i need to say a number out loud” just in case another child is doing a calculation in their head.

It’s pretty smooth going, the children are looking forward to being finished for the day. We do have rough days but not many. This is a way of life for us after 25 years. It’s just what we do so there is not much complaining because well, what would be the point?

That’s it….

Noon – lunch and the rest of the day is theirs.

 

lunch

 

I hope this was helpful in seeing part of what we do in a “sit down” school day.

Dual Enrollment: Homeschool & College

dual

Dual Enrollment: Home School and College

Over our 25 years homeschooling we have had 3 children use the Dual Enrollment option so far, we have had children who also chose not to use this option. Here are some of the problems we conquered and successes we enjoyed.

 

What is Dual Enrollment? 

Dual enrollment is a program that allows high school students to enroll in college courses for credit prior to high school graduation. The courses count for both college and high school credit.

As homeschoolers this option overall has been a very fun addition to our schooling.

 

Dual Enrollment has changed over the years…

When my oldest son took dual enrollment courses in 2005 all he had to do was take the college placement tests and then take one “Intro to College Studies” course and that was it,  he was free to take 2 college courses paid for by my tax dollars and by the State Dept of Education.

Honestly, in our state notifying the State Dept of Ed that we are homeschooling is only required until a child is 16yo. so he wasn’t even registered with the state during his Dual Enrollment courses.

dual

 

That has all changed…

Our challenges with Dual Enrollment:

When my latest graduate (2016) decided to use dual enrollment it was her senior year. She hadn’t been enrolled in home schooling with the state for almost 2 years (as it was only required till she turned 16). We had her take the placement tests and talked with the college about her starting in January and planning on taking both of her free Dual Enrollment courses that spring semester.

All is going well until… there is a glitch, Dual Enrollment is now it’s own agency and has denied her enrollment. Why? No one seemed to know until mid January just when classes are about to start. At this point she has pretty much decided that she wouldn’t be able to take her courses.

We receive a call from the Dual Enrollment office. My daughter is not a registered homeschooler so she is not eligible to use the Dual Enrollment funds.

 

dual

Man alive, seriously?

We aren’t required to register them after 16yo, but she won’t budge on this point. So I call up the Home Schooling office at the State Dept of Ed and talk with them about our dilemma. They are so quick to work with us. Over the years we have maintained an excellent relationship with that office and she knew who I was by name.

The woman at the Home School office states exactly what my daughter needs to send in and it’s emailed and taken care of in less than 3 days. Her Dual Enrollment goes through and she takes her 2 college courses for high school and college credit last spring.

 

Whew…

In the process of all of this I realize that my next daughter (2018 graduate) who will be a junior will want to take Dual Enrollment courses in the Fall. So, quickly I register her again for homeschooling so that she will be a “registered” homeschooler in the Fall since she is over 16 yo when she applies for the Dual Enrollment option.

It has been an interesting process.

 

What else have we learned through this Dual Enrollment time?

  • Homeschoolers are perfect candidates for Dual Enrollment

  • It requires a great deal of self discipline, which thankfully my kids have had, to keep to a schedule that they must make themselves and follow through with the assignments on time

  • Online courses are so much more convenient for the kids to have lives and still “DO” college, they have had time to make movies and go ice skating when the rest of the family does, etc

  • It is a great way for them to get a taste of college and what it will be like

  • It is a lot more work than they thought it was going to be, they sure are used to more flexibility in their schooling times and subjects

  • The kids are not used to having to deal with the different personalities of the teachers, some really good but a couple, well, not so nice 

  • Doing the courses online there is a lot on online interaction with other classmates which seemed strange at first since they are used to doing all of their coursework alone but they easily adapted and developed an “online school person” that they were while doing the courses, it is a careful balance in learning what the limits are in sharing information online an answering the teachers questions honestly

  • The course is covered but NOT the cost of the books, so we are more careful now to look at the price of the textbook when we pick a course

  • These homeschoolers are skilled: They ACED their courses!! Homeschooling has given them the skills they needed to succeed with college courses (and in life which is another topic but way more important)

 

What courses have they taken with Dual Enrollment?

  • Intro to College Studies – 1 credit

  • English Composition 1 – 3 credits

  • Applied Math / College Math – 3 credits

  • Anatomy and Physiology – 4 credits

  • Psychology – 3 credits

  • ALL FREE

dual

 

Hope this was useful 🙂