Keywords: Te Kura, School-At-Home, Teens, Structured
Children: Three – 18yrs, 17yrs, 16yrs
I have two teenagers at home studying for NCEA full time at Te Kura after being homeschooled all the way through, and a third teen who is now at university. My children get up when suits (I only rouse them if it gets to 9.30am and I still haven’t seen them!). My son typically eats a big breakfast while he does his physics or maths booklets, my daughter doesn’t like breakfast and will go straight into some work. With Te Kura the parent is the supervisor – I make sure the children are progressing with their work and I liaise with the teachers on the children’s behalf. On Mondays we go over their goals from the previous week and we set some realistic goals for the current week for each subject (eg. to finish chapter 7 by Friday, or send in the Digital Tech assignment to the teacher by Friday). I also check my records of their schoolwork to see if their work has been marked and returned (sometimes the Te Kura teachers are very slow and I need to follow up with them). Most days the children and I meet together in the lounge while my son folds his community newspapers ready to deliver them or while someone folds the washing. We talk about the week, events coming up, maybe have a pep talk if there is a lack of progress! I will read something to them that I think is useful that they might not read themselves. We will revise memory work and because we are Christians we also pray together at this time. The actual work takes place anywhere in the house. Now that they are older they are often in their rooms but they will also work on the desk in the corner of the lounge, on the couch or lying on the floor. If it’s something they need help with then they work at the kitchen table so I can help out. We have lunch together and also dinner (when my husband can be home too). The rest of the day we are more separate. Sometimes the children will do some study after dinner and spend a few hours studying on a Saturday. Having said this, there is no such thing as a typical day. Every day there are interruptions, horse riding, Spanish lessons, piano lessons, tennis, or whatever activities are planned for the term.
Keywords: School-At-Home, Charlotte Mason, Classical, Primary Aged, Preschoolers, Semi-Structured
Children: Two – 8yrs, 4yrs
We get up early as I have animals to feed and house cows to milk. The boys get dressed and eat breakfast and then play or watch TV while I’m outside. I get back in by 8:30am-ish then as a family team we get house jobs done (dishwasher emptied, laundry on and hung, and folded laundry put away, etc). We try to start school by 9:30am but it is sometimes later. We sit down and read the bible and other stories, and work through our memory box. Then my oldest will work on maths (purchased curriculum) while I work with my youngest doing some counting, writing letters and sometimes letter sounds. After that I try to direct my preschooler’s attention to playdough, puzzles, squishy sand, and other self play activities. This enables me to focus on my older child and we move through his other lessons – writing with ease, first language lessons, spelling, reading with narration, and music practice. We are sometimes finished by 10:30am or on occasions it can take us til midday. The afternoon is spent playing together or with friends, doing jobs and shopping. One morning I take my younger son to mainly music while my older boy goes to his grandmother’s to do cooking or craft. Another morning we have swimming lessons but that is later in the morning so we still get school basics done first. We fit sport and art into the afternoons. If I get the basics done – reading, writing and maths – then I’m really happy and if something comes up we let school work go and enjoy the new experience.
Keywords: School-At-Home, Single Child, Primary Aged, Structured
Children: One – 8yrs
A typical day for us would be as follows:
8.00am Wake up and start housework together, breakfast
9:30am Read a book or chat
10.00am Lessons are done online using a purchased curriculum (breaks added in as needed)
2.00pm Finish any lessons as required, read a bit together, play, go for a walk, etc
This changes depending on if we have something on during the day. Lessons are done inside or outside depending on the weather.
Keywords: School-At-Home, Primary Aged, Preschoolers, Structured
Children: Three – 11yrs, 9yrs, 4yrs
Homeschooling for us has changed dramatically from when we first started – from unschooling to more to less structure. A typical day starts at 7.00am with breakfast, dishes, chores, then playtime. At 9.00am we come to the table together to do family bible devotions (this ranges from reading a book, bible study, character study, and plays), and this is followed by history/geography at 9.30am for half an hour. My children are learning cursive writing so we do this at 10.00am before having a 20min morning tea break which I set using the timer on the stove. My two older children then work through the following in any order until they are finished which is usually about 12.30pm or 1.00pm: spelling, maths (two different purchased curriculums to suit each child’s learning style), writing (eg. dictation, writing I have set, their own choice of writing, proof-reading, etc), reading on their own, and reading to me (we look at different genres, writing conventions, intonation, etc – this often covers various topics from science to social studies depending on the books selected). Then it is lunch time and the structured part is over for the day. Afternoons are spent just being at home, hanging out with friends and other families, or joining in various activities with our local homeschooling group (eg. swimming lessons, dancing, art classes, cricket, netball, soccer, boys brigade, girls brigade, helping out at preschool, craft group, theatre productions). Some days we forgo the structured morning for outings, science experiments, Newspapers in Education, lapbooks, etc – but those days would be the exception to add variety and for a change.
Keywords: School-At-Home, Primary Aged, Structured, Both Parents Working Fulltime
Children: Two – 10yrs, 7yrs
I work evenings so sleep until 9 or 10am. The children eat their breakfast, brush their teeth and walk the dogs before I get up. Over a cup of coffee I’ll ask them questions about how their evening went (when I was at work) then we get on with lessons from about 10.30am. I’ll spend around an hour doing math on computer with each of them then my older one will read alone while I read with the youngest one. There is piano practice twice a day, some chores are required to be done, and then I head off to work at about 3.30pm. Their Dad arrives home and takes them both swimming (they do competitive swimming and training is three times per week), or to piano lessons, skating, or shooting. We use the common room for learning as I rely a lot on the computer for resources. My daughter is seriously dyslexic so she follows a special reading curriculum from the UK. Math is also an online program. Their “schooling” is around two hours a day.
Keywords: School-At-Home, HomeEd/School Mix, Gifted, Primary Aged, Structured
Children: Two – 10yrs, 6yrs (at school)
My son suits a highly structured system with a tight time table. This is a typical day:
8.45-ish Piano and trumpet practice till 10.30-11.00am
Feed chooks, pat goats, kiss horses noses
Maths program (purchased curriculum) for approximately one hour
Lunch and jump on trampoline, kiss goats, pat horses, play with kitten
Extra times-table practice for 20 minutes
Snack break, a few chores, more trampoline
Programming, English (purchased curriculum) or science or art
Finish at 3.30pm
Reading fills gaps before lessons, every evening before bed, when travelling in car or during any other down time. Once a week he goes to One Day School for gifted kids.
Keywords: School-At-Home, Gifted, Primary Aged, Preschoolers, Structured
Children: Three – 9yrs, 4yrs, 4yrs
My oldest is gifted (twice exceptional). He goes to Mindplus (formally One Day School ) every Wednesday and has done since he was six and a half. His giftedness affects lots of aspects of our home education – for example, we need online programs where we can change the topic and level rather than just work through it like a text book page after page. After breakfast I do vision training with him as he has issues with tracking and focusing on near objects. This affects his ability to follow text while reading and his ability to write. It has also caused gross and fine motor delays which we address with various types of physical intervention. This has varied over time according to his needs. My twins go to a Montessori preschool so either myself or my partner takes them there first thing in the morning. If I’m dropping the twins off, my oldest does his music practice (drums, keyboard, recorder) while I’m out. When I get back we sometimes go to the library. We then start with some dictation/spelling (handwriting is a real issue so we tend to separate the function of handwriting from the creativity of writing communication); then it’s reading comprehension which covers elements of vision training (a purchased online program). We use another online program for maths and breaks are taken when required to eat and pick books. At least twice a week we will substitute one or other of our online programs with textbook work on grammar or comprehension and punctuation. We may do proof reading also. We often start a new maths topic with a practical example using resources such as money or place value cards or dice. Afternoons vary – we could do swimming, dance, music, Spanish lessons, or Coding lessons. Evenings might include drums individual lesson, hockey, boys brigade, or band practice. Along with this we have at least two day trips a term organised by one or other of the homeschool groups we belong to. As the twins get older we are having to modify our routines and next year plan to have each twin home for two days out of five so that they can get used to being taught at home. This will give us time to ease ourselves into a routine that works for three!
Keywords: School-At-Home, Unit Studies, Primary Aged, Semi-Structured
Children: Two – 10yrs, 8yrs
We homeschool using an eclectic approach (curricula for math, planned ‘school time’ for writing, but everything else learning through living and following interests). I am self-employed, my husband works overseas and is home one week per month. I am usually up first and attend to dog, emails and some self-employed business tasks before the girls rise. Once the girls are up we all do morning chores and prepare for the day. We generally fit in a session of either maths or writing before leaving the house for activities. Math or writing ‘table work’ sessions typically last 20-30 minutes. We go out three or four days per week for activities and often add in swimming, a library visit or another unscheduled activity while we are out. Once we come home the other session (of either writing or maths) takes place, sometimes in the evening after dinner when the girls seem to work really well. Monday to Friday I prioritise math, writing and exercise every day. Everything else happens as it comes up. We are all avid learners so there are typically dozens of books being read every month, plus many organic projects on the go at any one time. From time to time we use material such as The Press education papers to direct our learning, but mostly we follow interests and expand on them. I like to use my “three minute snatch” method at the library where I grab a dozen books in a few minutes that I think the girls will find interesting – these are typically non-fiction and cover a very wide range of subjects. From these we search out further resources on topics that really grab our attention. The girls are largely self-directed for much of their time and I fit my self-employed business work around the girls’ table work and activities, as well as working most evenings.
Keywords: School-At-Home, HomeEd/School Mix, Primary Aged, Semi-Structured
Children: Two – 12yrs (at school), 9yrs
We were home educating both children when our oldest asked to go to school. It was not our intention but, after making changes and trying some different approaches to homeschooling, it was the right decision to enrol her into school in the end. It has worked out well for her, it’s probably harder on us having to deal with both school and homeschooling actually. I was contacted by the school twice last year and complimented on our daughter’s sound academic grounding, her respect for teachers and caring attitude towards classmates. It has given us much more confidence in our approach. Our typical day involves dropping my older child to school and then spending the morning doing course work with my younger one. Maths, English and spelling are done every day, with reading and science alternating. Afternoons are spent on extracurricular activities such as sports practice, homeschool swimming classes, dancing, or free play. If we are going out for the day then textbook activities are fitted around this. We have no set finish time. On top of curriculum activities, we do problem-solving games, or design costumes and put on plays (which our older one participates in when she gets home from school). Although we are mainly ‘school at home’ in our approach, I have also taken onboard some ideas from unschooling friends and this has enhanced our homeschooling experience. Instead of set reading activities, if my son finds a book he is interested in then we will use that, or we change a topic given in a writing exercise to one that my son is interested in. Although set work from textbooks is usually for 3-6 hours/day (depending on my son’s motivation on that particular day), we also use daily life as an education tool. With our child who is at school, she is used to us being actively involved in her education and willingly accepts our assistance with schoolwork and negotiating classroom politics, and she benefits from being “homeschooled” outside of school hours. We take her out of school for the day if there is something we feel is more beneficial to her education, or if we want to holiday as a family during the school term. Our philosophy was discussed with the school before we enrolled her and they have been very supportive.