Keywords: School-At-Home, Teens, Semi-Structured
Children: Two – 17yrs, 17yrs

This is our last year of homeschooling, the boys have never attended a school. A structured timetable has always worked best for us but we keep things flexible to include ski trips, mountain biking and other activities. With consultation, the boys set up their own work and have mainly focussed on the sciences and maths. They spend 4-6 hours a day studying depending on the curriculum. One of our boys has completed a university paper as a distance course earlier this year and is enrolled in another next semester which involves attendance at classes. Our other son has done two modules of an AutoCAD course at polytech (full time, three days each). We also use some online programs. I expect a 80% pass mark for all tests and assignments. Both boys have part-time jobs at the local supermarket and compete regularly in their chosen sport (soccer and mountain biking).


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, Unit Studies, Large Family, Teens, Primary Aged, Structured
Children: Eight – 19yrs, 18yrs, 17yrs, 15yrs, 12yrs, 11yrs, 8yrs, 6yrs

We start at 9.30am every day and finish at 12.30pm. Monday to Thursday our schedule runs: Bible study, scripture copy work, spelling, reading/English, math, scripture memorization, foreign language lessons, music practise, and reading aloud. On Fridays we cover history, science, and our current unit study or lap book project. All afternoons are for free time, exploring, field trips, research, chores, etc. My two oldest have graduated from their homeschool. The 19yr old worked a year in our family business and is now doing his OE in Europe. Our 18yr old is in his first year of farming doing on-the-job training and the primary ITO course (theory side of things).


Teen books

Keywords: School-At-Home, Large Family, Teens, Primary Aged, Preschoolers, Semi-Structured
Children: Seven – 13yrs, 11yrs, 10yrs, 8yrs, 6yrs, 4yrs, 8mths

Our approach to home education follows the School-at-Home model mainly because of our family size and the fact that we stick to a daily routine and a set curriculum for the girls who are ten and over. With our preschoolers we enjoy Learning-Through-Play. A typical day starts at 8:30am with the older girls at the family table. Our curriculum (purchased) has the day’s work organised for us and we basically set out to cover that together. My oldest will often take her work upstairs to her room and check back with me later in the morning. Any science experiments are usually done in the evenings. While I’m with my other two older girls at the table I set reading and writing practice for the younger girls in their exercise books. Once the older girls are working independently the baby goes down for a nap and I focus on the younger children. I read to them and get the ones who can read, reading to me. After that they will do the work I set for them, then they might do a maths lesson on the computer, or a word game. The older girls usually get through a whole day’s work by lunch time, although my oldest has a larger workload to do and will often work into the afternoon. Although our style is rather school-like we have always encouraged a joy of learning and have modeled that for our children. We often drop everything to answer a question or pursue a subject that someone is interested in. Our two preschoolers enjoy learning through play – we have used this method for all of our children and they in turn use it with their younger siblings and children of friends.




Keywords: Unschooling, Waldorf/Steiner, Large Family, Teens, Primary Aged, Preschoolers, Unstructured
Children: Six – 25yrs, 21yrs, 18yrs, 14yrs, 10yrs, 5yrs

My oldest three have graduated from our homeschool. Every morning my children care for their animals, then often take turns on the computer on educational programs or researching items of interest. We discuss the plan for the day and play “20 questions” over breakfast. The children follow their own interests – currently they are into making things with paracord, dog training, painting, jewelery making, drawing, reading, writing, Lego, learning piano, writing to penpals, learning Maori and French, etc. They choose to do some lessons via the internet (a mix of paid and free). The children help with the chores throughout the day. In the afternoons the children often go to the beach, do gardening, visit, or go to the library. We finish off the day with a bedtime story or two. Meal times are a good time to catch up on what everyone is doing and to discuss (and debate) ideas and theories, and tell jokes.


Keywords: School-At-Home, Large Family, Teens, Primary Aged, Structured
Children: Eight – 23yrs, 21yrs, 18yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs, 9yrs, 6yrs

My oldest two have left home and are working. My two teens are doing on-the-job work experience in a cafe and half day training courses at polytech. They sit two hour practical exams every few weeks. The cafe work is a little like an apprenticeship. They are willing to work for free in order to get experience in the food industry and training in the practical and theoretical aspects of running a cafe/takeaway shop. They are also helping family friends (who own the shop and have been having a difficult time due to health issues and a new baby). So it’s a win/win situation and has resulted in my two girls becoming qualified. The owners have offered both girls paid employment for the future. They do two days work in the cafe and three days school work at home. They sometimes take workbooks with them to do during quiet time. The girls are doing really well with that arrangement. They have also added Spanish to their curriculum as the cafe owners are Spanish and are teaching them to read and speak it. All of this takes place largely without me due to their ages. All I have to do is mark their workbooks and get them to do the tests at home, and the rest is done by them.


Keywords: Classical, Charlotte Mason, Unit Studies, Teens, Semi-Structured
Children: Four – 21yrs, 19yrs, 17yrs, 14yrs

We have been home educating for 14 years. My older two are now working and life is very different from when we first started. Would I do it all again? Yes, in a heartbeat. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. As the children have gotten older we have built more flexibility into our schedule. We started homeschooling when the kids were 7yrs, 5yrs, 3yrs, and six months. During this time we usually did five weeks on and one week off, with a longer break part way through the year and at Christmas. A typical day would involve me getting everyone up, dressed and fed; a few chores done, then we’d have devotions and read aloud together (with youngest one back in bed or playing nearby). After that we’d do a mixture of bookwork and activities (eg, maths manipulatives, puzzles, drawing, etc), interspersed with one-on-one time reading on the couch. Then we’d take a break while I fed the baby and did some one-on-one work with the older two. After lunch we would head out to the library, park or an activity such as sports group; or have rest time (reading, audio books, Lego, etc); or outside play. Once the youngest dropped her morning nap she was up at the table with us and loved her school activities. Through the middle years we generally fit in with the school terms but took time off from our usual routines when interesting opportunities came up. This was a very busy time when it was the most hands-on with all the kids’ learning. The day worked best with getting some chores done before starting learning activities. We’d start the day about 9am with devotions and history reading, narrations or activities all together. The kids liked to each have a “Weekly Plan” to follow in the order they chose – with their learning activities for each day listed (eg. maths, reading, spelling, Latin, writing, logic games, music practice, science, or a topic they were interested in). Not every subject was every day. Some days it would say “see Mum” and we’d do it together. Sometimes we’d take a week or month off and do a unit study or lapbooks all together and then do individual maths and music practices. The high school years were where our homeschooling got both messy and exciting! The habits and foundations of the earlier years were really helpful in that the kids had been exposed to a wide variety of experiences and topics, and we had lots of opportunity to see where their strengths and interests lay – they were ready to tackle anything that appealed. Self paced curricula worked really well during the teen years for all of my children. We continued to read aloud and have robust discussions, tackling a mixture of biographies, adventures, classics, tough issues and devotional books. Sometimes I found literature guides helpful to expand our discussions. All my teens continued honing their writing skills independently and as part of a group. Writing was often in the context of research and presentation on topics that interested them. We took advantage of a lot of opportunities such as being ‘model’ students for outdoor education courses, free computing classes at polytech, first aid courses, music opportunities, community night classes, and participation in things available through our church. Volunteering led to part time jobs, and both of my older ones got into tertiary courses based on their portfolio and entrance test.