What do homeschoolers do all day?

I thought I’d change our (kind of, when I remember to write it) weekly homeschooling update up a little this week. Instead of writing about individual subjects, I tried to jot down a bit about what we did every day. This is by no means an all-inclusive accounting. That would be far too tedious for all of us.


It was a very grey, very rainy Monday, and we didn’t get started on schoolwork right away. Once everyone was finally breakfasted, dressed and ready to go, we gathered at the dining room table, where Poppy worked on her grammar and Pete and I reviewed some phonograms. He’s mastered all of them but one; that tricky Y makes lots of sounds. Then we moved on to Pete’s grammar. He’s nearing the end of level one of “First Language Lessons,” and I’m trying to decide whether to order level two or to look for something else for him.

The Imperator, upon which Nichole great-grandfather came to the United States. Alex Duncan photo, courtesy EllisIsland.org.
The Imperator. Alex Duncan photo, courtesy EllisIsland.org.

Next Pete tackled his math, which was a quick worksheet on addition and skip-counting, and I sat with Poppy while she practiced her piano. We met up again on the couch to read this week’s history lesson about immigration to America, after which we pulled up the Ellis Island web site so I could show the kids the ship that brought their great-great-grandfather Maurice to the United States in 1920.

Then we took a break. Pete retreated to his room to listen to the first Harry Potter book and play with action figures, and Poppy spent some time with the Kindle in her room. After lunch and some chores — laundry for Pete; unloading the dishwasher for Poppy — the kids worked on their handwriting while I read them most of a very long chapter of “The Mysterious Benedict Society.” Pete went back to his action figures afterward, and Poppy recited her memory work and did a few Duolingo Spanish lessons. And then we took another break.

The kids eventually did the rest of their work; Poppy was still doing her math when Rockford got home from work. Sometimes the kids make their school days very long.


And other days they get everything done really early. By 1:15pm, the only schoolwork they hadn’t finished was handwriting, Poppy’s poem recitation and Pete’s grammar. Go kids!

They ate breakfast Tuesday morning and then just started lining ’em up and knocking ’em down. They would’ve finished everything before lunch, but when we pulled out the history notebooks to work on their timelines I realized that I’d neglected to print and add the section covering 1882 to 1880. Whoops! So they played while I printed the pages and then disassembled and reassembled the timelines, and then we worked on the day’s history project.

Tuesday’s work also included:

  • A Teaching Textbooks math lesson on the computer; one page in her spelling workbook; reading a chapter of Growing with Grammar 2 and completing the corresponding assignment; piano practice; tae kwon do; and soccer practice for Poppy.
  • A math lesson on counting-by-5s and telling time; spelling review and starting on the next step of All About Spelling; and tae kwon do for Pete.

    I know school happened on Wednesday. I’m sure of it. I just didn’t write anything down.


    I turned my alarm clock off on Thursday morning, and by the time I’d gotten up, gathered my wits, etc., it was already 10 o’clock and the kids were deep into a game that involved ID cards, lasers and bypassing security systems. They were getting along so well that I just let them play. I did laundry, played Scrabble on Facebook and pulled the too-small clothes out of Pete’s dresser, and we didn’t start on schoolwork until lunchtime.

    We kicked things off by reading a few pages of “If Your Name Was Changed At Ellis Island” while they ate. It’s about what the immigration process was like in the early to mid 1900s, and we’ve talked a lot about what it would have been like for G-G-Grandpa Maurice. I wish someone had written down his Ellis Island story.

    The kids did their weekly Lego Quest Challenge after lunch. This week’s theme was “Metamorphosis.” Pete made a vehicle that turns from a four-wheeled cart into a three-wheeled scooter into a boat, and Poppy made a car that turned into a tower. They were most interested in the video posted on the Lego Quest site showing another kid’s creation’s transformation, so the next thing we did was create a few very short stop-action movies. We were so caught up in our film-making that we nearly forgot to go to tae kwon do, and the kids now want to do nothing but make stop-action videos.


    I did wake up on time today, but it was with a brain-squashing headache. I had a bunch of grown-up stuff (finances, ugh) to get done, too, so here it is nearly noon and the kids are playing in their rooms and I’m writing this and browsing through the newly embeddable Getty Images, and we still haven’t started school. Friday is always our most free-wheeling day anyway, though, so I’m not stressing about it.

    Here’s a smattering of what will eventually happen today:

  • Poppy will take a spelling test.
  • Pete will review phonograms and work on segmenting short words.
  • They’ll each do a math lesson.
  • We’ll finish reading “If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island.”
  • Poppy will write a letter to someone.
  • We’ll make the stop-motion “Star Wars” video that Pete has spent his morning planning.
  • One thing that definitely won’t happen today is Pete’s grammar, because he reached the end of “First Language Lessons: Level One” yesterday and Level Two (with which I decided to proceed) isn’t slated to arrive until tomorrow. He’s pleased to have a day without grammar.

    I noticed a trend as I read over this again: We have not been getting to work any where near the crack of dawn lately. I think I’m just going to have to accept that we are not early birds. But that’s OK; I don’t like worms anyway.

    How was your week?

    Wanna read more about homeschooling? Check out the Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers weekly linky thing!

    10 thoughts on “What do homeschoolers do all day?”

    1. I love your honesty! We homeschooled for 16 years and yes some days school is done before lunch and others…well, lets just say that is what Saturdays are for!

    2. Hey there! I just found you through the Type A link up. This was super informative! I have friends who homeschool, but never really put a lot of thought into what they do. You make it sound amazing! This kind of makes me think about trying it…Hmm. I think I need to start following you!

      1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! There are roughly 1 million ways to homeschool. Some people are very, very structured; others have no schedule at all. We fall somewhere in between, and it’s working well for us! I love homeschooling, and the kids usually enjoy it, too. 🙂

    3. Now this is what I like to see from homeschoolers. I always ask you wonderful parents how your day is structured and what is accomplished, and the answers aren’t usually detailed or all that helpful. Thanks so much for breaking it down for us and being so honest with it all. I’m still dying to homeschool. If only I can convince my husband to finally let us do it.

      1. I can’t remember what we do from day to day if I don’t write it down! I’ll bet you’d be a great and formidable homeschooler. My favorite things about homeschooling are that it allows us to set our own schedule and that my kids are much closer than they would be if they weren’t able to spend so much time together. (They might see that as a disadvantage, though.)

    4. Marsha and I both liked this, and we are going to make more stop-action videos today. One of them hopefully will include Marsha. (Marsha is our cat. Meow meow.)

    5. I really like this post. It’s both detailed and very honest — a true reflection of what a week might look like in a homeschooling household. Thanks for sharing your week! 🙂

    6. Sounds like a wonderful week! We love Teaching Textbooks here, and use Writing With Ease. I bought first language lessons but haven’t started it yet. Have a good week and thank you for sharing.

    7. Homeschooling has really changed since it started becoming popular back in (cough) late 80’s early 90’s. Both of my boys would definitely have benefitted from this type of program. Individualized and as fast or slow paced as each kid required. If only…

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