A week in the life of our home educating family…
By Bridget Muhrer
We’ve just completed our very first year of home educating, and my six-year-old son K is excited to be starting Grade 1 (many home educating families don’t talk about school grades with their kids, but it feels right for us). When we first planned to start, K had no siblings, and our approach was to be a bit more structured. Then along came his now almost two-year-old brother S, and the ideas of structure thankfully went out the window.
At the beginning of the year, we make some broad goals. This year I want to achieve 1,000 hours outside, he wants to ride a bike, and we have aspirational goals for the number of times we repeat certain activities each week. We have a colour chart for marking off what we do each day, so I can track our goals. I tend to colour this in twice a week, making it up slightly if I’ve already forgotten what we did the last couple of days.
Every fortnight we visit the boys’ dad in the country and travel back on Monday, so this day is purposefully free from scheduled activities. K will usually do a level of Reading Eggs or Mathseeds in transit – we aim to get three levels done a week, which he does at home while I’m lying down with the baby for his nap. We’re also trialling our first curriculum this year, which is supposed to be four 20-minute maths classes a week. We’ll aim for three a week, and just take longer with it.
We participate in swimming lessons in the morning and science class in the afternoons. I like to have some kind of audio learning playing in the car while we drive around; I borrow CDs from our library on whatever tickles our fancy at the time. Often, it’s learning Japanese, as I find this an easy way to tick off LOTE. Recently it’s been music appreciation with the Beatles. Before dinner we’ll play a board game – we love gameschooling and aim to play 10 games a week.
A slow start to the day hopefully involves some book work (two double pages is all we do) and/or geography (we play Cardline in front of our big magnetic map). We’ll be joining a Mornington Peninsula walking group this year. We go to the beach most evenings in summer and might watch some TV—I’m very picky about what TV programming we receive, so K has a list of shows he enjoys that also have some educational content.
We have an outdoor co-op in the morning at a nature reserve, with kids doing random activities brought along by the parents, covering art and craft, science, PE etc. Afterwards, we go home for a decent nap for bub and some Reading Eggs and other phone app games for K (we don’t have a computer, so K uses my old mobile for his games, lying down next to us in bed). Then we are off to gymnastics for an after-school programme.
A free day that will hopefully see us booking in some excursions, or otherwise catching up with homeschooling friends for some free play. We might go shopping, where K runs around barefoot and plays with the greengrocer scale. We might go to the library, to stock up on some more reading material. We aim to read two books a day, though this ebbs and flows.
Saturday & Sunday
My approach to homeschooling is that it doesn’t stop for weekends: I want learning to be part of our everyday life, which takes the pressure off getting ‘enough’ done in the school week. We’ll do some more book work, play some board games, and do a maths lesson. We’ve joined a fishing club which happens one Sunday a month. Every other week we go to the boys’ dad’s house, where they binge watch TV & play with farm animals.
Otherways 171 (Feb 2022)Last updated on