A Day in the Life of a Homeschooled High Schooler Or... So, What Exactly Do You Do All Day?

I don't know about you, friend, but I really like to read "day in the life posts." I love to see what other homeschool families actually do all day. Why? Well, I have to admit that sometimes I just want to see if I'm "doing it right".

Because I get sucked into the comparison game like everybody else, y'all, I really do. I find myself reading these posts and thinking, "Yes! They spend as much time on school as we do each day. I must be doing it right." Or, "Wow! They really goof off all day. I'm sure my kids are learning more." Yes, I think these things even though I really shouldn't. I should remember that no homeschooling family is like another. There is no "right way" to do it. You do what works for your family, your kids. And that doesn't have to look like anyone else's homeschool.

So read this post with that perspective. We've found a rhythm that works for us. Sometimes I feel like we're constantly changing and adapting it. But that's okay. Your day might not look like mine. But that's okay too. Instead of reading "day in a life" posts and stressing about whether or not we should be doing something different, how about we read them and appreciate the wide variety of homeschool methods and materials and schedules that we all use. Because homeschooling gives us that freedom.

Day in the life of a homeschool high schooler

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I homeschool only high schoolers this year. People are pretty interested when I tell them this. I get some of the crazy questions- "Do they mind that they are missing prom?"- but I also get some legitimate ones from people who are interested- "Do you really teach all their high school classes?" So in this post I'm sharing what our homeschool day looks like for two high schoolers by answering some of the questions that are asked about our day to day homeschooling.

What time do your kids start school?


I will freely admit that I. Am. Not. A. Morning. Person. I have one daughter who is. She sets her clock for 6:30 every morning and gets up to start her work then. She's very driven and is taking extra courses this year because she wants to finish high school early.

My other high schooler is more like me. She isn't a morning person either. I get up at 8:30 most mornings. I wake her up. Usually multiple times. We get ready slowly with breakfast, chores, and getting dressed. By 10:00, we're all ready, and we meet together at the table to read aloud.

Do you do all of the subjects with them?


No. My goal is for the kids to be fairly independent for high school. I read aloud- a selection of books I pick and some that are recommended in the history that one daughter is using. Although the girls enjoy this, reading aloud is also for me. I love to read aloud to the girls and have always read aloud to the kids. It's so beneficial- even for older kids- that I'm not giving it up until the kids aren't home to read to.

Other than the read aloud, the girls and I do a little of one subject on four days of the week. These are subjects that they are working on independently throughout the week, but this time each day allows me to check in and read some of their chapters aloud. I like this because, well, reading aloud. Right? And it gives me a chance to see what they are doing.

At the end of the week, we have a weekly meeting. I check work and record grades. They can ask me anything they need to, and I can make sure that they are headed in the right direction. This allows them to be the ones primarily responsible for their learning and me to be a mentor/tutor as needed.

Where do your kids do their schoolwork?


Hmmm. In theory, they work at their desks in their room primarily. The two younger girls share a room with bunk beds with built in desk areas. They've each set up their own desk space and are responsible for keeping it clean. 

In actuality, they sometimes work all over the house. The "schoolroom" is also our dining room, pantry, and craft cabinet, but all of the work we do together is done in their. This messy table is the reality of my homeschool life.

Day in the life of a homeschool high schooler

What do you do about classes that are hard to teach, like high school math and science labs?


Ah, math. It's the bane of my existence sometimes. I didn't like it in school, and I still struggle with it now. With my older two kids, we just sort of plugged along, used a variety of curricula, and made it through. Last year I came across Mr. D Math, and that's what my girls are doing this year. It's a live, online class, so they can ask questions and learn from a real live teacher. That isn't me.

We've done a variety of things for science. It's not difficult to find the materials to do a variety of labs. This year my high school girls are using Apologia's biology course which includes labs that usually use materials we have at home or are easy to get. Conveniently, I have a college aged daughter who is majoring in biology education. She volunteered to teach science for me. So the girls read and complete the assignments she's assigned throughout the week and then meet with her on Fridays to complete labs.

Day in the life of a homeschool high schooler

Do your kids work consistently or do they get distracted?


Well... I freely admit that they don't spend all day doing schoolwork. We read together; they do some chores; they stop for lunch; they play with the dog. We definitely live our lives instead of living in a schoolroom all day.

Day in the life of a homeschool high schooler

I think that this is one of the wonderful things about homeschooling. In a traditional high school, learning happens during these specified blocks of time where kids are going to sit for an hour and a half each day. Once that block of time is over, the learning can stop. Homeschooling is integrated into real life. We learn throughout the fabric of our days.

Yes, sometimes the girls need to go sit and focus and complete some work. But other times they are wandering through the house and talking to me or playing with the dog. It's a life of learning instead of just a designated school time.

How long does a typical school day last?


This varies. My younger daughter who is super focused and is taking a good many extra classes this year is often working on and off until a little after four each afternoon. This doesn't mean she's working consistently all that time. But she's working throughout the day and usually isn't through until the late afternoon. The other daughter is taking fewer classes and is typically finished a little earlier. She's usually through before four- and keep in mind that she's the one who starts later in the day too.

Do your kids do extracurricular activities?


Yes... when they are interested in them. My middle daughter has always functioned better when she has a sport in her life. She was a competitive gymnast for several years until the hours involved became more than we were willing to give. Last year she discovered club volleyball and fell in love. So, she's in the middle of fall training now. Which will lead to tryouts. Which will lead to practice and games with a team throughout the winter and spring.

My younger daughter has no interest in team sports. She's tried a few things, but it's just not her thing. She needed a sport or activity that could give her a P.E. credit, so she's a member of our YMCA, and I take her to swim twice a week. She doesn't want to swim on a team. She just swims laps. She did a summer swim team for two years, so she knows the strokes and can practice.

In theory, our school system will allow homeschoolers to participate in sports. I haven't tried this, and so far we've been able to find any extracurricular activities that the kids were interested in.

Day in the life of a homeschool high schooler


So there it is. That's how our homeschool functions...at least most of the time. I tend to be relaxed as a mom and as a teacher, so our days are pretty relaxed and flexible. I want the kids to learn in the way they learn best. I want to create an environment that helps them learn. And I want to keep them accountable while still teaching them personal responsibility when it comes to learning. Those principles are the foundation for our relaxed homeschool days.

What do you think? What's your typical homeschool day like? Want a glimpse of some other "typical" homeschool days? Stop by the iHomeschool Network Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. If you're a blogger, you can link up your Day in the Life posts too!







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