Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Homeschool Open House - A Typical Homeschool Day At Our House

Gosh, time passes so quickly! It hardly seems I've been away from my blog for four days! Joy and I have both been sick over the weekend with the nasty cold stuff. We're still not back 100%, but feeling a bit better.

Today's is Tammy's (Lattes and Lollypops), Homeschool Open House. I really had hoped that we would be far enough along on our Geography project...our study of India....to share today, but it looks like it will be next time. Our Homeschool Group's Geography Fair is March 3rd, so I KNOW it will be ready in March! :)

Instead today, I thought I'd share a typical homeschool day with you. I was thinking that it might be interesting to people that have no idea what a homeschooler's day is like. What our day is NOT like is a typical classroom. I know years ago, I pictured myself standing in front of my little students, beginning with the pledge, and going over the calendar and weather, and actually "standing in front of them teaching". Actually our homeschooling day is just a natural part of our day. It is more of an ongoing learning atmosphere that is always present throughout our day. Since we've homeschooled for 15 years now, it really just feels as natural as getting dressed and everything else we do.

We begin our mornings with some basic chores followed by breakfast. If I can sneak a peek at my computer at any point during this time, I usually do, otherwise, it's lunchtime before I get another chance. At the breakfast table, I'm usually finished first, so I begin reading aloud to Joy while she finishes up her breakfast. We've always placed high importance upon reading and reading aloud to our children, even through the high school years. As a matter of fact, if I had to pick the one thing about our homeschooling day that I love best....that's it....READ ALOUD TIME. It builds bonds of togetherness, not to mention the listening skills it requires and develops! After awhile (usually after she finishes eating), we move into the living room, where we either snuggle together in a chair, or Joy lies, sits, or props in more positions than I knew ever existed...(but she's listening!) As a matter of fact, I ask her to tell back to me (or narrate) what she just heard, or at times, I'll have her ask me questions from what I read. After all, she has to listen to know what to ask me! As a matter of fact, I find that she listens well to try to find a question that I might not remember or know! lol! After our read alouds are done (there are usually at least two..sometimes three), then we move onto our oral activities such as spelling and grammar reviews and memorization work. From there, Joy usually works on her independent work such as workbooks and notebooks (Math, Handwriting and Copywork for example) as well as her personal literature readings and Bible reading.

Again, some of this is done at the breakfast table, some at her desk, and some sitting or lying on the couch or recliner. By the time all of this is done, it's usually lunch time.

After lunch we work on any ongoing projects or experiments such as Science, Geography and Creative Writing and practicing her dance, piano and taekwondo. And even free time is spent learning as Joy loves to post on her blog in which case she is practicing her spelling, writing and grammar skills as well as her typing and computer skills. (She learned to type from a computer software program Kids Typing Instructor).

She has a few penpals that she corresponds with as well. So there again, she's practicing her handwriting and working on that spelling and grammar again! I really have found it true that if I gave my kids free time, they will spend it on something in which they're learning (I just don't tell them they're learning)! Then again, you know we don't have cable or Direct TV and only get a couple of channels, so the TV is not on, unless we are watching a DVD that we have received from Netflix. It's amazing what that does for creativity! lol!
She was working on a sewing project (the one for my mom's birthday) the day I took all these pictures.

And then is our homeschooling day over? Well Monday evenings, she has taekwondo for 2 hours. Tuesday evenings, she spends 1 hour in dance. Wednesday evenings she spends at church for about an hour. Thursday evenings, she spends 1 1/2 hours in dance and Friday evenings, she spends 2 more hours in taekwondo. So there's plenty of extra-curricular (and P.E.) activities to keep her busy (of her choice by the way).

Then every night, you can usually find Joy falling asleep with a book in her hand! If I remember correctly, this particular night was a book on friendships.

In addition, every Tuesday afternoon we spend 1 1/2 hours with our local homeschool group for "gym". It's a time for the kids to play together (of all ages). There are many game tables such as ping pong, air hockey, foos ball, pool, as well as basketball court, roller racers, and if they want to play a board game, there are those to choose from as well. And the moms get to visit while we watch the kids. I love our group...or our homeschooling family...as I call it! Once a month, the kids have recitation and skate day. Recitation is a time when they recite, share, or perform something in front of our group. When we finish, we skate in the gymnasium.

And scattered among these activities named above are field trips and parties scheduled by our group that we attend. When Colt was young, I remember being asked if I worried about socialization skills, and honestly, I did sometimes when he was little. I think it was more fear of the unknown than anything. Now I laugh, and say, "Yeah, I worry we do TOO much of it...I need to say No to some things!" lol! Besides, I found out that Colt doesn't have a bit problem socializing and Joy never has! She was born talking and doing! And one day, when this house is quiet, I just might be wishing for this hectic schedule and socializing! :)

Here's Joy showing you our home library! I told you we love books around here! Although we do sell some of our books to make way for new ones, it's hard to depart with some! My kids know my system of keeping the books, but I doubt anyone else could find a particular book! I have my "Geography Section", "History Section", "Resource Section", "Creative Arts Section", etc... One day, I hope to organize our books in a way that more closely resembles a library shelf! Until, then we'll just do it mom's way! (By the way, Jason built me these shelves...below in the cabinets are craft and school supplies). This is in our loft area.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into one of our homeschooling days.


Anonymous said...

I admire your dedication to homeschooling and your children. I homeschooled for about 5 yrs and then when my son was diagnosed with ausbergers autism I found I just didn't have the energy to keep up with him or the knowledge to help him.

I think you are doing one heck of a job and love how many books you have. I too love reading and I am hoping that some of my children will grow to love it of the 6 kids only 2 of the boys love it and I think my little girl will cause she loves me reading to her.

Keep up the wonderful work. God bless you all on your endeavor.

CozyCoops Corner said...

Thanks for sharing your homeschooling day Tammy ! I love the bookshelves and wow, you do have a lot of books! I have a hard time parting with books too. I need more space for mine though! Have a great day !

Susan said...

Even though I'm way past the school years with children I found your post VERY interesting.

I "read aloud" to my husband each and every day and we have done this for years!!!! I love to read, and find that both "seeing" and "hearing" the words helps me to retain it. This way we can discuss what we are reading about. We do the Bible this way every morning before our prayer time, plus 2 devotional books and then we have another book we are currently reading. As per my post yesterday we just finished The Last Jihad and now into The Last Days.

Mel said...

What an awesome post, we are raising our granddaughter, who is now in the sixth grade, I often think of homeschooling her, however, get cold feet, when I think of her Algebra homework, and all the stuff these sixth grader are learning. I fear cutting her short, yet, just dislike the way public schools are trying to take control of many situations we feel, are the responsibility of the parents (or in our case grandparents) We live in an area, where, the drop out rate is very high, there are alot of kids having babies, drugs are now a bigger issue that ever, we are not allowed to include God into our daily routines on school grounds, I would so love to homeschool, yet, get an overwhelming feeling about how to get started, what to teach, where to get the materials, making sure the work is up to par with her age group, etc. etc.

May God Bless You

Goat Creek Grandma said...

Tammy, Thank you for sharing your homeschool day with us. I think if I had it all to do over, I would of liked to have gone this route.


wrcdgc said...

You are two very very busy girls. I didn't realize how much time Joy spends in taking dance and such. On an average how many hours a day do you spend homeschooling? Also do you also take off for summer and holiday breaks? I have always been curious how homeschoolers spend their days thanks so much for sharing.

Joy's personality reminds me of Eleni and her love for knowledge reminds me of Jessica. Jessica was drooling over all your books. We laughed because Joy asleep with the book is how Jessica used to fall asleep.

I am so excited about winning Janae's give away. I never win anything so this is a wonderful surprise and at a great time!


Sue said...

I really admire what you are doing...a wonderful job homeschooling. I was a public school teacher and administrator until I retired and know teaching is very difficult. I saw many parents who "attempted" to homeschool but did not do what was necessary to be successful. I see that in you and think you are a pefect example of how homeschooling works.

Luke said...

Love the picture with all the books in the background. I recognize many of them [smile].


Sharon said...

Thanks for your day in homeschooling.
I loved the bookshelves.
I was wondering how do kids being homeschooled get graded?
Do you have to meet certain state requirements?
I am just curious to know.
God bless

Dunn But Not Finished said...

I will start homeschooling my oldest next year - 7th grade. So to see a blog like this is very encouraging. My goal is to eventually homeschool all of my children once they start junior high - if not sooner! Keep posting - I need all the tips and encouragement I can get.

God Bless you and your dedication to your children.

Lisa said...

Tammy...Oh how I loved reading your blog! I am new to homeschooling this year is my first and I am constantly second guessing myself...I wish I could be a fly on your wall...I have 3 children 6, 5, and 2...and am always trying to make things more fun and "work" for us...I don't want to fail them in anyway. I know that this is what God wants for us to do right now and I want to do it with all my heart I just want to do it "right"! Thank you so much...your a wealth of knowledge~Lisa

Wendi said...

I love your library area!

country gal said...


I love how homeschooling just falls as a normal activity in our day!!! I love being home with you! I can't imagine it any other way!!!!

Love, Joy =D

carolyn at cranberry crossings: said...

I think what you are doing is awesome! I taught preschool for nearly 17 years, and teaching is a job! But it is an enjoyable and rewarding job. Since I worked in a church atmosphere, I was able to teach about Jesus and the Bible, etc. I know that is taboo in normal schools, so I feel very fortunate that I taught where I did.
Keep up the awesome work!

Tammy said...

Tammy, first of all, thank you so much for participating again this week!
And secondly....wow, several of us were definitely on the same page today concerning talking about the ins and outs of home schooling and the different ways it can happen! I think the Lord was having several of us encourage those that were considering it because that definitely seems to be the theme!

And thirdly...wow, that's a LOT of books! LOL
Those bookshelves your husband made are just beautiful...you are truly blessed! :)

I loved taking a peek into your days with Joy (and I had forgotten that you also home schooled Colt!) ...my girls and I were reading your post together and when we were reading all of the activities and then saw the cute picture of her sleeping, we were all..."Awwww....you just go to sleep now, Joy..." heehee
Seriously, it sounds like she is enjoying everything and you are to be commended!
Thanks again, Tammy!
The other home school Tammy :)

green gables girl said...

This is Allyson,( Joy's pen-pal) :)
Well, we don't do chores in the morning like that!- I'm surprised Joy likes it!:)

Did you know that I'm going to do a home school open house to?
Ok, not the home school part, but the open house part!

You have a huge libray! And you are only doing it for Joy! :)

Thanks for all those comments on my post!
I think both you and Joy are really nice! ;)

Love, Allyson

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Sorry Tammy to hear that you and Joy have been sick. It's no fun to have an old 'cold' in the winter especially. Hope you are better today.

Thanks for sharing a typical home-schooling day. I admire you for doing this. I could never have done it. I guess that's why I admire those who do--and obviously, do it WELL.

Congrats--and feel better SOON.

Shellmo said...

I so admire parents who homeschool their children! It's seems like yours will be so well rounded! Joy must have tons of energy with all those activities! My mom's friend (who has custody of her grandchildren) is thinking about homeschooling so this is a post she needs to read. Thank you for sharing this!

Linda / Behind My Red Door said...

Hi Tammy, I hope you feel better soon!

What a wonderfully busy and full day you have with home schooling. I love the way you fit life skills into learning skills and Joy doesn't even realize it. Too many kids are book smart but "everyday dumb" for lack of better term. It was really interesting to read how your days goes.

hugs, Linda

Michele said...

Oh Tammy ~ thank you so much for a look inside your homeschool day. I've often wondered how much different it is to a normal school day in a classroom and there isn't much difference. I love the pictures of Joy and she looks so happy reading...that's such a good thing!


Julie said...

Hi, Tammy!

I, too, remember thinking that I would stand before the "class" and teach. Um.... that didn't last but about a few minutes and then I realized that I had to roll up my sleeves and "get dirty"! I sat down with them and talked, "taught", laughed, cried, crafted, planted, colored, read.... etc. etc.

You are sooooooooo busy! Since we've moved to the country, we don't get out as much as we used to and there aren't as many "opportunities" to do so. That's fine with us, since we're really homebodies and love spending so much time together.
We've only been here for about 6 months, however, so once we're settled in -- I'm sure we'll get out more.

I love your bookshelves and cabinets! Of course your sweet husband built them for you!
Oh! I agree, with you -- reading aloud is just priceless!

Many Blessings,

miss mary said...

stopping in to say hello and browse around. enjoyed reading the posts.
your family is beautiful- love looking at the pics.
I think I have as many books. I love reading also .

do you mind if I ask where you go to get templates for blogger.

wishing you a blessed day. hugs

primitive basketcase said...

I so enjoyed reading about how your homeschooling is done. I love to read & used to read aloud to the kids all the time. I think it's the foundation of anyone's education.

The Whites said...

Your day sounds much like ours. We read aloud every night before bed (the Little House Series at the moment)and it really is the best part of the day!


Blessed Beyond said...

I hope you both continue to get better! Will be sending healing prayers.

I am so thankful for the homeschool post. I have considered homeschooling so much, and it is great to get to see how your day goes! It really was very interesting! And you sure do have lots of books! That is awesome! I think you are doing wonderful!

Hugs and Blessings,

Anonymous said...

Hi thanks so much for sharing i dont homeschool and had no idea what you do but you have cleared that up for me!!!!And i love your "home library" you are doing a great job and i love you blog it feels like i am there
take care

Anonymous said...

Holy Cow, you have alot of books!! I love to read and wish I had more time...I really need to shut off my TV sometimes!! LOL.

I do have a couple of questions though...I assume Joy has to pass state tests to make sure she is keeping up with regular school kids, so how does the state know she is not cheating? I mean, she could do an open book and get straight A's every time and who would know? A friend of son's is homeschooled and is a straight A student and we were wondering about how that works with the tests.

And also, in our school system you HAVE to take a foreign language to graduate high school. Do you have the same requirements and if you did, how would you work that? Would you have to bring in a tutor for that? Also will Joy go to high school or do you home school right through that? and what about graduation? does she get to attend that or will she miss that?

BTW, I love the homeschool idea, but so many people poo-poo it and I try to defend it as I have learned it actually is better than regular school.

So many times my son has said that all they did was watch movies in the classroom!! What the heck are my taxes paying for? Then why be in school, right?

Anyway, great post, thanks for sharing!!

Jill from NY

Mother Mayhem said...

Enjoyed it very much indeed! :o)

Michelle said...

This post brings tears to my eyes~ God bless you for your dedication to your children! You are an amazing family! You can't put a price tag on what you're doing for your family!

Our little one is only 7 months old but we're already thinking ahead and praying about homeschooling. Yes, she's young but very active and as our DR told us, "highly intelligent" (smiles) so why not think about it? Everyday is an opportunity for new learning experiences.
We have lots of opposition from my side of the family, but you just have to do what is right for you and your family, huh?
I LOVe the bookshelves w/ all the books! How awesome!
Blessings to you and your family!

Janine said...

Tammy, I loved this post about your Homeschool Day with Joy. It is so wonderful to see that some people can do this and do it well. I homeschooled my two oldest daughters for 3 years, but last year, put them in school becase we were having difficulties on learning how to read. I would like to someday have them all at home again. Take care and God Bless! Janine

Misty said...

Thanks for sharing a typical homeschool day. My daughter has asked me to homeschool her and I am researching to decide. I want to....but I have a few reservations. Do you use a set curriculum or make your own? I think that is one of my biggest reservations...sort of knowing where to start...