A Week In The Life Of A Homeschool Family


I know I’m new at this business of being a homeschool mom, but I think this week pretty well sums up life for a homeschooling family.  I thought I’d share a bit about it for those of you who have told me you are curious about how it all works.

We don’t use a particular curriculum, as some families do.  Instead, we use various workbooks, textbooks, activities and websites to teach the subjects recommended for third graders by the state of Michigan…. plus some extra stuff that is important to our family that isn’t included in the state guidelines.  I believe this is referred to as “eclectic teaching.”  That’s very nice.  It sounds much more formal than, “doing whatever we need to do to get the point across.”

A week or so ago I stumbled across a book that was given to me some time ago by a friend who knows my passion for random trivia.  Each day of the week is assigned a different subject.  Monday – History, Tuesday – Literature, Wednesday – Visual Arts, etc.

I had the idea that adding that book (well, some of it… some of it is quite beyond the 3rd grade level) to our studies would help round out our curriculum nicely.

So Monday’s subject in the book was “the history of the alphabet.”  There was a lot of information about Egyptian Hieroglyphics and the development of the English language.  Lovely!

We started the day with multiplication practice.  This has been an ongoing drama.  My kid struggles with math. It’s genetic.  She gets it from me.  We really have to do something math-related almost every day or else everything she’s learned will just slide out of her brain and land in a puddle of mush on the floor.

Then we read the alphabet section of the book and talked about it.

We found Egypt on the globe and then Sweet Hippie Daughter made a lapbook all about Egypt.

Math, reading, geography, history, language arts, fine motor skill practice…. That was just the morning!

We were on a roll!

After lunch she practiced her trombone and did her chores and then we headed out to the library for her first ever spelling bee.  She was nervous, but she did great.  She made it about halfway through before being eliminated on the word “grammar.”  I would have spelled it with an e-r too.  Huh.  Learn something new every day!

Happy little speller!

At 4:15 every Monday we drop Sweet Hippie Daughter off at the local college for Theater class, which is one of her most favorite things in the world.

Theater was followed by dinner at Pizza Hut – a reward for completing October’s Book-It requirements.  She may have inherited my bad math skills, but she also got my passion for reading.  Hooray for that!

Tuesday we got a little bit of a late and lazy start, but then we were off and running.

More math.  Those darn multiples of 4 are really tying her up.

She did a page in her Spelling and Language Arts workbook, and then she read the next page of our little book – “The Cave Paintings at Lascaux.”

During lunch, we watched the documentary, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” and saw some amazing videos of the ancient artwork that’s been discovered in France.

She made her own “cave painting” and told the story of a newborn lion cub, which she loved so much she carried it around for the rest of the day, showing it to everyone who would look.

We worked together on making a timeline that showed just how long ago those artists lived.

We headed off to the polls in the late afternoon and she came in the booth with me.  We’d been talking freely, over the past several weeks, about the election and the people running for various offices as well as the issues that would be on the ballot, so she was excited to see how the voting process worked.

It was a special treat that a close friend was running for office.  When she found his name on the ballot she was ecstatic!  Even better, we got to head over to his election day party after voting and give him our best wishes in person.

At the party she watched with the rest of us as the numbers started rolling in and the winners were projected.

Two wonderful, successful days!

Wednesday Little Hippie Baby spent the day at the doctor.  Don’t worry.  That passed.  Hahaha. (Click here, to get the joke).  However, the day did not lend itself to a great deal of learning.  She did have her books with her, though, and managed to eek out her cursive practice, spelling work, one page of math and some reading.

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to band practice or Wednesday night church that day as we usually do on Wednesdays so I guess, this week, we are more weird and unsocialized than usual.  Oh, well.  You can’t win them all.

Thursday we practiced the 4’s some more.  Ugh.  We are both sick of the 4’s!

Pretty much the rest of the day was given up to getting things ready for a big fundraiser at church this weekend.  That included a LOT of arts and crafts. We did get in some reading and trombone practice as well.

And that brings us to today.

Today is book-work day, to catch up on some of the things we fell behind on over the past two days.  There are worksheets for math and cursive, pages to do in the Spelling and LA book, a writing project, a reading assignment, and a Veteran’s Day project.  She’ll also have trombone practice and chores.

We have a baby shower to go to later and we need to finish getting ready for the fundraiser so she needs to rock and roll and get it done.

This translates to: my kid has resisted EVERY SINGLE STEP of the day today.  I’ve heard the full slew of whining.  “You don’t understand any of my feelings.  You treat me like a baby. You expect too much. You give me pointless worksheets.”

At this point the, “no talking unless it’s life or death” rule has been put in place.  Which is why I have a few minutes to type this!

Days like this are stressful for all of us.


So, that’s it.

Lots of subjects covered.  Some fun stuff.  Some hard stuff.  Some life interruptions.  A few great days.  A few difficult ones.

And that’s a week in the life of a homeschool family.

Working together at the Hippie Academy


14 responses »

    • I just asked her and she said, “I do miss my friends at school but only a few of them and I see them sometimes.”
      We try hard to schedule at least one play date each week with one of her public school friends. But in addition to the theater class she has band on Wednesdays, which is also with other children, and Wednesday and Sunday church.
      Our homeschool association has events (like the spelling bee) several times a month too. Next week, we are going with a group of kids to play bowling (like, the little plastic pins) with the residents at a nearby nursing home.
      When you put it all together, she spends some time with other kids 3-5 days a week. It just tends to be different kids than it was before. We have to make an effort to see her old friends because we are on a different schedule than they are now.
      As far as cost – I asked the same question before we started and was told, “it could be free. It could cost thousands.”
      We seriously can’t afford thousands, so we lean strongly toward the free stuff! hahaha.
      Our homeschool association fee was $20 for the year. I don’t think I could be doing this without them. It is a support system and a source for ideas and a motivation to get out of the house and be with other people and so much more.
      I spent about $200 at the beginning on books, notebooks, pencils, folders, etc. That’s probably a little more than 2x as much as I would have spent on school supplies for public school. I bought a lot of books used or borrowed them, since I wasn’t exactly sure what we wanted to do.
      She would have been in theater either way, so that was the same.
      We pay $20 a month for 1 1/2 hours of band class each week. Bargain of the century!
      We also pay about $3 a month for 1-2 gymnastics lessons with the other homeschool kids.
      If we go on field trips they run about $5-10 each but we would have had to pay that at public school as well.
      We spend a little more driving her around to all the activities.
      Food is cheaper, since she eats lunch at home and I don’t have to pack anything special and she never has to take snacks for the whole class.
      Clothes are cheaper because she can wear her pants, even after she rips the knees out (not allowed in our PS) and never needs special clothes for certain events.
      Our public school “nickel and dimed” us a lot. It seemed like they were asking for $5 or 10 each week toward this cause or that.
      I think, over all, it is a tiny bit more expensive than Public School was for us but, again, some people spend far less and some spend much much more. A good computer with a non-ink-guzzling printer is your best friend when it comes to saving money on curriculum. You can get almost anything online for little or nothing.

      • Thanks for the info and keep those home school posts coming. I get a lot of valuable information from them. My daughter is really reluctant to leave her friends but public school is leaving her behind, so I’m always on the cusp of homeschooling.

      • Depending where you live and how old she is it doesn’t necessarily have to be an all-or-nothing deal. There is K12, which is an online public school that does the same curriculum and such as public school and offers text books and even a computer, all free of charge. They also have teachers to help when you need it.
        Some states also offer non-core classes at school. For example, if my daughter wanted to be in the public school band, she could go to school – just for that hour.
        Homeschooling has come a long way in recent years and the options are endless.

  1. I’m having flashbacks to my own homeschool experience! When I reflect on what my mother accomplished most in her adventures in home schooling four children I think it is that she taught us to love learning. She taught us that learning happens in a lot of places in a lot of ways, and sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s unexpected, and sometimes, for me, it’s math and you just gotta do it. On those days when it seems like, “well, we didn’t do a whole lot of this, this, and this,” it’s part of teaching how to be a life-long learner and learner of life – the best combination, in my opinion. Thanks for sharing your week!

  2. Sounds great! Any my daughter in second grade also inherited my poor math skills but love of reading! A friend of mine told me what her parents did for her and her poor math-skilled siblings: they made a poster of all the times tables and hung it someplace prominent, like across from their spot at the dinner table or above the sink while they wash dishes, so they got to looking at them a lot. Eventually they were required to recite a full row before they could do something like leave the house or watch a movie or some sort of reward. I’ll probably make a poster of just the addition tables for my girl!

  3. So how do you know what state requirements are for each grade level? That was always my biggest fear, is that I would not be teaching them what they should be learning and they would be behind public school kids. It is probably the number one thing that held me back from homeschooling right from the beginning. (and now I’m not sure they would want to stay home)

    • There is a Michigan.gov website that you can go to that tells the standards for each subject for each grade. For example, they say by the end of 3rd grade a child should be fluent in cursive writing, know their times tables, be able to add fractions, understand the movement of light and sound, etc. We printed them all out and we just use various materials to teach those subjects, plus others that are important to us. You can have your child tested at Sylvan if you are afraid they are falling behind their grade level too, but it seems most families don’t do that unless they sense there is some sort of a problem such as dyslexia.

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