Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A "Normal" Day

Quite frequently, I am asked what a "normal day" looks like in the Peach household. I guess that there is a natural curiosity about what a home educating household is like.

Of course every single home educating family is unique; I have never met another family who do exactly what we do - which is, of course, why we choose to home educate. Our curriculum choices, our structure (or lack thereof), our activities are chosen to suit our children, our situations, and our own particular gifts and preferences. A "normal" day for us probably looks very different from many other home educating families' routines.

Furthermore, I imagine that this question is really a question about how the children's education is structured. Again, this isn't straightforward as there isn't a strict divide between formal education and family activities. A maths lesson clearly falls into the education category, but making a model of an iron-age village in the park or listening to The Magician's Nephew at bedtime are both educational activities, although neither feature on my work-plan for the week.

Having said all this, here is a basic outline of a normal home ed. day in the Peach household (timings are approximate!):

8 am - Breakfast: This includes family devotions, followed by reading aloud to the children. At the moment, we are using The Big Picture Family Devotional by David R. Helm for our Bible time, and I am reading The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New by Marty Machowski, an Usborne collection of Greek Myths, and The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. See here for more about our breakfasts.

9 am - 10:30 am - Core Subjects: The children all start the day with Bible, maths and English. Depending on age, this includes reading, spelling and grammar, mental maths sheets and working though our maths curriculum. Bible will mean using Bible notes (the older 3), or reading through a children's Bible (with my 4 and 6 year olds).

10:30am - Break: Time to play and grab a piece of fruit to eat before we get going again.

11 am - 12 noon - Core Subjects Plus: At this point, the children will probably have some English or maths still to do, and will also start work on other subjects such as Latin, touch typing or piano (amongst others).

12 noon - Walk: This is a high point for the children. We head out for an hour before lunch, usually to a local park for a run round.

1pm - Lunch: We eat lunch...I am really ready for...

1:30 pm - Rest Time: All children have to find something to do quietly on their own for half an hour. The older two have set reading to do first. After half an hour, they are allowed to play together quietly for a bit too.

2:30pm: This slot is more varied. We often do history, science or art. Once a week, we write letters to friends and family. Sometimes we meet up with friends, or go out for a walk in the local woods. Some days we have fixed activities, such as our home education group. Also, any work that hasn't been completed in the morning has to be finished up. I find that this happens much more early in the school year when the children are less focussed and more prone to procrastinating (for how I deal with this, see here!).

So - there it is - a normal day. Of course, we are usually running late, and we often fit other stuff in - but this is the basic structure we work to. It works for us - for now, and most of the time.

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