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What Does A Homeschool Day Look Like?

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What is homeschooling like? A real homeschooling family, who homeschooled from 6 – 18 years old, explains what a typical homeschooling day, or lifestyle looks like, for their family, and for the homeschooling families they knew.

What is homeschool like kids group
Homeschooling can look like this, a group activity in the woods with a leader, or it can look like family field-trips, days at home, travel, or just following interests, creative or academic. I am not a crunchy mum, not all homeschool moms are.

We are a homeschooling family with years of experience and successful academic outcomes. Our family homeschooled in Australia and in the UK, we have also worldschooled, everywhere, in over 50 countries including the US. This included many elements that are considered to be unschooling.  

This is what homeschooling looked like back in Queensland before we left to travel the world. We also have a post on our homeschooling schedule in London UK. But read this post first, it has important tips and information.

If you’ve ever wondered what is homeschooling like, this is, or was, our early version. These little boys are now grown teenagers with exam passes under their belts.

What is homeschooling really like

Homeschooling worked out just great and the kids never had a desire to lose their freedom to school. This post shows what homeschooling is like, or what it can be like, by looking at a typical homeschooling day for our family.

We have more posts on homeschooling (home education), worldschooling or unschooling on this site, you can see how homeschooling evolved over the years and what it was like in Romania, Egypt, or many other countries.

What is Homeschooling Like?

Homeschooling gave us freedom in life, in education and in our ability to travel.

We love homeschooling and it suits our family.

People wonder what we do all day.

Do the kids sit at desks between nine and three?

Do we just hang out in our PJs?  

Are they plugged into computers and a virtual teacher? No, to all three.

So, what does a homeschool day look like?

A Typical Homeschooling Schedule

What does a homeschool day look like. homeschool reading
We use books, sometimes. The boys like to have a photo taken once a book is finished.

We aim for a couple of pages of written work a day, simple homeschooling workbooks as in the picture, or the books the children would be using in school.

Sometimes we substitute puzzle books or I persuade a child to write a letter or email to grandma.

Occasionally they just decide to write something for fun, but I do like them to have a pen or keyboard in their hands for half an hour most days.

But if we don’t, it doesn’t matter.

So that takes up half an hour, we can bang that out before breakfast.

Sometimes we tap into online educational programs and sites like these. We can do as little or as much as we like.

We are not obliged to follow any particular schedule.

Then we might do some cooking, gardening or chores together, making every activity a learning opportunity. So for instance, while gardening I may talk about the structure of a flower or answer their questions about insects.

While doing laundry I may explain how soap breaks down surface tension. During cooking, I could touch on boiling points and melting points, the states of matter. This is how everyday things, become education.

We have a post on how to keep kids busy and simultaneously learning at home.

The rest of the day is free, we can make it look more like this:

homeschool day, homeschool fieltrip. Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef
OK, so we don’t go snorkeling on The Great Barrier Reef often, but it makes for a great homeschool field trip!

10 Solid Homeschooling Schedule Tips

  • Don’t even try to force your kids into doing things they hate. Try something else instead. You can introduce learning subtly without school type methods.
  • You are mum (dad or guardian), not teacher. Continue to be mum and to shower them with love. This time together is precious and will make bonds even tighter.
  • Do something active every day. Jump up and down, do a yoga video together, do some press-ups or, like us, swim in the pool. Sorry, I know not everyone has a pool. A little exercise busts stress and releases feel-good hormones.
  • Let them play. Play is learning, always.
  • There is a thing called de-schooling. You probably need to read about it. Find out what is de-schooling here.
  • Tell them how glad you are to have them at home. Never tell them you wish they were back in school.
  • Incorporate favourite movies and TV shows, watch together. You can also slide in some educational videos, documentaries or fiction.
  • Gaming is not evil. If your kids are gamers show an interest, play alongside them. It’s proven to be good for everyone.
  • Homeschooled kids can have great outcomes, often better than their school peers. Don’t worry. Homeschooling is fantastic, your kids can still sit exams if they want to ( although they’re not compulsory)
  • Don’t have an hour by hour, day by day, schedule. Ignore weekends and weekdays, school days and holidays. Just do what works for you and your kids. Notice if they are tired, grumpy or sleepy. Take naps, sleep late or rise early. Do whatever fulfills bodily needs. Let the kids relax, unwind and learn naturally.

A Homeschool Day Is Just Like Your Family’s Day, Without School.

The truth is, we probably just do what your family does on holidays and weekends, only more of it.

They play a lot, inside, and outside, often with the neighbours’ children.

We go to playgrounds and we go to homeschool group to play some more.

If Dad is home at 10am on a Thursday, they’re free to play with him, too.

There are no weekly or termly timetables; we fit learning around our lives.

What does a homeschool day look like. Play time
Play time with Dad fits with his work schedule. Sometimes our whole homeschool day looks like this.

I’m sure you take your children to places because they are educational, interesting or fun.

So do we, but we do it more often and without the crowds.

I’m sure you like it if your children watch documentaries, so do we.

Maybe you buy science kits and games to enjoy with your children, we do that a lot, my kitchen looks like a science lab.

They read for pleasure and I read to them, fiction, poetry, factual books, whatever we need.

They make and create, most children do. I get to do it with them. That’s a bonus.

Art is very therapeutic and a stress reliever for we over-busy adults.

What does a homeschool day look like craft
Art and craft is easy and more fun when it’s not forced.

We have to do all the ordinary stuff too, cooking, cleaning, shopping. I think it’s good for them to watch, learn and help out.

I’m not one for giving them chores, not my style, but they do help.

Gardening has been a great way to introduce them to plant and soil biology.

This is what a trip to the supermarket usually looks like.

Homeschool day shopping
They make me laugh! Actually, Boo normally helps me shop, making me buy purple carrots and artichokes, he’s a budding Masterchef.

I expect your children like football or ballet or, whatever floats their boat.

We have hobbies, too, but you’re more likely to find my kids kayaking, tightrope walking or practising archery.

Lake Tinaroo Homeschool camp
Kayaking, fishing and catching yabbies on Lake Tinaroo. Camping doesn’t have to restricted to school holidays if you homeschool.

It’s All Going On Behind The Scenes In A Homeschool Day

Once you have your homeschool head on you see things differently.

If the kids are playing Top Trumps, they are improving reading skills, numeracy and vocabulary.

There are some tricky words, and concepts, like decimal points and measurement to explore on Top Trump Cards.

I’m always thinking about what needs to be learned. I’ve read curriculums, learning plans and learning progressions.  I grab those cards and get the kids playing as soon as I can.

Most games are educational: Monopoly (click through to read about Monopoly as “school”), Scrabble, Trivia games, even some computer games, they can play them as often as they like. I’m thrilled that my son now beats me at Bananagrams. Only sometimes, but he does. It’s a great word game, take a look here.

The same goes for subjects like science and geography.

I know what needs to go into their heads, so I find ways of introducing it, just through chatting, a DVD, some online resource or looking, experimenting and exploring.

I buy the games, toys and equipment with their learning needs in mind.

So sometimes a homeschool day looks like this

homeschool science. Electronic circuits set
How we love this circuits set! It’s more advanced than the circuits I built in school and I did physics to A level.

Maybe I’m not being 100% honest with you. I’m giving you just a typical day, a sample of the things we normally do at home with our kids. Sometimes we do this, too:

homeschool day cell biology (550x413)
Yes, I’m a biologist by training. I dig cells. Science is fun if you do it right.

And this.

science scrap book for homeschoolers
We started making science scrapbooks when the boys were very young. They hated writing, so I found a different way to do it.

But I haven’t stood at a desk with a whiteboard explaining cell or molecular structure, we’ve just talked about and explored those subjects over weeks and months, informally, the subjects crop up in the activities the boys do. They’ve played online games involving these subjects, completed the odd interactive activity, they know most of it already, I’m just giving them a chance to reinforce that learning and create evidence on paper to keep the authorities happy.

Our Homeschool Room

Welcome to my dining room/kitchen. No desks, just our family table. Learning is just as likely to happen in the car, in the bath, in bed, or in a rainforest. Learning happens all day, every day.

homeschool room (550x413)
Our homeschool room, my dining room. Sometimes it’s even tidy

Homeschool Field Trips

Homeschool field trips, outings, excursions, whatever you want to call them, they’re excellent!

Travel has to be the best homeschool field trip, not necessarily globe-trotting, any travel. Visiting neighboring towns and cities, local attractions and natural features, they are full of history, geography and science.

We will be doing some serious traveling soon as we set off round the world for a years long adventure. (UPDATE: we’ve now been on the road 5 years)

To get the most education out of trips and visits we do a lot of preparation. So, if we are going snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, I make sure they know a fair bit about the reef’s structure and its inhabitants before we go, that way they understand what they are seeing and are thrilled to see it for themselves.

I don’t mean the day before, in an intensive classroom type style, just over time, they will have learnt so much from TV, the internet and educational programs.  All I need to do is a little topping up.

The same goes for visiting anywhere, from Cooktown to Thailand. You just have to go out of your front door to call it a field trip.

We can go on field trips whenever and wherever we like, from our local rainforest, to Kathmandu. You’ve got to love that.

I’m looking forward to writing about what our travelling homeschool day looks like.

Could you save this to Pinterest for us?

What is Homeschooling Like

World Travel Family Update

We travelled with the boys for 7 years, in 50+ countries, and 5 continents. Take a look at just some of the learning they picked up in our first year on the road here.

Homeschooling Gear & Equipment

You’ll probably want a circuits set like the one in our photo. Ours is the full kit and was well over $100. This is a more affordable version available now.

The complete boxed set it’s absolutely superb and comes with full instructions and suggested projects. We had ours delivered to Australia from the US and it was well worth the shipping fee. It is available in the UK, try the link above.

If you’re going to homeschool you do need to invest some cash in having the right toys, tools and gadgets, plus it keeps the authorities happy and the kids busy. Also consider such things as microscopes, telescopes, globes, chemistry sets and more (more homeschool resources and playthings in this post)

And of course, you need art and craft supplies. Always have a cupboard full of stuff to keep them busy.

Is Homeschool OK By You?

Is that OK, do you think I’m doing a good enough job of educating my children? Or do you think I’m a screaming nutter and they’d be better off in school?

My version of homeschooling will be totally different to the next homeschooling parent, some people have timetables and schedules, we don’t.

We have a curriculum. I wrote it because I had to for the authorities, otherwise there would be none. We have all year to tick everything off that state-approved list. That’s the beauty of homeschooling, you can tailor it to your child’s needs and your family’s needs.

Eventually, we did put the kids into school. This came as a result of the current global situation and was never our plan. If you have a moment, come read the post on why we quit homeschooling (and worldschooling) to put the kids in an online school, and how that went. But read the comments on this one first! Know that my homeschool kids, fully home or un-schooled – absolutely nailed the final years of high school. We proved our point!

Homeschooling isn’t perceived as normal, is it?  But, really, it is, our homeschool day is just a normal, family day, maybe with more of an educational focus thrown in. Learning happens all day, every day. What do you think? Any questions? Is this what you thought a homeschool day or schedule would be like? There is a mass exodus from school these days, well educated, affluent parents are taking their kids out of the system. You can be a part of the movement.

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

Pamela M

Friday 24th of November 2023

Hi Alyson, I'm a Mum to 3 biological children and two step children. Our family schooling has mainly been in school education. My step son (turning 25) and step daughter (turning 19) are school educated. Step son passed school with flying colours and from the age of 21 became a manager in his job in Greggs bakery and is now manager in a Gym by the age of 24. He is still doing both jobs, lives with his lovely girlfriend and their dog and are looking to buy their first home. My step daughter left just before sitting her exams (GCSEs) but is working so not lazing around doing nothing. My biological daughter went to school, I did some homeschooling with her when she was 5 because her teacher kept marking her homework wrong when it was in fact all correct, except a couple of things but that's natural in learning. I removed her from the school, homeschooling her until we moved out of my ex's home and placed her in another primary school and the headteacher was very impressed with the work I had been doing with my daughter. The school was about to move her up a year as she was ahead of her same age peers and was being held back, but with problems with my ex we moved to England from Scotland to be with a guy I went to school with until he and his family moved to England when he was 15. My daughter is 16, passed her GCSEs and working. Looking for another job now. She's very smart and despite going through bad education in mainstream school, she's done really well. I'm disgusted in the education system of today, I'm amazed kids learn anything at all. Then my Fiancé and I had two boys together, one has just turned 6 and the other will be one next month. Our 6 year old started mainstream school at the age of 5, in England they start in Reception then into year one, slightly different to how my daughter started in Scotland. Our son was bullied by his teacher and assistant teacher to the point he was in tears on and off all day on one of the times. He was bullied also by a few pupils, boys and a girl, school did nothing at all. Lying all the time and us catching them out every time. He hated school but we told him that maybe Year one will be better and maybe a nicer teacher. Yes, Teacher in Year one much nicer and the pupils who bullied him stopped and were nicer to him. Our son and ourselves were relieved but then it all changed drastically to the point he fell ill, having caught what seemed to be a cold from class mates, we had only kept him off two days, having kept the school informed in writing, then on the third morning, the school day had only just begun and the safeguarding lady from school and the council education lady were on our doorstep asking why he isn't in school. We showed them the messages sent through the system they tell parents to use to say why a child isn't in school and they demanded he be back on the Friday or following Monday despite them physically seeing how unwell he was (bearing in mind he was off Monday and Tuesday, they turned up on the Wednesday). Reluctantly, as he wasn't fully well but heading in the right direction, we sent him back in on the Monday, as you can imagine by that night he was worse, we took him to the doctor, he recommended we take him to the hospital Pediatrics and he was admitted and was in for three days unable to wake up, just stirred a few times and had to have a Cannula in his hand, which as most people will know, especially women pregnant, that it's painful getting one of them put in. Turned out he caught Pneumonia. We are still going through tests blood, etc and is ongoing for at least two to three months. Bearing in mind he's been off school until further tests on his immune system were done, with permission in writing from our doctor that he remains off school. The same safeguarding lady and the one from the council kept coming to our door to the point it was harrassment and because, on recorded CCTV, we told them they'd be escorted legally off our property if they come back again, the council lady with the backing of the school phoned the police. W? 5 officers turned up, two female, 3 male and two of the male officers were armed and all with tasers demanding to see our son. We woke him up, remember he needs complete rest and we were forced to wake him up and brought him to the door. Our son who was 5 when all this started, now 6 saw the police and their weapons, hid behind his dad asking why they have tasers and x . NO child should be put through that kind of fear. His dad even asked the officers if a crime had been committed to which they replied "no crime has been committed" so as you can imagine, he told all of the officers to f off and shut the door and locked it. They went away but we've put official complaints in to the school, the education department of the council and to the head quarters of the police. Results still being awaited, so now we are going to be doing, as we always have done with our children, is safeguarding them better than the system safeguarding x and deregistering our son legally and we will be homeschooling him from now on and will continue this with our baby as he grows up. We are not having our children, ourselves too, living in fear of people coming to our house with x and any other weapons. So, yes, homeschooling is much better for children, certainly for ours then our children can be safe from the shoddy system that's in place today. Oh, I forgot to mention, to his head teacher, we requested work to be either dropped off or us pick up so that our son would be up to date on his school work.... we're still waiting which shows the school prefer bully tactics than education but hiding behind the "safeguarding" reason. Absolute joke. Sorry for the length of this message but parents out there deserve to know some of the lengths schools will go to, bullying parents and children. So, it's a huge YES for us to homeschool our children from now on. Thank you for reading our unfortunate experience. Pam x

Tamara Kidd

Friday 24th of November 2023

@Pamela M, I wish these types of stories were uncommon, but unfortunately they are pretty common, here in Australia, UK and the USA.

Wherever you have funding for education, you'll have people motivated by their own opportunities to wield power rather than stay invested in the well-being of the child. This happens in the public and private school systems, and from programs outside of schools including online education providers, aka private businesses making money from fearful parents who assume it's enough to put a child in front of a worksheet or computer. It's not enough. Connection with their child and empowering them as learners, to be free to learn, is the point. How they learn is secondary to that, but you won't know how they learn best if you shove the shiny product that promises everything in front of them.

Research overwhelmingly shows that educational outcomes in schools for the child are increased when schools have good relationships with the parents. That means communication flows between the teacher, parent and child positively, with mutual respect.

There are few parents who don't want their children to do well. Expecting all parents are 'not doing what is in the best interest of their child' is the result of decades of bureaucratic-centric policies dictating how schools are run. Teachers who are fed up with this type of abuse of parents and children are over it and leaving the system. There are so many indications that the school system is not working as well as people expect it too, and that it's getting worse, not better.

Sadly, this is how it was originally designed. Mass education was implemented to remove children from families for military and workforce opportunities, in 'nation building' government enterprises. We had protests by parents at the time to change the law from compulsory attendance at school to compulsory to educate the young, so parents had a choice to use a school or DIY. Schools don't advertise this. Governments don't either. Our freedom to choose is protected by law.

Teachers who are not well versed in the history of their profession are doomed to blindly follow the bad policies of the past, which persist today. The people in charge don't want it to change. They see our children are their future human capital.

Alyson Long

Friday 24th of November 2023

Oh my gosh Pam, how awful! I can't believe things like this happern in the UK of today. I'm British, it's really shocking. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope you don't mind, I had to take out a couple of words that Google doesn't approve of. Good luck to you and I hope your family flourishes.

rose jones

Thursday 16th of March 2023

considering your grammar and punctuation is awful, maybe they should be in school.

Alyson for World Travel Family

Friday 17th of March 2023

Oh Rose, you are a gem. I took away 2 As for English and English Lit and I'm a published author. Take your bitterness, dreadful grammar, and total lack of capitalisation, and shove them honey. Have a fabulous day, we will.

Pj

Friday 3rd of March 2023

This is a great example of how I want to approach homeschooling.My children seem to get ill as soon as school begins and they miss many days.They are really smart and have strengths of their own that should be embraced. Being my first attempt at this with a 14 year old daughter and 10 year old son, I'm a bit overwhelmed. I'm also relieved to know that I have a way to help my children succeed in an environment that works best for them. Thank you for sharing your experience! Paula-Jean (Pj) 😊

Alyson for World Travel Family

Friday 3rd of March 2023

Very happy to be helpful to new homeschoolers.

Chris James

Saturday 5th of November 2022

Great read!!! Thanks for sharing such a great blog, blog like these will surely help every homeschooler.

Rebecca

Monday 20th of January 2020

It's refreshing to see a family choosing life over a ridgid outdated system (that may work for some), but many simply follow due to fear of being judged. It's so important to teach our children to surge their own paths. What an inspiring read, thank you!

Alyson for World Travel Family

Monday 20th of January 2020

These boys are grown now Rebecca, and it's all worked out just perfectly.

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