Monday, 5 December 2011

Our day-what works for us

This post is part of the Homeschool Carnival. Find out more here.

Other home educators' days always interest me and I've picked up so many ideas from other people.

This is a list of organisational ideas that have worked for us. I haven't written in aspirational ideas, for example, that I manage to have the slow cooker on each morning. It would be good if this were the case but it isn't! We have only been home educating for two and a half years so there is plenty of room for improvement.

  • First things first-start with the Bible and prayer.
  • A set order to the day-this has helped so much. This is easy to remember, unlike a school style timetable which can be different each day. Plus, whilst a child might not like every subject they get used to that fact that it just happens at that time.
  • Front load the day with the most important work. I would prefer that English and maths were done; if we fail to do art or computer studies it matters less.
  • Spend time with the little ones at the beginning. How this works for us is that after Bible time, I set Middle Son's English. He goes off to do this and I read to the younger children.

  •  Mr Exuberance, aged 34 months, is now happy to play independently, whilst his sister has time learning to read.

  • Toddlers can be challenging. I feel a bit of a fraud writing this as my little one is nearly three and is much more able to play alone, in the same room, for a few minutes, that he was even six months ago. If I needied so much time to teach reading now, I would either use nap time, if it still existed, or teach when Middle Son was free to play with Mr Exuberance.
  • Personal reading time after lunch.  The younger ones play educational games on the computer-next target for change. I hope that soon they will listen to talking books in this time.
  • Set finishing time-good for everyone!
  • Planning-I make major curriculum decisions before the beginning of the year and a rough plan of how I would like things to work.  Each week, there is a planning session for the details with a weekly chart of what I have planned-yes, we don't always keep to it but it is invaluable on a busy morning. 
  • Trips-We've realised that the best trips are closely related to the children's work. Now we also try to tie in books for the little ones and turn down trips that don't fit in with what the children are learning. 

  • Extra-curricular activities-the ones that work best for us are close to home. Petrol costs can quickly outweigh a slightly cheaper course, ignoring the time issue and exercise walking to a local event.
Do feel free to comment with your own tips. I am always looking for ways of making the day run more efficiently.


  1. Thank you for sharing Sarah. We don't home school, as you know, but we have set routines for the time after coming home from school. This consists of 'snack and chat' time when we first get in - about half an hour. This is when we sit and talk about our days and have some cheese on toast or biscuits together. Then, the next thing to do is 'homework and reading time'. I tend to hear one child read while another is writing spellings and the other is doing homework, for example. Then they rotate - sounds really formal but it isn't. Then they have 30 mins tv time, with a kitchen timer. After this they play in their bedroom or downstairs. This is the time I usually get started with dinner. This routine is quite fluid and it really helps to make sure things get done.

  2. Naomi, thank you. I love the idea of "snack and chat". I tend to flop, and write up the diary, when we finish for the day but something like "snack and chat" would be good.

  3. It's always good to hear ideas of what works for other people. I like the idea of having a reading time set aside and keep meaning to implement that in our house too. Sounds like you are slowly getting into a routine that works well for your family!

  4. Sharla-thank you for visiting. It has taken sometime to find what works well for us-there is always more that can be/should be improved.