A Homeschool Day In the Life- January 2016

Next month I'll be linking up with Simple Homeschool's Day In the Life from my Happy Hearts Homeschool blog, but I also like to give my family and friends an idea of what homeschooling looks like here at the Madsen home, especially since we have a rather unique lifestyle within our friends and family circle.

Now that I have two adult children, living on their own as they attend universities, I only have two teenagers at home. I would describe our homeschooling as efficient. This is our seventh homeschool year. Looking back, the time has gone by so fast! I feel incredibly blessed to have the freedom to homeschool because it gives me precious time with my kids that I would be missing out on if I sent them away to school for six-to-eight hours every weekday, especially in these crucial teenage years. This is the time when kids need their parents most of all.

So, what does a typical homeschool day look like around here? It's pretty laid back and serene, which we appreciate.
The morning view from our wee back porch.

Monday through Thursday Mornings- 

Lately David's been leaving for work between 6:30 and 7:30 AM. I often get up around the same time, make myself a soothing cup of herbal tea and then snuggle back in bed with my scriptures. This is one of my favorite parts of my day.

Around 8:15 AM, Marissa girl wakes up and prepares for her 8:30 AM science class. This is an online class through the most amazing private school ever, Liahona Academy. Honestly, I don't what we'd do without Liahona. They are such a blessing to us. I wish every school could be like them.
Anyway, Marissa watches her class in bed in her pajamas, because that is one of the blissful perks of being a homeschooler! I usually bring her a cup of herbal tea or hot chocolate.

Marcus wakes up sometime between 8:30 and 9:30 AM. He spends some quiet time in his room with his scriptures and I love that I've trained him to put the Lord first in that way. He is only thirteen and has read The Book of Mormon from cover to cover several times through. I think that is simply awesome for someone his age. He also keeps a journal.

While Marissa's class is going on, it's a good time for me to shower and dress. Then I tidy up a bit and prepare breakfast. Our favorite go-to breakfast is chocolate chip pancakes, but we also like oatmeal or cheesy scrambled eggs and toast. I am all about breakfast! When my kids were in school, all we had time for was cold cereal or instant oatmeal and half the time they weren't hungry so early. We love being able to eat a leisurely breakfast together. Sometimes we go out for breakfast just because we can.

We end up eating breakfast together sometime between 9:30 and 10:30 AM. We call this time our Breakfast Devotional. We start out by going over our scripture verse(s) of the week. I often include these on my Blissful Monday posts. Sometimes we watch an episode of Bringing Smart Back and sometimes we watch a Studio C sketch (or two or three; they are addicting!). Sometimes we listen to a selection of music from Maestro Classics. Other times I read from our current read aloud. We just finished, Nightmares! which we all enjoyed. I'm considering a couple options for our next read aloud, but Marcus and I are currently reading, The Mysterious Benedict Society together and very soon, Marissa and I will be starting, Little Women. Reading is a big part of our homeschooling. Of course, the kids read their own books as well. I know homeschooling gives my kids more time for personal reading than they would ever have if I sent them off to school. Hooray for homeschooling!

After breakfast we are trying to get outside and go for a walk, but today the kids wanted to build with their Legos. In our home, you're never too old for Legos!

Around 11:20 AM, Marissa's next online class begins and at the same time, Marcus has his first online class, so while Marissa retreats to her bedroom for math (geometry), Marcus and I regroup at the dining room table for history. I love watching his Liahona classes with him. I even take my own notes! David is often joking that this is as much my education as our son's (a definite homeschooling benefit for mom).

After Marcus' history class (approx. 45 minutes), there is a five to seven minute break, before his science class comes on. I like his science teacher as much as I like his history teacher. They are both great guys and I love how they tie the scriptures and gospel into their lessons. This year, both Marcus and Marissa are studying world history. Right now they are learning about England's civil war. In science, Marcus is studying life science (right now he's been learning about bacteria) and Marissa is studying chemistry. 

We sometimes snack during the classes (another homeschooling perk) and then we have lunch together afterwards, around 1:30 PM. This gives Marcus a break and time to stretch. But I try to bring him back to the table before too much time has past so that we can get in a math lesson. Math is his least favorite subject, which I don't get because he's a natural at it. We use this fantastic curriculum called the Learn Math Fast System and it really works! I highly recommend it. This year, Marcus reviewed fractions, and he's nearly finished with pre-algebra, so in February he will begin geometry.


While Marcus and I tackle math, Marissa watches her English class. She can't watch these classes live because her English is at the exact same time as her math and she prefers to get the live math help from her teacher (I don't blame her). These are actual classes in an actual private school which are filmed live, but Liahona knows that homeschoolers work at their own pace, so they are very flexible with assignments and tests. Marissa is an accredited student and Marcus in unaccredited. The difference is that I give Marcus his grades for his Liahona classes and Marissa has a transcript she can show to a college/university when she applies as a homeschooled student.

And that pretty much ends our official homeschool days on Mondays through Thursdays. We use the rest of the afternoon to get some fresh air, swim in the clubhouse pool or run errands. Yesterday we visited a nearby park and walked the natural trails on the outskirts. Sometimes we stay inside and read (separately or together) or watch a movie together.

Friday Fun Days-

On Fridays there are no Liahona classes, which I love. Fridays are our arts and crafts, music and science lab days. It's a good day for Marissa to catch up if she is a little behind (usually only on English). Fridays are also excellent days for field trips.

We utilize free online resources such as:  National Geographic Kids which features science videos and Science Daily which features recent science news. A favorite for science experiments is the Steve Spangler website. For art we might use Incredible Art Department or Hodgepodge's 100+ free art lessons which is chalk art.

Of course throughout each day we fit in a little housework (have to keep laundry and dishes up!), cooking and family time with David when he gets home from work. On Wednesday nights, Marissa and Marcus attend mutual (youth activities) at our church. In February, Marissa will be staring up art lessons (we don't know the day or time yet) at a nearby art studio and we might be enrolling the kids in soccer on Saturdays. We're also hoping to meet a local homeschool group soon, but we'll see what our first impressions are and what they have to offer. Mostly, we hope to make some friends here soon. It just takes time. Meanwhile, we are enjoying visits to nearby parks with walking/hiking trails and museums such as The Desert Museum.

We usually have dinner anytime between 5:30 and 7:00 PM. We spend our evenings together, watching TV or a movie, or reading from our read-alouds. We end with family scripture study and family prayer at 9:00 PM and try to be in bed by 10:00 PM

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