Hirn Homeschool Schedule, Schooling all year Around
“Homeschooling question for you. I’m thinking of doing some things like you do. What Time do you do school? and what do you do at each time? And how realistically can you stick to it, how many nights a week do you have to skip things because of appointments elsewhere?”
I received this question from a friend this week, and I though I would share my reply here in case anyone else was interested in our school schedule. This was a great set of questions. I want to say before I get deep into my answer that I think a successful home is run with consistency and flexibility. That might sound like an oxymoron. But one thing I learned from my parents was that children and adults alike, like to know what is expected and what is happening next. So, my mom created some consistency by having set routines in our lives. We got up and had the same breakfast and routine before school daily, we came home from school and knew it was snack time, and she asked about our school day. We ate dinner at relatively the same time as a family every night, at the dinner table, with family discussion. We had family time each evening, sometimes it was a family tv show, sometimes it was a family Bible study. We were sent to bed at the same time every night. These consistent activities daily, along with weekly church activities on Sunday and Wednesday, gave our life structure and security. But, sometimes life happened, a new foster child came and needed attention, a neighbor needed help with something, the church had revival services, dad decided we needed more focused homework time, or we got babysitting jobs, etc. Life happened and we had to be flexible. But the next day or two we knew that the consistent schedule would bring us all back to that safe mental and physical place. Our lives should feel secure and yet not so rigid that we can’t care for others, and we can’t handle the unexpected.
Here is my answer to my friend’s questions:
I will try and share my schedule and how it actually works day to day. Every morning all year round, we have school together for two hours. Every evening all year round we have one hour of together school as a family. It looks a little different from season to season. The week after Sukkot we start our official new school year. From late fall to early Spring we focus on our independent academics.
When we get up each morning my kids have time to eat, drink, wake up, do animal chores, take showers, etc. But we usually start group around 9 am. We go over the calendar every single day. Hebrew and Gregorian. Then we do our history, Bible, and literature reading. We do character lessons at this time too. I use a combination of materials during this time. This past school year we focused on oral language skills using Abeka oral language exercises. I also worked on oral dictation, simply Charlotte Mason style. As I go through history and the Bible, I tell my high school kids their assignments, usually I tell them this on Monday morning for the whole week. Sunday, I go over my lessons and print the materials for each student We do have a morning group on Sunday, I usually just wing it, and focus on a character type devotional.
I do morning group every day except Sabbath, but on Sabbath, we do Torah Time at 11:30 every week. Torah Time is where Jeremy or I read the entire Torah portion for the week and discuss it as a family. We often read other passages that are related to the Torah portion as well. So, in a way we have a morning group every day. I rarely miss a day of morning group, but there are times I just read to them, and remind them of the goals for the day.
I read two literature chapter books to my kids every morning, and I also read two to three story books every morning. That doesn’t include the history books and Bible reading. I give my kids their binders usually on Monday morning, and I don’t care if they work on it when we are doing group as long as they are participating in the discussions. So, my little ones often do their whole packets during group, and sometimes they get a whole week done in a day. I don’t care as long as they can read it back to me and it is done excellently.
We usually stay in group learning until around 11, but sometimes if the discussion gets good we go to noon. In the Spring and summer, my elementary kids do not have to do workbooks, or copywork. But, I do summer challenges to encourage them to do some fun learning workbooks and independent reading. My high schoolers have to copy all year round. Their binders during fall/winter included copywork, Hebrew (or Greek last year), geography or history (we often do it together in group), writing assignments, and math.
My older students 13 and up, are to work on their independent lessons on their own during the fall/winter. They are to do one hour of copywork every day all year. Sometimes they don’t get it in in the spring and summer because they are working. But often they either get up early, or go to bed late to get it in.
Now after dinner, we do our Bible reading challenge. This takes about an hour. During this time everyone reads from the Bible orally. Everyone, even Davey, Adam, guests. During the summer, we do miss more days, but we always make them up in the winter. We read for at least 30 minutes, but we also discuss what we are reading. So it usually takes an hour. I make color/copy work packets for the kids and timelines, and maps. They can’t work on them until after their turn reading. Before and after a book of the Bible, Jeremy or I talk about the book. I am using Picture Smart Bible right now after each book. We are in the prophets.
During the school year, we usually do a second hour of school with the older students in the evening. Last year we did health. Jeremy has done math and often I do science at night, just depends on what we need to focus on.
The thing is both Jeremy and I make it a priority to do the morning and evening groups, so that makes it more consistent.
I am planning an August challenge for my younger students. I actually focus on my little ones in the summer. I have them read to me and work on their skills, and I focus on my middle/high schoolers in the fall/winter.
That’s basically how I do it.
Growing up I always remembered taking the unfinished school materials home at the end of a school year. I don’t have unfinished school curriculum. Instead I usually take a years worth of curriculum and break it into two years. This allows for more in-depth learning, study, and discussion. With homeschooling Torah that is what I do with the history materials especially, I start giving my students the upper grade assignments around age 13-15, depending on their capability, and I graduate my students anywhere between 17-20 years of age. I require them to complete the high school level history materials and copying the whole Torah. So, it becomes their job to get their school work done. These are foundational to a Hirn Homeschool education.