To homeschool or to not homeschool?
That is the question that so many of us moms are currently facing. Along side with, well if I homeschool what does that really mean our days will look like? What will our learning look like?
What does homeschool look like?
If your here then that means you are in the same boat I was in. So I asked a seasoned homeschool mom if she would be so kind to answer some of the many questions I had and you might have yourself.
Now before we jump to the questions I want to let you know that after talking to her about homeschool she has brought so much light to the dark of what I thought homeschool was to look like.
Before we hop to the questions I want to introduce the woman behind these answers.
Kelly Briggs | East Coast Kelly
Kelly is amazing at what she does. She’s a work at home mother of four and she’s been homeschooling for four years now. So she’s got some grease under her homeschool knowledge.
Not only does she homeschool her 3 oldest children but she also works from home. She also helps busy Moms simplify managing life at home while living a sane paced life.
She’s the queen to living slow and taking each day with the right amount of grace it needs. Which in turn makes the way she homeschools fit perfectly into your everyday life with out the overload of trying to mimic brick and mortar schools.
If you don’t already I highly recommend you head to her Instagram page where she shares all the tips and tricks to living life with intention. Not just the picture perfect moments either. She shares her daily life in her stories and how she tweaks things to help keep the flow in her family smooth and always growing.
If you want more in-depth on what she shares on her instagram then you definitely need to check out her blog. So many good tips can be found there.
She also sends out a “freebie Friday” email every week to help you live more simply so if you want to get your hands on them. Sign up below.
Now onto the questions you came here for.
What does your homeschool schedule look like?
We like to have a flow or a rhythm to our day vs specific times for our school time, but in general it looks like this:
Breakfast. During breakfast, we start with a bit of school time usually, but sometimes we don’t either. It depends on the day. For the full meal deal, we read a quick devotional together, recite a few poems together, sing a couple songs, recite math facts, and listen to or read a readaloud together. Other days, it’s just reading the devotional together.
After breakfast, we get ready for the day and then it’s school time from about 9:30-11. My oldest two have their daily tasks written in their catchall composition notebooks, so they can open and go. Each activity takes them around 10 minutes, sometimes 15. There are lots of breaks even within this school time too. They go outside usually at around 11 until lunch. The rest of the day is mostly free play, quiet time, independent reading.
Kelly shares more in depth about her homeschool routine on her blog. You can find it here:
What homeschool curriculum do you use or do you make your own?
We use an online curriculum called Ambleside Online, which is a free curriculum based on the philosophy of Charlotte Mason. We go through it at a much slower pace though aside from the weekly readings they read or I read to them depending on their age, which I like to stay on top of. I do pick some things outside of this curriculum too like math programs and a second language program.
How much time do you spend actively homeschooling? Per subject?
We spend, if you take out all of the breaks, and transitions, probably about max 45 minutes to an hour. All of the activities they do are about 10-15 minutes each, so very short periods of time to focus on things. Including printing work and math.
What do you do that’s homeschool but not school work wise?
That would fill this page! Ha. Day to day chores like tidying an area of their rooms, helping with laundry. Taking care of the garden. Learning cooking skills. Learning about good ways to communicate. Building electronic devices. There is so much that our kids do outside of “school time”/
Do you homeschool your children that aren’t school age?
Our kids who are 6 and under are read with and participate in anything else they want to like drawing or singing along with songs. The short answer is no, but also yes here, I think!
What supplies do you like to have on hand?
Pencils. Erasers. A sharpener. A world map is a must. Washable crayons and coloured pencils. Paint punks and paint brushes. A variety of handicraft supplies such as origami paper or sewing supplies.
What do you do outside time/recess during the winter months?
If it’s reallllly cold, we stay inside, but most of the time, they go play in the cold. We sometimes hike. Precovid, we also went to a local gym attached to a school that had free play with equipment and swimming lessons at the local pool.
How do you deal with days when your kids don’t want to cooperate?
The kids know that if they don’t do their schoolwork, they don’t get to go and play, have lunch, quiet time, etc. So the only thing we remind them of is that, “Hey, xyz child, remember that you have x amount of time until it’s play time!” If a child is not cooperating many days in a row, it can be sign to us that our expectations are too high for them or they need a break, etc. We go day by day often.
How do you squeeze in mom time during homeschooling?
Yes! Or most days. I sometimes read from my book, chat with friends online or on the phone. Listen to music, write a social media post. I’ll only do this when my kids are all happy and doing something independent, though, like art time.
What do you typically do during meal times during school time?
We eat the same breakfast most mornings and do our school morning time then.
Do you have a set homeschool area?
We have an office and homeschooling room combined, but my husband kicked us out when he needed the space for working from home, so now we’re mostly in the dining room.
Do you display school type posters for you kids? If yes your favorites.
None! Aside from the world map.
Do you do anything typical to what is seen on YouTube? Shelf work? Independent work?
Nothing like that, no.
Do you have any social media accounts you recommend?
I found friends who use the same curriculum as us that I’m inspired by, but in general, for someone just starting out, I don’t have an account to recommend. There’s a lot of information out there and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the different ways and methods for homeschooling. My best piece of advice is to find a friend or two and chat with them to help you on this journey. I’m also in a Facebook group that I find very helpful – Minimalist Homeschooling.
As far as book work/ works sheets do you do them often or recommend them?
No, we don’t use them aside from having a couple laying around for fun…which they never use anyways. I should declutter them?
What would you say you budget weekly/monthly for homeschool materials?
I have no clue. I only buy restocking of supplies like pencils once a year. And new books once a year. I will borrow from the library or thrift or buy on kindle first before purchasing new. For a yearly budget…I’d maybe say $200 Canadian. But I really have no clue on the exact amount since this is a necessity for us to spend.
What’re your favorite places to shop materials?
You can find Kelly’s favorite items here:
Do you make your kids get ready (dressed) for school everyday?
We have breakfast and then get dressed and ready after that. I have three boys and I can’t have them running outside in their undies as we live in a suburban area. Ha. I’m more lax about it in the winter though.
Do you have any favorite resources you’ve found work well into your homeschool vibe?
Resources I’ve found helpful:
- Minimalist homeschooling Facebook group – this group helped me find our current homeschooling curriculum that we’ve been loving. It’s saved a lot of brain space for me too to have a lot laid out for me.
- Ambleside online (the free curriculum we use)
- Amazon shop US shop – Canadian shop (under kids’ school and planning)
- Pam Barnhill’s course on autopiloting your homeschool year (Kelly is an affiliate of her course, so this would mean She’d make a small cut if you liked the look of this course too!) She’s a wealth of knowledge in this area.
- The book Teaching From Rest (Kelly’s Amazon affiliate link) that I recommend to everyone starting out. It’s so encouraging and helpful.
If you were to give one piece of advice to a new homeschool mom what would it be?
To honour who you ARE as a person. Don’t try to be like another homeschool parent, although finding inspiration is important too, of course. Be you. You’ll be a lot more content and your kids will be too. And to find a loving, supportive tribe of homeschooling families to support you on your journey!
I hope that the questions and answers provided here brought some light to your decision and helped open your eyes to what homeschool could look like in your home.
I’d also like to thank Kelly for taking time out of her day to answer these questions. For not only myself but for you also. It’s very much appreciated and more than you know!
If you know of any moms who are stuck in limbo and have lots of questions. Feel free to share this post them with or direct them to Kelly’s blog
If you or someone you know is in need of more simplicity in your mom life check out these other sections on Kelly’s blog.
Thank you for stopping by to see what Kelly has to share about what homeschooling could like in your home through questions from some in you same shoes.
Until next time,