Still Done by Noon: An Updated Look at a Typical Homeschool Day

It’s always interesting to look back a few years and take note of the things that have changed and the things that have been constant in your day-to-day life. I did that recently by reading one of my own blog posts where I shared a glimpse into a typical homeschool day for us and how we were usually finished by noon each day.

Still Done by Noon: An Updated Look at a Homeschool Day

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As much as I like looking back at that Done By Noon post, I’m reminded of just how different things are in our homeschool now. First of all, my kids were doing preschool and 5th grade work at the time. Now they’re finishing up 1st and 7th grade. Time is flying! 

Secondly, we sold our house and we’re homeschooling from a much smaller space now. That presents some interesting challenges in the course of a day.

One thing hasn’t changed, though. We’re still usually finished by noon or pretty close to it.

An Updated Look at a
Typical Homeschool Day

When I last shared a glimpse into our typical homeschool day, I worked one-on-one with both of my kids for a significant time each day. That was easily manageable because my youngest was a preschooler at the time and only required about 30 minutes of focused preschool instruction. That short amount of focused attention for her afforded me plenty of time to work with my then 5th grader and be finished with everything by lunchtime.

Now that my kids are nearing the end of 7th and 1st grades, things are quite different. Both require one-on-one time and it takes some balancing to pull it off in the course of a normal day.

Our Homeschool Day

Our homeschool day starts somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m and, while we still don’t follow a set schedule, we rely on homeschool planning to keep us on task each day. In other words, somewhere between 8:30 and 12 we’ve got a list of things we aim to accomplish and we’re not too particular about the order in which we accomplish them.

Still Done by Noon: An Updated Look at a Typical Homeschool Day

Here’s an example of what that looks like for my 6 year-old:

Still Done by Noon: An Updated Look at a Typical Homeschool Day

All of those Ambleside readings vary from day to day and change each term, but we’re usually able to finish around noon each day if we stay focused. That’s especially important because while I’m working through all of that with my youngest, my 12 year-old works independently.

Here’s an example of daily independent work for my 12 year-old:

Still Done by Noon: An Updated Look at a Typical Homeschool Day

At some point in the morning, I give my 6 year-old a play break and spend some time working through a Learning Language Arts Through Literature lesson with my big kid.

My one-on-one time with those language arts lesson are usually finished within 20 minutes or so, which allows me to jump back in with my younger kiddo.

Once I finish working through the next thing with her and he finishes his language arts lesson, we take a quick break.

At this time I make myself some matcha or coffee, glance at my email and notifications, and bring everyone back together for our history lesson for the day. Although this lesson from The Mystery of History isn’t a part of her curriculum, my little one usually colors or builds with magnet tiles while I read.

Still Done by Noon: An Updated Look at a Typical Homeschool Day

By the time all of this is finished, it’s usually somewhere between noon and 12:30. Then we make lunch, eat, and I read from our current read aloud.

How We Spend Our Afternoons

We’re usually finished with our daily work by noon on a typical homeschool day, but it’s rare that we’re able to work art, music, or nature study into our mornings. Instead, we work those into our afternoons here and there throughout the week.

For example, we may spend Monday afternoon working on a Mixing with the Masters lesson on Mary Cassatt or Edgar Degas, but we may spend Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at the park or playing games with friends.

Still Done by Noon: An Updated Look at a Typical Homeschool Day

We also spend time each week doing nature study or going on a nature walk. Sometimes that walk happens around our apartment complex, but we aim for a quick trip to the beach or our closest nature trails at least once a week.

Still Done by Noon: An Updated Look at a Typical Homeschool Day

Lest you think my kids have every afternoon planned for them, there are plenty of afternoons where we’re home and they’re playing, reading, working on crafts and projects, or hanging out together while I work. There’s a nice balance of downtime, time with friends, and projects like art that sort of blur the lines between “school” and fun.

Planning Comes First

The thing to keep in mind is that none of this happens on its own. There’s an efficient planning process that has to happen each week to help us start on time and finish our day when we like.

I’m a Type A, ISTJ, list-loving homeschool mom, so I spend time each weekend planning the next two weeks of homeschool for one kiddo and gathering all of our needed resources for both of them for the upcoming Monday morning.

I have a foot in two different homeschool worlds; that’s why I alternate who I’m planning for and it’s where planning every week comes into the picture. Planning for only one of my kids each week makes the process smoother, less time-consuming, and more focused.

Having a good grasp on my homeschool to-do list and being ready for Monday morning goes a long way in our homeschool. In fact, having a plan in place is the very thing that keeps us running smoothly each day.

Related: Homeschool Planning That Works series - If you need to breathe new life into your planing process, this series of posts is for YOU!

In closing, being done by noon is certainly a perk of the homeschool lifestyle, but I also realize it may not always be possible. As my kids get older and their course loads become heavier or more challenging, we may need to make adjustments to this homeschool routine we’ve grown to love.

If that’s the case, we’ll make those changes and adjust to a new normal day. Until then, we’re going to enjoy this homeschool season we’re in and all that comes along with it, including being able to finish up by noon.

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5 thoughts on “Still Done by Noon: An Updated Look at a Typical Homeschool Day”

  1. We’ve followed a similar approach, though a bit more unschooling than following a curriculum. My boys, going into 3rd and 6th, are very different learners, and I, personally, loathe workbooks or much, if any, “prep”. That said, we’re going to try a slightly more structured approach next year, at their request, so they know what to expect on what days, and that’s how I’ve stumbled upon your blog. I’m hoping this minimizes the arguing/struggles to focus. They’re ALWAYS out playing, building, creating, and while that’s also learning, I’d like to “schedule” 2-3 hours of focused learning 2-3 days per week. It would make it much more enjoyable for me to know I’ve got that targeted learning time. We definitely prefer to be done by noon, though occasionally we’ll fit in a math lesson at 5 pm on a Saturday, just because we’ve been enjoying our days so much.

  2. Homeschooling an 8th grader here. This is year 2 for us and last year was a struggle. We’re usually done by 1. We don’t start until 9 because we discovered that if I let the kid sleep 1 more hour, he works almost twice as fast. He typically spends 9 to 11 doing work, we take an hour long lunch break, usually including being outside somewhere, and then he spends the last hour or so finishing up. In traditional school he spent a lot of time goofing off because he’d finish an assignment and would get bored waiting for everyone else to finish. I really think that’s where most of the time difference comes from. His afternoons are spent taking walks with friends, playing video games, reading, and even TV. He does miss playing chess and archery with his co-op though. Thanks, covid.

    People, including my husband, don’t seem to like that school ends so early though. Maybe it’s because in 8th grade we were at school from 730am to 330 pm and it doesn’t feel fair. Haha.

  3. Iโ€™m glad to hear you can make it work with a middle schooler. I am only interested in homeschooling if it increases our u structured free time for exploring, etc. I donโ€™t want to take on a bunch of academic planning if it means we actually have less time to do cool things because we are huddled around workbooks for much of the day. A lot of people seem to homeschool a long time at the secondary level.

    1. I’ve always been grateful that homeschooling gives our kids more time to pursue their interests and hobbies. My oldest is a 9th grader now and is actually working on a sketching course as I type this (this is in addition to the art plans I have for us this week!). ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Interesting approach ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m pretty new to homeschooling with two kids in opposite sides of the learning curve ๐Ÿ˜‰ Last school year it felt like it took all day to finish. But I was assigning every single subject every single day and not putting a time limit on things. Going to try using a clock this year to keep us on track which might result in homework but it’s worth not using all day every day for an easier work. I would love an easier afternoon.

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