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Everest Academy is a ministry of Everest Family Church in Hayden. We offer freedom along with quality resources, information, activities and support to those homeschooling in Alabama. We believe that the parent has the best interests of their children at heart. We believe that the parent is the first and only teacher that a child needs. In keeping with this philosophy, we wish to be a very hands-off church "cover" school and allow the parent to lead and guide their children in the direction and at the pace they feel is best suited to their children. We ask only for what the law requires while offering support along with quality resources to aid families in their efforts.

Structuring Your Day

Hey Homeschoolers! I am working on making a resource for new homeschoolers where they ask the questions and veteran homeschoolers give the answers. My goal is to provide advice, resources, and most of all to show that there is more than one way of doing things. 

Please contact me with your answer to the following question. I have already included answers that folks sent me on Facebook. Please let me know if you do not want me to include your name in the posting. Please give as much info as possible including links, details, explanations, etc... I will add your answers to this page so that new homeschoolers will have a resource to refer back to again and again.

You can contact me at everestacademy1@gmail.com with your answer.  Please put "Blog Challenge" in the subject line.  

Deb Spradlin
Everest Academy Administrator

Question:  This question was directed straight at Sue Taylor, Bri Moore, and myself.  Read our replies below.  What's your take on this question?  What do you suggest as a way to discipline your days so that school gets done, but we are still able to enjoy the freedom of homeschooling? We do okay if we stay home, but when we do trips and get thrown off schedule it just messes us up. Need some really good help/ideas!
My Answer:  We started off with "school at home" and worked our way to being unschoolers.  Dae is more of an unschooler than Dalton.  Dalton initially started out in public school and has the public school mentality while Dae does not. Of interest is that Dae is much more open-minded about new experiences and more enthused about learning new things.

We do use a curriculum from time to time if the kids request it. Dae requested a math curriculum this past year. Interesting story. She had never had a set math curriculum before. We had always done games such as Math BINGO, The Math Game Get a Clue!, comparison shopping, cooking and doubling recipes, etc. If she had been in the public school system, she would have been in the 5th grade. We did a 5th grade placement test on her, and she got every problem correct. We then did a 6th grade placement test which she also aced. I started her midway through the 7th grade curriculum and she did great. I found that to be very interesting.

Another interesting story. The only set curriculum Dalton has ever used has been math. When he took his ACT test, he scored a 28 on everything EXCEPT math which was an 18. I found that to be very telling.

How do you know they are learning? Talk to them. Listen to their conversations with others. Pay attention to what they are doing, reading, watching, etc. Introduce them to rich environments, experiences, people, etc. They will learn. They can't help themselves.  

Sue Hughes Taylor
I'm resisting the urge to laugh hysterically. One thing you should know before asking me this question is that I am on the relaxing slide of the homeschool hill. I've done the structure and seen the benefits and downfalls of it. Over the past few years, I've intentionally relaxed as far as the clock goes. We have general goals, and we meet them way more often than not. As far as my days go, I just try to chill out so that my kiddos can do the same and realize that learning is FUN. :) I know this didn't help you at all, and you're probably shaking your head in disappointment. :) If it helps, I spoke with a retired school teacher who told me that in her opinion, the rigid schedule in school was one of the biggest deterrents to learning because it didn't allow for an ounce of passion or personality. Food for thought, I guess. Each family and more importantly, each child is different. Good luck with the journey!!

Briana Hilder Moore
From one verbose homeschooler to another...we are also unschoolers. So, we don't have "curricula" commanding our schedule. Using curricula does work for many people, but it just was not a good match for our family. We started homeschooling with a method not unlike public school at home--tons of worksheets and written work in each subject every day (well, M-F), which took hours for them to complete because they hated it. By the end of our first, we ALL hated homeschooling. 

I decided we would spend the following summer researching "other options" and finding ways to learn & socialize at the same time (i.e., fieldtrips!!). For the following year, we signed-up for every fieldtrip, educational activity, and social event that we could possibly squeeze into our schedule. We made lots of new friends and still learned lots of things!

There are tons of ways to "educate" that don't include the traditional "seat-work" type lessons. After fieldtrips and other educational activities, we spend time discussing what we learned and what the kids think about it...often coming up with more questions to research when we return home. Sometimes you even have an opportunity to *review* by presenting a "remember when we learned about..." In short, a fieldtrip/activity lasting only a few hours can actually be stretched into a whole day of learning and include much more than the initial event/subject.

When my boys were younger, we did often use unit study type learning, which didn't monopolize quite as much of our schedule. We also didn't stick to the schedule that was often laid out with a unit study--we just finished it when we finished it. That's the beauty of homeschooling!

Your kids are still pretty young, so I would definitely suggest taking advantage of this more flexible time to enjoy being together and building strong family bonds. You know, even things like making cookies or planting a garden is "educational"--you can cover measurements of all kinds with both of those activities! If it makes you uncomfortable to be that "free", then--especially with your kids' ages--just cover the basics of reading and some math...the rest will easily follow!

Obviously, this is just what works for us, and you will have to find what fits your family the best. Good luck and remember not to lose sight of the best parts of homeschooling...relaxing & having fun learning!