How We Unschool: A Day in the Life

One of the most consistent questions homeschoolers and unschoolers get is “what is a typical homeschool day like for you?” It will always look different from one family to another, and often will look different in one family from one day or week to another!

For an unschooly family, our current schedule is pretty hectic. It comes of having four kids of widely varying ages and interests, and trying our best to accommodate everyone – including the chauffeuring mom! It changes frequently, but here’s what we’re doing in November.

11:00 Vision therapy for 8yo Mink. Everyone has to tag along for this since it is quite far from our house but close to the next activity.
1:00 Play practice for everyone. Our homeschool theater group is staging Romeo and Juliet, set in the 1920s. My kids are the stage manager (16yo Nova), Lord Montague (13yo Lock), Nurse’s servant Peter (10yo Kyro), and part of the children’s chorus who will recite the prologue and bystand (8yo Mink). Oh, and I’m one of the costume mistresses. This is our fourth year performing with this theater group, which boasts a professional director, and we love it!
4:00 Art class for 8yo Mink, with several friends, which generally translates into a boys’ playdate since one mom from the play takes Mink and her own daughter to art while I bring her son back to my house for a while; we trade kids after art class is over. Our teacher gives lessons in her home to a mix of homeschooled and public schooled students.

Our busy day! Lots of people come to our house in the afternoon, so this is generally our pick-it-up and scrub-it morning.
10:00 General science class (Apologia) for Lock, who wants to be a medical professional someday, in a homeschool co-op.
12:00 Bass lessons for Lock with a homeschool dad, who then brings Lock and his own kids to my house for the rest of the afternoon for the …
1:30 History co-op at my house for all my kids plus friends. We have a pretty sweet set-up which you can read about in this history co-op post!
5:00 Logic class for Nova and Lock and friends. This is also at my house and involves several of the kids from history, so they just hang out and have a free-for-all during the afternoon. Our teacher is actually a schoolteacher who also teaches Latin and logic classes to homeschool groups like ours.

Until November, Wednesday was my free day. And it will be again!
1:00 NaNoWriMo group with a bunch of friends. They encourage each other and work on plot points and writer’s block and so forth.
4:30 Jester’z improv class for Lock. This is a teen improv class held at a local comedy club. Lock and one of his homeschool friends are in the class with several public school kids.

10:00 Drum lessons for Kyro. Thankfully, his wonderful drum teacher comes to our home!
1:00 Piano for Nova and Mink. They have back-to-back lessons with the same teacher, very different lessons! Mink is just beginning, while Nova is working on her own compositions.

12:00 Park day! Our local homeschool group meets for park days, field trips, parties, and so forth.

That seems like a lot of “lessons” for unschoolers, doesn’t it? But they’re all at the kids’ choice. Lock wants to be a chiropractor or something along those lines, so he understands the need to get some formal science under his belt. The history co-op is just plain fun. I did encourage Nova and Lock to take the logic class, but they understand the trade-off for me not stuffing their heads full of random facts every day is that they must learn to think for themselves! (Plus, it makes dad happy for them to have a class here and there.) Art and music and NaNoWriMo are all things I encourage too, but the kids take formal classes at their own request. Believe me, when Kyro started asking for drum lessons, I didn’t “hear” that request until he had remembered it over time and asked me three or four separate times!

Other than this, we play lots of games: some explicitly educational, most not, all fun. Right now we’re watching a bunch of the older Disney movies that my oldest two saw a lot of when they were young, but the younger two haven’t seen. The kids often make their own movies together, the older kids write a lot, and Nova draws constantly either in her room or on her computer. There’s a lot of Roblox and Minecraft and Club Penguin at my house (general rule: no computer until after lunch), other homeschoolers in and out all week long, and music most of the time. We read a LOT, both together and separately, and I am so thankful to vision therapy for enabling my youngest to discover how much she enjoys reading when just six months ago she couldn’t stand it! They all know that mom’s “professor mode” button has a hair trigger, but they actually seem to enjoy my philosophical waxings … most of the time, anyway.

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