NB: This was written during our summer term; schedules now vary slightly. Emotions do not.
So I’m sure you all know what your typical homeschool day looks like, but what are your kids, the homeschooled, actually thinking? That question is what this article is going to all be about. What is your kid actually thinking*?
In this article, I will give you a step-by-step, hour-by-hour overview of a realistic, typical day in the life of me, a homeschooled high-schooler, sans frills. So please, sit back, relax, and enjoy the read. (note: all Bible quotations are taken from the ESV, published by Crossway in 2001.) (Note #2: I am an INFP, so if I write anything weird, blame it on the personality. It’s all the fault of those four letters. Definitely.)
My morning begins bright and early at 06:30, when I wake up, (not of my own accord) and go to the Early Morning Torture Session (EMTS) (It’s actually called swim team, but for the sake of truth, I will take a creative liberty and call it what it actually is.) After one-and-a-half-hours of “doing what’s good for me,” I am thoroughly exhausted. Although, to give the adults some credit, I am now definitely and with out doubt, awake. Somehow, jumping into a pool that can’t be warmer than 35 degrees Fahrenheit in the early morning wakes you up. I wonder how that works.
Anyway, all that beside, by 08:30, I have “woken up,” breakfasted, and am ready to tackle the day. And then I look at my checklist. The Bible verse that I think about almost every day while musing over my school comes from Psalm 22:14-15:
“I am poured out like water, and my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.”
Yeah. That’s about how I feel at 08:45 in the morning. (By the way, just in case you were wondering, a potsherd is “a pottery fragment usually unearthed as an archaeological relic” to quote the Merriam-Webster Dictionary) And then, some days, just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, I look at my math. Then I think of these verses, from Job 3:20-26:
“Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures, who rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they find the grave? For my sighing comes instead of my bread, and my groanings are poured out like water. For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.”
But fortunately on most days I do not have to call into mind those verses, as I am an
exceptional above-average typical math student who happens to get his math right on a 60/40 basis. (Maybe more, I don’t know, but definitely not less.) Anyway, at about 09:20, we do Morning Time. (A little historical note here, what we now call “Morning Time” used to be called Circle Time, Morning Convocation, and one or two other names that are escaping me right now. Morning Time is generally a casual affair where we announce days happenings, ask for permission to do stuff that day, go through some Bible verses, sing songs and………. argue. Unfortunately, arguments at morning time happen about once a week. We haven’t taken such drastic measures yet, but we might as well have our official “Monday Arguments During Morning Time” section where everyone can pour out their soul without losing any privileges.
Back to the main theme though, after we finish
Circle Time Morning Convocation Ahem, “Morning Time,” everyone disperses to do school. During a school day, I typically feel a number of emotions, sometimes harking back to Psalm 22, but mostly thinking about Psalm 108:1,
“My heart is steadfast, O God!
I will sing and make melody with all my being!
Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!”
So yes, the school day is filled with much emotion, both good and bad. Anyways though, moving on, generally I (and all my siblings) do math first, and after that move onto the more independent school tasks such as biology paragraphs, history paragraphs, logic exercises, etc. etc. Yeah, the list really does go on. I could probably fill up this page with all the stuff I need to write, finish, and turn in by the end of the day.
This leads me to my first Teenager Tip: one thing that helps live through this slog we call high school is making a collage of favourite quotes, cool pictures, Bible verses, and one or two things that you find very important in your life. This is mine that I unceremoniously taped to the side of my workspace:
(By the way, people who know Latin, can you spot the mistake I made in the Five Solas? 5 bonus points if you can. The answer is written on the bottom of the article. But you don’t get the bonus points if you have to look at the answer. Sorry. Nice try.)
I find that looking up from a startlingly hard math page at these inspirational quotes makes me rejuvenated and ready to tackle the math that lies ahead. Again, that may just be my personality, but seriously, try it out and see if it works.
Moving on from this Teenager Tip straight to another, I find it helpful to have a ready supply of something you can reward yourself with. (i.e. candy) Preferably this will be something you do not need The Parental Permission to acquire, but better that than nothing at all. These rewards will give you motivation and incentive to get stuff done. Hopefully. If not, I don’t know what will.
Anyways, though, back to the school life. By lunch I’m often done with 3/4 of my school, and am feeling pretty good about my
schoolself. Of course, there are those days where you feel like reciting Job 3:20-26 over and over again, but those days don’t often happen, and when they do, it’s usually good in the long run. It teaches us (or maybe it’s just me) that homeschooling is not just a walk in the park, and that, although school is getting awful hard, at least you’re not stewing in a classroom listening to a teacher drone on and on about stuff that you already know. Remember the good things in life, right?
Anyways, usually I have 1 1/2 to 2 hours of school left after lunch, which leaves me enough time to hang out with friends for the rest of the afternoon. Overall, I think homeschooling is great, and if you aren’t homeschooling, or are considering sending all you’re kids to public school, DON’T DO IT!! While it may be nice for you, leaving more time to be alone, you cannot imagine the mindless agony that you’re kids would have to endure in a public school.
So yeah. Go the extra mile, give your kids a homeschooled, classical education, and you will be rewarded. (Maybe not physically, but spiritually. Remember, on a bad school day, think about how much worse your kids could be feeling in a public school. To quote Shakespeare, “The very thought makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others we know not of.”)
In conclusion and final summary, homeschooling through high-school definitely isn’t fun, but it is infinitely better than public schooling through high school. And as a final note, when you’re thinking along the lines of Job 3:20-26, remember instead Psalm 150,
“Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! Praise Him with sounding cymbals, praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!”
*please keep in mind that this article is written by a 14-year-old in high school. My experiences may not necessarily relate to those of your 2nd grader. Sorry, but I don’t remember what I was thinking while slogging through the Second Grade. :-(
The answer to the Latin question is….drum roll please…….I got the gender wrong. It should be “Solus Christus,” not Sola Christus. Woops.