This marks my 10th year of homeschooling… that’s a WHOLE DECADE! Part of me feels like we just started last week while another part of me feels like we’ve been doing this forever. But as my kids keep growing and changing right before my eyes, there’s no denying that I’ve now got two teenagers (yikes!) And while raising teens comes with plenty of unique challenges, it’s mostly REALLY incredible and rewarding. Here is a peek into my homeschooling day in the life with a 13 and 15-year-old!
Homeschooling definitely looks a lot different now, than it did when my children were younger.
In fact, now that I have a 13 and 15-year old, my role as a “homeschooling teacher” has evolved into more of a “homeschooling mentor”.
My children are at a stage in their development where they have a pretty solid understanding of how they learn best, what their interests are, where they struggle, and how best I can support their education.
And this is pretty exciting because while I continue to be super involved, they’ve taken on much of the ownership for their unique educational goals and interests. We still make joint decisions about educational materials and experiences, sure, but they’re now quite independent when it comes to the daily execution of their required tasks and personal interests.
I have definitely transitioned from being their teacher to more of an
accountability partner and mentor.
And it’s pretty freaking AWESOME!
Now, I’ll be honest. Last year at about this time, I was still adjusting to this newfound homeschooling rhythm that was filled with more independence and autonomy.
I questioned myself A LOT.
Was I requiring enough? Were my kids still getting everything they needed from me? Was I setting them up for long-term success?
But I realized that this is, in fact, what homeschooling is like A LOT of the time, regardless of what age and stage our kids are at!
In fact, this tends to be what LIFE is like much of the time!
So I started to settle in a bit, get comfortable with the new rhythm, and enjoy what was unfolding.
And for the most part, it’s been really wonderful.
Currently, our days vary quite a bit, depending on what appointments and activities we have going on.
Both of my kids are really involved in their sports, (my daughter dances and my son plays baseball and does judo) so late afternoons/evenings are always consumed by these activities.
But overall, the following paints a pretty good description of what an average day looks like.
here’s my homeschooling day in the life with a 13 and 15-year-old!
My alarm goes off at 6:30am. Some days I groan and stumble out of bed right away, while other days I hit snooze a few times. But I try to be out of bed at 7am. After brushing my teeth, getting dressed, and making my bed, I do a 30-minute Barre3 online workout. Then I shower, get my coffee or tea going, light a candle, and do 10 minutes of meditation and journaling.
This morning exercise and quiet time are critical for my overall well-being.
Days when I sleep in or forego this routine, I feel off-kilter and have less energy and mental stamina.
Now, when my kids were little it was MUCH harder to find this time. SO MUCH HARDER! Now that they’re teenagers and sleep later and are more independent, it’s way more realistic for me to prioritize this morning time.
It really is about the season of life we’re currently in, isn’t it?
My daughter usually wakes up around 7:30, heads to the couch, and starts in on her independent work.
My son regularly sleeps until 9:30 or 10am. Once he’s awake, he usually joins his sister on the couch or heads to the kitchen to start in on his assignments.
My kids know what is expected of them every day.
They each have “Daily Responsibility” sheets with their tasks and responsibilities outlined. Most of their subjects are done independently but they know that I am always available to instruct, correct, encourage, and collaborate as needed.
We’re not early morning breakfast eaters so usually sometime around 10:30 we have oatmeal or eggs and fruit. If the kids want what I’m making for myself, I’ll make plenty for them as well, otherwise, they grab or make whatever they want. For lunch, there’s always sandwich stuff on hand, salad, fruit, soup, and often leftovers. We all fend for ourselves based on what we’re feeling like.
The bottom line: we keep breakfast and lunch as simple as possible!
During this morning time of (mostly) independent work, I try to do a couple of loads of laundry, feed the dog, prep dinner, and attend to any other tasks that need attention.
My homeschooling day in the life with a 13 and 15-year-old – What materials do we use?
Here’s a breakdown of the curriculum and materials we use for each subject.
In the early elementary years, we used Right Start Math and then eventually transitioned to Singapore Math. Both programs worked well for us but last year, I realized it was time to outsource math! So we started using an online program called Live Online Math and it has been wonderful!
My son has continued using Live Online Math this year. The format is self-paced and he usually does one lesson a day, taking more time as he needs. I really appreciate the notes templates which coincide with each lesson.
Since we homeschool through a public charter school and my daughter is now in high school, she has specific requirements she needs to meet. This has removed some of the flexibility we’ve always enjoyed with homeschooling but fortunately, we’ve found options that have been working pretty well this year.
For her math studies, she’s currently doing Algebra through Silicon Valley High School, an accredited online high school. We’re not in love with the program, but it’s thorough and user-friendly so it’s checking our most important boxes for the time being!
My son takes an online writing class through a teacher who is located about an hour from us. It is taught on Monday mornings, in real-time, to a group of about 12 kids. The Instructor teaches using the IEW, (Institute for Excellence in Writing) method and the focus is World History. My son spends the rest of the week on his writing assignments, which I help with on an as-needed basis. He took a class with this Instructor last year as well and her teaching style and personality have really clicked for him.
It has been such a joy to watch my son go from a reluctant writer lacking in confidence, to a motivated and confident writer!
My daughter is taking her English class through Silicon Valley High School. Honestly, it’s pretty dry so we’ll likely be looking for an alternative to English next year. Fortunately, she’s an avid reader and continues to read on her own for pleasure. She also enjoys creative writing with a friend so these components are also incorporated into her studies.
Together, we take an online science class through Next Level Homeschool. This year we are doing Biology with Mary Middlebrook but we have also taken all of her Marine Biology courses as well as Harry Potter Genetics! (Which is absolutely, positively as cool as it sounds!) Mary is a phenomenal teacher and we’ve loved all of the science classes she teaches through Next Level Homeschool.
Since the focus of my son’s online writing class is World History, we’ve incorporated related historical fiction books and documentaries to dive deeper into each topic.
My daughter is taking a live, online course called “Fashion Forward World History” which studies history through the lens of fashion. Isn’t that cool!? It’s offered specifically for students of the public charter school we use for homeschooling. The classes meet online on Mondays and Fridays, for an hour each time and there are several students in the class.
Since both of my kids are focused on World History this year, we spend lots of time having in-depth discussions about what they’re learning.
The book, Give Your Child the World, by Jamie Martin, has been our go-to for incredible historical fiction book recommendations. Up until this year, I’ve used it as our main reference when planning our history studies. I would lead with one of Jamie’s book recommendations related to the time period we were studying. We would either read aloud together or the
Both of my kids also do a little bit of memory work as well as 10-15 minutes a day of Spanish, using Duolingo. We keep this very low-key and mellow.
The total time spent on schoolwork usually lasts around five hours, give or take depending on the day. Sometimes we’re fully dressed and alert and other days you’ll find us “couch-schooling” in our pj’s.
Ah, the perks of homeschooling!
Additionally, my daughter volunteers at our local Aquarium on Thursday mornings and my son is involved in their Student Oceanography Club. We also take an art class together on Fridays and we watch a little 3-year old boy on Tuesday/Thursday mornings.
Around 2pm, my daughter gets ready for dance and my son plays some video games and then gets ready for either baseball or judo.
Then we head out and hit the late afternoon/evening activities!
We’re usually not all back at home as a family until around 9pm. We have a late dinner, (typical for our family) and then shower, watch a show or read, and head off to bed. I aim to have the kids in their rooms by 10pm and I try to be asleep by 11pm.
Since homeschooling allows us the freedom to sleep in, we prioritize family time at night, and then plenty of reading in bed.
The teen years definitely look different from our early homeschooling years, but we’re continuing to find our rhythm as we learn and grow together, just as we always have.
And for this, I am truly grateful.
Thanks for letting me share this peek into my homeschooling day in the life with a 13 and 15-year old. Care to share what YOUR homeschooling day in the life is like? Let me know in the comments below!