This marks my 11th year of homeschooling. It’s crazy to think that my family has been homeschooling for over a decade and that I now have two teenagers! Things have been really different this school year, as we’ve adjusted to life during a global pandemic. Here’s a peek into my homeschooling day in the life with a 14 and 16-year-old!
No two days look the same around here. So for the sake of simplicity, I’ll use a typical Tuesday as an example.
my homeschooling day in the life with a 14 and 16-year-old
My alarm goes off at 7am. Some days, I roll out of bed right away but there are plenty of other days where I hit snooze a few times.
I am NOT a natural morning person!
Once I’m up, I brush my teeth, get dressed, and make my bed. Then I get my coffee or tea going, (I choose what I want depending on my mood) and head to the living room. I light a candle and have my morning quiet time. This usually looks like a little bit of stretching or foam rolling, and 10 minutes of meditation.
This morning quiet time is critical for my overall well-being.
It’s also SO much easier to realistically prioritize this daily quiet time, now that my children are older.
So hang in there parents of little ones. Implementing solid self care DOES get easier!
My daughter usually gets up around 7:30 or 8am. She’s an introvert and likes quiet mornings to get an early start on her school work.
My son usually sleeps in until about 9:30 or 10am. Once he’s up, he usually heads to the living room couch or the kitchen table to start in on his independent work.
As far as breakfast goes, none of us eat first thing in the morning, we just wait until we’re hungry. This usually looks like oatmeal or eggs and toast with fruit. My kids are pretty independent in the kitchen and do most of their own meal prep these days.
The bottom line: we keep breakfast and lunch as simple as possible!
Both of my children are now at an age where they’ve taken on much of the responsibility for their education. They are increasingly independent and self-motivated. They have certain subjects they know must be completed each day, and they have plenty of time to pursue their own interests.
These days, I feel like more of a mentor and coach.
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.
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.
Here’s a breakdown of the curriculum and materials we use for each subject.
My daughter is college bound and wants to be sure she meets the admission requirements for University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems. Both require incoming college freshman to have completed what’s known as a-g approved courses. So we’ve prioritized having her take high school courses that meet this requirement.
For math, she’s taking Geometry through Silicon Valley High School, an accredited online high school. Honestly, it’s pretty dry but it’s also thorough, straightforward, and user-friendly. She used it for Algebra last year and at this point she thinks she’ll continue using it for the rest of her high school math.
My son is doing Algebra through an online program called Live Online Math. The format is self-paced and he usually does a few lessons a week, taking more time as needed. This is his third year using the program and it works really well for him.
Note: In the early elementary years, we used Right Start Math which we loved. Then we transitioned to Singapore Math for a couple of years before finding Live Online Math.
My daughter takes a live, online English class with a focus on American Literature. It is offered through the public charter school we homeschool through and taught by a wonderful teacher.
My son takes a live online writing class taught by an instructor who uses the IEW, (Institute for Excellence in Writing) method. The focus of his class this year is Ancient History.
His class meets Thursday mornings and there are about 12 kids who participate. My son spends the other days of the week on his writing assignments, which I help with on an as-needed basis. This is his third year with this instructor and his writing has really developed beautifully with her teaching style.
Note: Throughout our homeschooling journey, we’ve used a variety of wonderful Language Arts programs and resources! We made our selections based on what my children were struggling with, what materials they were drawn to, and how much time/energy I had to spend on weekly prep.
My daughter took Marine Biology through our local junior college during the fall semester which fulfilled her a-g life science requirement. It was her first college course and due to covid restrictions, the campus has remained closed and the class was unable to meet in person. Instead, it all occurred online.
While not meeting in person and experiencing the planned field trips was a bummer, she still enjoyed the class and learned a lot. It also boosted her confidence since she did well in the class and she now feels equipped to take additional college courses.
My son and I have enjoyed using Crash Course and are currently watching Crash Course Biology with Hank Green.
Note: When my children were little, we prioritized nature exploration and outdoor experiences to explore science. Once they were a little older, we used REAL Science Odyssey. Then during the upper elementary years through last school year, we took online science classes through Next Level Homeschool. From Earth Sciences to Marine Biology, and even Harry Potter Genetics, the science courses have been fantastic!
When it comes to history, we have always followed a VERY relaxed approach. In our early homeschooling years, we started with the classical method where we began with ancient civilizations, followed by middle ages, and then
Unfortunately, my daughter no longer has the same flexibility we used to enjoy since she’s trying to meet certain a-g college requirements. This year she is taking U.S. History through Silicon Valley High School, (the same online program she’s using for Geometry). It’s dry but thorough and we’re making sure to incorporate interesting documentaries whenever possible.
The 2020 election season definitely gave us LOTS to discuss and we embraced that time to dive politics together as a family.
My son is still able to follow a more flexible approach and we’ve been watching documentaries and reading a variety of historical fiction and nonfiction. Since his IEW course is focused on Ancients this year, we’ve been leaning into this subject matter. But mostly, we’ve just followed his interests and have chosen materials that spark his curiosity and interest.
Note: Over the years we’ve used Story of the World, and History Odyssey but my favorite way to approach history by
Both of my kids are currently taking Spanish through our local junior college. The course would normally meet in person but again, due to covid regulations in California, the campus is closed and the class is meeting on line.
This is my daughter’s second college course and my son’s first. They both LOVE the professor and I’m impressed at the high level of instruction and engagement.
Note: When my children were younger, they attended Japanese school on Saturday mornings. My husband is Japanese American and fluent in the language and he would help them throughout the week with their assignments. We’ve also enjoyed having fun with Duolingo over the years, mostly for Spanish and Japanese, but also a little French. We’ve always kept it light and low-stress.
After daily school work and responsibilities are finished, everyone is free to pursue their own interests until it’s time to get ready for afternoon activities. I walk the dog and sometimes the kids join me.
Around 2pm, my daughter gets ready for dance. Her dance studio has been able to continue offering classes during the pandemic, adhering to our state’s strict guidelines and assigning the kids to set pods. While dancing in a mask is far from ideal, we are so grateful the studio has been able to stay open!
Around this time, my husband usually arrives home from work. He works really long hours on M/W/F and T/Th are his shorter days. He and my son spend some quality time together while my daughter and I head to dance. She spends the next few hours at her studio while I come back home to get some work done and get dinner going.
My husband and son have been doing judo together for several years. Due to covid, the dojo is closed but they do have teachers currently offering instruction online. It’s not ideal and they miss being in community at the dojo, but we’re grateful we have reliable internet and enough living room space for them to practice at home.
Once judo wraps up and I’ve picked up my daughter, it’s about 7:30pm when we’re finally back at home together. 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.
But since homeschooling allows us the freedom to sleep in, we prioritize family time at night, and then plenty of reading in bed. I’ve never been one to insist on turning out the lights when there’s a good book to be read!
The teen years look really different from our early homeschooling years, (especially during this global pandemic!) But we continue to stay flexible, curious, and grateful for the opportunity to learn together as a family.
From years past:
- My Homeschooling Day in the Life with a 13 and 15-Year Old
- My Homeschooling Day in the Life with a 12 and 14-Year Old
Thanks for letting me share this peek into my homeschooling day in the life with a 14 and 16-year old. What is YOUR homeschooling day in the life like? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for sharing. I am a few years away from the high school years but your post makes me excited for what comes next!!! I can see wanting our homeschool to look a lot like this in the future.
Sarah Takehara says
I’m so glad you’re excited about what comes next, Jen! It will be so fun to see how your homeschooling evolves over the next few years. 🙂
Wow! Our days look quite a bite alike! I feel much more like a tutor/mentor as well. It is such a switch. Although, I also feel it is what all of the hard work when they were younger was leading up to-including meals! I used to feel as if Iwas always cooking. Now, my kids cook almost every meal. Thank you for sharing your day!
Sarah Takehara says
Yes, transitioning to tutor/mentor is a definite switch from the younger years! And I totally agree about all of the hard work when they were little really paying off now. Having kids who are confident in the kitchen is a huge bonus!
Amy Sloan says
My daughter has been so thankful her dance studio has been open, too! Thanks for sharing your day in the life.
Sarah Takehara says
Amy, I’m so glad our girls have still been able to dance during this time. We’re grateful, indeed!