Homeschooling: Break? Year Round? First Day of Homeschool? Q & A

I did not want you to be left confused. I feel like explaining things that are difficult for some people to understand. I decided to do this in the form of a Q &A, but ask and answer the question myself. The questions people have asked of me.

Q: Do you take a summer break, or do you homeschool year-round?

A: Niether and Both. We do relaxed homeschooling and tidal wave homeschooling, a form of education which means that we are like the tide coming in and going out.

We try to do as best we can to get to where I consider to be “at grade level” in each subject for each child. We do not ever stop working on this, but we are also not always concernd about this.

We have ebbs and flows. Sometimes, with much effort, we learn a whole bunch and progress a lot in a period of time (this sometimes looks like an accelerated school for the gifted or early college, and sometimes looks like a 1900 one-room schoolhouse). At other times, we are more like unschoolers. Sometimes, we have a day that looks like montessori school. Sometimes, we have a field trip day. When people visit or we visit others, we have a day completely dedicated to only socializing. When we visited Grandma Preece or when Uncle Steven came over, we dropped all of our concerns and cares, and just visited. The kids learn plenty by visiting and socializing with others.

Q: Homeschoolers do not have to start school when the public schools begin. Isn’t that right?

A: This has a long answer, too. We do not have to, but because of classes we signed up for, we do.

We enroll in some classes not led by me but by teachers my husband and I chose or hired. One of these is free and it is The Church Seminary Program. (Oh, did you catch that? I almost used the acronym). Early Morning Seminary this year begins the same day public school begins in my area. This means that although we do not really care when homeschool begins or ends, I can choose a day when I can say something officially begins. It is the day Seminary begins.

The hired teachers and has also chosen certain dates to begin their classes, vacation days and end dates. Likewise, many homeschool parents join “co-ops,” which are groups of homeschoolers who get together and do learning together. These co-ops have a set schedule. A co-op has a start date, vacation dates and end dates, too.

I would not want to have the first day of homeschool for the kids which have teachers who’ve given them start-dates, and not have this for the younger 4. After all, the younger 4 are so looking forward to “doing homeschool” officially again. Their siblings are officially starting and so are their neighborhood friends and cousins.

This would be when I to the part called “get the kids ready for the first day of school (by clothes shopping at the back to school clothing sales) as a mom” and the part where I do “put in full-time hours of preparation of the homeschool room, planning and getting ready for homeschool to officially begin on August 27, like a paid public school teacher,” at the same time. (The second part includes getting in on back to school curriculum and supplies sales).

Speed Tour of my Recently Cleaned and Re-Organized Homeschool Room

Of course, many teacher moms do this. They get their own gets ready and sent off, and they also go to the school all day for a couple weeks to get their public school classroom ready.

This “Photographer Mom” is prepared to do “First Day of Homeschool 2018” photos next week!

It’s just a little different. I do not get paid and I do not have to get someone to tend the kids while I go off to work. They are here and I am here, which means I do the prep work and they wish I wouldn’t because it means I am not giving them the attention they would like. It is hard on the kids here, as they are eager to “officially start school” again, and frustrated that their mom is working on prepping and pretty much just letting them “fend for themselves” (except the littlest, who at least gets fed by mom and gets a lot of attention because he demands it).

I hope this helps everyone to understand my world so that they are not confused. There are so many different ways to homeschool. Sometimes, there are jokes or memes on the internet that give one impression, and the people who do not know that all homeschools are different get so upset when things are not the way a youtube video says they are.

This one is a funny one by “It’s a Southern Thing.”

Tell me, are the others exaggerated? Yeah. So do you think the homeschool mom one is? Think about it. I am a homeschool mom and I still laughed at it. I was not upset by the inaccuracy. I know it’s all exaggerated and it is a joke. It’s very funny. If you like it, subscribe, because all of their videos are just as humorous!

For the record, homeschool moms and kids do get dressed in day clothing because they are very busy. We get dressed for the same reasons that you get dressed during the summer. Also, homeschool moms usually put together or join in on a “Not Back to School” park day or party on the first day of local public school. We all know when school starts, including those who do unschooling! We all look forward to getting the museums and parks back to uncrowded. We love it when school starts and are very aware!

I am most like the photographer mom, by the way. I am very sentimental, an artist and a graphic designer, after all! So, yeah, homeschool moms are all different, too, and we have personalities that are all different from the personalities of other homeschool moms. We love our variety and differences!

Dealing with Dyslexia in Homeschool Reading Instruction


The first thing I did a couple of years ago was take him in for an eye exam. He needed glasses for far-sightedness, which means things are blurry when up-close. This gave him trouble with worksheets and reading. When that was figured out, his reading improved a huge step, but something was still not right. 

Having a few other children whom I had taught or helped teach to read, I knew this was not the same. He was struggling with things my other children had not struggled with. Researching online, I came to an educated guess that he is dyslexic. I also came to the conclusion that dyslexia does not make it impossible to learn to read. It just makes its instruction take more time and patience. 

Today he read about 6 pages in “Frolic and Do-Funny” and all of the other books in the photo completely.  I have been having him read to me every day for about an hour. I stop when I can tell he is getting tired of it and worn out (which is easy to tell). I am happy that he is getting faster at reading, makes mistakes less often and recognizes more words. It has been hard work but it is becoming worth it now.

I love the joy on his face now as he can enjoy the stories more readily now because he is reading faster and more smoothly. I know we still have a long way to go to get him reading as well as his siblings, but that is okay. It is now becoming a more enjoyable journey. I love sitting with him and having him read to me!

I saw many strategies for dyslexic reading instruction online. I think the best method is simply love, patience and time. It is having the child read to you every day while you love your child. It is knowing that it is okay that your child has been told that word 300 times and still does not recognize it yet. It is telling your child what the word is in a calm voice yet again because you know that dyslexia is hard and you are okay with your child taking his or her time learning that word.

“Mom, Check My Work!”

With a large family, I have got to do what many other moms have done and have a basket of some kind for kids to put their finished assignments in, so that I can check their work in the evenings. I remember as a youth helping my dad check papers for his school students in the evening. I just do not see how my kids think I can teach all oc my children, breastfeed, clean the house and run a household when worrying about checking their work on demand whenever they are finished with it.

My kids like the idea of the check on demand system because they think if they are finished, they should get to go have free time. I get that. They got done early. This is not working, though. I need to say, as long as you are finished and have your work in the basket by this time, I will check it at that time, which will be when the homeschool day is over, and then you get your privileges.

“Homeschool Dailies”

Some days we are just like Unschoolers and we have unschool days, where some kid work on art and some learn science. They learn, but they learn what they want to learn. Some days, I teach a formal lesson to all of the family at once. Some days, we watch DVD lessons taught by amazing teachers so I can rest and let someone else teach.

A great many of the days, the kids ask me what they should do for homeschool, and I give each individual a list, which is generally the same for that child, every time we do this kind of a day. 

“Homeschool Dailies”


It is such a tradition and has lasted so long (most things don’t) that today I decided to make it official. This morning I made a list for each child called “Homeschool Dailies,” which is this list of things that I generally assign them every time we have a day when I want them to just do those repeated things I usually list for them. These are things which I think they are used to doing, don’t generally give me any complaints about (because they most generally have agreed that they like them and are o.k. with doing them for learning). These are also things I ask them to do because I have decided for them to do them based on:

  • What their interests are
  • What their weeknesses are for a well-rounded general education
  • The level at which they are understanding and learning
  • The areas which I think their focus needs to be on, or is naturally on at this time
  • Curricula or methods which work best for that child.
  • Curricula or methods I like because they are awesome (the montessori method, for example)
  • Which subjects our family needs the most focus and improvement on

I posted these lists in the homeschool room and will explain them to the kids one at a time to make sure each child understands. It is really a routine that works for us but which is now more official because it is written down and even has a large caption.

I must make it very clear that they will only be doing the “Homeschool Dailies” on days when say, “Today, I want you to do your Homeschool Dailies.” That will not be every day.

For the older and middle kids, “HomeSchool Dailies” are a list of things they can do for homeschool on their own in their textbooks, workbooks and with computer software we have. The list for the oldest will take about 3 hours. The list for the middle children will take about 2 hours.


For the younger kids, “Homeschool Dailies” are a list of things I generally have to do with them because they need a guide and someone who can teach, right by their side. It is an eclectic mix with the majority being Montessori reading and writing. It will take me 1.5 to 2 hours to do that with each child, totalling 3 to 4 hours for me.