Today I invited Kym from Homeschool Coffee Break over to chat with us about her homeschool days and keeping home.
Kemi: Kym can you tell us a little bit about your children’s ages and grades?
Kym: I am currently homeschooling my youngest two children. Landon is 16 and in Grade 10, although he is thinking about trying to graduate a year early. Kennady is 13 and in Grade 8. My two older boys are 22 and 20, and have graduated from our homeschool but still live at home while they are working.
Kemi: What homeschooling method do you use?
Kym: I like to describe our method as “eclectic” because that just sounds better than “whatever works”! We do use curriculum geared specifically for homeschoolers, but from a variety of publishers. I agree with many of the principles of delight-directed, Charlotte Mason, and unit study methods and incorporate some of those ideas, especially in courses where I pull together a study guide that uses two or more resources. For example, this year my daughter is studying cultural geography using a traditional textbook from BJUPress and a Charlotte Mason style study guide equally, along with other unit study type resources.
Kemi: Can you give us a peek into your typical homeschool day?
Kym: “Typical” days can vary widely, depending on which day of the week it is! Right now, Mondays and Fridays are all-day school days. I like to have the kids working on their studies starting by 9am and working through until about 3pm, with a lunch break of course! Wednesdays and Thursdays, Landon is at his job during the day, so it is just me and Kennady at home. We try to do our “together” studies on those days.
Tuesdays are typically the crazy days! Kennady has music lessons in the morning, which gives Landon a chance to have the house quiet and to himself to do schoolwork. On Tuesday afternoons, the kids have a co-op gym class in town, and on Tuesday evenings, Landon has Civil Air Patrol and Kennady has Children’s Chorus.
Landon works independently on everything, and Kennady can work independently on most things, but regularly checks in with me for science and geography. Mostly my job is to be available to answer questions, do the grading, and discuss anything they are studying.
Kemi: We love to see where homeschooling happens. Can you give us a peek into your homeschool room?
Kym: We don’t have a homeschool room – the kids work at their own desks in their rooms or at our dining room table. I have a few pictures that give an idea of what it looks like here.
Kemi: So you know that Homemaking Organized is all about homemaking or the details of home. We love to find out how others keep their homes. Can you tell us about your own homekeeping and how you manage to fit it in with homeschool?
Kym: In many ways, homemaking doesn’t come naturally to me, although maybe it should, since I’ve learned from some of the best in the homemaking business (my mom, my grandma, my aunts)! In general, I fit in the daily chores like dishes and laundry and cleaning into our days whenever it works.
Although I don’t enjoy housecleaning and have a bad habit of procrastinating, I find that once or twice a week I will decide that “now it’s time to do —— (some task that has been on my mind, like washing windows or purging bookshelves)” and I can get very focused on getting it done. Sometimes all it takes is to get started on a job that seems overwhelming, and I realize that it’s not as awful as I’d feared, or that I can find a way to break it down into smaller and more manageable chunks.
From early on, I had the kids help with chores that were age-appropriate – things like folding laundry and putting away their own toys when they were very little – so that now they do their own laundry and for the most part they do all the dishes. That helps me out so much! After all, as a mom, I am trying to work myself out of a job, right?!
Most days I set aside some time in the late afternoon to catch up on tasks like cleaning bathrooms or vacuuming, and I save some of the bigger jobs like cleaning out the fridge and projects like reorganizing a closet or sorting seasonal clothes to do during an evening or on a Saturday. Saturdays are great for cleaning and household projects because my husband and at least a couple of the kids are here to help. And I’m not afraid to assign things to the kids at all. One of my older boys has a real gift for organizing (that he did not get from me! LOL) so I love to have him in charge of a project like cleaning out closets and cupboards and putting things back neatly. He often volunteers to put away groceries when I get home from a shopping trip too.
I am not a great cook, and don’t particularly enjoy cooking or meal planning, but I do like to bake! I bake bread fairly regularly. Something that has helped me with meal planning, and stepping out with new recipes is to use what we’re doing in school as inspiration. I’ve found that history and geography have given me ideas and motivation to try out new recipes that add variety to our meals. Sometimes they bomb, but sometimes we wind up with a new meal idea that earns thumbs-up from all or most of the family. If nothing else, we’ve tried something different, and have broken up the routine that I’d be tempted to fall into – making the same ten meals over and over again.
We live in a rural area, so my ongoing challenge is to avoid the unnecessary trips to town that waste precious time and cost a lot in gas! I try to save the shopping and errands for Tuesdays, since I’m making at least two trips to the city anyway. It makes the day even busier, but it’s better than making extra trips to town every other day!
Kemi: Kym do you have any crafts or hobbies that you would like to share with us?
Kym: My hobbies mostly involve reading and music. I read whenever possible, and it doesn’t seem like enough time! I lead one of the two worship teams at our church, which involves choosing the music, playing keyboard, and singing, as well as directing the practice. I also sing in a community choir, and I am a volunteer leader for our church youth group.
Kym is one busy lady!
Kym is in the middle of her 17th year of homeschooling her four kids, two of whom have graduated. She and her husband of 27 years are Canadians transplanted to Maryland. Kym loves coffee, history, and homeschooling, and you can join her for coffee break at her blog, Homeschool Coffee Break.