Farm life, regardless of the size of the farm or homestead, can keep you really busy. Throw in a little hot weather, stormy weather or a harvest season, and life can truly get away from ya. I am often asked by people in all different stages of their lives, “How do you get everything done?” Today, I share our homeschool schedule on the farm. It’s just a little bit of what we do on a daily basis in order to get all of our schooling done while still being able to maintain our life here on the farm. Making a homeschool schedule on the farm is very important to making it all run smoothly.
Morning Chores are calling on the Homestead!
Every farm has morning chores. It doesn’t matter if you have tons of animals or just a few. They all need feeding and watering to be able to stay healthy and alive. Making sure every animal on the farm is fed and doing well over night is super important. Although we are a family of 5, schooling 2 of our 3 kiddos left at home, each one of us has daily chores. These must be done each day in order to make the farm run smoothly and to keep everyone healthy.
Our girls take care of our equines. They feed Bill, our American Quarter Horse, both his grain and his hay and Herbert, aka Herbie, the same. We have to keep them separated as Bill LOVES food. He likes to try and take all of Herbie’s grain before he is finished eating his own. The girls are sure to give them fresh water every morning. And once both Bill and Herbie eat, they are let out into the pasture for the day until feeding time. They are once again put in the stable for the night. Our girls also handle that job too!
Chickens and Guinea Fowl
I always take care of our chickens and the guinea fowl. It is important to make sure they have food and water for the day. I also visit our chickens and birds a few times throughout the day to make sure they have enough water. It can get so hot here this time of year which is why it is so important to make sure they have plenty of shade and water to help keep them cool.
Dogs, Cats, and Everything Else
The farm has 3 dogs at this moment in time. We have an inside dog and then two farm dogs. Our outside, farm dogs help keep the animals safe at night from pests like raccoon, skunk, bobcat, or coyote. Our dogs are fed by anyone who comes up to the house first after doing morning chores. And then the kitties. Well, I give milk to them sometimes but the girls give them their kibbles.
Farm chores definitely are an “all hands on deck” kind of thing. And if you know anything about farming, this is all done before we head in for breakfast. You can see the farm in action with a few of my YouTube videos about farm life and chores HERE. More to come on our animal family, which can be seen HERE.
Fitting Homeschool In
Fitting in school can happen in so many different ways at all different times of the year. It’s not as hard as you might think to keep your homeschool schedule while living on the farm or even not on a farm. I wake up every day before the sun is up. I awake super early to read my Bible, pray, and look at our daily schedule. Planning our day and week is SUPER important as there will always be things that change our schedule without my consent. Scheduling it all is easy for me though. On Saturday or Sunday evenings, I will sit down with a simple Post-it note to jot down what subjects we need to cover for the week. It may seem too simple. However, it helps me to focus on what needs to be completely before the end of the week.
Agendas are the KEY to a Smooth Running Schedule
Both of my kiddos have an agenda. You know ….. those. Most public school systems use agendas to help the kids stay organized and to understand what they need to do. It is actually amusing to me. I believe it helps me more than it helps them. Going through their work and books to write the weekly agenda and get it all set up for the week helps ME to stay on task and focused. When Monday comes around, we all know exactly what needs to be done before Friday evening of that week. It truly is a blessing for us because when that things happens that pulls us away from our schedule, they can still know what needs to be done and get it done when they have time.
I found their agendas in a homeschool store in North Carolina while we were still there. Over the years, I’ve modified it a bit. It has made it easier for me to write in and easier for them to understand. I print the sheets out with our printer (Epson 4550 which is the BEST printer I’ve ever had! Check it out HERE) and bind them with a binding machine I found on Amazon. (You can find it HERE.) I believe that having a good agenda or scheduling system is KEY to making school working smoothly. When the kiddos know what they need to do all week, it helps to take the stress out of the unknown. They work hard trying to get it done because when it is done, they are done with school for the week.
Age Matters with the Homeschool Schedule
I’m very fortunate to have children who are older and can do a lot of the work on their own. However, there are many subjects that we do together so fitting that in can pose some problems at times. Sometimes, we don’t get subjects done until the evening or even right before we go to bed for the night. This is the beautiful of homeschooling though. Being able to still receive our education while living and working hard on the farm is such a blessing! And BOTH teach our kiddos such valuable lessons.
Curriculum Choices (for our family)
There are SO many curriculum choices out there. Please know, what works for one family may not work for another family. This is what OUR family uses and love. There have been times where we may start something and it doesn’t fit. So many families will continue to work on making it fit for them even if it doesn’t. Don’t do it! Don’t be afraid to change it and allow something else to make the right fit. We chose our curriculum to fit with our homeschool schedule on the farm
My kiddos use Teaching Textbooks for mathematics. I am NOT a math person. I never have been. I’m SO thankful for this math program! Each lesson is taught through the computer and has a section for working problems after the lecture. The program also grades their work as they go so they can see what they are doing incorrect. There’s section where I can go in as a parent and check how they are doing and grade as well. The program even has quizzes and tests built right in. For this, I’m SO thankful. Because of all of these positives with this program, my kiddos can do math on their own. The best part? It can be done earlier or later, whenever they have time to complete the work.
History/ Social Studies
We do history together as a family. I adore our history program as well. Recently, a very dear friend introduced me to The Good & the Beautiful. And although I do not have the same beliefs as the gal who wrote this curriculum, I do love the program. I think what I love most is that she does not force you to teach or believe in her beliefs, and she DOES NOT INCLUDE anything about her religious beliefs in the curriculum. A+ in my book! The history goes through from the beginning, Adam & Eve, and goes through our current history. We have completed the first of 4 years of the curriculum and absolutely LOVE it!
In order to make sure we get this done, we usually sit down right after lunch. This is one of those subjects we all do together.
Grammar & Literature (also Creative Writing & Handwriting)
We also use The Good & the Beautiful for our grammar and literature curriculum. The kids do portions of their grammar on their own, which includes geography, literature, art, handwriting, and creative writing). It is in my quiet time and planning in the morning I go over their lesson for the day to see what they need to accomplish. If they have a section where I am needed in order to complete it, I write in their agenda that they will need to come see me first before completing that lesson.
Again, I love that this curriculum incorporates a whole bunch more than just grammar into it’s program. It allows us to get much more done than just one subject in the time they use to complete it. My kiddos fit this in when they can, either early morning, after history, or even after dinner.
We do have a few other English related subjects which must be done too: Book studies, read along’s which we read together as a family, and their foreign language. Again, squeezing it all in happens when they have the time and not just 8 am – 3 pm.
During a regular school year, my kiddos complete science on their own as well.
My 9th grader is working on a Chemistry curriculum called “Chemistry in the Kitchen by Guesthollow” and she loves it. You may think, “Oh, in the kitchen means lots of cooking.” Although the curriculum does include cooking, it is all about the scientific side of chemistry with elements and components first. Cooking is added after the lesson is finished and doesn’t even have to be done. It is an option but because I love to watch her cook (and she’s gotten really good at baking), I allow her to do most of the recipes. It is really a unique and fun idea for those who don’t care to just do the science side of it.
My 7th grader is working through The History of Science from “Beautiful Feet”. She is also doing a unit study on Marine Biology from “The Good & the Beautiful”. Both are helping her to get a great understanding of science before moving on into physical science next year. She completed Botany course a few months ago by “Apologia”.
During the summer, we’ve been working on the Marine Biology course together and a curriculum from OERC called Petro Active. It is all about the oil work and oil drilling here in Oklahoma. We work together during the summer on science as it is most of our focus during this time of year.
My kiddos often do extras, as I call them. Both of them do a typing course online. Of course, these are done by themselves without help from me. They do this for about 15-25 minutes a few times a week on their own time.
We allow both kiddos to do something special that they are interested in. One is in taekwando, an art course with “Blossoming Artists”, and plays the guitar. The other does ballet with a local ballet studio and is VERY active with her company. It can be a challenge to get it all done because all of our extracurricular activities are more than 30 minutes away. All of our We will squeeze in farm chores around all of their extracurricular classes.
Both take a type of cooking class also online. Both kiddos do these lessons on their own time as well when they have time to make them happen. If the lesson requires them to cook or bake something, they generally will tell me and we work it in throughout the week. I also allow them to make a meal here and there to help them learn about cooking for their one-day family but also to help around the house.
Home economics, Bible studies, computer course along with a typing course, music, art, and swimming are just a few of the extras that we complete throughout the week as well.
Homeschool Schedule – It All Depends on the Time of Year
I must tell you, our homeschool schedule on the farm changes with EVERY SEASON! Winter seems to be so different than the spring, fall or summer. We have Nutcracker Ballet practices and shorter daylight times. We don’t spend so much time outside and there isn’t much to do with the gardens. But summer ….. well, then enter garden and harvest time, which takes a lot of our time and energy. But we school all year so things still have to get done.
Real-Life & Farm Life Schedule
I believe the best part of making the homeschool schedule while living on the farm (or in any life) is that you can truly fit your schooling schedule around real-life. Many families have a hard time breaking that public school mindset which is why schooling at home doesn’t work for them. The Lord continues to remind me that not all jobs or events happen during regular school or office hours, and there are so many reasons why being able to school during our own time, truly makes sense to our family.
If I could give you one piece of advice ………. be flexible! Don’t be afraid to break the regular school/ office hour times. Be open to the homeschooling schedule, whether you homeschool on the farm or in the suburbs. It took me a long time to get out of the 8 to 3 mindset of only doing work during “school” times. God has given us the ability to school our kiddos in preparation for an adult life of their own, and I’m so thankful for His guidance throughout it all.