A Day in the Life – Hogans

Guys, I’d love to introduce you to my friend, Becki Hogan, as she shares A Day in the Life of her family.  Their family’s enthusiasm for learning is truly infectious.  In fact, I think I learn something new in each conversation with Becki and her resource recommendations are always spot on! Please enjoy this look into their day.  

Hi.  I’m Becki Hogan, wife to Seth, and mom of 4 blessings.   Beth has asked me to share a little about a typical day in the life of our family.  Well, I’m pretty sure I’ve had very few days in life that have gone exactly according to my plan, but we still have a rough schedule that I can share. 

Our family is living proof of how much things don’t go according to “our plans.” But, God’s plan is so much better, right?  After many years of marriage and thinking we couldn’t have biological children, God blessed us with our oldest son, Elijah, through adoption.  God must have really wanted us to have Elijah first, because He then gave us three biological children (Ruth, Isaiah, and Gideon) in rapid succession.  Four children in just over four years certainly didn’t allow for many plans or schedules to go the way we wanted!  But, I have learned a lot about looking at the blessings God gives us that are evident each and every day.  

Before we had children, my husband and I were sure we wouldn’t homeschool, and yet…here we are!  Our first year of homeschooling included my adventure with thyroid cancer, but somehow in the midst my sweet boy learned how to read. We also had the chance to grow closer as a family.  Homeschooling is truly a way of life for our family, and even though it is really tough at times, we wouldn’t have it any other way.     

Around 8 am, after chores and getting breakfast, we try to start a typical school day at the breakfast table with Bible and memory work practice.  We’re reading in Psalms right now.  We go over the current memory work and review past memory work in the morning. 

After the table is cleared off (usually by 9am or so), we head to the school room for what my kids think of as their “school day”.  We complete copywork for about fifteen minutes (longer if they ask for it) – concentrating on careful, good copying.  Isaiah and Gideon color and work on letters or pre-writing skills while the older two use their Memoria Press copywork books.  Copywork time may also be used to write a thank you note or a get-well card to someone instead of just using their copywork books.  


Next up (around 9:15 or so), we work on math for about an hour.  Ruth and Elijah spend five minutes completing a worksheet from http://www.math-drills.com with a sand-timer running.  This increases their speed and sharpens their addition and subtraction facts.  While the sand-timer is going, I sometimes take the little boys to another room and read them a picture book or two.  After our drilling practice is over, Elijah, Ruth, and Isaiah work on their next Math-u-see lessons.  If you are familiar with this curriculum, it is mastery-based so we don’t move on until we have mastered a topic.  There are short dvd lessons the kids might be watching and need instruction from me or they may just be practicing a skill they learned previously.  Once they finish what I give them, they take a short break to finish up any unfinished chores or run outside for a bit.
About 10:15 or 10:30, usually after having grabbed a snack, we head back to the school room for Language Arts – reading, English, spelling.  They practice spelling words for about two days and then have a spelling test.  I am not wild about my spelling curriculum choice this year, Spectrum Spelling workbooks, but last year’s was a disaster, and the kids don’t mind this year’s system.  As long as we are practicing spelling, right?           

For English, Ruth and Elijah use Rod and Staff English books.  The books are hard-cover, but have a small price tag, so we actually use them as workbooks sometimes.  The lessons are done orally, written in the book, or on separate paper.  I like using this along with what we memorize in CC for our English right now.  Elijah’s grade three book has started very simple sentence diagramming, which he loves.  They also have very simple practice about how to write a good sentence and introduce parts of speech.   Elijah and Ruth can work through a lesson reading it on their own and then ask for me to check or expand on it, while we decide how to complete what parts of the assignments. 

Isaiah is learning to read.  We have used The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading with all of kids, and so far, so good.  Isaiah is taking a little break from the book because I think he needs more practice in three-letter, short vowel words.  He has been completing some worksheets I printed from www.teacherfilebox.com (if you want to sign up for a year, you should sign up through the Homeschool Buyers Co-Op since they get a group rate) – things like cutting and pasting words to match pictures or worksheets where he is supposed to illustrate a phrase like “pig in the mud”.  I try to catch Isaiah at a good time for him to work, so we’ll do reading lessons early in the morning or later in the day – whenever he seems very excited about it or focusing well. 

By the way, during this time, Gideon (and sometimes Isaiah) may have talked me into Sesame Street or dumped every toy on the floor or built a fort or gotten himself covered in mud.  But, as long as we clean up the mess, and are playing nicely, I usually let them go.   

That is the “end of the school day” as far as my kids are concerned.  They think of this time as the “school day”, and I’m not going to tell them otherwise! Really, much of what they do – day in and out – is learning.

The rest of our day often includes a read-aloud (currently Spy for the Night Riders) at lunch, Awana and piano practice, assigned reading (that I assign from the library crate or a book we have in the house), exploration outside, and crafts.  Supper time includes family Bible time.  Bedtime includes reading aloud from something that won’t be too upsetting before sleep (currently from In Grandma’s Attic -I think we’re in the second book) and memorizing a hymn (currently Crown Him with Many Crowns). 

Another great source of learning for our family is the library.  We have a bit of a library obsession.  Some days we have trouble getting our school day started because the kids are so wrapped up in reading.  I mean, who can say no to a kid asking to finish Nearly, Dearly, Insincerely before getting to their chores?  Our library obsession is evident with our library crate. Actually, we just added a second crate. While at the library, the kids wander the stacks saying things like “Can you find a book about snakes?” or “Wow. Check out the book about castles.” or “I found a book about Charlemagne.  Can I get it?”  Somehow, even when I say we are only going to get one book per person since we still have more at home, we still end up with a book about each type of biome, a few English grammer-type books (like the Eats, Shoots, and Leaves picture books), and a couple of art books.  Yeah, I show a lot of restraint, don’t I?  I do try to limit the goofy, fluff books or a book I know nothing about, but I really have the backbone of a jellyfish when we are at the library.

I am truly blessed by a husband who takes a very active role in teaching our kids.  His job allows him to be home by 4 pm most days and off for weeks in the summer.  He does tons of science experiments with the kids, like making plasma from a grape in the microwave or building electrical circuits.  Seth takes the family on hikes and teaches tree and plant identification.  He reads books to the kids, watches science videos (these are the current favorites), takes them to play disc golf, leads family Bible time, and just generally spends time investing in our children.  As we travel in the van down the highway, he might take the time to explain inertia (including tapping the brakes and accelerating) or play classical music for the family to enjoy.  Often on Sunday afternoons, he listens to the kids practice Awana verses or CC presentations.  Vacations in our family are mostly educational, with stops at lots of disc golf courses along the way, because we just really enjoy doing these kinds of things with the kids.

I know that no day is completely “typical” – between illnesses, appointments, days where we need to go search for lost keys, people stopping by, or needing to stop what we are doing to work on grumpy attitudes (theirs or mine).  We hold to our schedule very loosely – not wanting to miss out on something else God might have in store for us.  If someone needs us, we honestly drop everything and want to help.  At the end of the day, my husband and I would rather teach compassion than grammar and godly service over arithmetic. Even when a day is a mess and nothing is going the way I want, I try to cling to God’s promises.  Lamentations 3:21-24  “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ ”  

I don’t know about you, but I know I have plenty of messy, not-so-organized, not-so-planned, disastrous days where I just want to go back to bed and start again, but God is faithful in bringing us through.  No two families are alike in how we do things, but I think our homeschool struggles are often the same!    

Aren’t there endless lists of great books out there?  Here are a few of our favorite series and authors I didn’t mention earlier: 

All books from Answers in Genesis (and their publisher Master Books) –especially D is for Dinosaur, A is for Adam, Big Book of History, Big Book of Earth & Sky

Imagination Station books (my kids literally count out their money to order these when they come out.  Book 12 just got published and actually arrived at our house 1 day before “it came out”.  Book 13, they’ve already ordered even though it isn’t due out until January.)

Cleary, Brian P. – all of his books especially the English grammar ones

I Spy colors/shapes in Art (and other art picture books)

Any books in the “You wouldn’t want to be” series

American Girl books (for my daughter – she is going to be in an American Girl club this year)


  1. says

    Becki, you are sure are on “super blessed mommy” to have a husband that takes such an active role in your kids education! I am always so impressed when I hear of all the fun stuff Seth is doing with your kids. I love your book recommendations here as well.


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