In fact, it rarely does.
This year has been "tough" on homeschooling. With Merikalyn's brain mass landing her in the hospital, this wonderful pregnancy, and moving... we've had a lot on our plate. My desire to homeschool through the summer didn't work out like I planned.
Thankfully, we're the kind of family that "goes with the flow", and our style of education is not to mimic the classroom, but to allow the kids to go at their own pace, learn in their own style, and be able to choose- for the most part- what they'd like to learn.
And, let me tell you, this has worked quite well for us. I am often amazed by their intelligence, especially when I realize they know something I never specifically sat down and taught them. This is how it works in our household, though. We try to teach as much as possible through real life situations. It's become such habit, we don't realize we are doing it. Of course, I feel all families should do this whether they home educate or not as it really reinforces concepts and teaches them that this information has a use in every day life.
When you use such a method, you'll see your children constantly learning (and even teaching themselves), even when you don't sit down and crack open a workbook. We have not had the time to go through our reading lessons (Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons), but I often find the kids snuggled on the couch with a book trying to read the words. They love to read signs and labels everywhere we go, and this is GREAT real-life application. This teaches the children that reading is more than just books and magazines, but is necessary in driving, following directions, and even grocery shopping.
I know that I often just want to do things myself (quickly!) or have some quiet time, but I have to remind myself that getting my children involved in the every day tasks and having those rambling conversations are very educational and necessary.
One thing that I LOVE... and wish I would have done sooner.... is having art and creative projects available for the children at all times. I believe this is why Keagan, at nearly three, has such great hand/eye coordination and is already (in my totally unbiased opinion) a great artist. He's great at tracing, drawing circles, and can stay inside the lines if he wants to (key words: if he wants). They are free to draw on their chalkboards and marker boards (I did hold the markers back until I knew Keagan could properly use them without me watching), color masterpieces with crayons (I have a bucket of coloring books and Crayolas set out), and various other fun doodley things. Paint, playdough, and other forms of art are fun to explore, but I do have to keep an eye on them, so these things are not left out for them to use any time, but we try to fit them in often.
I love the Montessori idea of having trays of activities for the kids. I use this method for Keagan, and even my older children, because I know it's just a lot of fun to walk into their education room and see fun activities awaiting you. I try to change them out on a weekly basis to keep it interesting.
This particular week we had clocks to play with, different kinds of stencils and rulers, tangrams, a fun little game of "magnetic facial hair", a tray with various activities like my old Rumor cell phone, which they love to "pretend text" on and a game of finger bowling. I set out a stack of books, a basket of wooden shapes, and a basket of colorful connecting blocks. The last shelf has Handwriting Without Tears wooden "sticks" to make letters (a favorite that is always on the shelf) and various other educational games and puzzles.
(We also have other shelves and baskets in this room stocked with goodies.) My kiddos love learning- and love getting new educational toys (really... they beg for them!)... and having these things available to them to access any time means that, even when homeschooling doesn't go as planned, they are still learning.