(Last Updated on November 1, 2023)
One of the things that helped me the most in my transition from “What is homeschooling?” to “Let’s homeschool!” was reading about what homeschoolers actually do all day. Reading “a day in the life” blog posts about actual, real-life, home educating families doing actual, real-life homeschool-y things opened my eyes to the limitless variety of ways learning can (and does) happen.
I’ve been wanting to write my own “Day in the Life…” post for a long time and here it finally is!
Every day around here is different, but I’d say this post is a pretty good representation of an average, at-home day in our homeschool. Some days are better, some worse. Some lazier, some busier. Some include playdates, some include tantrums. Some have tantrums during playdates.
All that to say, as you read this, keep in mind this is just one example of one day in one homeschooling family’s life. Also, please don’t judge me for feeding my kids brownie batter at 8am.
A Day in our Homeschooling Life
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
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My husband’s alarm goes off and he’s out the door by 7:30am.
I finally muster the willpower to get up and read my Bible.
My middle son, age 7 and in 2nd grade (due to a complete lack of creativity right now I’ll refer to him as “Middle”), sneaks into my room to let me know “It SNOWED!!!”
Middle and I are dressed and ready. It’s a flannel PJ pants kind of day. I remember I was going to make brownies as part of a goodbye gift for a friend who’s moving out of the country. Middle, who loves cooking, helps me make them.
Middle contentedly licks the mixing spoon, giddy because he’s eating brownie batter at 8am (remember, no judging). We put the brownies in the oven. I hear my oldest son (age 10, 5th grade…”Oldest”) calling for me from his room. When I check on him, it’s clear he woke up on the grumbly side of the bed. Thankfully, Middle bounds into the room waving his brownie spoon. Oldest cries, “What? No fair!” Thinking quickly, I let him know that he can lick the bowl as soon as he’s dressed and ready.
All traces of tween grumbly attitude have faded. Oldest smiles at me with a chocolate-stained face and says, and I quote, “I’m no longer angry.” Phew, that was a close one.
The boys review their AWANA memory verses. (Note: I’ll use bold text to highlight ”school stuff” that is actually on my boys’ daily To-Do Checklists. Hopefully that will help you see how those ”official” school things fit into our day.) One of the activities from their AWANA handbook homework required taking their pulse. Seeing this reminds them they were supposed to check my pulse, too. So we spend a few minutes checking pulses. Oldest regales us with facts about bears and their hibernation heart rates. Did you know their hearts slow to only 19 bpm during their winter sleep?
The boys are deep in a detailed discussion of snow fort tunnel plans when there is a knock on the door. I quickly remind them about the brownie timer as I answer the door. The window my husband will be installing on the front of the house (yet another home renovation project) has arrived. The driver informs me they officially only offer “tailgate delivery” (which apparently means they’ll push it to the back of the truck and the homeowner takes it from there). But after looking at the 9’x4’ triple double-hung window and then back at lil’ ol’ me, he kindly offers to help me get it off the truck and into the garage.
When I come back in, I find properly-cooked brownies sitting on the counter (a small miracle), the two boys eating breakfast, and my daughter (age 3, “Youngest”) peeking out the door at the snow. She sees me and runs out to touch the snow. Then we both go back in and I get her breakfast and finally sit down to finish my own. We read Psalm 25 and realize it matches the lyrics from a song we know (Slugs & Bugs Sing the Bible Vol. 1, Song #2 – “To You O Lord”) so we listen to the song, too, and pray together.
Youngest sounds out the word “Nut” from the Cheerios box and calls me over to hear it. She and I entertain each other as she continues to peck at her breakfast in picky-preschooler fashion. Oldest brings down his band music and gives Middle (who also wants to join band) a two minute lesson in percussion nomenclature. Then he runs upstairs to do his 30 minutes of band practice. Catching the musical bug, Middle runs downstairs to begin his 15 minutes of piano practice. I stay with Youngest and also cleanup the kitchen and check emails. Youngest finds Oldest’s history assignment and plays with paper dolls of soldiers from the 1600’s.
Middle finishes piano and I go over his checklist with him. We review what he needs to do for handwriting and math and he gets started on those downstairs.
Oldest finishes his percussion practice and starts his 30 minutes of reading. I make a mental note to record our reading minutes and get our BookIt reading incentive program pizza coupons for the month ready next week. Middle finishes his cursive and math work and then reads a little bit while waiting for me. Youngest has decided she wants to draw at her desk – no, wait – she’d rather do Play-doh. I get her setup with that and we make some Play-doh snakes, alphabet letters and pancakes.
Middle and I work on his language arts together. After that he joins the Play-doh party at the kitchen table. With Oldest still reading and the other two occupied, I finish wrapping some gifts, do more house straightening and catch-up on a few texts.
I begin making our snack but Youngest needs me to help her so I call in Oldest to finish making the eggs. Meanwhile, Middle realizes he wants to add more to his language arts worksheet drawing. The phone rings and I chat with the neighbor for a few minutes.
We all eat our eggs and toast together while skimming pictures in our science read-aloud book, Hidden Worlds: Looking Through a Scientist’s Microscope (by Stephen Kramer). Now that I think about it, it wasn’t the most appetizing book to read while eating.
Youngest wants to watch Daniel Tiger now so Middle gets that started for her. He watches a little bit of Daniel with her while I work on spelling with Oldest (All About Spelling Level 5).
I work with Middle on his spelling while Oldest starts his online math lessons (CTC Math).
Daniel ends and Middle and Youngest color in their Bible workbooks from our church’s current church-wide Philippians study. I also have Middle sound out a couple words from Youngest’s phonics book with her and read her Bob Books to her.
Oldest gets frustrated with the computer and decides to take a break from math (as in, I make him take a break). He reads more of his book. Middle runs up to me and yells “Emergency!” so I race downstairs to find Youngest hiding under her desk because she drew on the sofa with her markers. After a brief reminder to Middle about what constitutes an “emergency” and how he shouldn’t give mom a heart attack, I get cleaning supplies and have Youngest help me clean up the mess. She has a 2 minute time out since she knows better.
I remember we’re scheduled to be at our friend’s house at noon to drop off the brownies and parting gifts. I announce “play break” and chaos ensues (including a friendly wrestling match, among other things). I use the time to finish wrapping the gifts for our friends and pack up the brownies.
We drive to over to our friend’s house and deliver the gifts and brownies and say our goodbyes. We will miss them!!
Back home now, Youngest helps me make lunch while Middle plays the piano and Oldest works on fixing the bunk bed ladder in his room (was it broken? I don’t know). The boys also check their to-do lists and figure out what they have left to do for the day.
Lunchtime! After he gobbles down his lunch, Oldest runs off to do his 15 minutes of piano. The rest of us continue eating lunch at a more reasonable pace.
The same friend we just visited stops by and surprises us with a toy that’s too big to make the international trip with them. It’s a pogo stick – from her kids to mine! My boys can’t get their shoes on fast enough. My friend and I say our goodbyes (again) and the kids race outside to the back patio to give it a try. Once again, a distraction saves the day since they were just starting to get grumbly about their remaining work.
Everyone comes back inside to warm up. Youngest, Middle and I play dress-up (or, rather, I watch them play dress-up). It’s “Superhero Night” at AWANA tonight so Middle and Oldest don their Spiderman and Superman costumes, respectively. Oldest finishes his math assignment (it’s amazing how a little time outside refreshes the attitude of a ten year old boy). Batgirl (AKA Youngest) wants to try some spelling on a whiteboard like her brothers.
Youngest goes down for her nap. The boys setup the microscope while I take a phone call from the neighbor. We do a longer-than-normal science lesson, learning about the main differences between plant cells and animal cells. The boys really want to see what blood cells look like under a microscope. It occurs to me that I have a blood sugar test kit in the bathroom cabinet, so I subject myself to the slight discomfort of a finger prick and we view my blood on a slide. Oh, the things parents do for their children…
The boys do a quick clean-up and then choose to watch their favorite Minecraft YouTubers for their daily 1/2 hr of TV time. I get the kitchen & upstairs messes under control (sort of), watch a squirrel playing on the backyard swing set and make myself a Starbucks-copycat Vanilla Steamer (Note: It’s super easy to make. Just add vanilla and sugar to a mug of hot milk – it’s like hot chocolate… but vanilla).
I hear a tiny voice from the bedroom… I hold my breath. I say a quick prayer that she’s just talking in her sleep. She is!! Praise God, she stays asleep and ends up taking a super-long catch-up nap since she hasn’t slept well the last few days.
I let the boys know it’s quiet time. They are not pleased. (Note: We have a 1-hour, mandatory, separate quiet time each day – they take turns choosing who goes to which level of our split-level house). Middle chooses to go upstairs. He reads his Charlie Brown Encyclopedia and plays with Legos. Oldest goes downstairs and works on the final draft of his writing assignment. He decides to work ahead and finish it so he won’t have to tomorrow. Once that’s done, he does part of his weekly vocabulary & grammar work which is due at the end of each week. I use my quiet time to finish up my next blog post and catch-up on texts and emails.
Quiet time ends. We hear Youngest scuffling around in her room and decide to use our last moments of uninterrupted time to read more of our current read-aloud, Dr. Dolittle. We also watch a C.S. Lewis Doodle on YouTube which we all find fascinating. We decide we definitely must watch more of them in the future.
Youngest wanders out from her room and wants a snack. I get her snack ready and I send the boys on a quick errand to the neighbor’s house. When they come back we all do our “quick-clean-up-the-house-before-dad-comes-home-and-sees-how-messy-it-gets-here” clean-up. The boys practice their AWANA verses again and get their handbooks and bags ready for this evening. Youngest makes numbers and letters out of dried spaghetti noodles as she finishes her snack.
Dad gets home and we all eat dinner. He’s sad that we didn’t save a brownie for him. Oops. My bad.
Dad and the boys leave for AWANA. Youngest and I are excited to have a girls’ night together (usually I take the boys to AWANA). She says for girls’ night she wants to watch Leapfrog Letter Factory, make a painting and have a bath. So that’s what we do. (Incidentally, Leapfrog Letter Factory is a phonics DVD I highly recommend – check out my full review here.)
Youngest goes to bed and I get the kitchen cleaned up (again), set the table for breakfast, and get the school things ready for tomorrow.
The guys come back from AWANA and get to bed with only a little dilly-dallying. Dad and I catch-up on the day while I give him a haircut, we watch a couple Honest Trailers, and then I stay up way past my bedtime to work on this blog post before I forget everything that happened today.
If you’ve made it to the end of this super-long post, congratulations! I hope this glimpse into our lives has helped you in some way (or has at least been entertaining)!
And remember, this is just one day in the life of one homeschool family. Your homeschool may look completely different and that’s ok! In fact, that’s the biggest advantage of homeschooling — having the freedom to do what works for your family!
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