Recently I shared about five myths of homeschooling, and really it was more about how my heart softened and grew from assumptions and stereotypes to reality. Because of that and the comments I get every time I say “we homeschool,” I wanted to share a little “day in the life.” I’m all about creating rhythms, which I’ve written about before so think of this as a little update of that blog, because it’s been over a year! Lots has changed about our rhythm since then.
A couple of things to remember before I begin: This is a day in the life of this homeschool mom. And truly, because I’m for rhythms over routines, our day to day often looks different and this is more like a peek into a typical week than a day. Secondly, I bet if you went into each homeschooling family’s home it would all look different, because we each have a different set of values and priorities with how we manage our home and time. But, for those of you remotely interested or maybe you’re contemplating this one day for your own family, I hope this gives you a little peek of what our reality looks like day to day, and maybe encourage you that you can indeed do this if you so choose!
Secondly, we school year round. We basically do a 6 weeks on, one week off rotation. The reason I’ve chosen to school year round is because I found that Kai does better with the structure and expectations, and for me I find it way too overwhelming to focus on all subjects for a shorter amount of time. Schooling year round helps me to prioritize what subjects matter most right now at this age, for him in particular, and it’s easier for me to plan through seasons. Right now our top priorities are reading, Classical Conversations memory work (which encompasses history, geography, english, and science), and Japanese language learning. When we are done with our reading curriculum this fall, then we’ll move on to math. This works for us and makes it less overwhelming, plus I like the freedom of time. So, here’s a little peek into a typical day in the life!
6:00 AM: After hitting snooze for thirty minutes much to my husband’s demise, I wake up before my child (she writes laughingly because her child is often times already up). If Kai is awake, he’s supposed to stay in his room until 7:00. If for whatever reason he’s just having too hard of a time with that, he may sit beside me or play quietly in the playroom until then, but the key is he must respect my time till 7:00. I have learned that I need the quiet of the morning to fill my cup and be a better mom, even if it’s only thirty minutes. So typically, I’ll get up and start my coffee. While it’s brewing I down some lemon water, apply my oils, and by the time I grab my journal I’ll get my mug of coffee and head to the kitchen table or the quiet of our office, whichever. I do my quiet time for about thirty minutes and then prep breakfast if it’s not already done.
7:00 AM: Kai comes out, and we connect. We eat breakfast at the table while I read aloud a short devotional and then read from whatever book it is we are going through (right now it’s Harry Potter). Sometimes he is engrossed and wants to finish the chapter, and in that case he’ll grab a couple of toys or something to do with his hands while he listens, or if he’s done we stop where we stop, and head to the playroom.
7:30 AM: After breakfast, we head to the playroom. Our morning time to connect is so important. He is ready to play so we go and play for about thirty minutes or longer, depending on the season.
8:00 AM: When it is hot like it is now or even when the weather is nice, Kai requires a lot of movement, so we get outside if we can and get some fresh air. He rides his scooter or bike and we take our dog for a walk, typically ending at our neighborhood park so he can climb and jump and just be a kid! If we don’t feel like going out for a walk, then we just go play in our backyard. He loves to kick the soccer ball around, play fetch/tug-of-war with our dog, do a dice game with me (and sneak in a little math through play), play catch, whatever we feel like doing that day. If going outside isn’t possible, we do one of our favorite sensory activities (and I’ve got several more on the blog) or a Cosmic Kids Yoga. Either way, we move.
9:00 AM: These times should all have an “ish” out beside them, because why stop when you’re having fun, and if it’s nice outside we stay outside as long as possible. But typically, by 9:00 ish we’re back in, we’ve done our daily affirmations, and we are heading to the kitchen table to start school. Moving in the morning definitely helps our school time be successful. If oils aren’t in the diffuser, we get those going and I’m applying more to myself and him. Our school time right now looks like going through our reading lesson from this book I cannot recommend enough. It typically takes anywhere between 20-40 minutes. I have found for us at least, the further we get into the curriculum the lessons aren’t longer, but take more time because the skill level gets harder. Typically, we’re done with our main schoolwork before or by 10:00 am!
10:00 AM-2:30 PM: This is where it usually looks different from day to day! I’ll break that down for you below but the nice thing is, we have the freedom to do whatever we want to do during those hours. On Mondays I purposely schedule nothing. This is our home day, where we just start the week off slow and connected. I’ll go over this another time and say this to shame no one, it is just through trial and error and a bit of research (check out the Screens Without Screams Kit), we highly limit screen time for our sensory seeker. He either gets four TV Shows in a day, or he can choose one movie, but on Mondays, we are screen free. I feel like his brain needs that reset and I need to train myself and him not to be dependent on them for entertainment when something needs to get done. He needs to be bored and spark creativity and play independently, and I need to not use TV as a babysitter every time I need to get something done. But if it’s not a Monday, then after our main subject, we both need a little break. He knows there is no TV until after we are done with school. I’ll give you one guess what his immediate request is post-school. “Can I watch a show?” Typically my answer is yes, because at this point I need to brew my second cup of coffee and this introvert who has been “on” for three to four hours needs a minute to breathe. He eats a snack and watches a TV show while I sip my second brew in peace and check in on social media and my inbox. If there are dishes that were left or a load of laundry that needs to get started, that happens during this time. If he chooses the movie then we wait till lunch time for screen time. On Tuesdays we usually have an outing-the zoo, our local nature preserve, a museum, something “bigger.” Sometimes we go with friends, other times by ourselves, just depends! If we do something big on Tuesdays, then we keep it chill on Wednesdays and try to have a lazy day that looks similar to Mondays except he can have screen time. Usually on Wednesday we’ll have a play date or meet up of some kind with a group of friends. Thursday is our language learning day! For about two hours we meet with my friend and her kids, and she teaches me while the the kids all play so I can incorporate throughout the week. Friday is our community day for Classical Conversations, so we are out of the house by 8:00 am and get done at 1:00 p.m. Fridays are our family day. After CC depending on the season, sometimes we do our family mall date we’ve been doing for three years, sometimes we do something bigger especially if it’s holiday season, and usually end the day doing a family movie night with popcorn on the couch.
11:45 AM: Unless we are doing an errand or on an outing, the fifteen minutes before lunch we use for language learning. I spend more time studying throughout the week so I can teach him, but we sit down and do about 10-15 minutes of structured language learning. Throughout our normal day I incorporate as much as I can just living life, because I fully believe that’s the best way to learn a language!
12:00 PM: Lunchtime! His favorite thing to do is have a “picnic,” i.e., sit at our kitchen island and watch a show while he eats lunch.
1:00/1:30 PM: Again with the “ish,” depending on the day or morning we’ve had, we do something calm. Kai is at the perfect age for board games and he loves them. We might play a board game or two, or he plays with his legos or does a sensory activity while I read aloud. Sometimes I need him to play independently so I can either get things done around the house or process some book orders, sometimes we need to go run a couple of errands, other times I’m making sure dinner is completely ready for when we get home later.
2:30: We clean up! Kai’s job is to make sure his playroom is clean, pick up any laundry he has on the floor after his five different pajama changes, I make sure the kitchen is cleaned and main space is picked up. It stresses me out to come home to a huge mess, so even though it’s not perfect, I just need things to be orderly.
2:45-6:30: Monday-Thursday, Kai has gymnastics practice in the afternoons for two and half hours. We live thirty minutes from the gym, so we have to leave by about 2:45 and don’t usually get home till 6:30. Since we have a thirty minute drive, car becomes school! The great thing about Classical Conversations is the memory work for this age is all song based. I literally turn on the playlist and we can review twice by the time we get to the gym, and that’s all our school for the day! No more than an hour tops.
Because this takes up our entire afternoon and into the early evening, I’m really protective of our time. As I said in this blog, it is so easy to overfill the schedule, and part of my reason for homeschooling is so that we could have freedom of time. While Kai is at gym, there’s a great local coffee shop across the street, and I utilize that time to get as much writing done as I can.
6:30-8:00: When we get home, we eat dinner as a family, connect through some kind of calm play, Kai takes a shower and gets ready for bed, then we read aloud together until 8:00 when it’s lights out.
After Kai is asleep, Jonathan and I divide up household chores, I do yoga, we work on writing projects, I decompress with a TV show and try to be in bed by 11:00 p.m.
After that we finish up any house managing stuff that needs to happen, and we both always have some writing or other business things to do. Now that I’m better managing my time and Kai is more independent, I’m getting better at going to bed much earlier than I used to: Read 11:00 vs. 1 am.
So, that’s a bit of our day in the life and a typical week! The thing about your schedule and your time friends: It will change. Roll with it, but remember mamas especially: You are the gatekeeper. You have the freedom to say no so you can give greater yeses. What’s your typical day look like?