In what has become one of my favorite post to both do, and to reflect on, it’s time for a day in the life post with Simple Homeschool.
I don’t often write about homeschool because it is the thing I do that people least understand (and that’s saying something) and I always want everyone to feel welcome in this space. But truthfully, it takes us much of our days, most of my time, and is one of the things that shapes and defines me as a person and all of us as a family.
I love being able to look back and see what how that shape has changed and grown over the years. Also, it doesn’t hurt that with each consecutive year homeschool has gotten easier even when the work of it gets tougher. Turns out endurance is indeed its own reward.
Right now our days are full but not busy, flexible without being a free-for-all, and rhythmic without being dull. If it sounds a little dreamy and overly romantic, well, then just know that I’m praising the Lord for this season every day because it is indeed a little magical.
I wake up at a ridiculously early hour for two simple reasons: First, I’m naturally a morning person, I like mornings and I enjoy the time. (I mean, I don’t always enjoy 4:30, but I don’t regret it ever.) Second, I need a long runway. Even for an outgoing extrovert the sensory overload around here could take anyone down. So I bask in the silence.
I use this time to pray, read my Bible, workout, get in a little morning reading, and sit in silence for awhile. This time inevitably gets invaded by my littlest two who always sneak down for hugs. I’m not mad about it.
Lights up. I mean actually, the kids have lights on a timer that come on around 6:30 and they are almost always awake before their lights come on, if they aren’t they just sleep right through them. They use that time to read the Bible, current books, and make their bed. I go get them around 7:00 and we meet upstairs in the library for a quick cuddle, picture book, and prayer to start our day.
Then they each scurry off (with many, many, many reminders about faithfulness) to do their chores. We used to rotate, but now each kid just has one chore that they are responsible for from now until eternity as far as they are concerned. I change out laundry, water plants, and fill diffusers, but I mostly try to be available to handle any bad attitudes or distractedness that keeps us from having a smooth morning while my husband makes breakfast.
Things they are responsible for in the morning:
Chores: Sweeping Upstairs, Sweeping Downstairs, Dusting/Utility Room, Bathrooms, Window Sills/Table/Counters
We sit down for breakfast sometime around this time. I usually, casually, bring up topics from The Big Life Journal that week. When we are done the kids do verses and vitamins and then we head upstairs for Chompers. (If you don’t know about Chompers it’s a twice daily teeth brushing podcast that will change your life.
After that we gather in the living room for Morning Collective. Which is exactly like every morning time, circle time, morning basket you’ve ever heard of with a more Millenial name. Instead of going through the whole thing for you, I’m just going to link all the resources we use below.
Poetry Memorization: Poems to Learn By Heart by Caroline Kennedy
Read Aloud: Trial and Triumph
Word Problem: Bedtime Math
History Read Aloud: Beautiful Feet Books (Currently Early American History)
(Looking at that list it looks really intense, but in real life it’s super fun. Bedtime Math is hilarious, they act out the Shakespeare and the poems, Minimus is funny and the Latin lessons are super quick!)
It occurs to me that I should be putting -ish after all these times!
Sometime after Morning Collective we break for skill work. I have a handy little folder system that I put each day’s work in, although, at this point that’s only math work, and for the little girls, a reading work page.
The big kids do their math (we do Math-U-See so if it’s time for a new lesson they just pop in the DVD and get after it) while I work with Jane and Ava on reading. When I’m done we switch and Ava goes and does math while I do spelling with the big kids. Alex (9) has also started written narration this year, so as he finishes his math he reads something (from the Ambleside list) and writes a couple of sentences about it at least two days a week. Lily and Eli have to read and give me an oral narration when they are done with their daily work.
Honestly though, if we miss narration, I can almost always count on them chatting about it at snack or dinner. We do reading more like book club and less like state testing.
All About Reading- We only do to Level Two and then we switch to Spelling
Know & Tell- A Great resource on how narration develops the brain in both learning and communication.
The kids make some tea and we meet back around the school room table. We do a loop schedule so what we are studying from day to day changes. We switch between History, Geography, Artist Study, Composer, Science, Nature Journal. Sometimes we fit in two or a couple of subjects line up really well so we do them together.
I read and teach while they snack and sip, and then they usually do an illustration (as a narration), a watercolor, a game, or copy a sentence about the subject. Or, if it’s Friday, we bake, play a game, or do a craft. (I had to schedule those activities because I don’t like them and wouldn’t do it if I didn’t hold myself accountable.)
We go to either the park or the track because by now I’ve been up seven hours and my brain is starting to blink out.
As far as I’m concerned there is no higher form of self-care that a good, long, brisk walk. (Which just made me sound like I came straight out a Jane Austen novel. Trust me, there are stretchy pants and podcasts involved.)
The kids are on a lunch making/cleaning up rotation because if you’ve been around here for more than five minutes you know I hate cooking. (And if you are keeping score, that’s husband making breakfast and kids’ making lunch. Win for mom.)
I actually just have a smoothie for lunch later because I read aloud to the kids while they are stuffing their faces. It’s a great tactic if you’ve never tried it. We read all manner of books from great classics to fun new releases. We love it all!
Currently, we are reading Swallows and Amazons. My kids tend to like stories surrounding big families or groups of kids.
Bible Study. We attend a Bible Study that has a homeschool program, so with the exception of Jane who is still in a little kids class, we are all studying the same book of the Bible at the same time on different levels. So we read the passages aloud, and share our answers.
Get thee outside. I’ll see you this evening.
I mean, really though. Adios.
I spend this time:
Having my lunch
Reading a Novel
Doing Message prep for speaking
Picking up the House, Doing Chores
They spend this time
Playing pick-up football, basketball, or swordfighting.
Playing dress up.
Currently they are very into “writing books”,
Going on “adventures” (read: walking around in pastures while playing pretend.)
Using their builder’s sets
Often, after I finish my work I’ll grab a book and head outside where I can watch them play and lately when the weather is good we head out for a little pre-dinner walk or bike ride.
Yes, that is a huge time gap. Why? Freedom, that’s why.
Also, because our morning start so early and are so intense we try to give everyone lots of time to play and be free, including parents. You know my brain is fried by this time.
Around this time we call the little humans in for music practice (Alex (9) and Eli (7) are in guitar, Lily (8) is doing piano), bath time, or any other end of day business that needs to be dealt with. They are strongly encouraged to read, do puzzles, play with things that bring some chill. (That almost never actually happens.) (Someday, though. A girl can dream.)
Dinner. We do thankful for’s and pop out the convo cards sometimes. Lately everyone is really into (not funny) knock knock jokes. (which is, ironically, really funny.)
After dinner I take the kids upstairs for another round of Chompers, getting on jammies, and gathering bedtime books while Russ cleans up the kitchen.
We all gather back in the living room for the conclusion of the day. Currently I am reading aloud The Wingfeather Tales and then Russ finishes up with The One Year Bible for the day. We put the kids in bed around 7:00, but they have lights that stay on until 8:00 to encourage them to read and give us a little chill evening time together.
It would be ridiculous to pretend I’m not usually in bed before the kids lights go out. I lay and read and hang out with Russ, but try to be asleep by 9:00, because remember? Uber morning person.