A Homeschool Day in the Life (with a 13, 12, and 10.5-year old)

I’ve thought about doing a homeschool ‘day in the life’ post for a while, but I wanted to wait until I knew what an average day actually looked like this semester.  Since, after a long break, we’re finally back in the swing of things I thought it might be a good time to offer a glimpse into our daily routine.  Then our middle son got sick.  I decided to record today anyway, however, because this is how it goes sometimes.  No point in waiting for the perfect day because that day doesn’t exist.

On that note:

6:00 a.m.  My husband’s iPhone alarm goes off and he asks me if I want to get up.  I mutter that I don’t, but that I have to.  He switches on the light and goes to make coffee.  I sit up so that I don’t fall back asleep.  He returns with a steaming mug of hope and, after a few sips, I open my Bible to read and pray.  At some point I check email and read a couple of blogs I love.

7:00 a.m. I start my writing routine.  I get in two hours of (mostly) uninterrupted time to work on various projects I have going.

7:30 a.m. The kids’ alarms go off.  The boys have accidentally set theirs to a fuzzy radio station, and it blares cruelly, causing my middle son to rage-whine.  He’s battling some type of stomach bug, and this kind of reveille does not help.

8:00 a.m.  The kids are awake and have tidied up their rooms (I think) but they don’t want to eat yet.  None of them are feeling great and they ask if they can watch a cartoon.  This is not the norm at our house, but I tell them they may if they finish the Ken Burns Civil War episode they’re working through, first.  With only twenty minutes left until the end, they readily agree.  When they’ve finished it, I hear Batman.

9:00 a.m.  My writing time is over.  I close the laptop and go see what the kids are up to.  They’re moving slowly today.  Only two of them have eaten but they’ve cleared the dining room table of dishes and my oldest has taken a shower.  They check their notebooks for the assignments I’ve written down for today.

10:00 a.m.  My middle son is doing his work from the couch.  He looks miserable and I don’t push him.  All three of the kids are old enough to diagram sentences, work through vocabulary lists, grammar charts, read Bible passages, etc. on their own.  They do these things at their own pace and check them off in their notebooks as they finish.  I look over their completed assignments later in the day.

11:00 a.m.  I ask the kids how they’re doing with time management.  There’s been some running and slamming doors from the non-sickies, and I question if they’re staying on task.  They remind me that we’re starting a new math lesson today and I promise to work through the material with them with lots of hands on help.  After watching an explanatory lecture on the new concept they bring their workbooks to my bedroom.  We pile on my bed and work through each question as a group.

12:00 a.m.  We break for lunch.  The kids eat cheese, fruit, peanut butter, and hard-boiled eggs.  The middle boy sips water.  I manage to convince him that a piece of toast might be OK.  He eats a few bites, then wants to stop.  After lunch, the other two help me clear the table and tidy up around the house.

1:00 p.m.  The kids come to me, one by one, to test their weekly memory work.  We call this “proofing.”  If they can recite all of the information we’ve committed to memorize over the week, without lots of help or starting over, they’re able to move on to new material.  They all manage to ace it this week, even the kid with the gurgling belly.

2:00 p.m.  We haven’t finished everything.  The kids need to rework a written assignment on Thomas Jefferson but we decide to finish it tomorrow.  We’re all schooled out.  They read Harry Potter in their bedrooms for a while.  It’s too cold to play outside.

At this point in the day, if there were no sickness, we’d have also completed what we call Morning Time, an hour when we sit together and read poetry, the Bible, and a chapter of a novel.  Sometimes, if we don’t get to it in the morning, we do it in the afternoon or even before bed.  Because today was meh (with a dash of misery), we decide to save it for just before going to sleep.

And that’s that.  Some days we get a lot done; others, like today, not so much.  But it all balances out in the end.