I had planned to share what our days looked like over the Summer as a homeschool family, but things got quite hectic when we last minute decided to move from NW Montana to Eastern North Carolina! That was a BIG move! Now that we are settling in to our new home and getting back to our daily and weekly rhythms, I thought I would share what an “average” day looks like for us. I have a 4th grader and a one year old and my husband works from home. We are all together a lot, and I truly love it! Our homeschool does not fit under one method. We are quite eclectic in our learning and it has worked out very well for us the last few years. Homeschooling for our family is truly a lifestyle. To be completely transparent, some seasons of life, I have piles of curriculum and a set daily and weekly rhythm and a checklist of what I want my son to learn. Other times, we wake up not knowing what we will learn and are a bit more spontaneous, and both ways are great! We take off so many days throughout the “school year” that we kind of have to school year-round. Though we do take off most of the month of August every year. This keeps things nice and flexible for us. No two days are ever the same, but I thought I could share what a more “typical” Fall homeschool day looks like in our home. So if you are interested in following along, here is a day in the life- Fall homeschool edition.
My one year old wakes up first every morning, around 7:00/ 7:30 A.M. Today he woke up right at 7:00. I rub the sleep from my eyes and head to his room to change his diaper. I usually can’t get dressed until after feeding the baby breakfast. Like his mama, he wakes up HUNGRY.
Breakfast for baby – I set baby Theo in his highchair with some dry cereal or baby puffs while I make a pot of coffee. Once that starts brewing I make oatmeal for Theo with banana and some pieces of fresh strawberries on the side. I have to take off his pajamas because he somehow took his bib off and smeared the oatmeal ALL over his entire body. Quick hose down in the sink and back to his room to change him. I stop into Liams’ room (my 9 year old) and try to wake him up. It takes a few times to drag him out of bed. He will sleep until 10:30 or 11:00 every day if I let him.I try again to wake Liam up at 8:00. He pulls the blanket over his head and groans for me to go away. I swear he is a teenager these days. This is the time where I am trying to squeeze in picking up the house, doing dishes, reading my bible, sweeping the kitchen floor, maybe answering an email or two, and writing out my to-do list for the day. This time always FLIES by and I do really need to start getting up 30 minutes earlier than Theo every day to have a bit more time to get it all done. When he finally starts sleeping through the night, I’ll start that early riser habit. Once in a blue moon I do get up before everyone else, including the baby, and it really is the best way to start a day. In the quiet of the house having time to myself with a hot cup of coffee before the day starts.
Liam FINALLY wakes up at 8:30 . He watches the baby while I go feed the rabbit, take the dogs out, and feed them breakfast. ( My morning chores use to consist of feeding 4 sweet little barn kittens, saying good morning to all the cattle and horses and taking care of my 19 chickens… I miss them so much!) I do look forward to having farm chores someday again.
8:45 A.M. Breakfast- For a somewhat indecisive little boy, he always has an extra hard time making decisions first thing in the morning. It takes him 20 minutes to decide what he wants for breakfast. Avocado toast topped with scrambled eggs it is. I am happy about this choice, because I’ll make one for myself as well. After having to throw away SO many rotten avocados because they would go bad before we would eat them, I started buying the little pre-packaged avocado cups. I know I know, it’s more plastic waste and I do hate that. BUT I am not throwing away food now. It’s the perfect portion for two generous servings of avocado toast. I just smear it on the toasted bread and add some salt and pepper. Top it with some scrambled eggs and you’ve got a delicious protein-filled breakfast that will keep you full for awhile. We both take our vitamins and clean up from breakfast.
9:30 A.M.- I put the baby down for his morning nap. The calendar is empty for today, so Liam and I take our time getting dressed while he sleeps.
10:00 A.M.- Morning Time. We start our day off in the living room snuggled on the sofa for our morning time. We are currently in a pretty small rental house where we don’t have a homeschool room. So we have a bookshelf, a rolling cart and a little cupboard that stores all our books and supplies. But we don’t have room for a desk or table in this space so we take the rest of our lessons to the kitchen table.
Every morning, at the very least, I read a page from Indescribable. This book is our favorite kids devotional that combines science and Jesus. Each week we pick a new card from the Christy Beasley Be a Good Character Scripture Cards set and read the card every morning and try to focus on that trait throughout the week. This is our time that we will say a quick prayer together and if we haven’t watched that week’s Church At Home video from Saddleback Kids on YouTube, Liam will watch this while I grab another cup of coffee. Then I will read a chapter from our current read aloud. Right now we are reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Then I let Liam pick a book to read aloud to me. Sometimes he will have a stack of picture books or sometimes a chapter or two from a graphic novel he is reading. Today he chose a chapter from The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. Every morning we switch out our wall calendar and we say the Pledge Of Allegiance while holding our little flag. I read aloud a story or two from the book Everyday Graces- A Child’s Book of Good Manners. This book is really beautiful and doesn’t just teach children good manners, but good character as well.
We also just started to incorporate Morning Virtues from The Gentle + Classical Press. It has been a really lovely addition to our morning time. I had kind of made something similar for myself in the past, but this is ready to go and I don’t have to spend time pulling resources and printables from different places. We have started off with the Courage Bundle (which is FREE right now!) but I already ordered the Morning Virtues Bundle: Hope, Kindness, Creativity because we like this so much. Morning Virtues is a virtue-themed, bimonthly volume, designed for families with children 1st grade, and up. This family-style program was designed by The Gentle + Classical Press, Meaningful Menus, and Rooted Childhood. We have been big Rooted Childhood fans for YEARS. Even long before we were homeschooling. Every other day we go back and forth between the artists and the composer that we are learning about. We are studying Renoir and Beethoven right now. My son really loves to learn about artists- it is one of his favorite lessons. We will watch videos and order picture books about the artist, paint or draw one of their pieces, or even follow an art tutorial on YouTube. This all sounds like a lot, but we actually get our morning time done in about 35 minutes.
10:45 A.M.- Baby Theo wakes up from his nap. I gave him a big handful of puffs and crackers for a snack and give a yogurt to Liam for a quick snack. We take the dogs out and spend a few minutes outside soaking up the sun and listening to the song birds.
11:00 A.M. – Math and language arts. Usually we start off with math first because my kiddo struggles a bit with numbers and focusing on his lessons so we get that done and out of the way. This year we tried out The Good And The Beautiful Math curriculum and are really loving it ! We had used Master Books math the last couple of years and it wasn’t a great fit for my son. I am so glad we switched things up and found a curriculum that works for our family. We also use TGATB Language Arts program and just like in past years, we really love it! My son appreciates the focus on art and the beautiful illustrations. Keeping Theo occupied while we do our lessons has been definitely a challenge. He is too young to do most activities but too old to get strapped into the bumbo seat with some toys. He is BUSY and has recently learned how to climb onto chairs and the sofa and even up his highchair. Keeping him safe has been taking up more of my time these days, but I know this is a short season we are in. Theodore is a free source of constant entertainment, that’s for sure ! Our L.A. and Math lessons usually take an hour and a half total. Sometimes if we have some writing projects, we go over that time. We like to write letters and postcards to friends and family members as part of our language arts lessons, so this also sometimes takes longer.
Break time! Liam also usually asks for a wiggle/stretch break between subjects. He really likes Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube.
12:30- lunch time! Our favorite way to lunch is to make a big grazing board that we can all pick off of. I use whatever I have- cheese, deli meat, crackers, almonds, fresh fruit such as grapes and sliced apples, carrots, celery, and hummus or peanut butter for dipping. We take this out to the back porch if the mosquitoes aren’t too bad. Baby Theo can munch from this board and also has a fruit and veggie pouch. After lunch we clean up and Liam hangs out with his baby brother while I start a load of laundry. I try to do a load every day or every other day to keep on top of it.
1:30- Theo’s afternoon nap. This baby never sleeps the same amount of time twice. Sometimes he will sleep 45 minutes to an hour. Sometimes he will sleep for almost three hours ! I just never know what to expect. While I am putting him down (this takes me about 20 minutes+) I’ll let Liam have a break to do whatever he wants to. Education.com is a great online resource that we’ve been using for years. Some days I’ll set that up on my computer for him or he’ll color or just relax. Today Liam finished up his independent math work.
2:00 -“Loop subject”. Each day we have a different afternoon subject. Monday is Science, Tuesday is Art, Wednesday is History, Thursday is Typing, and Friday we attend our local homeschool co-op. For Science we are currently learning about arthropods using TGATB curriculum. For history, we are learning about the westward expansion and the Oregon Trail. For this we use a mix of History Pockets (I shared how we use this curriculum HERE) and we read books and have several hands-on projects planned. I will be sharing how this unit study goes here on the blog once we are finished. For art we are currently taking an Outschool art class, but I hope to find an in-person class here locally for Liam to attend. And for typing we are using TGATB.
3:00- Theo wakes up from nap. Today Theo slept an hour and a half! woohoo! We wrap up our history lesson and we are done with school for the day. Now is the time where we will either have a park playdate, ride bikes down to the beach, or we just hang at home and Liam watches TV or plays video games while I catch up on chores. I’ll also grab a quick snack for the boys and keep it real simple like an applesauce cup or crackers or an apple. We stay pretty busy until it’s time for me to start making dinner. I really only have a couple hours between lessons and starting dinner so I try to balance homemaking work, blog work, and spending time with the kids outside throughout the week.
5:30- I start dinner. I send Theo to the living room with my hubby and Liam to keep him busy while I cook. Tonight I made tikka masala chicken, jasmine rice, and naan. YUM!
A day in the life- Fall homeschool edition
Now today happened to be a pretty smooth sailing day. This is NOT always the case. Last week my dog was super sick and we couldn’t get anything done. Another day we slept in until 9 and our whole day was thrown off so we cut lessons short because of the late start. We have days where we decide going to the beach mid-day or having a picnic at the park is where we’ll spend our day. My personality type is to want to feel accomplished by checking off every little box I create for each day. But since having Theo, I have had to really try to let go of my high expectations. I was putting a LOT of pressure on getting our lessons done, even if we weren’t feeling it. I would make us push through lessons even if it was a hard day where things were just not working out. Now I am a little better at letting go. I still need to work at it. If Theo is just not letting us get through our language arts lesson, we can cuddle on the sofa and read books instead. If our math lesson feels long and Liam is getting tired and cranky and having a hard time focusing, I know we just have to make time for extra wiggle breaks, fresh air, and maybe another yoga session. If we didn’t get to our typing lesson, I try not to stress and we try again the next day. We get a LOT done if Theo naps well. But if he doesn’t sleep long, which is usually the case, we just have to be flexible.
Our homeschool days very rarely look the same and no homeschool family daily rhythm will look the same. I am really trying to be more flexible and easy-going when it comes to our schedule. I still have it drilled into my head what school “should” look like. But I know that Liam is learning every day, even if it’s not opening a book or doing a worksheet. The other day we skipped our math and language arts lessons because he spent all morning working on a diorama of a dragonfly’s environment he decided to build completely on his own. He is working on creating a poster for an oral presentation on dragonfly’s in front of our family and it was his idea to also create a diorama and started pulling all sorts of materials out to build it. It was one of those days where I sat back and watched him create and use his imagination and get so excited about it. I just LOVED it! I thought to myself, “Yep! This is why we homeschool”.
I also want to be completely transparent and say that not all days are good days. We have had SO much change and challenges and we’ve had to adjust a lot this past year. We have had some REALLY difficult school days. They are not all Instagram-worthy lessons and flat lays with perfectly set poetry teatimes. Learning can look very different for every child and for every family. Please don’t ever play the compare game like I use to. I would be SO envious of my Instagram mom friends who would have every trendy beautiful hardcover picture book on display to follow all the seasons and holidays. I would drool over the perfectly curated sensory bins they would set up every week for their children. I have wished I had that perfect Pinterest-worthy homeschool room, and I have even been sad that I had only one child at my homeschool table instead of several. I have felt guilty that we weren’t doing enough worksheets and guilty because we were doing too many. I have longed for all the gorgeous wood manipulatives and hands-on learning these accounts were setting up every week. I always felt guilty that we weren’t doing as much as everyone else in the Instagram homeschool community! It wasn’t until recently that I actually took a step back and realized how silly it all was. I thought about how I kind of wished that Instagram wasn’t around so I wouldn’t try to keep up with the Jones’. But on the other hand, I have learned so much and been so inspired by other homeschool mamas that I am glad I do have that platform to connect to others.
So whether you have the big beautiful homeschool room or you’re at the kitchen table with a stack of library books, know that you CAN do this, no matter what school looks like or where you are learning !
And if you have bad days too, remember that tomorrow is a new day and we get to set the tone of our own homes and daily rhythms.
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you check out :
Colonial America History Pockets For Kids
Our homeschool Daily & Weekly Rhythm + 3rd Grade Curriculum (2021)
Click Clack Moo Cows That Type Spelling Activities Bundle
Updated Printable Kids Nature Journal
FREE Red Sled Storytime Printable Worksheet Bundle
It Came In The Mail- A Storytime Activity (with free printable kids stationary)
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