Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Day in the Life of Our Homeschool

I thrive on a little routine and structure, but with five kids under the age of ten, every day is different.
I thrive on a little order and neatness, but with five kids under the age of ten, every day is rowdy and messy. 

I say this not to feel sorry for myself, but to illustrate that our homeschool, just like our lives, can still thrive even when it doesn't fit into the mold we've made for it. 

We're trying a slightly new routine this year.  After waking, we all independently make our beds, brush our teeth, and get dressed.  Then we meet in the kitchen for breakfast.  After we eat, we move on to morning chores.  The two oldest kids have begun rotating weeks for morning dog duty.  The one who is on dog duty is also responsible for sweeping the back steps daily.  The one who is not on dog duty, helps with the inside chores. 

Instead of assigning work each morning, I've given each child a consistent list so they can take responsibility for performing the work without reminder and so that the repetition will help them learn to do their jobs well.  After their work is done, they are free to read or play until I call them for school. 

Owen reading to the younger kids while I vacuum.

We begin our school day with Bible reading and Bible memory.

While we're gathered at the table, we often will read our history book together and do our day's "extra" subject, too-- either art, music, poetry, or geography.

Maddie describing what she sees in the art print we are studying

This is where things begin to fall apart.  For the first time this year, Ben has learned to occupy himself during our morning school time. 

playing with markers, paper, plastic trucks, a stuffed Larry, and hand cuffs (?!)

Alaine, however, has moved into the role of needy toddler.  Though not a whiny, demanding child in general, she is not content during school time.  She spends much of the time doing this:

I often resort to holding her, bouncing her, comforting her, much like I would do with an infant!  It would stress me out, except that I've had toddlers before and every one of them went through this crying-during-school-hours stage and every one of them eventually grew out of it! 

After our reading time, we move on to what we call our table work or our pencil work.  Each child does their math and English (spelling, handwriting, grammar) on their own.  We are working this year on independence-- completing your assignment without being told and without needing reassurance after every sentence or math problem! 

Sometimes Gavin prefers to work in the floor of my bedroom, away from the noise of the little kids. 

Our goal is to be done all school work by lunch time. I know this will change as the kids grow older, but for now it works.  The kids' noontime routine is to watch The Wild Kratts television show.  I used to question the stewardship of adding TV to our daily routine until I realized how incredibly much they were learning about animals from this program!  We now count it for school. 

Afternoons are nap time for the two youngest kids and quiet play time for the older ones.

Lately we've even braved a few afternoons of running errands and skipping naps altogether.  It can make for a hairy afternoon, but those early bed times are a treat.

Edited to add: After I published this post, a reader asked a few questions that I answered in a follow-up post.  
What does your average day look like?  Do you even have an "average" or is every day a new adventure? 

Linking this post to...

Not Back to School Blog Hop


  1. Now that my youngest is about to turn 5, our routine is getting a little easier but we still have days that involve stamping, shrieking, and whining....not always by the kids. :) It's still a great life.

  2. What does the daily list of independent work consist of? Do you look at the week and the assign the pages/ assignments? Is it just for the older two?

    Our days right now really just have a flow...but that flow is easily changed as we see fit. Like for instance on days when Garrett is a bit too much we move school time to the afternoon instead of trying to complete it I the morning. Then there are days like today that take much longer b/ c of bad attittudes and several spankings...

    I loved reading this. Do you set an alarm and get up at a certain time each morning? I have to admit that is really a stumbling block for me.

  3. I so admire mamas who can juggle elementary, preschool and toddler ages. Keep up the good work! I too am amazed at how much my children learned by watching educational shows. It often sparked a desire to learn more, which of course is the goal of education.

  4. Thank you so much for posting that about Alaine! Miss M is such a pleasant girl, but she's been driving me absolutely batty this year with school! Not much crying thankfully...just neediness and wanting to be in the middle of everything - snatching books and ripping pages. And - ugh! So glad to hear it's normal. :)

    We do have a routine, and so far so good. The boys are both doing SO well! I'm proud of both of them! Mr. B's been sticking around for most of it even though he doesn't have to. :) It's been a very pleasant start of the school year.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...