A Day in the Life: Our Homeschool Day with an 11, 7 and 2 year old

As any homeschooling Mama can attest, our days are never exactly the same, but we do have rhythms and routines that help our days to run as smoothly as possible.  Please know that while I list things out in what seems like an orderly way here, our days are full of sibling squabbles, distracted Mama trying to do one more thing, and regular interruptions of daily life: broken appliances, toddler messes (SO many toddler messes!), unexpected flooding and the like.

5am–My alarm goes off and usually, I roll out of bed. I thrive on this morning quiet time.  I use this time to study scriptures, read a chapter or so from an uplifting book, journal and pray.  I also work on my year long hand-lettering challenge and possibly squeeze in some work for my shop.

Somewhere between 6:30 and 7am–Little feet patter down the hallway and I’m in Mama Mode. One of my boys is always the first to wake up. Ethan (7) has always been my early-morning buddy and he’ll often sit next to me, or on my lap, while I work for a few extra minutes. Our youngest, Elijah (2) has recently transitioned to a Big Boy bed and he gets up much earlier now than he used to.  He always greets me with the same message. “Mama.  I just waked up.”

Depending on the moods of the children who are awake, I’ll often fit in some exercise during this time.  They either join me, or snuggle on the couch to cheer me on. If I can’t get to it in the morning, I usually get it done during nap time. Ellie (11) usually appears around this time.  She has trouble falling asleep and will often sleep in later than the boys.

8am–Breakfast and Morning Time

Because we have such a large age gap between our kids, it’s difficult to manage read aloud time. Elijah is not at all quiet, and doesn’t tend to sit still to watch a short show or play quietly with toys very well so we work around when he is happiest for school time. (If you have a very busy toddler and tips for things to keep them busy while you work with other kids, I’d LOVE to hear them!)

Morning Time is the backbone of our homeschool day. Essentially, Morning Time is a short period of time (generally about an hour) during which I read aloud from various books that cover different areas of our curriculum.

 Each morning we have a short religious/moral reading. Currently we rotate between three read alouds:
   — The Children’s Friend magazine
   — Illustrated Scripture Stories
   — The Children’s Book of Virtues

Then I read a poem or two from Favorite Poems Old and New and sometimes we discuss the poems in very simple terms: what they were about, what we liked or didn’t like.  Mostly, I just want my children to hear beautiful poetry and enjoy it.

Science is usually next.  We’ve been studying physics this year and just finished reading a book about Albert Einstein.  We’ve studied Archimedes, Light and Sound, and much more this year.

History is next.  We are just about to finish reading How They Croaked: The Awful Deaths of Awfully Famous People. It’s a rather irreverent, and often very funny, brief synopses of the lives and deaths of famous people throughout history.  We’ve been horrified at many of the stories, and at first the illustrations seemed too grotesque for my 7 year old. The light, informative tone of this book has really helped information sink into our brains, though.  Both of my big kids have referenced stories from it several times in recent days and that, to me, shows that we are learning from it.  I’m looking forward to reading How They Choked next.

Usually our history read aloud time is spent on a living book based in the particular period of time we’re learning about.

We end with Draw the USA, which is a beautifully simple way to become familiar with United States Geography. My kids LOVE this book.  There are several more books in the series and we’ll definitely be using them over the next while.

At this point we are done with our formal sit-down school time.  The big kids work on their independent work: Math, Digital Art and Writing for Ellie; Math, Lego Robotics and Reading for Ethan. (Both kids use Dreambox for math. They take turns practicing the piano, and they also work on chores and other items from their daily list during this time.  I bounce around helping kids, doing housework, chasing the toddler, and all those little things that Mamas do all day.  We often head out for a nice long walk before lunch; we’re all pretty ready to be outside for a while by that point.

After lunch is my favorite time of the day: Quiet Time.  Elijah goes down for a nap and the big kids and I all separate to our rooms for some alone time. This usually lasts 60-90 minutes.  We use this time to read, play quietly, or take a short nap. I often get some more work done during this time as well.

Afternoons are much more relaxed, and include time to play with friends, go to the park or enjoy a little screen time before heading out to choir practice, swim team practice, chess club or whatever else is on the calendar. My husband goes to work early so he can be home by mid-afternoon and we’re excited to see him around the time Quiet Time is ending.

We eat dinner as a family (usually late because of Ellie’s swim practice), then we clean up the kitchen, and start the bedtime routine. After reading aloud (I usually read a chapter of a book to each of the big kids separately, but right now we’re reading The Jungle Book all together) we pray as a family and read scriptures. Then the kids go to bed.  Jason and I enjoy a bit of time together and then head to bed ourselves.

Not at all glamorous, but I feel like we’re in a really good homeschool groove right now. I am so grateful to be able to spend my days with these little people and I hope and pray that I can inspire them with a love of life and learning as much as they inspire me.

This is how our days looked last year.

Head to Simple Homeschool for more of the Day in the Life series.