A Day in the Life of … a Homeschooling Mom

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A Day in the Life of ... a

Hey, come on in! I’m glad you could stop in today. I would say “excuse the mess,” but I’ve been learning more and more that toys all over the living room is pretty normal for the stage of life we are in right now, with a 7-year-old and a 2-year-old. Let me just move the laundry basket off the rocking chair and you can sit down and visit.

So, you want to see a typical homeschooling day? Well, first off, we have no typical days. Sorry! Our routine varies depending on when our Classical Conversations homeschool group meets, whether or not it is a day when my daughter has Homeschool Swim & Gym at the YMCA, and whether or not we have scheduled a field trip with some other local homeschooling friends. We are out of the house as often as we are in, something that makes me prefer the term “home-based education” to “homeschooling.”

homeschool zoo
There is no such thing as a “typical day” of homeschooling! We could be on a field trip with other homeschooling friends, involved in another activity or spending time learning at home.

A “Typical” Monday

It’s the beginning of the week and we’ve been awake since 6:30 a.m. – way too early for my taste, but the kids just won’t sleep in. Still, it’s a more leisurely start to the day than when I used to teach middle school and had to leave the house before 7 a.m. No, I do not miss those days!

Because we have no appointments today (so not normal!), we are able to focus the whole morning on school. (That is why I invited you on a Monday.) On a good day, we will start school around 8:00 a.m.. On a day when we are dragging, it could be later. My goal is for my daughter to finish her lessons before lunch, but the good thing about our homeschooling schedule is that if we don’t, we can carry lessons into the afternoon and have less play time. No biggie.

Standard Daily Schedule

Our schedule around “blocks” of time that we shift around as appropriate:

Block 1: Bible and character
Block 2: Writing (copywork, spelling, grammar)
Block 3: Math
Block 4: Reading (phonics and reading comprehension)
Block 5: Memory work and extra projects

Basic Schedule Flow

Each day’s emphasis is different, but the basic flow is the same. For example, the topic of our copywork is a Bible verse on Monday, our Classical Conversations history sentence on Wednesday, science on Thursday, and geography on Friday. Then our reading comprehension time (which right now is me reading to her) focuses on the same topic, as does the memory work later.

For our Bible time today, I am reading to her from the Everyday with God Bible, which goes through the whole Bible in a year with daily passages for kids. We like that it is giving our daughter a good overview of the whole flow of the Bible. After we read and talk about the passage, we read a chapter from the book Cassie and Caleb Discover God’s Wonderful Design, our current book that allows us to talk about different character issues. I am finding that my daughter, like most children, absorbs lessons from stories, so choosing books with characters she can both relate to and emulate is important to us. My son cuddles up with us on the sofa while we read, absorbing the lessons at his own pace.

Time for Block 2, writing. We start with copywork, which is a big part of the classical approach that we use. Today being Monday, she is copying a Bible verse, Philippians 2:3-4, which is part of a larger passage she is memorizing for her American Heritage Girl troop. That is something she can do on her own, so I am able to spend some time on my morning chores or paying attention to her little brother. When she is done, we go through a lesson from the book First Language Lessons and then she focuses on writing a short letter or card to one of her cousins or other relatives. Finally, she goes on the computer for a spelling lesson on the website SpellingCity, with a list of words we have taken from the book Spelling Plus.

research
We use Classical Conventions which schedules learning into “blocks” of time.

I set aside about 45 minutes for writing, so any time she has left over, she can play – or move on with math, her choice. We use Saxon Math and are in book 2 right now. The lessons are fairly straightforward. Today, we are working on recognizing combinations of addends that total ten, so we play a card game to practice that before she completes a page in her math workbook. The card game goes well. The math page, not so much. She would rather play than do work. It is a daily struggle in at least one subject every day. (But never the same one!)

By now we are both ready for a break, so we stop for a snack. Reading is next, and we break that into phonics, where she reads to me from a book in the American Language Series, and literature, where I read her a story and she tells it back to me. We have been reading short children’s books, but she is able to pay attention for a long enough period of time that we may start moving to some classics or chapter books soon.

We’re ready for block 5! Tomorrow is our Classical Conversations community day, so the main thing we spend our time on right now is going over all of our memory work for the week and figuring out what she wants to share in her weekly presentation tomorrow. There is a suggested topic each week, but we are free to break away from that if there is something else on her mind that she wants to share. Other days during this time, we work on her American Heritage badges, or on learning crafty or cooking skills, or on music or art projects.

And look, we’re done! And it’s just now lunchtime! That is a minor miracle, since a lot of days we either carry lessons into the afternoon or carry something into the next day. And little brother was so well-behaved, too! (It must be because we have a visitor!)

Inquiring Minds Want to Know … Q&A About Homeschooling

So, let’s talk about your questions while I get lunch on the table.

* What do you like the most about being a homeschool mom? Hands down, being with my kids all day and having the opportunity to invest in every aspect of their education.

* What is the biggest challenge? Hands down, being with my kids all day long. I don’t have a built in break except for nap/rest time, and that is a challenge. That and managing my time well.

homeschool parent and child
The biggest challenge is spending all day with my kids, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

* What would you change? Honestly, not much.

* What advice would you give a mom who is thinking about being a homeschool mom? You can do it! Seriously, if you want to homeschool your kids, there is a way to make it happen. There is so much support these day and so many resources, and so many different kinds of parents homeschooling. Almost anyone can, if they want to.

* What’s the one thing that can make your day go smoothly? Getting up on time! Grabbing extra sleep time will throw our mornings off more than anything.

* What is the hardest part of your day? Anytime we have to leave the house to go somewhere. But that has nothing to do with homeschooling.

* What is the best part of your day? Mornings. I love teaching my kids.

* If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? Sleep. Or write. It’s a toss-up.

* What have you learned from other moms that makes your homeschooling life easier? I’ve learned a lot from fellow CC mom Brandy who blogs at Half a Hundred Acre Wood and Suzanne at Suzanne Shares, both of whom advise new CC moms to relax the first year and not stress out about getting your kids to memorize everything – and also not to stress out about adding a lot to the CC curriculum, but using it “as is”. It has made our curriculum choices easy and I have been able to enjoy the process of homeschooling without getting all anxious if about whether or not we are covering everything.

* If you could choose again, would you choose this life for yourself? Absolutely. I love homeschooling, I love using the classical model, and I love being a part of Classical Conversations. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Do you homeschool? How do your days differ from this mom’s? What would you add?

Photo credits: GoodNCrazy / Foter / CC BYiatraveler / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND; jimmiehomeschoolmom / Foter / CC BY; Photo credit: Phae / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
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Kristi is a pastor’s wife, mother, writer, and former public school teacher for English for Speakers of Other Languages. She grew up all over the United States as an Air Force brat, but moved to Columbia in the 1990s to attend Columbia International University, and has called the Midlands “home” ever since. Her days are kept full with the antics and activities of her children - homeschooling, church activities, American Heritage Girls, and Trail Life - as well as writing and leading her Columbia-based pregnancy loss ministry, Naomi’s Circle. Kristi is a contributing editor for “Rainbows and Redemption: Encouragement for the Journey of Pregnancy After Loss” (www.rainbowsandredemption.weebly.com) and a co-author of “Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother“ (sunshineafterstorm.us). She shares her thoughts about faith, family, and femininity on her blog, This Side of Heaven (www.thissideofheavenblog.com).

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