Sarah’s homeschool ‘day in the life’ with an 8-, 7-, 5- and 3-year-old
I’ve meant to write this post for a while now but every time I thought about starting, I realized we don’t have a lot of typical days around here. We have a loose weekly routine and some steady anchors in our daily routine — I intentionally leave room for flexibility and spontaneity. It took me a while trying to fit into a very structured homeschool ideal (that existed only in my head) before I realized that is just not how I thrive. So, here is my, not necessarily typically, homeschooling day with Eden (8), Judah (7), Levi (5) and Titus (3).
We’re not morning people, for which I am very thankful. My alarm goes off at 8 a.m., which gives me enough time to get dressed, wake up a little and have some breakfast before the kids get up at 8:30 a.m. I’m struggling with some insomnia issues this week and ended up sleeping through my alarm.
I woke up to one of my boys crawling on my bed at 8:35 a.m. to tell me about the new tunnel the ants started digging in our new ant farm. After everyone stumble downstairs, we have breakfast and I spend a little time cleaning up the kitchen and starting laundry while the kids play.
At 9:20 a.m., I pull out our Sands Alive kinetic sand to put on the table for anyone interested in playing with it. I’ve found setting up a table activity gives me the time I need to get through any lessons the kids need me to do with them. I keep at least 5 activity bins in the closet so I can pull them out without having to think about it.
While some kids played, I took turns doing lessons with each kid. Today, I did spelling and grammar with Eden, followed by reading with Judah and math with Levi. All in all, it took about 45 minutes, despite a few interruptions. Some days I need to spend more time on instruction, but it rarely takes more than 2 hours.
The kids then start taking turns with the iPad. They each get 30 minutes to play games once they have finished any apps I’ve assigned for them to do that day. Levi practices writing his letters on the Handwriting Without Tears app, and the older two practice their math facts. I usually start the iPad time with my 3-year-old first. This gives us an uninterrupted 30 minutes for my kindergartener and first-grader to read to me. Unless there is a story assigned in their reading lesson, they get to choose any book they want to read as long as it is at their reading level.
The rest of the morning is spent playing. Today, they all worked together to create a restaurant in the playroom.
After lunch, we clean up whatever is out from a morning of playing, and around 1:30 p.m., my 3- and 5-year-old head upstairs for quiet time. The older two kids pull out their school notebooks and do any other work they haven’t finished yet. Today, that is math and writing. We use Math-U-See, which means they watch a video at the beginning of each new lesson and then complete the work on their own unless they need extra help.
For their writing, they are working together to enter a story contest at the library. They already have an outline written, so today they began to write the story. They are both so excited about this that they often pop into the living room to tell me the latest plot twist.
While the kids do their quiet time, I spend time watching an episode of the West Wing, browsing social media and working out on our exercise bike. Today is a little rushed time-wise because my oldest two kids are taking a STEM class at the library this month. We cut quiet time a little short, to get there on time.
In the car, we listen to the latest Brains On podcast, which today happens to be about ants. We got ants for our ant farm earlier this week so the timing is perfect! For some reason, the library’s play area — where we waited for the older kids’ class to end — was overfilled with toddlers and very few parents. Too many people in a small space! Add to that my getting a speeding ticket on the way there, I could feel my stress level increasing.
We make it home from the library about an hour before our normal dinner time, but because my husband wasn’t going to be home until 9 p.m., we ate leftover pizza. Normally, the kids get an hour of Netflix time while I cook dinner, but today I decided to do TV time after dinner since I am on my own and am already feeling stressed. I sat with the kids to read my book while they watched TV.
After everyone is in bed, I take 10 minutes to jot down their work for the next day in their notebooks and update my bullet journal with a few things I need to get done. The kids share a bedroom so there is still a lot of conversation happening upstairs and usually lasts for an hour or so after they go to bed. I don’t mind as long as it stays quiet. I have found a lot of interesting conversations happen at this time of day. It doesn’t always stay quiet, but thankfully today it does. The experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute review bedding and sleep-improvement products on a regular basis. To pick the best amazon weighted blanket, the fiber scientists in the Textiles Lab considered the materials used, weight distribution, innovative features, and washability.
My husband and I head to bed around 11:30 p.m., but stay up talking a while after that. I think it was around 12:25 a.m. the last time I looked at the clock before finally falling asleep.
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