A day in the life of a homeschooler (with a 4-, 8-, and 11-year old)

I know most of you will think I’m crazy when I say this, but I’ve come to love Mondays. Yup, that’s right. I LOVE Mondays.

That’s because, on Mondays, I’m most thankful that we are a homeschooling family.

On Monday mornings, while I’m curled up on the couch with my hot cup of chai late and my Bible or book, I often see that long yellow bus pull up my street to collect the kids at the end of our court. My house is quiet, I’m in my jammies, my kids are still asleep, and it’s not quite light outside. There’s nowhere we have to be. There’s no rushing.

After a busy weekend, we get to stay home all day on Mondays. We get to take as much time as we need or want as we work through our daily tasks. We get to spend the day together, and that’s my favourite place to be.

A Day in the Life of a Homeschooler - a day in our relaxed classical homeschool with a 11, 8, and 4 year old

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A Day in the Life of Our Monday Homeschool

I’ve overslept a little bit on this particular Monday and I’m going to blame my husband for that — he was out late last night watching the Superbowl and we didn’t get to sleep until close to midnight. I like to get up by 6:30 am to enjoy the quiet of the house and get my personal reading done before everyone’s feet hit the floor. The prospect of that happening today looks slim, I think to myself.

Today I get up at 7:00, but as it turns out, I’m lucky and everyone keeps their busy little feet tucked into their warm beds a little longer. Eventually, my 4-year-old makes her way downstairs and snuggles up with me while I finish up. I put my Bible aside and open up hers and read her a story from it.

It’s around 7:45 when I finally go back upstairs and make sure the others are awake. My 8-year-old is listening to an audiobook in bed and my 11-year-old is asleep and could use a cattle prod to help her along.

Time for a quick shower and then breakfast! While they wait for mama, my kids do their chores (make beds, clean bathroom, empty dishwasher) and start their independent work. It’s a great start to the day if they’ve got their math work squared away before we officially start for the day. It makes for a much smoother start!

Morning Time

We start our Morning Time together after the table has been cleared away and teeth brushed, at around 9:00. We start as usual with our gratitude journal and prayer, then move on to memory work and a chapter from both our science read aloud and current missionary biography. We finish up with listening to our SQUILT Music Appreciation piece of the week. We’re on the last of the Musical Eras volumes, Modern Era, which lines up almost perfectly with our history cycle. I love it!

Morning Time ends up lasting a full hour today, which is about twice as long as usual. But since it’s Monday and we have no outside activities planned, there’s no rush!. The hour was a little bit too much for my four-year-old, who wandered off at some point. I’m impressed though at how much she seems to participate and take in considering nothing in our Morning Time this year is geared for her.

Individual Learning

After Morning Time I work 1:1 with my 8-year-old for about an hour. Aside from completing her math exercises almost completely independently, she still needs to work with mama right at her elbow for everything else. Together we tackle spelling, writing, and reading. I also watch her complete her cursive copywork and offer encouragement.

Mid-morning homeschool mess - a typical day in the life of our homeschool

My 11-year-old is done her independent work long before I’m ready to work with her so she decides to finish up an art project while she waits. With Valentine’s Day coming up, she’s been trying to get through as many of the Masterpiece Society Valentine’s Day mixed media art projects as she can. She also spends some time cuddling and reading to her 4-year-old sister.

Once I’m done with her sister and she’s cleaned up her project, we spend about an hour together with her writing curriculum. This week’s assignment will be writing three paragraphs on a famous person of her choice and she chooses Catherine the Great.

I’m really lucky with my 4-year-old. She’s so easy going! She rarely causes any significant interruptions to our homeschool day and happily plays on her own for long stretches. Our challenging days of homeschooling with a toddler are nothing more than a distant memory. Sniff. Sometimes she asks to “do school” and either her big sister or I set her up to do math or write her letters. She’s keen to learn and thinks a reading lesson is a big treat!

A Day in the Life of a Homeschooler

After all our morning work is wrapped up, it’s time for a quick clean up and some lunch. Next up is our daily one-hour quiet time. Kids read/rest/play quietly and mama a reads, writes, and catches up on some social media time.

Group Learning

Quiet Time wraps up around 2:00 and we move on to our history studies as a group. Even my 4-year-old joins us at the table and colours quietly while I read our Story of the World chapter. After reading today’s chapter about the Vietnam war, my 11-year-old writes her own narration on her notebooking page while my 8-year-old narrates to me as I jot hers down for her. Then it’s mapwork, a supplemental history video, and we’re done!

Doing the mapwork for Story of the World - A Day in the Life of a Homeschooler

At 3:00 we clean up our books and have a little snack. The kids run off to play and pursue their own projects and I realize that I’ve failed to plan our supper. It’s Monday though, so it’s no biggie! I open up the freezer and see a couple of chicken carcasses waiting to be made into soup and decide that chicken soup is the perfect end to our cozy at home, winter Monday!

A Quiet Evening

At 5:00 everyone starts their final clean up of the day and Daddy calls from work to say he’ll be coming home soon. Supper’s at 6:00, then Daddy helps with piano homework. We have bedtime stories (big girls with mom and little girl with Daddy) at around 7:30 and then my big girl comes downstairs to join Mom & Dad to watch Jeopardy! Then she goes up to bed and listens to an audiobook and nods off into dreamland.

After everyone’s in bed, my husband and I get to enjoy a little adult conversation and TV viewing. We’ve been watching old ER episodes — I loved that show in college, but man, it’s awful! At around 10:00 we head upstairs to bed. I read a chapter of my current bedtime reading selection before turning out the lamp so I can be ready for another day at home learning with my girls.

Our Typical Homeschool Week

While Mondays are our relaxed, at home days — the rest of our week can be a bit busier. Here’s what most weeks around here look like:

  •  On Tuesdays, we have gymnastics and our weekly library visit in the afternoons. Depending on the time of year we also have our church’s kids club in the evening.
  •  Wednesday the older two girls have piano lessons while Grandma takes my littlest one swimming.
  • One Thursday a month we have our little “World Studies” co-op with 4 other families and the other weeks my mom takes one (or both) of the bigger girls swimming at noon.
  • One Friday a month we have our regular co-op where we alternate between art, music, science, gym, and nature study each month. When we’re not co-oping, Fridays are another quiet day at home for us.

While we love our quiet at home days, we also love to participate in our local homeschool community! We go on field trips that interest us when the opportunity arises. Some seasons are busier than others, and sometimes we say yes when we should say no — it’s a tough balance.

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