Wondering how other families do it? Here’s a glimpse into a day in the life of our homeschooling family. You may find some hidden tips that help make the routine flow (most of the time).
This is the first of what will be regular posts on our simple days (yes, I said simple, I’m optimistic). The truth is that there are days that I find homeschooling, working, and balancing everything just as overwhelming as anyone else!
I love routines and trying things that make my life easier, but I have messy days where anything goes, too.
The factors that influence our daily homeschooling life:
Everyone’s family is different, so everyone’s homeschool setup will be different, and that’s okay.
We have the following things that impact the daily and weekly routine:
- My partner’s health condition – he has a heart problem and tires very easily. He must pace himself and his activities in between regular rest times. Some days are good, some days are bad.
- The age of my children – my daughter is almost 7 and my son is 2 and a half. He is into everything and she is a dreamer. Totally different!
- I work from home, running this blog, a copywriting business and an educational toy franchise, all of which I enjoy.
- Our home is small, so limited space means a little more improvisation, at times. We use the dining table often, or a little fold-out table for Tillea, or we sit at a table outside. Other times, we school in bed in our pj’s and cuddle.
I started homeschooling because we always wanted to. I had read up beforehand and was somewhat prepared, but it remains an adventure.
I had so many things I wanted to do this year for homeschool but lockdown regulations have impacted those plans, as for everyone else. For us, it meant temporarily moving in with my parents so that we could all help each other out. They love being grandparents and watching the beauty that unfolds in their relationship with the children truly fills my heart until my eyes leak. I mean, come on, look at this…
There is stuff EVERYWHERE. We clean up every so often, but the traces of two little people who love life and who have an active imagination, are everywhere. It gives us all many daily reasons to smile and be grateful.
Children teach me to wonder, to enjoy little things more often, to laugh a lot and cuddle every chance you get. Here, during lockdown, they have moments where they drive me NUTS, but for the most part, they are a joy.
Yes, yes, I know the tween and teenage years are coming and then it won’t be so simple, but hey, I’m going to enjoy all of this while it lasts!
What does a day in our life look like?
Well, right now, it looks a little different than it would at our own home, but the main elements of our routine are still the same.
We get a up a little bit later because the weather is heading for winter. Eliezer wakes us all up by banging on his bedroom door (he is one inch away from being able to open it himself) and my dad or I will then change him. He runs off to play or watch Winnie the Pooh or Jog the Frog or a Bible song DVD until breakfast is ready. All this happens somewhere between 7.30 and 8.30.
After breakfast, the kids head outside for a bit if it’s nice enough and I have a cup of coffee, check emails and find my marbles. I might sneak a few M&Ms out of my secret stash, too. (Comfort eating is a thing right now and I’m not all that sorry!)
My parents get up and we all cuddle and say good morning, all over the house. We put the laundry on and someone (don’t know who that someone is…) unpacks the dishwasher. Then, I go have lesson time with Tillea for an hour or two while Eliezer plays outside or with Shaun or with his toys.
What does our homeschooling time look like?
I keep it simple. Simple is all I can do right now and I often remind myself that a little every day goes a long way. I stick with the basics first – prayer time, reading, writing and math. A homeschool lesson time can include some or all of the following in our home:
- letter- and number-writing practice
- writing three-letter words
- reading a book on the Rivet app or some other story book
- some colouring
- gardening, repotting plants with me, or propagating succulents
- watching a video on Homeschool Pop
- looking up some animal, or how something is made or how something works on the internet
- watching an animal documentary on lionmountaintv.
- some simple crafts, like making a card, painting, drawing, or making something out of cardboard.
About halfway through lesson time, I will start doing my own work alongside her, working on the simpler tasks that are on my list. This helps her learn to work and play independently while still being with me and I can help where necessary.
I check her work when she’s done and give a sticker for work done well. She loves to do her writing practice in coloured pencils, my rainbow girl!
Once a week I like to spend the whole lesson time doing a sewing project with her, or just making/doing/playing whatever she wants. Occasionally, this also includes baking.
The rest of the day’s general routine
After homeschooling lesson time, she’ll run off to play, rejoin Eliezer, stretch and exercise by running around the house or outside. I continue work until we have a simple lunch.
Lunch is usually sandwiches of some sort or leftovers with a bit of salad. Snacks are fruit, raisins, popcorn, crackers, and juice in between meals. I spend lunch with the children, we all eat together.
At 2pm, it’s nap time, or at least quiet time. Eliezer sleeps and Tillea will either sleep or rest quietly with a book and her dolls or Lego. I resume work for as long as Eliezer’s nap time allows. When Tillea gets up from resting, she is allowed to play on an educational app on my phone such as Khan Academy or Reading Eggs while I finish up.
Then it’s dinner prep time, family meal while Shaun rests and eats later or joins us, then I bath the kids and put them to bed with a story, cuddle, kiss and a prayer at 7pm.
I spend some time with Shaun and then carry on working from 8pm again for a few hours, or I take time off to do something I enjoy.
At the end of my work time, I write a list of what I’ve accomplished during the day and a list of everything Tillea has done that counts as learning. This gives me a positive boost when I’m feeling unproductive or frustrated and helps me see real progress, even if it’s only a little bit.
I also write a work and homeschooling to-do list for the next day, which helps a lot when things change, so I can shift things around and prioritise.
The skip days
I realize the above may sound like everything is perfect. It’s not. There are days in our homeschooling family life where we have frustrations, mood swings, and silly arguments like anyone else. The pictures above are not filtered or edited. I don’t often wear make-up, and I like wearing comfy house clothes with the kids around me. What I share here is real.
Some days when I’ve worked late or Shaun is feeling really unwell and we all just need a break, we take a break for half a day or even the whole day, depending on the scenario.
Sometimes, a lesson we’re working on just won’t click and if we both get frustrated, it’s time to give it a break and try doing something else. I find this challenging for my task-oriented mentality, but it’s better than forcing it.
I freak out sometimes
There are days where the uncertainty of my partner’s health gets to me and it’s difficult to think and plan, or concentrate properly on work. Responsibilities, fears of the future, and the possibility of what may happen come and go, but I have learned not to dwell on them and just do what I can right now.
I don’t get it all done, most days. It’s not perfect.
But we’re together, and that’s a miracle.