Amida’s Homeschool Day in the Life (with a 1, 5, 10, and 13-year-old)

Written by contributor Amida of Journey Into Unschooling

A lot of people assume that, just because we are homeschoolers, we spend the majority of our days at home. But between field trips and lessons for three kids, there are days where we are anywhere but home.

So when my son suggested we have a Stay At Home Day, I was all for it.

It happened to be rainy that day and we didn’t have anywhere to be until 6pm. We ate a leisurely breakfast before spreading out some plastic on the table in preparation for art time. I had recently learned a new technique called Visual Teaching Strategies, and wanted to test it out on the kids.

It involved showing them a picture, in our case, a Ranger Rick photo, and asking them three questions:

  • What do you see?
  • What more do you see?
  • Why do you say that?

Everyone answered each of the questions and my job was to repeat what they said and point out where on the picture they were referring to. For instance, one child noticed that there were specks around the eyes of the snake, so I restated the observation and pointed it out on the photo. Another commented that the scales were of different sizes so I asked for more clarification on why he said that (they were larger on the top and more closely set underneath the snake).

I was impressed with how well VTS worked, especially in our small group. We spent a long time on the first photo and ended up with three very detailed drawings of a snake shedding skin. They went on to do other drawings using the same technique with great results.

After art, we cleaned up and took a little break before a simple mac and cheese lunch (with ketchup).

The rest of the day was spent lounging around the living room, catching up on our ridiculously massive library pile. It was wonderful to have a chance to just read something for pleasure, and allow the kids the do the same without expectations of a Q&A and write up afterwards.

Before we knew it, we had whittled the rest of the afternoon away doing a whole lot of nothing — it was the best day ever!

As far as official schoolwork was concerned, we only did the one (albeit long) art session. Learning, however, I’m confident took place through the rest of the day, and especially at “unclocked” times.

I’ve never really liked having to break the day down into a learning record. The best days are the ones when we do life, be that at home or elsewhere. By the time their nightly class came around, we were all refreshed and ready for it.

Our Stay At Home Day also did wonders to help us recharge and look forward to the following days, when multiple activities would call us outside the home. This was definitely one day worthy of a repeat.

What happens on your best days?

About Amida

Amida is the mom to three darn kids. She used to stress about state standards and test scores but has since come to her senses and enjoys blogging about her family's journey into unschooling.


  1. We had a stay-at-home day today too, and I was reminded of how wonderful those days are. It makes me wish I could block out a whole lot more of them!
    Lisa’s latest post: Happy New Year!

  2. My family isn’t really unschooling, but I find the same is true at my house – SO much learning takes place during those unclocked and unplanned hours!
    Jessica’s latest post: Keeping up

  3. The best days are when learning just happens. I find that if I can resist my urge to organize every day into lessons, I look back and find that many lessons were learned. Unfortunately, the hardest lesson for this Type A mom is to relax and let the kids do the learning. I would love to copy your art lesson soon — it sounds wonderful.
    Jen @ anothergranolamom’s latest post: A Homeschooling Idyll – Book Review: My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

  4. My best days are when we stick to my lesson plan, stick to my chore schedule, and get out of the house for a bit (childrens museum, library, park, co-op, etc). I love ending the day with a completely checked off to-do list!

    My daughters perfect day, on the other hand, would probably look a little different. She’d be happy with lots of play time with her sister, a couple science experiments, and board games until dad comes home 🙂
    Two Cowgirls’s latest post: Mid-Year Check-In

  5. What a wonderful day!

  6. Amida, I was initally going to respond, “Days when we get outside and enjoy nature, planned or otherwise …” (although your day sounds lovely and cozy) but after I thought for a bit, I have to say that I think the best days are those elusive ones when I can strike the perfect inner balance between relaxing/going with the flow and feeling like we’re accomplishing rich things together.
    Hannah’s latest post: Roxaboxen Love

  7. I agree that “the best days are the ones that we do life.” That’s why we have those days all the time! We have so many fun learning activities that we love to do all the time (Magic School Bus Kits, swimming lessons,watching lots of great movies on Netflix, playing tons of board games), that it’s so wonderful to do those all day long and not have a time when we “do school.”

  8. Our best days are the ones that we all have enjoyed at the end of the day. Our most recent notably fun day was a trip to the zoo. Where we just had a relaxed time going through the animal exhibits with nothing pressing on our schedule and no hurrying to get on to the next thing.
    Suanna’s latest post: Intentionally Enjoying My Family – Week 1

  9. Sounds like a great day! I need more like that! We are so new to homeschooling, and find it so hard to do much of anything with a curious 1 year old crawling on our laps. I suppose I am still to uptight and wish I had a personal mentor in my home to tech me how to “un-school” better. 🙂
    Debbye @ The Baby Sleep Site’s latest post: How Baby Monitors Impact Your Baby’s Sleep

  10. Our best days are when the kids suddenly emerge from a long period of “unclocked” time, as you put it, with a brand new skill, idea, question, or discovery. I have to remind myself that unschooling is about my kids expectations, not mine, and just let. them. be. Easier said than done, of course!

  11. sounds like a great day and time spent together learning and having fun at the same time!!! You mentioned a night class? Can you explain when and what you teach at night? thank you Jamie

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