Amida’s Homeschool Day in the Life (with a newborn, 4-, 9-, & 12-year-old)

Written by Amida of Journey into Unschooling

Perhaps one of the most interesting topics for homeschoolers is that of scheduling, specifically the day to day, hour by hour activities of individual families. If you’re like me, you’ve been following our series, tuning in each week to get yet another peek at how someone else does it.

When it comes to writing out our own schedule, however, it’s not met with the same enthusiasm. Feelings of inferiority and not doing “enough” start to creep in.

What will people think? And of course, with each day being completely different, which to write about? I’ve considered sharing one of our more academically productive days, in which lessons are cranked out at an impressive rate, but that, while authentic, would be deceiving. It certainly doesn’t reflect our day to day life.

At the moment of this writing, in the middle of a school day, for goodness sake, my children are in the midst of a NERF battle.  What have we accomplished so far? Not much. The kids are recovering from a bug and we have visitors. Other than the math and SAT test prep they’ve worked on earlier, it has been a slow school day.

Whereas in the beginning of our homeschooling journey, we scheduled our activities around school work, the reverse is now more the norm. We go about our business and fit in random academic pursuits throughout the day, eventually touching on enough “school” by the week’s end.

Especially now, with a preschooler and newborn in tow, this is the system that has worked best for us. With the exception of those days we have a field trip or co-op meeting, our days follow a certain rhythm that more or less centers around our meals:

Morning: Breakfast, read aloud and playtime, piano practice, work in one or two subjects

Afternoon: Lunch, read aloud and playtime, after lunch walk and/or trip to the library, another subject covered (individually, as a family, with friends, or outdoors with group)

Evening: Extra-curricular classes, dinner, read aloud for all

Not mentioned above but certainly happening every spare moment is reading — all my kids are voracious readers, with book always in hand while eating, brushing teeth, shopping, etc. It is probably their core activity and many times I am hesitant to pull them away from their books in the name of school. “Reading Day” is certainly an acceptable activity at our house.

The NERF battle has ended and guests have left. There is just enough time for a refreshment (honey and lemon tea for returning sore throats) and some quick chores before dinner.

Afterwards, showers will be taken before winding down with a little TV and story time — another day filed in the life of a homeschooler.

Has your homeschool schedule eased up with time (and more kids)?  Do you allow for enough free/play time?


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. Sounds like such a lovely rhythm for your day, their learning. And I think a nerf war is perfectly acceptable when it breaks out!! 🙂
    I Live in an Antbed’s latest post: The Power of Influence

  2. I liked your question at the end about schedule easing up with time. For me, it’s been the other way around.

    I am of the better late than early and slow and steady approach so our pre-school and early elementary years were/are very non-academic. We had a definite daily schedule and weekly routines but very little academics.

    Now, as my oldest approaches her transition to her more scholarly years (she’s nearing 12) the days are picking up in more academic pursuits – but slowly.

    I definitely allow for scads of free time, sometimes I wonder if it’s too much (smile). In part because I need that time for my own interests and for taking care of our home. Only so much time in the day.

    PS. we don’t have any nerf but paper airplanes are a common interest around here (I write that down under science).

  3. I love posts with multiple children, because I feel like I can’t relate or glean much from a post from someone with just one or two. They dynamics are just. so. different. Having four of my own, we rely heavily on free play. Online games, reading reading reading, video games, outdoor play, etc.
    Jessica’s latest post: The Dolly Parton Christian

  4. Great post Amida. We still have a lot of free play in our day. We only cover at the most 2 hours worth of academic work the rest is free play, learning about things around the house and spending time with friends and family.
    Rana’s latest post: Size Does Matter

  5. Great to read. I have 4 kids all under the age of 6yrs. One is 4mo. I was waiting to hear how someone else manages life, homeschooling, toddlers & a baby. Thanks for the encouragement. My husband has been feeling like I’ve been neglecting things by not getting into a routine, and doing worksheets with the 4 & 6 yr old – EVERY DAY for an hour each day. —- But I really felt like that was putting too much stress into my body, as I am learning about our new baby’s needs, as well as potty training our very active 2 yr old boy.
    Life seems to be getting a better ebb & flow, and playing learning games & reading together I feel is so much more fun & provides great opportunities to learning than doing busy work. Again…thanks for taking the time to blog. : )

    • Plus, remember that at that young age, playing *is* learning. I find I can get a lot of story and game time with my 4-year-old while nursing my baby — probably more so than before, when most of my time was focused on the older ones!
      amida’s latest post: Is That a Paramecium

  6. At first I kind of found it strange that so many homeschoolers tip toed around the subject of their own preferences and schedules. Being so new at this I’ve been hoping for the almighty open door. I wish I could be a fly on every homeschoolers wall. Why would someone care what someone elses family does?

    Then I got thwapped with the almighty “WOW moment”! I found myself speaking to my husband night after night about the immaculate schedules and the 9-5 business some homeschoolers have going. “You should see their schedule!” Some mornings I can barely convince Riley to do his morning work without it becoming a war (other days I pinch myself wondering if I’m awake. how did he blow through it so fast?). I’ve worried around the clock and I swear my hair is falling out from the stress. I’m easing into our days. One “cool day” (its what we call school days now) at a time. I love the reality of this post. Sometimes life drags you to and from schedules. Sometimes having boys especially I’ve found that trying to force them to sit still because we’re doing a math lesson is just pointless.

    I’ve realized that world will not end simply because Riley does not want to wear pants at breakfast. If he wants to “rock on” while he’s reading? I really don’t care as long as he’s reading the right words, one at a time. If him and Connor decide to chase each other around for 20 minutes in between lessons? Yeah whatever just let me know when your done but your doing your work before bed. Its amazing what a growing process this has become for me as well.

    I truly thrive on other bloggers posts. Its so beneficial to my sanity. Although I strive for routine and structure the “nerf days” happen and its good to know I’m not the only one!

    • I’m glad you wrote about this- I do think it’s very easy to get caught up in minute-to-minute schedules and to forget that life happens in between all those lessons. Because I work and homeschool it’s a little more complicated for us and we’ve had to totally ditch other people’s schedules to follow our own workable routine.

      And I don’t make my kids wear pants to breakfast either if it means people being upset before 9 a.m. I am soooo not willing to argue over something little like that. 🙂
      Erin’s latest post: Our Education

  7. Had to google ‘NERF’, and how cool they seem!

    I appreciate the ideas mentioned above, and think our routine also revolves around meal times with a rest and lots of reading after lunch.

    We are mid-summer and so I am letting my 5 and 3 year old boys be outdoors as much as possible – swimming, climbing, watering the garden, playing cricket. It’s the season of gross-motor development for us!

  8. love the part about how your ‘schooling’ is actually just added into your day as is…
    I have 3 and thats the way it just seems to flow- I have a list what needs to get accomplished that day (and we do usually meet it) but I’ve noticed that it’s basically them free playing together unil I call one of them over to do something (vioin, math, reading ect.) THat seems to give them enough breaks and playtime- but yet they still get it all in for them most part.
    I really enjoyed reading about your day- thanks!

    • Right on! It’s sort of like being on standby mode — rather than filling in work to be done, we pencil them in when there’s a slot open!

  9. Loved your post Amida!
    Yes, life is what happens around, in between and during those darned academics!
    We make schedule’s then ditch them for other things, find them, dust them off and try again… over and over. Our two are ” teens” now and while they both wanted more academics during these years, I thoroughly enjoy the ” Nerf ” moments in our house and I mean that literally…One day last fall our son made a stencil then spray painted zebra stripes on his “Nerf” guns… We are often led astray by creative pursuits in our home-school… It’s always been this way!
    Thanks for a very real look at your day to day! Here’s a peak at one of ours!

  10. I’ve been enjoying this topic on homeschool days. While I try to have a little more structure in my day, I’m not against stopping to do something fun.
    Suanna’s latest post: Christmas Pictures

  11. THANK YOU! I’ve been waiting for the posts with babies included in the mix! Our homeschooling has changed so much since #3 came along, when the older ones were ages 6 & 8. Since having a baby, and now a toddler, in our mix, our days have become MUCH less structured. I have a list with check-boxes I prepare each night before for my school age kids. These lists include everything they need to do that day for school. I mark the items for which they may need my help, but I expect them to much of it independently. As long as they get through their school work, I feel we have accomplished our goals for the day. It is impossible to have the structured 9AM till noon ‘school time’ we used to have when diaper changes, toddlers playing in the toilet, etc., are interrupting. I’ve had to chill out quite a bit, but I also know this season will not last forever, and we will probably get to a more structured routine again someday… or maybe we will decide we like this way better. 🙂 PS… My kids always have their noses in books, too, and library trips are met with squeals of excitement. Love it!

  12. Our typical days are always less than what I imagine as ideal, but when we stop and look at the big picture the kids are really doing very well. Right now, our favorite tension breaker is the Wii and the game of the hour is Just Dance II. It is perfect for wiggle removal!
    Jennifer’s latest post: Books

  13. I’ve really embraced the Play-As-Learning approach. It is what seems to come naturally to our brood of 6, and they have very inquisitive & imaginative minds that are always exploring. I’m finally getting more comfortable with our relaxed style and not (quite) so worried about how we will stack up to fellow homeschoolers. It’s all good!

  14. I’m curious as to what books you read during read aloud. I have a 12, 9, and almost 3 year old. I’m trying to find books that would intrigue both of the older kids, especially since one is a boy and the other a girl.

Share Your Thoughts


CommentLuv badge


Give Your Child the World – on sale for only 99 CENTS! WOW!