Anne’s homeschool day in the life (with a 3-, 6-, 8-, & 10-year-old)

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The following is a post written by contributor Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.

Three and a half years into our homeschooling journey, our family has definite routines in place — even though every day looks a little bit different around here.

Some days we have help, some mornings I’m at my office job, sometimes I’m up against a deadline, sometimes I have the day off. Today, I’m showing you what a typical Monday looks like for us.

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5:45 — I wake up, pull on workout clothes, and head downstairs to make coffee. When my cup is ready, I go straight to my writing desk and pop open my laptop. My best time for focused writing is before dawn, when the kids are asleep and Will’s at the gym.

7:00 — Will gets home and I go for a run. I like quiet If I’m still mulling over my writing; otherwise I listen to music or podcasts.

7:30 —  The next 90 minutes are awhirl with activity: I start making breakfast for anyone who’s awake, kiss my husband goodbye, shower and get myself ready for the day, and help the kids get dressed.

Core school

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9:00 — Our mother’s helper arrives. She starts in on the dishes and laundry, then sits down to read a book with Silas while I do math with the older kids. As they finish their math, they begin rotating through their computer work (typing and Rosetta Stone German) and their one-on-one reading and writing time with me. (Except for my 8-year-old, who loves to do her reading and writing with our mother’s helper.)

When that’s wrapped up, we do a Latin lesson to finish off our core work.

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11:00 — Most of the time, our formal school day -– when I give supervised instruction -– is finished around lunch time, but on Mondays I sneak upstairs to my desk or over to the library to put in a focused 60-90 minutes of work while our mother’s helper supervises reading time, play time, and lunch.

1:00 — After lunch we say goodbye to our mother’s helper and head outside for a bit. I try to head outside, too — especially during the cooler months. Mama needs her fresh air and sunshine, too.

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Downtime

1:30 — We have our daily “rest time.” Nobody naps anymore, so this time is for quiet, independent play (and maybe a little screen time). The older kids also spend some time reading Good Books during this period.

This is work time for me. I’ve learned this isn’t a great time for focused work, but it’s perfect for responding to blog comments, checking social media, and knocking small tasks off my to-do list. I also try to refresh my introverted soul by spending 20-30 minutes reading.

3:15 — Time to grab a snack and head outside for a few minutes.

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Out and about

3:45 — Activity time. My girls are both in ballet, but not quite at the same time. They both like to get to class early so they have plenty of time to visit with their friends. We drop off my 8-year-old, then run to Trader Joe’s for our weekly grocery shopping.

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5:00 — We drop my 6-year-old at ballet, and the boys and I head home to start dinner, play outside (the kids), and blitz email (me). This is also a good time for me to play games with my oldest, or read stories with my 3-year-old.

Evening routine

7:00 — Will arrives home with the girls. After everyone has time to change their clothes and put away their things, we sit down for family dinner. If the weather’s nice we’ll take a walk afterwards; if it’s not we’ll hang out, work on projects, and read stories.

8:00 — Time to put on pajamas and get bedtime snack. (Even though we just finished dinner, my kids think it’s impossible to go to bed without it.) Then we tuck the kids in bed and read a few more stories.

8:30 — Lights out for the kids, then it’s time for the grown-ups to tidy-up and wind down. I used to get writing done after the kids went to bed, but this past year they’ve started going to bed later, making any work time darn near impossible if I’m going to get to bed at a decent hour.

Occasionally one of us has work to wrap up, but ideally, Will and I chat, read, occasionally watch something (can’t wait for Downton!), and turn the lights out by 10:00.

This is crucial, because if the lights don’t go out early I can’t wake up early to do it again the next day!

And I want to do it again the next day.

Do your homeschool days all look the same? Or is each one a little bit different, like ours are?

About Anne Bogel

Anne is a certified bookworm and homeschooling mom to 4 crazy kids. She loves Jane Austen, strong coffee, the social graces and social media. You can find her blogging at Modern Mrs Darcy.

Comments

  1. Oh I totally love this and look forward to a heap more of these “days in or lives…” I love seeing how magical folks’ days are, everybody different and the how every family has their own rhythm.
    se7en’s latest post: Se7en’s January… and a Free Printable Calendar…

  2. “And I want to do it all again the next day.” What a blessing!

  3. I love these days in the life. Your Monday sounds great.
    Blessings, Dawn

  4. Whenever I read things about your daily schedule, Anne, I always feel encouraged. I think hearing about how a fellow INFP manages to balance alone time, work time, and family life helps me see that it’s possible to do many of the things that I see as necessary while still enjoying life. Thanks for sharing!
    Anna’s latest post: Mark Time

  5. Elizabeth says:

    It sounds like your mother’s helper has a lot of responsibility and is actually very helpful. :) How often does she come? Is she a teen or older?

  6. Tamara Rose says:

    I love that you have a mother’s helper! I work from home and sometimes feel so guilty asking for help. Thank you for the encouragement!

  7. Wow! I’m so impressed with your routine. I like the idea of a mother’s helper too. I feel distracted by housework for sure. My biggest issue is getting my 4.5 year old to want to do certain work. So I’ve backed off and allowed more unstructured play. He’s a big reader and has lots of questions too, which allows me the opportunity to teach in a more natural way. I assume you’ve had your struggles with getting your children to do work? If so, if you have any advice, this mama greatly appreciates it! Warmly, Marnie

    • A thousand times yes to the struggles! I don’t really have any advice, because what worked for child #1 would never work for child #2, and that would never work for child #3, etc.

      Although generally speaking, I’ve learned that sometimes riding it out lets the situation solve itself in a manner of days/weeks/months, and that sometimes my children’s strong resistance may be a strong sign that whatever we’re doing isn’t working. (Say, if my child puts up a giant fight about math, maybe we should choose a different curriculum.)

      They also do better with their work and are more cooperative when they’re well-rested and not hungry, and when they’ve had some fresh air and sunshine. There’s only so much I can do about all those variables, but it still helps me to remember when there are extenuating circumstances.
      Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy’s latest post: A day in the life

  8. Love your organization! How do you keep to the time for each of these things. I find that I have the best laid intentions for structure, but often time gets away from us and we can miss parts or end up running late to things.
    Kelly’s latest post: Words to Begin With

    • Kelly, the times are just a guideline, but we do stay roughly to them. Honestly, it’s taken me years to get the hang of a good homeschool routine, and the time still gets away from me sometimes. I do really well with the schedule (and so do my kids) but it does NOT come easily to me.

      I do like how since we do homeschool, we can afford to be flexible, and it’s okay if we get off routine some days.
      Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy’s latest post: A day in the life

  9. I feel tired just reading that! And you have help!!!
    Thanks for sharing! How much do you pay your mothers helper?
    Martha Artyomenko’s latest post: Goals for 2014

  10. Sonja Johnson says:

    I’m sure I will be in the minority, but this does not reflect an average day in a homeschool life. How many ladies get to work out for 60-90 minutes while someone else watches/teaches their child. I’m all for this routine, but it does not reflect what most of us homeschool mother/teachers go through in a day. Disappointed in the first post.

    • I agree completely. My husband is a middle school teacher and I’m trying really hard to find a way for him to home school my 3 boys in another year (when the oldest has reached HS age). I’ve been following a few home school blogs in the hopes of understanding the challenges and to get a better understanding of how he could structure days with three boys grades 6, 8 and 9th. The idea of living on my income alone is terrifying. Having a “mother’s helper” to clean and assist is completely out of the question. I looks like I need to keep looking for other home school families who’s financial struggles are closer to mine own.

      • Jen, we have help because I work part time. We haven’t always needed help: when my husband was in ministry, we didn’t need child care or help at home because his schedule was unconventional, and I could go to the office while he was home with the kids. But now that he works more conventional hours and my work responsibilities have simultaneously expanded, we just can’t do this without help. It’s definitely a choice we made (I love what I do) as far as work is concerned, but we’ve also chosen to continue to homeschool, and this is how we’re able to make that happen.

        Of course every family’s situation is different!

        A word about finances: getting help can be pretty darn cheap (or bartered, or even free!) There are all kinds of ideas in the Simple Homeschool post linked to above (on hiring help). As an example, our local university has a certified nanny program, and you can have someone come to your house for FREE as long as a parent is present: the students need to rack up hours in order to get their certificate.
        Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy’s latest post: A day in the life

        • Anne thanks for this post. You’re schedule really inspired me that a lot can be done in a day with the right plan!

          I got really excited about your suggestion regarding free student nannies who need hours. I was wondering if you have any more information about that? Have you done this before? Do you have any suggestions about how to find them? Or how to screen them? Any additional information you have or know of would be so helpful!

          Thanks for sharing your experience!

          • Hi Summer,

            I didn’t participate in the program but my good friend did, and her nanny was delightful. The program was in Louisville, KY–so I’m afraid our specific school won’t do you much good unless you’re local–but I’m sure it’s not the only one in the country.

            My friend interviewed her before she met with her kids, and interviewed her the same as she would have any other babysitter–with the advantage that this person had been pre-screened by the school, and their background checks were pretty thorough.
            Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy’s latest post: YOUR favorite books of 2013 (a link-up)

    • Hey Sonja, the aim of this series is to portray the wide variety of homeschool lifestyles and routines. I don’t work out for 90 minutes (that would be the life!), I work. At my job. Our day in the life represents a family where the primary homeschooling parent also works. (Just part-time, or our day would look very, very different!)

      The thing I love about this series is we get to sneak peeks into the lives of families in all kinds of situations who are making things work for their families in all kinds of unique ways. This is just one way it could be done, and we’re obviously not “typical.” :)
      Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy’s latest post: A day in the life

    • Sonja, I think you missed that she is working during that time- I too pay a babysitter while I’m working. Another thing to consider is that one of the blessings of homeschooling is that you *can* run an alternative schedule to the way “most people” do things- that’s why seeing so many different Day in a Life posts can be helpful. You’re going to see someone post at some point that looks more similar to your particular situation.

      Our family’s schedule is actually fairly similar to the one posted here- my husband works a job with mostly conventional hours, I own a small business with face-to-face clients (meaning the kids can’t be with me while I’m working, even though my studio is in our home) and I also homeschool our kids. 3 days a week my kids are with a babysitter in the afternoons while I’m with clients. I don’t have a mothers helper to come in and help with dishes and laundry, but my husband is a super awesome partner that way.
      Erin @ Mama in Progress’s latest post: 2014 Fiber and Fabric Goals

    • I think the idea is to show how homeschooling is different for everyone. I know someone here with 7 children, works full time, homeschools some of her children and sends some to school. Homeschooling has different faces!
      martha Artyomenko’s latest post: Goals for 2014

    • Sonja,
      I read your post and felt your frustration. It is hard to get a better view of what life is like for the “Average American.” Reality TV is all about the rich and fabulous and as fabulous as I am I’m not remotely close to being rich. I’m a newly single mother. My husband passed almost two years ago. In the past two years I’ve been homeless with my daughter three separate times. We lived with friends, my brother, the Piano studio I taught in and a motel. We just started homeschooling this past September so we are in our first year. Along with starting homeschooling, I started my MBA in Business Administration focused on Entreprenuership at the same time. I am rebuilding my mobile performing art center business, teaching Piano and Dance and am starting two new businesses in order to get us out of this hole we fell in when my husband got sick. Going from a two income family to a one is tough. My day to day would blow your mind. I am also mom-mager to my daughter. She’s a child actress/model. So needless to say my plate is more than full. I don’t have a mommy helper. I don’t have friends or family to help me. I don’t have babysitters. It’s just myself and my baby girl. This is not a poor mom tale. I say all of this to say this: More of us need to speak up about the struggles and tell the tale. You are not alone out there. There are more of us out here than you know.

      I think the key to all of this is to look at what someone else is doing and even if their day doesn’t look like ours pull from their experiences to help make our days run smoother. Hang in there Momma. You’ve got this. I started a blog because you’re right there isn’t one out there showcasing what it is like to homeschool on your own with no help and financial struggles etc. Now there is one. Feel free to take a peek. http://diaryofahomeschoolingsinglemom.blogspot.com. Keep your head up. We will all survive this and our kids will be better for it. We start back on Monday. I’m excited. My baby starts school and I start back at my MBA work.

      Thank you Anne for your post. You gave me somethings to think about for moving forward into our second quarter of school work.
      Kay B’s latest post: Welcome!!!

    • It is a day in HER life. We are all different and I think that is the point.

  11. Love this post. I enjoy biographies so I of course enjoy reading how other Mom’s have laid out their day! I am trying so hard to make a decent bedtime a priority as of NOW. Netflix is wonderful but it can also get me too caught up in a show so I say “just one more” too often. This is our first year of homeschooling and it’s taking me from early bird to night owl and I dont like it! I”m excited for Downton too:-)

  12. I loved this post and I’m excited to start reading your blog! I’m a freelance writer and mom of an almost four-year-old and an 18-month-old. We’re considering homeschooling but are nervous about how we’ll manage to balance it all. I recently had to cut my work way back because I was trying to do too much. Interested in hearing about how others make it work! Happy new year! ;)

  13. I love that you show how working part-time and homeschooling can still work. I currently stay home full-time but would love to work very part time in the future and find this encouraging. The mother’s helper idea is a great one!
    Steph’s latest post: Our Family Mission Statement

  14. Does you day resemble mine? Not exactly but I wish it did.
    I am a homeschooling mom of a 7 year old, 5 year old, 4 year old and pregnant with baby #4. I work part-time as well. I have chosen work that my boys can do more independently than other families because many days my boys are at my office with me doing their school work on their portable desks behind me. I would not change our life for anything. I love every minute of it. I love how scheduled you and your family are but ours changes day by day. The only consistency is at least 4 hours of school work is accomplished. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey, this is just a Monday! Each one of our days looks a little (or a lot) different, and our schedule is pretty loose. :)

      Love to hear how other homeschooling families do it–and very curious to hear which self-directed curricula is working for your family.
      Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy’s latest post: A day in the life

  15. I am seriously baffled at how you get school work done before noon. I have a third grader and a ninth grader and I can’t seem to manage to get it all done before 2 and sometimes 3! Especially with the 9th grader! Hopefully the other series entires will give me some sparkling insight as well, but, are the only subjects your kids study math, writing, reading, German and typing, and Latin? I know there are reading and writing programs that incorporate history/science, etc., just curious.

  16. Thank you for sharing! I found this so encouraging. I too am introverted (INFP even!) And your day, though full, feels quite manageable to me. We’re having our 3rd in March and my husband is a chaplain at our local uni. I’ve been working extra hard with helping my kids learn to get their own breakfast and dress themselves but getting help in the morning for the other bits is a great idea! Thank you!

  17. Uh…..Reading this makes me think I need to work on self discipline a bit more and really sounds to good to be true for our house! Working on somewhat of a new schedule for 2014 but really I don’t think I will be able to schedule it that well! Thanks for sharing.

  18. I just wondered how socialization works for homeschool kids? For me, the main benefit of the public or private school system is socialization and preparing kids for being able to engage with other kids, make friends on their own terms, and have their friends over. Especially as they seem to be at those ages where friendships can be made. I see that they have ballet and I think that’s really cool, but are there any other activities where they would engage with more kids their own age and interact with them? #somanyquestions

  19. Do you cover other subjects on different days? Or do your kids get instruction in science, history, art, etc. elsewhere?

  20. You’re right: we cover those subjects on other days. :)
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy’s latest post: What worked for me in 2013

  21. We cover everything in a week, but each day looks different. I love it that way cause then I never feel like I\’m in a rut. From week to week each Monday is basically the same, each Tuesday etc. It\’s fun to hear what you do and how cause I just had my fourth child a week ago and we\’re about to gear up for the second term of the year…I\’m wondering how it will go?! Haha But the lovely thing about home education is that if we miss out on something or whatever, we can make it up over the summer months.
    Lana Wilkens’s latest post: Waiting for Harry

  22. You have a mother’s helper?? I’m a homeschooling mom/grad student and would give my left arm to have a mother’s helper. No money for that though. Don’t know how in the world you afford it.

  23. I’m a homeschooling mum of 6. I have a home-based
    business. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s up to each family to manage their time according to their priorities. For example, sleep comes way way down low on my list ;-)
    All the best to everyone :-)

  24. I enjoyed this post and reading the comments too. I work from home and fortunately have grandmothers in town that watch the children 2 days per week, so that I’m with them the remaining 3 weekdays. I appreciate hearing from other working homeschool moms!
    Rachel at Stitched in Color’s latest post: Color Intensive… coming soon!

  25. Your comment about bedtime snacks made me smile. On most nights, we’ll still be cleaning up the dinner table and the girls start asking for a snack. Drives my husband a little crazy. ;)
    Stephanie’s latest post: How to Teach Your Child to Read

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