About Melissa Camara Wilkins

Melissa is a homeschooling mama of six in Southern California. She writes about living with intention and parenting with creativity. Get her free ebook, Do Your Thing: How to Find Time to Do What Matters, to help you explore who you were made to be, and what you’re meant to do.

Melissa’s homeschool day in the life (with a 2-, 5-, 8-, 9-, 12- & 15-year-old)

melissamainpicmo
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

I feel a little silly writing to you about our daily routine, because between holidays and travel and sick kids, the pattern of our days has been off for weeks.

Our usual daily routine starts with breakfast and morning chores. After that, I try to structure our time and our environment and let each kid choose what to work on within that framework.

So all morning, the house is more-or-less calm and I’m available to help kids with focused work. After lunch we have quiet time, when we can each rest or work on our own projects without being interrupted (much). Then in the afternoons we play or run errands, make and eat dinner, prepare for the next day, and go to bed.

dayinthelife3

This week, though, is a planning week at our house.

This is a new system we’re trying this year and so far we love it. We do our usual projects for four weeks, and then we take a planning week to reflect on what we’ve been working on, and to make plans and goals for the next four weeks.

Here’s what that looks like:

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5 minutes to a more satisfying homeschool day

melissamainpicmo
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

When I was a little girl, there was one question that came up every day.

The actual days were all different. I would go to school, and then I might have soccer practice or dance lessons or scouts or choir, but at the end of it all, my mom would always ask, “What did you do today?”

I would say the same thing every day, the same thing you probably said every day, the same thing most kids say most days. “What did you do today?”

“Nothing.”

I did nothing. We all did nothing.

That can’t have been true for all of us, every day, year after year. I hope.

Now I’m at home with my own kids all day every day. I know for sure that they did not do “nothing.” They have never spent a day doing nothing in their entire lives. But when their dad walks in the door after work and asks what they did today, guess what they say?

Unless we took a field trip or were visited by aliens, he usually hears: “Oh, nothing.”

Right.
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Homeschooling through disruption: The hardest part of Melissa’s homeschool year

Homeschooling through disruption
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

I thrive on peace and calm and intention and purpose. I like to meet needs and meet goals, to make progress and make things work. Our days are fluid, but there’s “fluid” and then there’s “melted into a pile of goo.” I prefer the former.

Disruption, in other words, is not my favorite thing.

Last year, when we were trying to move to a new house in the middle of the school year, I mostly wanted to hide until the whole thing was over.

We live in an area where the housing market could best be described as “utterly insane.” Every morning we would open an app to look for new dots representing homes in our area, then send virtual messages begging to see those houses before anyone else did.

The whole thing seemed a lot like playing the worst video game ever, and when you won, you would get the joy of complete life upheaval. So that was great.

The hardest part of my homeschool year

We don’t hope to move often, but life throws plenty of other disruptions at us all the time, doesn’t it? Here’s what helps us cope with ours.

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How to set homeschooling goals that fit your family

How to set homeschooling goals that work

Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

We all have goals for our families, whether we’ve spoken them out loud or not.

I don’t mean “what curriculum we’ll use” or “what we’ll study this year” kinds of plans. I’m talking about deeper-level goals, the ones that drive all those day-to-day decisions.

You might think of these kinds of goals as your intentions for your family, or your long-term hopes, or your mission.

I reflect on ours all the time in a low-key way, but a few times a year, I make a point of thinking deeply about where we are and where we’re headed. Here’s how.

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How to avoid homeschool overwhelm: Become a curator

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Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins.

I love getting catalogs in the mail. Not every catalog, but the good ones that are full of things like board games and butterfly nets and prepared microscope slides and books. So many books! Shiny, happy new books.

But as I flip the pages, my excitement turns into a nagging worry that I’m not doing enough. There are so many options! Maybe we need more stuff, to learn all the things!

Sometimes a new tool or toy or giant box of books is just what we need, but not always.

And if I’m hearing that chant of not enough, not enough, not enough in my heart, a box of supplies is probably not going to fix it. (That insecurity isn’t about my shelves, anyway.)

That’s my signal to remind myself: I am a curator. It’s not my job to give my kids every option ever invented. My goal is to curate my kids’ environment and their experiences.

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