Written by Cait Curley or My Little Poppies.
I had grand plans to write about a typical homeschool day in our life. I was going to pick a random Monday or Friday and share our day from start to finish.
But my husband was working last weekend and I decided to take the kids up north for a few days. (One of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is the ability to get out of Dodge whenever the spirit moves you.)
Well, our getaway was extended by a snowstorm.
Then, we returned home to not one, but two nor’easters.
And that is how I ended up writing about writing about what Valentine’s Day looked like in our homeschool.
Valentine’s Day is not what I had planned. It is certainly not typical.
But, after writing this post, I realized that our day followed a normal rhythm (with sugar added).
The reality is: when it comes to homeschooling, there is no typical. And that’s a wonderful thing.
On my best days, I wake up long before my children. The quiet house and that first cup of coffee provide a foundation for our day.
I use this time to read or to write and, if I’m lucky, I can manage a bit of both. Today, I read Chasing Slow by the fire.
(This is perhaps the best start to a day like Valentine’s Day when I know the kid-energy will be high.)
At seven o’clock, the kids begin trickling down the stairs. They head straight to the playroom, where they immediately get lost in imaginative play. Last week, they created something called “Animal City” and they play it together every single day. I love to eavesdrop on the Animal City happenings as I prep breakfast in the adjacent kitchen.
I put the kettle on for oatmeal, fill juice cups, and dole out vitamins. Soon, the children saunter into the kitchen, chattering over one another with stories of dreams remembered, books read, and plans for the day.
Once breakfast is in front of each little person, it is time for our favorite homeschool tradition: Coffee and Books.
Usually, I have a stack of books ready. I love Coffee and Books because it allows me to cover any academic subject. If we have been slacking on science or geography, Coffee and Books provides catch-up and fantastic conversations. (If you’d like to learn more about what Coffee and Books looks like in our homeschool, I’m hosting a 5-day series!)
But today there is no stack of books today. Last night, I promised the children that we would continue reading our bedtime book, The Green Ember. We are at an exciting part and we want to know what is going to happen.
Sometimes, Coffee and Books lasts for twenty minutes. Sometimes, it lasts for an hour or more. Today, we only have time for one chapter because it is Tuesday and that means piano lessons.
Once I close the book’s covers, it is time to clear dishes, brush teeth, and get dressed. This is a great movement break for my busy kids. If energy is extra high, as it is today, I’ll ask them to carry up a laundry basket or two, or to grab some logs for the fire. Those little bodies need to move!
Once teeth are brushed, it’s time to tackle what I call our “homeschool must-dos;” these vary but typically include the following:
We have piano lessons today and I know the kids will play outside in the snow later, so I ask them to focus on math and writing. I always joke about how we are curriculum dabblers.
We use a little of this and a little of that, and math is no exception. My children use a variety of resources, but their favorite math resource right now is Smartick. I often refer to it as math dessert because they just can’t get enough.
Our writing varies by the day but always includes an entry in our new favorite journals. I have one as well, and I find that my children are highly motivated to write when it is something we do together.
After journals, it is time to make a Valentine’s Day card for our beloved piano teacher.
Yes, this is last minute due to the snowstorm trifecta I mentioned earlier. (Mama is a bit off her game. It happens.) As a follower of the Brave Writer lifestyle, I know that this activity is more than just fun- it is also writing!
Then, it’s time to hurry out the door to piano. While the kids are at their lesson, I hurry to the craft store to grab a Valentine’s Day surprise for later. (Thanks to those snowstorms, my surprises are on clearance!)
After piano, the kids head outside for some fresh air and snow play while I prep lunch. This weather makes our sweet bear-of-a-dog act like a puppy again and it’s a sight to behold. We are treasuring every second with him this winter.
Lunchtime is a time for learning in our homeschool.
Depending on the day, we might read a book, play a game, listen to a science podcast, enjoy a virtual field trip, or watch a YouTube video. Today, we listen to a new story from Around the World Stories, one of our favorite homeschool resources (and a wonderful way to calm kids down!).
After lunch, it’s time for some Valentine’s Day fun. I present the kids with my clearance finds: sweethearts, coloring books, and a t-shirt and hat to decorate as a surprise for Daddy. Our story is over and so I put on some music and they get to work.
Then, it is time for quiet time.
As an introverted homeschool mom with a husband who works a lot, I need this time to recharge. My children look forward to this time too as they can get lost in a book or creative pursuits.
On a typical day, I use quiet time to do yoga, but today I quickly bake a cake (from a box- Martha Stewart I am not!) for the kids to decorate later. I also grab a stack of games for later.
As gameschoolers, we rely heavily on educational games for learning.
I know we won’t get to all of these this afternoon. It’s Valentine’s Day and the energy is high. (But, I don’t feel guilty because I have worked in public schools and I know they aren’t accomplishing as much as they’d like to either!) Whatever we don’t get to, we’ll save for tomorrow.
After quiet time, the children head back outside. The snow is calling. I use this time to tidy up a bit.
While I am washing dishes, I notice the kids tossing snowballs at the house in an attempt to free one of our many icicles. It occurs to me that:
- This is not exactly safe
- Icicles could be fun and educational
I call out to the icicle seekers, asking if they’d like me to help. I don’t have to ask twice- they come running!
Together, we head upstairs where I know there are some gigantic ones within easy reach. They can hardly contain their excitement.
We return to the kitchen where they measure, sketch, write about, and taste their treasures. They can’t believe their luck (Icicles?! In the house!?), and I’m smiling because this is delight-driven learning at its best.
The kids are soaked from the icicles and so it’s time for one of their favorite things: early tub and jammies. But first, there’s a cake to decorate!
We are deep into our second round of Oregon Trail when Daddy calls to say he’s coming home with sushi- a special treat in honor of Valentine’s Day.
As soon as he walks in the door, the children bombard him with hugs, questions, and Valentine’s Day goodies. We are starving and so we gather at the table and enjoy a nice meal and conversation. When dinner has ended, the children clear their plates and head upstairs to get ready for bed.
Before bed, I read each child a book of their choosing.
This is a new routine for us and it is an easy way to squeeze in some 1:1 time when it otherwise feels impossible. Every morning, each kiddo picks a book for me to read later. They leave it on the kitchen island, in view, and when I have a minute I sneak away with each child. Because today was so full, we read these books at bedtime before enjoying another chapter of The Green Ember.
Once they are tucked in for the night, I head downstairs to catch up on work while my husband does the same. Then, we head to the couch and talk about our day over books or a TV show before heading to bed.
And that’s a wrap!
I’d like to note what you didn’t see in this post…
This includes, but is not limited to, the following: siblings squabbles (8), dirty sink (1), tantrums (2), filthy floor (all of them), baskets of unfolded laundry (4), those times I raised my voice and instantly regretted it (4), dog vomit (5), and spilled milk (1).
The internet affords me the luxury of editing, filtering, and cropping, but please know that our life is a beautiful mess, just like yours.
Do you play games and rely heavily on reading in your house? What are your favorite resources?