Heather’s homeschool day in the life (with a 4-, 6- & 8-year-old)

Written by Heather of WellerMomma

Creeping downstairs, already anticipating that first cup of hot coffee, I’m waking up to a clean slate. It is early when my day begins around here. If I’m lucky, I’ve got approximately 1 hour to an hour and 30 minutes before everyone is awake, needing me to be on my game.

What do I do with that early morning time?  The one thing that pays off big time: momma self-careOur day is better if I can nourish myself first thing. And not just because I have taken time to breathe and wake up and journal, but because my head is set to nurture.  

A homeschool day in the life

My heart is always there — like yours, right? But if I can’t grab some margin first thing, it’s too easy for nerves to fray and tempers to flare.  The overwhelm of motherhood doesn’t do an effective job if I wake to dark and quiet.

This morning no one wakes and I can rise and shine alone. I grab my coffee and bullet journal then free-write for a bit and look over the plan for the day. Bonus! There is still time for some checking in on social and reading two chapters of my current book.

I hear tiny footfalls and I know I’m on.  6:30 a.m. on the dot and it’s showtime!

Game on

Our homeschool serves three little people: Lily is 8, Oliver is 6 and Emmeline is 4 (yet insists she is 5). When they are all awake, there might be 30 minutes of Minecraft or one cartoon.  

After, everyone comes sleepy-eyed into the kitchen looking for food.  This morning we have pancakes.  

The microscope is on the dining room table with slides for some good morning strewingTheir curious minds get activated and they make a nice sticky mess.

Everyone scatters to get dressed and play while I get outside for a run before the hubs heads to work. When I return, he is walking out the door, the kids are not dressed (sigh) and so we race to see who can do it first.

Connection is key

Getting the day off on a good foot seems to be the key to a happy homeschool in our family. I am unplugged in the morning and the kids have me. I want to be present; it works so well to ward off cranky behavior from everyone.

The older kids check out what is on the agenda for the day. We head out the door to drop the littlest at her morning play preschool around the corner.  Emmy loves to run off her boundless energy with friends. I love how homeschool can look different for each family.

Back at home

We all love science.  I have the best intentions to touch on all subjects in a school year, but can I be honest?  We can’t seem to move away from messy investigations or tracking changes in nature.

I wake in the middle of the night to nightmares that my kids will never know all the things they should.  Then I tell myself to get back to sleep. Giving them fascinations that keep them hooked on seeking new ideas seems the most natural way to inspire life-long learning. This quiets my anxiety.

Nature study and STEM projects are always going. Today is no different.  We are reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM for our read-aloud and studying simple machines.

I’ve already prepped materials (which is rare and a super-mom feat in my book). We build a “jumping jack” puppet and move all the levers. While I read, the puppets dance and the kids slurp hot chocolate.

Magic in the making

February can bring on those dreaded winter blues and doldrums.  

I’ve found over the years that we also find a slow rhythm to our days in the mid-winter. It begs for more reading and calculating and never-ending hands-on problem-solving. We fall under the spell of mundane tasks and everyday learning.

Everything seems to slow down and we can sink into a yummy and cuddly learning time. Learning in the kitchen happens more. The heat of the oven is welcome to chilly bodies and the treats that come out add to read aloud time and poetry teatime.

Lily has fallen in love with baking.  I let her explore in the kitchen. This has empowered her learning in more academic areas. While she is prepping the orange muffin dough, Ollie and I grab some time to read and build words together. He is catching on to sounding out and it’s an exciting thing to witness.

We trade places and Lily joins me for math. She is working through Math Mammoth and I mix in RightStart Math components. We play but she also enjoys computation and asks for written work each day. I oblige.

We have completely forgotten to journal at all today. Even with a written schedule, because the kids like to see what’s coming up next, it’s easy to slip off track. I let it go. We head back to preschool and pick up our girl in time for lunch.

Afternoon delights

The afternoons in our house are a time of raucous play or quiet time. Or a dizzying combination of both. We can go the audiobook, LEGO and art route or there’s fort building, chasing and jumping from the highest stair.  

And this is the real reason we chose to homeschool. There are too many benefits of play for kids-no matter their age. Traditional school simply doesn’t afford the luxury of play and it’s the most valuable part of our homeschool day.

There’s a curious LEGO and Shopkins drama playing out on the living room floor I must check out. Then I throw in the laundry, coax some help to unload the dishwasher, and start to put the house back together.

Soon the public school kids will return home and our house will welcome them.

I try to steal away for a few minutes to fill myself back up — calling my mom, checking in with friends on FB, a quick yoga session. While we moms push ourselves to give our kids everything, my truth is I can’t do it without taking time to recharge.

There are so many glorious benefits of this life of learning beside our kids. I don’t want to miss it.

I want to be awake to what they need and the magic of the little moments of our life. I am so grateful we get to do it together.

Do you include self-care in your homeschool day?

About Heather Weller

Heather Weller is a mom to three cuties and wife to one funny guy, loving on her people and living in the beautiful north hills of Pittsburgh. She believes moms deserve to delight in their life and their homeschool. She shares her thoughts at wellermommablog. If she isn’t writing, reading or chasing after wee people, you can find her running (by herself and on purpose), doing yoga or playing outside.


  1. My kids are of a similar age. It’s been a hard year. I had hoped to have the smoothest year yet but a move to an unfamiliar location, the death of my father and loneliness has made it a struggle. Your post is inspiring. Thank you.

    • Kristy Houle says:

      I was reading Heather’s post and started reading the replies when yours struck me as all too familiar. First, let me give my deepest sympathy for the loss of your father. I lost both my mother and father last year and it has been devastating to both me and my family. On another note, I just started homeschooling this year and I thought it was going to be a great year, but I too am struggling to do what I think I should be doing each day. It is nice to know that there are others out there dealing with the same struggles. Oh, and by the way, my boys are 6 and 8. I have a 13 year old son but he opted to stay in public school this year. I hope you have a great weekend and wonderful start to a next week.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. It helped me take a deep breath and make sure I slow down. My kids are 7, 6, 4, and 2. It’s easy for me to feel tense so quickly. I want to snuggle them today, brew some tea, and have some good read aloud time. 🙂

  3. Donald Hurley says:

    Our grandchildren are so fortunate to have you as their mom. Love you…Guess who😘

  4. Such a lovely, play-based day! You’re right, school doesn’t give our children time to play and explore. Keep pushing your worries aside. Your children are learning more than you realize. You’ll find over the years that most subjects balance out nicely.
    Camie’s latest post: Homesickness, Brownies & the Maid

  5. It was wonderful to see how you take care of yourself throughout the day. Thanks for sharing. I also enjoy my mornings alone. I need it. 🙂
    Jen|Practical by default’s latest post: A “Day” in My Life: Homeschooling and Working

  6. What a beautiful day! My kids are 5,3, 18mos and I have one on the way, and i would love for our homeschool to look like this in a few years! Play is SO valuable!

  7. Looking forward to trying to implement this in our DAily routine!!

  8. I so agree with your sentiments on play! That is also a major reasons we have chosen homeschool, even though some days I find myself wondering if there’s too much play. But then I remind myself that Anne of Green Gables played into her teen years and carry on! Thanks for sharing. And do you mind if I ask about your youngest going to preschool? How did you make that decision and does it help with your homeschool day? Thanks!
    June’s latest post: The Downside to Minimalism (that no one likes to talk about)

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