Hillary’s homeschool day in the life (with a 2-, 5-, & 8-year-old)

Written by contributor Hillary Boucher

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Our day-to-day homeschooling changes through the year due to the fact that my husband runs a seasonal business and I work full-time from home.

I am going to highlight a day in the life from this past fall. It was one of our busiest times of the year in terms of work and I’d like to add perspective for other families who may be wondering if homeschooling is possible with working parents.

In our experience it is possible to work and homeschool if you have flexibility in your job. It takes extra planning, discipline and coordination and can be challenging.

Weekdays

7am - Dad heads out to work. He tries to get an early start because he needs to relieve the nanny midday.

8am - I wake with the kids, help them get them dressed and serve them a simple breakfast before the nanny arrives. There’s added pressure to make sure the house is picked up (especially the bathroom & kitchen) since someone comes into our home to care for the kids.

9am - Nanny arrives and I brief her on the day — how everyone is feeling and if, when and where my eldest son needs a ride to a class or play date. He may be heading for a full day outdoor education program especially for homeschoolers, a theater class, piano lesson or  play date with one of his homeschooled buddies.

We keep a binder for emergency and day-to-day info and homeschooling themes and skill building ideas for our nanny. It’s her job to not only keep the kids safe, but to help reinforce their learning continuum while they play.

During the hiring process I stressed our homeschooling and family philosophies. I encouraged her to delve into interest based projects and laid out our specific needs.

1pm – I head upstairs to the relieve the nanny. The kids have already had lunch with her so I snuggle up on the couch for story time while we wait for Dad to come home. Twice a week I bring my five-year-old to his speech therapy session.

2pm - Dad comes home and relieves me. I grab a quick lunch and take it back to my office to eat while I work. Not ideal, but I’m so grateful for the flexibility that allows me to spend time with my kids *and* work that I see it as a blessing.

Dad sets the kids up with a video so he can shower, make a few phone calls and transition from work to home.

2:30pm - Dad and the kids head out into the world. It may be the library, the Science Center or just out for a bike ride. I can see them leave out my office window and we all enthusiastically wave and blow kisses.

Once again I find myself thankful to be able to dip into their daily routine, even if in a small way. My husband will send me a video or picture of what they are doing and I look forward to these updates.

5pm- I finish up work and head upstairs. A simple dinner has usually been started by Dad. Dinner is our *biggest* challenge during our busy season. We get take out from a local taqueria on Monday nights and focus on very simple meals. We save more elaborate meals for the weekend.

6pm- Dad cleans up the kitchen and I sit down at the table with my eight-year-old. This is our most formal part of homeschooling. We work through our language arts (McRuffy) and math (Life of Fred) curriculum. The concepts we’re tackling are communicated to both Dad and the nanny so that they are reinforced throughout the day through games and play.

7:30 Get ready for bed. I head upstairs with the kids and read chapter books out loud while the two younger kids fall asleep. My son comes back down with me after the kids go to bed and he either plays quietly at his desk while we do some work or we play games together — depends on the night.

9pm My son goes to bed. My husband and I pick up the house in preparation for tomorrow and go over end of day items (budget, planning the next day, etc.). We usually end the evening by catching up on a favorite show on Hulu.

11:30 Bedtime!

Weekend

Our weekends look more like what I imagine a traditional homeschool day to be. Dad works on Saturday to make up for his shorter work days during the week and I stick to our after dinner routine of math and language arts and tackle bigger projects.

For example, one Saturday we built a paper mache volcano and during that following week volcanoes were the learning theme. The following weekend we did video interviews of my son explaining how it all worked and then we set it off much to everyone’s excitement.

We receive monthly science kits in the mail from the Young Scientists Club and the weekend is the ideal time to dig into these activities.

Final Thoughts

It took us a lot of planning, discipline and creativity to have the fall go as smoothly as it did and we learned a lot to prepare for next year’s busy season.

Some days we felt really proud and happy with the way everything was going and other days it felt overwhelming.

We homeschool on a year-to-year, child-to-child basis and sometimes I wonder if this is sustainable long term, but I try not to worry about that too much.

Instead, I do my best to focus on what’s working right now and feeling grateful for our flexible jobs and the time spent living and learning together.

A look back at Hillary’s homeschool days:

Do you work and homeschool? I’d love to hear others’ thoughts, strategies, and experiences on the topic.

About Hillary

Hillary feels lucky to be able to work full-time from home and shares the homeschooling responsibilities with her partner. Together, with a little creativity, a full schedule and a lot of love, they facilitate the education of their three adorable, and sometimes very loud, children.

Comments

  1. se7en says:

    Thank you for this is such a great series, I am loving how everyone’s days are so unique and interesting!!! Certainly our day in the life of school changes radically from day to day and season to season…
    se7en’s latest post: Se7en + 1 Crafty Apartment Books…

  2. It does seem like planning for your own families unique situation it the key to having a homeschooling day run smoothly. Thanks for the peek into your life.
    Anna@The DIY Mom’s latest post: DIY Strawberry Heart Muffins (great for Valentine’s Day breakfast)

  3. MHowe says:

    Thank you so much for posting this schedule. I have a 3 year old and an almost 5 year old that I home school. I also work full time from home and my husband works full time outside of the house, we have various babysitters 4 days a week. This is the first home school schedule I have ever seen that looks anything like what I expect our schedule to look like and I often panic when I see the detailed plans others post of math at 10:00 reading 11:00 and so on which I won’t be able to do with my kids since I work. This year since they are both still in pre-school, I don’t worry about formal lessons all that much, but starting in the fall my older son will be Kindergarten aged, and I will probably need to begin transitioning him into something a bit more structured. So again, your post helped set my mind at ease a bit, at least for the moment.

  4. Heather says:

    I also work full time and homeschool. My husband works a more traditional schedule, he leaves around 4:30 in the morning and returns at 3:00 PM Monday through Friday. I work Friday, Saturday and Sunday overnight shifts, 11 hours each. My husband is with the children most on the weekends as I’m sleeping during the day and then I transition to Homeschool Teacher Monday – Friday. It’s a tough schedule to keep, but it seems worth it right now. I have a 6,7 and 9 year old, which presents it’s own set of challenges. I’m really enjoying this blog, it’s giving me a lot of great ideas for structuring our days.

  5. Stacie@HobbitDoor says:

    I work full time but it is 3-12 hr shifts per week and my husband works part time from home. We are just moving into the preschool age. I fully expect our days to look much like this. I am so glad to know we are not alone in our unique schedules.

  6. I love how unique each day is. I really can’t imagine doing it with both parents working so way to go, you! I do love, though, how mom and dad are a team!
    Johanna @ My Home Tableau’s latest post: Encourage positive behavior with a few beans

  7. Jada says:

    Thanks so much for sharing each of your journeys. It’s nice to see other families with similar stories, sharing work and home schooling responsibilities.

    My husband and I both work and share in home schooling the children. I work about 15-20 hours a week, teaching piano/voice lessons at my in-home music studio and teach/speak or lead worship at various retreats and churches during the year. My husband is a pastor, working 50-55 hours on a normal week, along with finishing up his doctorate degree this year. (He’s writing the ‘big one’ this year, so it’s adding quite a few more hours, but it’s a temporary season that is almost over! :-) )

    As others have shared, it’s requires planning and flexibility for things to run (semi) smoothly. Neither of us have traditional schedules. My husband works Wednesday – Sunday (and some Tuesdays). I teach in my studio Wednesdays-Fridays, finding time to do the administrative work and to prepare for speaking engagements at various times during the week. We’ve learned to be creative with work and home schooling schedules, in order to honor our family values and non-negotiables. We are very protective of our Family Day/Sabbath on Mondays, family dinner at least five evenings a week and creating “white space” on the calendar to connect and be available to others in our spheres of influence.

    Our home schooling schedule is varied and flexible. Although I create a routine of sorts at the beginning of the year, we rarely follow it to the letter. Tuesday-Friday are our home schooling days. My husband teaches the kids on Tuesdays and most Fridays. I teach the kids on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Saturdays are our “catch up day”. When we home school depends upon our work schedules or the kids co-op classes. Most often, we school in the mornings, but it varies.

    After four years, we have somewhat found a rhythm and routine, but no two days are the same. We value the time with our kids, but greatly enjoy our vocations, too. I am thankful for the team approach we have cultivated over the years.
    Jada’s latest post: AUTHENTIC [Word of the Year: 2013]

  8. Megan says:

    Thank you so much, Hillary (and Jada, and others!) for sharing a glimpse of how to homeschool and work! My husband and I are just transitioning into homeschooling and being a dual-entrepreneur family, with our almost-4 and almost-7-year-old, and it is so helpful to hear of others making it work! I believe we can do it, and I will keep following others who do, too. Thanks! :)
    Megan’s latest post: My TED Talk on IHE’s Blog!

  9. Great Guys
    AnangA7XfoREVer’s latest post: DriverMax 6.40 Free

  10. I m turkish you beaitifull girl

  11. michael says:

    I also work full time and homeschool. My husband works a more traditional schedule, he leaves around 4:30 in the morning and returns at 3:00 PM Monday through Friday. I work Friday, Saturday and Sunday overnight shifts, 11 hours each. My husband is with the children most on the weekends as I’m sleeping during the day and then I transition to Homeschool Teacher Monday – Friday. Fter four years, we have somewhat found a rhythm and routine, but no two days are the same. We value the time with our kids, but greatly enjoy our vocations, too. I am thankful for the team approach we have cultivated over the years

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