Yes, you read that title right. I have six children. My! How times have changed!
When I first started this homeschooling journey, my days went like clockwork. Certain days were devoted to library trips, play dates, and park days. Certain hours of the day were spoken for by math lessons, crafts, stories, lots of Match Game, and the blessed naptime.
That was nine years ago. My oldest was five. And I had a lot fewer wrinkles and gray hairs.
My days are currently not so regular. While I would love to be organized — and yes, even regimented — in how my days are spent, that’s really not my reality, nor quite frankly, my personality.
My typical day? It’s the perpetual “box of chocolates” — I never know what I’ll get.
- The dentist’s office calls and says they can see two kids that afternoon. Can we come? While that blows three hours of our afternoon as well as the toddler’s nap, I say, “Yes.” Our dentist is very popular and appointments are hard to come by.
- My husband gets unexpected leave and suggests we take the kids to the snow since it’s rather rare here in San Diego. It turns out to be a wonderful break from our routine and an educational vacation in the process.
- My ten-year-old asks about the World Trade Center. What could have been a five minute explanation becomes a 30 minute tale with a few tears, followed up by a trip to the library and a search for books about 9-11.
- Within an eight hour period the entire family — all eight of us — come down with raging head colds, putting us out of sorts and out of commission, but we can still read books and watch “educational” films.
- And yes, there are plenty of days filled with “I won’t,” “I can’t” and “Do I have to?”
This year, probably my most challenging yet, has had me teaching 8th, 5th, 3rd, and 1st grades, as well as, a friend says, “keeping my preschoolers from burning down the house.” I’ve had to come to terms with many things, one being that the natural rhythm of our days is not as clockwork as I sometimes think it should be.
5 am – My husband wakes and prepares for work. Often, I get up with him, drink coffee, chat, and see him out the door.
6:30 am – My husband leaves for work.
4:00 pm – Papa comes home.
In between 6:30 and 4?
Well, that’s a moving target. I have a schedule and a plan most days. But, often the day doesn’t go according to my plan (see above).
No two days are the same. I can’t predict when someone will get sick, need a diaper change, or just plain old have a bad day. I kick myself that things aren’t more orderly. But in the same moment I realize this season is also fleeting.
My kids won’t always be these ages. And beauty can be found in each of our crazy, unexpected adventures.
(In between times, Jena’s posts have always brought me comfort that we’re doing okay.)
Between those elusive 7 am to 4 pm hours, I try to fit in some of the following. Some are daily; some are a few times per week.
- serve two meals and a snack; do kitchen clean up
- Bible reading together (we’re currently tackling a chronological Bible schedule)
- do the Morning High Five
- a meeting between each boy and mom when we go over grade specific lessons, connect, and talk
- independent reading
- history and literature read alouds
- computer math via Teaching Textbooks (for the three oldest)
- Saxon Math with my 1st grader
- science (Exploring Creation through Astronomy) with my 5th and 3rd graders
- 8th grader does science on CD Rom (Exploring Creation with Physical Science)
- read stories to my littlest ones: my 2-, 4-, and 6-year-olds
- littles play independently or with a big brother
Naps for the girls, ages two and four, start around 2 pm. At that time, I usually finish up math and science with the boys who need my help, while the others finish their independent work. If possible, I squeeze in some writing time. At about 4 we reconvene for a snack, what we’ve dubbed Happy Hour. Our day transitions once my husband comes home and we put away our books.
While few days fit the ideal picture in my head, I recognize that this is a season. And seasons change. I don’t want to wish away the seasons.
For now I’m going to enjoy this time of predictable unpredictability and make the most of every minute of my crazy homeschool days.
Who out there can identify with my unpredictable days? How do you make the most of yours?
Originally published on January 19, 2011.