Jessica’s homeschool day in the life (with a 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, 12-, and 15-year old)

mom and boys on slide

Written by Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

Somedays, I feel like the old lady in the grocery store. You know the one. The one who tells you to enjoy these days because they will soon be gone.

I know, I know. When you’re in the thick of child-rearing, baby-wearing, diaper-changing, nose-wiping, it’s hard to imagine looking back on these moments or days fondly.

I thought that after my first child was born. As I limped around with a healing episiotomy and two milk-filled boulders on my chest, I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to do that again.

An older mom friend said,

“It’s okay. God gives you amnesia. You won’t remember the feelings of all the hard things. You might remember them intellectually. But you’ll look back on this time with different emotions.”

She was right.

I did get amnesia. Apparently so, because I went on to have five more children. And those early postpartum days are a fog of lala-land. I know intellectually that they were difficult and sleep-deprived moments, but what I feel today is the joy of falling in love all over again with another beautiful soul.

And so, I say, yes, these days will soon be gone.

Lord willing, amnesia will set in and you’ll only remember the good parts.

family by lake

Already, I feel this in regards to my earlier days of homeschooling. Once upon a time, I had routine. I had naptimes to look forward to. I had willing little ears ready to hear as many stories as I was willing to read. A coloring page could take an hour before someone complained of boredom. That’s us, circa 2003.

Life then seems so, so simple.

My children were all little and one day looked very similar to the one before. Honestly, I miss those days.

I’m probably not old enough to say that, but I do.

Today looks quite different from that day ten years ago when I only had a kindergartner to teach and two little ones along for the ride.

We’ve got Latin this afternoon for the tenth grader, yesterday General Science and Marine Biology for my boys 12 and older. Piano lessons in the afternoon for the fifth grader. Not to mention math, grammar, history, literature, and spelling for the masses. There’s activity here and there.


On any given day I do one or more of the following:

  • prepare three meals and a snack
  • nag someone to do his kitchen job or put away his clothes
  • find out where someone is and why isn’t he doing his math
  • listen to someone complain about the (grammar, math, history, French) task at hand
  • referee arguments
  • read stories
  • troubleshoot a faulty Internet connection for an online Latin class
  • drive someone to piano lessons, science class, hockey practice, swim school
  • find an older child reading to the younger ones
  • find big kids playing Little People with the 4-year old to keep her entertained
  • listen to a child flawlessly recite a poem that she’s been memorizing for grammar
  • overhear an older student help a younger one with a math problem
  • be surprised by a child telling me how truffles are hunted by specially-trained pigs in the woods

and honestly….

  • stand amazed that I get to teach this wonderful group of beautiful souls

Variety is the spice of life, yes. And yes, sometimes it wears me out emotionally and physically.

However, while God has given me amnesia for some of the hard things of the past, He’s also given me foresight to see the future.

Fishfam today

These days will pass quickly just like the old days did.

I will miss these crazy, chaotic moments when I hope against hope that the experiment is working. I will miss having someone to nag. I will miss that there won’t be little people to play Little People with. I will miss the random factoids and the fun.

I will (hopefully) laugh at myself that I ever wondered that the experiment wouldn’t work!

And so these are days to enjoy, with their good and their bad. These are days to be mindful of. Someday I will miss my kids at ages 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 15. I’m taking these days for granted. These days, as hard and as chaotic as they seem today, will someday seem simple. 2003 seems simple to me now. But, I know intellectually that it very much was not!

Remember these days, whichever days you’re walking in, are days to remember.

There are fabulous days and some we’d rather forget. But, what a privilege it is to walk them alongside our kids.

A look back at Jessica’s homeschool days:

What is something that you’ll miss from these days?

shree venkatesh international

About Jessica

Once a public high school teacher, Jessica now homeschools five of her six children, covering 2nd through 10th grades. Her oldest is in college, so the experiment appears to have worked! Grab a copy of Jessica’s new cookbook Good Cheap Eats Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less and the accompanying monthly meal plan to help you save money, eat well, and enjoy some freer time.


  1. I’m pregnant and my three-year old leans up against my belly everyday to talk to and snuggle with her little brother. Every time she does I think how much I’ll miss that but how I have to look forward to her talking and snuggling with a newborn.
    Steph’s latest post: Getting Outside in Winter Time

  2. Jessica, I appreciated this post so much. You wrote the expanded and much more effective version of what I was trying to convey in my own most recent blog post — that idea of the long perspective that can make the more immediate crises seem a bit less intimidating. Looking back on what we used to worry about helps us realize that our children will grow into the people they’re meant to be, whether we as parents and teachers get every detail and decision quite “right” or not!
    Hannah’s latest post: Roads Diverging

  3. Good reminder, Jessica. It does go by sooo fast. I don’t want to wish away one hour of life.

  4. I love your post. While I’m slightly wistfull sometimes for my time with just the biggies, I am loving my life right now with a 6 year old, a 5 year old, and a 6 month old. I will miss watching my biggies learning to care for and love their new sibling.

  5. This is so true. I try to remember these things when my younger is asking for yet another bedtime story, or my older is nagging me to play yet another game of chess. It’s worth it to take the time. They won’t ask forever.
    Nicole(Whole Strides)’s latest post: Inauguration Day

  6. Oh my … I needed to know I wasn’t alone today. This has been a DAY.

  7. I need to hear this, thanks!

  8. I love it! I have twin babies, and a LOT of moms tell me to enjoy this, it won’t last forever. But, especially when I’m sick of two screaming babies, I have to remind myself that this is SO true. They know from experience. I look at my 10-year-old and think how fast time flies. Time to kiss my babes while they still let me!
    Nikki’s latest post: One Mommy, Two Babies

  9. Thank you!! On day 4 of new baby. Struggling with all the challenges and trying to enjoy every moment of it.

  10. Christine A says:

    Well said! I realized some time ago that being in the middle of “now” makes it difficult to see the bigger picture of life, and one day in the future I will look back on that time period and wish it was still “now” (or at least be able to laugh). I don’t want to “wish my life away”….but I cant help but wish for my children to be the age they are longer (have a birthday every 730 days vs. 365 days). I want to bottle up all of their cuteness and remember every moment!
    From these days, I will miss laying with them in their bed at night and listening to their little voices, their stories, thier questions, and most of all thier prayers – or as my 3 year old says, “Time to say my ‘pears’ and what I am ‘frankful’ for!” The other day he said he was thankful for “applesauce”… is the simple things that mean so much!!!!

  11. Jessica, I so appreciate your wisdom. I’ve been going through those pangs of wishing I had been more present and appreciative during those early years. My kids are now both teenagers and while I love the new relationships and interactions, I’m very aware of how quickly they’re growing up and how soon I’ll have even less time with them.
    Here’s another thought – appreciate how much time you’re spending with your children and building close relationships now. It pays off. Despite their age, our children love to be with us and spend time at home. Not all the rumors about teenagers who want nothing to do with you are true. But those close relationships starts with when they’re young!
    sarah @ fitfamilytogether’s latest post: Update On The Flu Survival Guide

  12. Jessica:
    You brought tears to my eyes as I am on hiatus from homeschooling until my two grandbabies get a bit older. I had the privilege of homeschooling my children for over 24 years and am so grateful for this opportunity. Yes, sometimes when we look back we have a few more “warm fuzzies” than when going through the experience but that just means the years give us true perspective on what is most important. I often reflect back to the books my children and I read together and even the challenging subjects we worked through. I am a blessed woman. One of my greatest joys is that my children all plan to homeschool and are looking forward to my interaction as Nonna, (my grandmother name.) Do continue to savor and enjoy these years as they do seem to pass quickly.
    DL’s latest post: Frugal Ways to Get-Away

  13. Oh yes savor them because they fly so quickly! But then God will do an amazing thing. He’ll give you grandchildren. So much more fun the second time around!!!

  14. So true, jessica! Why do we always look back and think those were the good old days?

  15. My son is 21 he just moved out this month.I still have 5,6 and a 11 year old I am homeschooling.Time flies by do not take it for granted.

  16. After a long hard day, this was a good read. You spoke to my heart. TY

  17. such a good reminder for each and every stage of life. thank you, Jessica, I always appreciate your posts.

  18. Jessica, I love you and your perspective. (love all your posts & blog!) You are a wise soul. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  19. Lee Privette says:

    I love and hate bedtime. I am cranky by then, my 4 year old is slow on obedience by then, but I know I’ll miss snuggling up in our big rocker, reading books, singing songs and saying prayers – I’m guessing she won’t want to do these things at 14 or 24 or 34…. I’ll just have to remember to enjoy it 🙂

  20. Wow – I really was hit by this article. Just this week I’ve been pondering all the times I’ve said ‘no’ to my kids requests to play because I just had a baby this month. It’s tough to hold the three older ones at arms length without feeling guilty, but you’re right. I want to focus on what’s good right now.
    What am I excited about right now? I’m excited that they love to play with each other (most of the time!) and that I get to witness their interactions and be a part of this family. I’m so lucky to get to know them better each day and that they are so adaptable and forgiving. I trust they’ll remember most of the good stuff too!
    Now I’m excited cause I have a moment to read to one of my kids, so I’m off to do that.
    Thanks for the encouragement.
    Lana Wilkens’s latest post: Right where I want to be

  21. I really enjoyed this post. I have almost the exact same aged kids as you, only I have a 2 year old, rather then a 15 year old. I keep telling my 12 year old that teenagers are like toddlers in giant bodies. Is that still true at 15? Anyway, I can relate with all you said and I appreciated your insight. Sometimes it’s hard to just enjoy the “now”, but you’re so right! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Thank you for this. It truly touched my heart and refreshed my perspective of being mama to 4. It’s so hard sometimes, and I get so stuck in my own little have-to-do list that I miss so much! Tears were definitely flowing by the time I finished reading 🙂 it’s all so good

  23. Wow! Simply heart warming! I’m just to begin my homeschool journey and stories of inspiration from those who went ahead of me, are truly inspiring. Everyday I look forward to inspiring, realistic and informative posts from simple homeschool, definitely my favorite go-to site for everything homeschool related!

  24. I like the amnesia part. I always thought of it as an example of God’s sense of humor like giving us the “good” baby first so we’d have another one. I’ll never forget those quiet moments that I had with each of my three sons, nursing and cuddling them. Homeschooling provides lots of time to watch them grow, deal with issues, and insures that they “get it right” for their own lives. Thanks for sharing your life.

  25. I love that God gives amnesia. I remember thinking that during each labor. “Oh, yeah… now I remember what that feels like.”
    Purva Brown’s latest post: To Teach Boys to Read, Give Them A Reason

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