Kara’s homeschool day in the life with a 7- & 10-year-old


Written by Kara Anderson.

It’s a funny time of year for me to share with you a day in our homeschool life, because I feel a breeze of change this season — it always seems like the holidays provide us with enough of a full stop that we can’t help but begin again a bit differently.

And so, I’m finding it a challenge to decide what to share – do I tell you about the last few weeks before our family took some time off to celebrate Christmas? Or do I tell you about our plans for the winter?

Maybe a little of both?


Or perhaps even better, I should tell you about Dec. 22, the day that “officially” began our Christmas Break — the day my daughter came up to me, gently tapped me on the shoulder, and whispered, “Mama, when we start school again, I want more homework.”


“Homework” in my 7-year-old’s world is anything she does on her own, and that I can somehow approve or put a sticker on. She often assigns herself homework: “I’m doing a report on animals.”

She LOVES workbooks! (My son loves encyclopedias. Seriously! Yeah homeschool!)

She has also requested that we begin the new year with an Arctic Unit Study, so things may look a little different in the weeks to come!


We have dabbled in a lot of ways of learning over the years – I just try to stay open. At the very beginning of this year, we decided to focus mainly on good books.

Looking back, our days have looked like this:

8 a.m. We would begin our day together (something I’d love to work on – I aspire to be an “early-morning-mom.”) and we’d eat breakfast.

I love breakfast – it is a slow and leisurely meal in our house, served with lots of tea and sometimes a video. During December, we watched the first season of Word Up, and we’d giggle together as we munched toast and mixed yogurt.

8:45 a.m. We actually get ready for the day after breakfast, (which adds to the leisurely feeling, I think, so perhaps I’ll keep sleeping in …)

Two summers ago, I created checklists for the kids, and now I can say to them (at 7 and 10), “Do your checklist,” and they know that means clothes and hair and teeth and bed.

9:30 a.m. I get ready then too, and start my chore routine*. The kids do chores too – that was our “project” this past summer. (I tend to pick a life skills thing to focus on each summer.)

We have since abandoned chore sticks for a looser approach. Usually one child takes out recycling, one feeds pets, one wipes down the table, one empties the dishwasher.

The kids often alternate math during chore time. We invested in Teaching Textbooks this year, and it has been such a wonderful choice for our family. I can’t say enough good things about it, including that it gives me a few extra minutes each day to complete my chore circuit.

(*A note about “chores”: I am a big believer in keeping an imperfect, happily lived-in home. BUT, I have to say, having things relatively picked up-ish and uncluttered helps me.

It settles my brain a bit. So it isn’t my priority, even though I do it early. My priority is to get this joint looking calm enough that I can fully focus on my kids.)


10:30 a.m. Following math, we meet at the table to work together.

Part of what we do each day differs. Sometimes I ask the kids to each choose a few things they want us to work on. Sometimes I choose based on my own feelings that day – knowing that reading aloud is so calming to me, for instance, or that it’s a perfect day for a little kitchen science.

For our “core” work right now (same most days), we read a chapter from D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, and then do a problem from our Bedtime Math book. We follow that up with a Latin lesson and a little Shakespeare.

(We are loving doing Shakespeare together this year, and are excited about an upcoming performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in our community.)

11:45 a.m. We’ll take a little break, get a snack or some tea, and come back together for reading aloud. We are working our way through a list of books, and enjoying our read-aloud time a lot this year – the kids are at great ages to enjoy a variety of books.


12:30 p.m. This usually brings us to lunchtime, and often, the kids will head outside for a bit while I make lunch. (When we had snow on the ground, they were heading out in the mornings and late afternoons too – it just depends on the weather right now, but I miss the snowy mornings, when I would stand outside and just breathe for a minute. Ahhh.)

1:30 p.m. After lunch, I begin my work time – 1 to 2 hours per day. One day a week, our baby-sitter comes and I have a longer stretch to work. (I also work a longer stretch on one weekend day.)


I have tried unsuccessfully for years to have my work time coincide with a “Quiet Time” for the kids, and have finally given up entirely.

My work is frequently accompanied by my son practicing guitar, and honestly, I have found that it doesn’t bother me at all. (All those years working in a busy newsroom, I think.)

The kids can do whatever they choose during this time. They often read, listen to audiobooks, knit, draw, do other crafts, write letters or in their journals, build with LEGOs or practice instruments.

They also can take turns on our Kindle. We have several educational apps like Duolingo and Stack the States.


3 p.m. In the afternoons, we often have library programs or music lessons. When the weather is warmer, we plan big adventures, but we tend to stay a little closer to home this time of year. Still, there are errands and shopping and all those sorts of things.

On days we are home in the afternoons we often bake, do art projects or play games.


We were part of a co-op until recently, but since it dissolved, we’ve been getting together once a week with three other families, and that has been really perfect. The kids often have friends over during the week too!

5 p.m. Late in the afternoon, the kids will alternate showers while I peek at my email and check over my calendar for the next day. I’ll finish some work.

Sometimes, on perfect winter afternoons, I’ll have a chance to listen to a bit of a podcast, do some yoga, read a little or knit before I make dinner – my own version of Quiet Time, because it turns out I’m the one who actually likes it! (Otherwise, I save that for after 9 p.m.!).

7 p.m. We’ll eat a late-ish dinner when my husband gets home, and read together before bed. One of my favorite things about winter is cuddling up with Sleepytime Tea and cinnamon toast, and reading a good book with my kids.

It might be one of the very best parts of a very happy homeschool life.

What are your very favorite parts of your homeschool life?

How the days have changed:

About Kara Anderson

Kara is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom, with a goal of encouraging fellow mamas in real-life homeschooling. She also's the happy co-host of The Homeschool Sisters podcast. Grab her free ebook: 7 Secrets the Happiest Homeschool Moms Know here.


  1. I have to first say that, as a first year homeschooler, I am thoroughly enjoying this series. I love that you can compare Kara’s 2014 and 2015 posts. It’s wonderful to read how families approach homeschooling. I’m going to be checking out this read aloud list, as we are huge fans of read alouds (my kids are 6, 5, and 3). We LOVE D’Aulaire’s book, too. I’ll also be checking out Word Up. Thanks for sharing your day with all of us!
    Cait Fitz @ My Little Poppies’s latest post: Where do all the pencils go? Homeschooling and ADHD

  2. Confession: I read the part on breakfast at 8 and thought – “Wow, by 8 she’s already made breakfast.” 😉 My daughter loooves to sleep in so I take full advantage of that most days. So to me – you’ve mastered early rising.
    Love to hear how you’re doing Latin and also your work schedule around homeschooling. I don’t bump into a lot of other WAH/homeschool moms so I’m always fascinated by how their days look!
    Diana Stone’s latest post: My Word {2015}

  3. These sounds like cozy, reasonable days!
    Hannah’s latest post: The Problem With Pets

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I have a 7 and 10 year old too, and this is our first year of homeschooling and it is fun to get a peek at how different families approach their days. We are similarly open and adaptable in our home, and right now my favorite part of the day involves any point in which we make tea. Yea-making has become a reset button for us, and I don’t even know how it started. What I do know is that adding a mug of warm tea to almost any subject matter seems to make us all happier and also grateful to be home and together.

  5. I laughed at “she assigns herself homework….” My daughter assigns herself animal and other reports all the time. Then because she doesn’t want her younger sister to be left out, she assigns her a report, too. (My girls are 9 and 7)

  6. I think out of all the ‘day in the life of’, I resonate with yours the most. Our days are very similar, except my kids are both 2 years younger than yours. 🙂 I know that at some point we’ll stop Quiet Time in the afternoon, and just let them play together, but for now, it works sooo well to have everyone in different rooms for awhile.
    My favorite part of homeschooling is reading so much to my kids. I was an English major in college. I love to read, and I love reading really good books to my kids.
    Sarah M
    Sarah M’s latest post: House Tour in Black and White Photos

    • It took me a looooong time to let Quiet Time go. I still miss it, but I think it has gotten easier now that my kids are older. I can explain that I need a bit of Quiet Time, and they get that! 😉
      Kara’s latest post: It’s not forever: A gentle homeschool reminder. (Starring Guns and Roses.)

      • As a rapidly approaching the end of my homeschool journey mom, I read with nostalgia your comments on quiet times and reading to kids snuggled on sofas. My eldest is 17 and started an apprenticeship in business admin. My youngest is 15 and we are looking at college next year for her. It was the best decision of my life to take them both out of mainstream and homeschool. It has built a very strong bond between my kids and with me. It makes me so sad to hear moms lamenting the end of school holidays and that they can’t wait to shove them back into school. Reading, baking, sewing, and learning together is such a rewarding experience . By the way. Play Word Chums with your kids online. It’s scrabble based and we love it 😆😆😆😆

  7. Tea and toast before bed sounds PERFECT to me. We’ve been having evening read-and-tea time lately, too, and I think I need to add in cinnamon toast. Mmmm.
    Melissa Camara Wilkins’s latest post: 10 Thoughts on blessings for the new year

  8. While my grandsons are younger than your children, I love the idea of Bedtime Math. I just put it on hold at the library. I watch my young grandsons several days a week, and sometimes we’re waiting in the car for some reason or other (like waiting for Tae Kwon Do class to start after picking up the oldest from school). It’s great to have other choices to keep the boys busy while we wait, other than iPad games or audiobooks.
    Nancy Taylor’s latest post: Creating A Multiple Intelligences Lesson Plan

  9. I have a seven year old who also LOVES workbooks and being independent. So Ive based a lot of our homeschool around that. She asked for “more art” so I bought Home Art Studio 1st Grade for her.

  10. That’s funny. Just a week or so I posted something on Facebook about how you haven’t lived until you’ve done your work-at-home job with a live rendition of “Sweet Child of Mine” playing in the background. (In other words, I have a guitar-playing son, too.)
    Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers’s latest post: Weekly Wrap-Up: The One with all the Painting

  11. Great post as always Kara! I’m going to try your morning “checklists” & chore sticks as they sound like great ideas. I was curious which workbooks your 7 year old likes–mine is still a pre-reader, but seems to want “more” work. Thanks for sharing your journey–it’s great when we can learn from others!

    • Hi Rachel! Honestly, she loves the $1 workbooks from Target! She also really loves her Teaching Textbooks workbook and frequently asks me to print worksheets on topics of interest. 🙂 She just completed an arctic animals word search and thought it was really fun that such a thing existed!!

  12. Kara,
    I feel similar about house cleanliness and I’m going to check out your post on how your current chore routine came to be.
    I am itching to hear more on what other life skills you’ve picked and practiced over the summer. What a great idea.
    Thanks for the inspiration. Loved your day in the life.
    Cara’s latest post: Socialization: why I let my kids see me cry.

  13. Ah, your post made me smile. Mine are also 7 and 10 now, tea fixes a lot around here, and our days sound very similar to yours. (And even though it shouldn’t, because we are all going to homeschool differently, I find that very reassuring.) I found your blog through your Simple Homeschool contributions and there are a handful of other things I relate very much to. Thank you for sharing your lovely family and days with us. With warmth…
    Nicola’s latest post: good bye, 2014. hello, 2015

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