Kari’s day in the life (with a 9- and 11-year-old)

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

I mentioned before that this is our “Experiment Year,” but little did I know then that I’d be trying something else I’ve never done before: Homeschooling while pregnant!

Though I’m feeling great now, I spent three months wiped out with morning sickness. Thankfully, we were able to keep chugging along with our school routine, which tells me that our routine works for us, because our days went fairly smoothly even when I was couch-ridden. So grateful!

I’ve already shared about our Experiment Year, and the five key lessons I’ve learned so far. So what does this experiment look like? Nowadays it looks a little bit like this:

7:30 am — Roll over and ask Heidi to turn on the hot water for tea. The days of 5 a.m. wake-ups are behind me, at least for now. These days, Heidi (who turns 9 tomorrow) wakes up early and comes upstairs to snuggle in my bed until we’re both ready to rise.

Many things remain the same: We gather in the living room to curl up under quilts and read our Bibles. Dutch is reading through the Bible over 2 years, and Heidi’s reading through the New Testament this year.

When they’re done with Bible reading, they can spend the remainder of our time reading “Bible books” — anything from comic-book Bibles, kids devotionals, church-history books, or Dutch’s favorite, the huge Illustrated Summaries of Biblical Books. I keep them all on the coffee table so they’re within easy reach.

After breakfast, we head outside for our exercise/fresh-air time. I do my laps, and the kids can either do laps with me or just explore and play in the woods. As long as they’re getting exercise and fresh air, they’re free to play as they please.

Then I shower, eat breakfast, sip cup-of-tea-#2 and call the kids inside.

10 a.m. — Gather for our Pledge of Allegiance and Educational Prayer, then Math: The kids grab their Life of Fred books and tackle math for the next 45 minutes or so. They’re self-paced, and when they finish their lessons they can do other math practice sheets, Mind Benders, or an online math game.

11 a.m. — Language Arts. After math, we curl up on the couch together and progress through our Total Language Plus lessons. This curriculum uses classic literature to teach reading comprehension, grammar, spelling, and (some) writing and critical thinking. This is our first year doing this, and I’m loving it! Each book spans about 8 weeks of lessons, so you cover 3-4 books per school year. This year we’re doing The Whipping BoyShiloh, and The Sign of the Beaver.

Dutch reads dozens of books on his own, so I don’t have any sort of requirement for literature or free-reading for him. Heidi reads less, so I require her to do some on her own. Her favorites have been these abridged Shakespeare books, and she’s now starting the Lightkeeper’s Ten Girls Who… series. Dutch has especially enjoyed The Wingfeather Saga.

12 p.m. — Science & History. We’ve decided to do Apologia’s Exploring Creation series for science, so this year we’re studying Anatomy & Physiology. Dutch is also fascinated by dinosaurs and Intelligent Design theories, so he loved the four Answers books by Ken Ham.

We’re focusing on American History this year and we just do read-alouds: We’re currently finishing up the Discovering God’s Plan for America young-readers series, and Dutch enjoyed Guts and Glory: The American Revolution. In past years we’ve read through all the Story of World books.

After this we have lunch and … we’re free! Monday afternoons Dutch takes piano lessons, and Thursday afternoons Heidi takes horse-back riding lessons. Every other Friday we still have (and love) Nature Day.

One day a month we help make and serve a hot meal at a homeless shelter in our city, and two afternoons a week we visit my parents who live nearby.

My mom is disabled and my dad is her full-time caretaker: we love seeing them and they are an incredibly valuable influence in my kids’ lives. It’s also a good opportunity for my kids to learn compassion, sensitivity, and how to help out however they can.

While I’m grateful for our “scheduled” school rhythm, I think the most valuable part of my kids development happens in the hours outside these scheduled school-hours. I’ve loved seeing them grow in compassion, initiative, kindness, and courage.

In the past year we’ve had two miscarriages, the sudden loss of Jeff’s dad, health challenges with my sweet mom, and now this (wonderful!) new addition of a baby. Each of these interruptions has had its challenges, but it’s afforded all of us the priceless opportunity to grow in grace, patience, compassion, perspective.

It’s helped us learn how to grieve, how to listen, how to say, “I don’t know why this is happening, Sweetie, but it’s okay. Let’s pray together, ok?”

I’m so grateful we get to do life, every single day, with our kids. I’m grateful for the freedom we have to experiment with new things each year and find what fits best for us.

You too? I’d love to hear: What are you experimenting with this year? What’s working well?

Kris’s previous day in the life posts:

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About Kari Patterson

Kari Patterson and her family live out in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. As a 2nd-generation homeschooler she espouses the same philosophy her own mom did in the 80s: Cultivate a love for learning and one's education will never end. She bakes bread, brews kombucha, speaks at conferences & writes at Sacred Mundane. Her new book Sacred Mundane is available now.


  1. Lovely! You are right. The hours outside of school are incredibly valuable too.
    Blessings, Dawn
    Dawn’s latest post: Week 22 ~ A Week of Real Life Lessons

  2. Congratulations on your pregnancy!!! I know what it is to lose several babies in a row, and I sincerely pray that you’ll be holding a precious new baby in your arms soon. 🙂
    Anne’s latest post: A Week, Briefly (2/5/18)

  3. It was lovely to read your day and how it works for you. I agree children learn so much. I hope this year goes much better 🙂
    Jen’s latest post: 9 Reasons Online Summits Are Fantastic For Homeschoolers

  4. I love that you start your morning with scriptures then outdoors! We love that so much too!

  5. Kari which is your favorite tea?

  6. Hi Kari, how are you liking Life of Fred? We are using it as well this year and I’m struggling with wondering if my kids are getting enough math. I would love to hear your opinion.

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