Renee’s Homeschool Day in the Life (with a 8-, 9-, & 11-year-old)

Written by Renee Tougas of FIMBY.

I have so enjoyed this Day in the Life series here at Simple Homeschool. For my contribution I am sharing notes I took during an actual day earlier this month.

On this particular Friday we were just returning to our regular schedule after a long Christmas holiday.

It goes without saying the day didn’t go quite according to plan.

Each day is different in our home but we do have a weekly routine, that changes with the seasons of life and time of year. Currently:

  • Mornings are for homemaking chores, which everyone does, and a small amount of structured learning. One day a week we do shopping and errands. Starting in February two mornings per month we will have homeschool co-op.
  • Afternoons are for independent projects and play. I write, manage our home and help the kids with their learning. This is also the time for playdates and outings.
  • We read throughout the day individually and all together most often in the morning and before bed.

Here’s what our schedule looks like “in real life.”


6:30 am My alarm goes off and I actually get out of bed. I’m going to sleep earlier these days to make morning quiet time a priority. I start the day with laundry and a bit of kitchen work. I make coffee, read my Bible, pray and journal. This morning’s reading is particularly encouraging to me and I start the day hopeful.

7:30 am My son Laurent is on duty in the kitchen and he helps me make breakfast – reading and measuring the ingredients for pancakes. Friday morning pancakes is one of our weekly family rituals.

Before breakfast the kids get dressed, tidy their rooms, and make beds.

blueberry pancakesPhoto by Renee Tougas

8:30 am The kids and I are ready to eat and my husband has just left for work. While eating my breakfast I sit down to read my RSS and e-mail. Kids eat, play, and read at their own leisure.

9:00 am Breakfast is done and my computer time is up. I announce the morning plan for chores and school.

Our most recent school routine is:

This morning though because we are just easing our way back from our holiday I plan to take it easy with math, handwriting and a French card game (a Christmas gift to help us learn French for our upcoming move).

The kids groan at the mention of math and want a tickle fest to get them motivated. I opt for a dance party.

So we start the morning’s work off with a rousing stomp around the living room.

9:45 am Dancing and morning chores are done and I’m making applesauce. Kids start their math.

My plan breaks down at this point because after a six week break the kids can’t remember how to count, add, multiply or divide.

I take a breath deep, grab a big glass of water, and change plans.

girl doing mathPhoto by Renee Tougas

I help each child individually. While waiting for my help the other two children draw and play with dolls and Lego.

No handwriting today, not enough time.

11:00 am Following a trying morning of math my son breaks down in tears because he feels he didn’t have enough “transition time” (his words) to adjust to earlier mornings this week. He’s used to our very relaxed holiday schedule. I realize I should have been getting him up earlier for the whole week, not just the past couple days. I’ll know better for next time.

Live and learn – one of our homeschool mantras.

11:30 am The apples are finally done, math is put away and we settle ourselves around the table to play the French card game. But first I help Laurent scan his drawing into the computer.


12:15 pm I start preparing lunch with my daughter Brienne – leftover falafel patties, rice and chick peas all fried up together. Kids go a little crazy like only a January morning indoors will do (read: it’s a zoo for a few minutes).

12:45 pm Lunch and personal reading.

girl reading at table

Photo by Renee Tougas

Kids can read whenever they want throughout the day but lunch is usually accompanied by quiet personal reading. I try to keep daytime meals to the table but sometimes we eat in our own corners around the house.

1:30 pm Dirty dishes stay sitting on the table and I move to the computer to write and work on photos for a blog post.

Kids read and play Lego.

3:00 pm My creative computer time is done along with some other deskwork. I’m back in the kitchen to clean up lunch and start pizza dough. Kids are cleaning up a doll boarding school that has dominated our family room floor space for two days.

4:00 pm Kitchen work is done. My 11-year-old Celine has been on the computer finding titles for our brief library stop this afternoon. Our library visit is short this week as we adjust to our regular routine.


Photo by Renee Tougas


6:00 pm We arrive home from the library and running errands. We meet Daddy as he comes in the door from work.

We start supper together in the kitchen – rolling dough, saucing, cutting, and chopping.

Friday night pizza.

7:00 pm Pizzas are in the oven (vegan all around and gluten free for my husband). Kitchen is cleaned up. We cue up a DVD on our computer.

Let the weekend begin!

How do you transition back to a regular routine after a vacation? Is there such a thing as a regular day in your homeschool?

About Renee

Renee is a creative homemaker and homeschooling mama of three. She loves to write, take pretty photos, and be in nature with her family. Her mission is to nourish, encourage, and teach; build relationship and create beauty. FIMBY is where she tells that story. Drawing from her years of experience and training, Renee also offers individual and personalized Homeschool Coaching.


  1. We do transition back into school after a long break. And you are right, it does help to start waking them up earlier a few days before we start getting them up at the regular 6:20. During our first week back after Christmas this year, I required fewer math problems than normal, and we waited until one week in to add Science, History, and Dictation back to our normal schedule. The kids appreciate it!
    I Live in an Antbed’s latest post: Deer Chili

  2. I love posts like this, especially from you, Renee. You have really helped me jump into homeschooling with my 4 year old and it is going splendidly because of your brilliant mention of anchoring. That is the only way this type B mama has been able to give him some structure (and me too).

    • Thank you Shannon.

      I’m so glad that technique helps you. It helps me immensely also because although I am quite organized and probably more type A than B I’m also a little bit free spirited and like to indulge my creative whims and urges. So anchoring helps me to get those most important things done. And then if more happens, many days it does, great. But if not I know the basics (which are different for everyone) are covered.

  3. Renee, I loved the part about how “after a six week break the kids can’t remember how to count, add, multiply or divide.” It totally made my whole day, because I can relate!

  4. That line made me laugh too. I could just relate. I usually don’t remember how to add or multiply after the holidays! lol.

    Great post Renee. Thanks for sharing.

  5. This day sounds very, very similar to my days! Thank you so much for sharing!! I’ve learned over the past few years that living and learning is definitely our mantra too. I’m excited to hear about your co-op. We love ours that we go to once a week. It’s a great way to learn through others as well as make friends.
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  6. How true! Transition needs grace! I always tell my kids that we will get into maths slowly, so we play maths games and do some drills before we tackle the workbooks. My young ones battled with writing at the start of this year. Those fine muscles needed some serious fine-tuning! Back to playdough and clay games … or helping knead that pizza dough? Pizza-making is such family fun time! Thanks for sharing!
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  7. Thanks for sharing your day. I have to admit I can’t wait until both my boys are reading, that is going to be so great. It looks like you have a lovely rhythm and a great attitude to learning : )
    Emmalina’s latest post: A Single Moment

    • Emmalina,

      You might be interested to know that only one of my three children technically reads well independent of my help. But books are very important in our home (we don’t own many but visit the library each week).

      My younger two (8 & almost 10) spend lots of time “looking” at books and pouring over the illustrations for clues to the story. So when I say individual reading time this is when we all engage with our books of choice.

      We also love books on cd and have one on the go at some point most days.

  8. Thank you for the peek into your day. I’ve found that returning to a schedule is so tough. I may be ready to get going, but the kids (10,7,3) are often not. “Live and Learn” I’ve heard it often, but it takes on fresh meaning in the context of homeschooling. I may just have to adopt that mantra!
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  9. thanks for your post Renee! love to hear about your daily routine… and also nice to know other moms let their kids leave elaborate ‘creations’ on the family room floor multiple days in a row. My kids (7,5,3) just created a zoo this morning with blocks, animals, cars, baskets & buckets… it will probably stay out through the weekend! This started spontaneously after breakfast/chore time and I haven’t interrupted yet for official “school” since it’s Friday anyhow… now almost time for lunch! I appreciate your encouraging posts on this website- always helpful and insightful 😉

  10. Thanks so much for sharing, Renee – your day sounds just like mine (Math-U-See blocks included :p) and I like that there are more moms out there like me, who are okay to go with the flow and change just enough to help our children learn independence without letting them rule the roost! Can’t wait to start receiving your posts. 🙂

  11. I really like that there was a doll boarding school set up in your family room for 2 days. I was wondering what the photo of the dolls with all the books was.
    Too funny. Love the imagination of a child. 🙂
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  12. YAY! I feel normal now! Thanks for posting a schedule that is similar to mine. I was starting to feel like a homeschool slacker. It makes me feel good to know that I don’t have to knock myself out to make my kids learn. I love that there was no TV in this day. I need to adopt that.

    • Paula,

      We got rid of our TV a few years ago and have not regretted it since. We still have our computer monitor so the kids can watch educational dvds and also entertainment but screen time is kept to a limit.

  13. Thank you for this post . . . always encouraging to hear how other families are finding their way on the homeschooling journey, and I am always particularly interested to read how others navigate the ebb and flow of days/seasons/years.

  14. I’m just happy to know that other people’s children seem to forget everything after a couple of weeks off! I thought it was just our household.

    Thanks for sharing your day.
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  15. I love the reminder to lie and learn — and not to be afraid to adjust on the fly! Thanks for this, Renee.
    Melissa Camara Wilkins’s latest post: A day in the life

  16. Sounds so familiar! Best laid plans and all….and traditions of food with a regular rhythm 😉 And a French adventure? Oui Oui!

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