Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.
After four years of homeschooling, I am honestly able to say that I have read every single “A Day In The Life” post on Simple Homeschool since 2011.
I LOVE being able to peek into other momma’s homes, families and routines. There is something inspirational about seeing another mom seemingly getting it right.
Even more so, there is something super encouraging about another mom being willing to show all the crazy, imperfect realities we face every day.
Since this is my first year sharing, allow me to introduce my boys. “Sourdough” is my oldest at 11. He got his nickname through a brief but intense period of time where he was determined to come up with the perfect sourdough starter.
In addition to having tested “highly gifted” in IQ, Sourdough also has High Functioning Autism, Acute Sensory Processing Disorder, and Anxiety Disorder.
His little brother is 8. He goes by the nickname “Bacon,” because he loves bacon … really a lot. As in when he was in preschool (I didn’t always homeschool) the teacher asked the class to draw pictures of what they were most thankful for. As all the sweet little ones drew pictures of their mommies and their baby sisters — my guy drew a perfect picture of a piece of bacon.
Bacon is also uniquely gifted. He too has a genius level IQ, but also severe dyslexia, and a processing disorder that affects his working memory and slows his ability to take in and make sense of information.
I share my sons’ unique circumstances because they are a part of who my children are, how they learn, and ultimately, a big reason why we homeschool in the first place. So, a day in our life? It looks just like this:
6:14 AM – I wake up and glance at the clock, one minute before the alarm is supposed to go off. I hurry up and get to the phone so the alarm doesn’t wake my children.
6:20 AM – The reason I want to get up is so I can have time to think in peace and quiet. If I am being completely honest, it is also so that I can have at least one cup of coffee before a child wakes up.
My husband is still asleep too because on this particular Wednesday, he is working late. He won’t be home until 10:00 PM tonight, so he isn’t planning on leaving until 9:00 AM. This gives me about an hour to myself. I gulp down coffee, pray, and then read the Bible and a devotional for a bit.
I am just getting into a writing groove, when Bacon calls me.
7:25 AM – I go into Bacon’s room and snuggle up in his bed with him. He is my child who wakes up talking, so we immediately begin chatting all about Minecraft and how he is planning to build an entire hotel out of gold and lava. We also look at the calendar next to his bed, note the day of the week and date, and then discuss our day.
8:00 AM – While my husband plays with Bacon, I head in for what Sourdough calls “Momma Time.” He begins each day with me walking him through our “map.” I go through what we have planned for the day in detail so he knows what to expect. This helps ease his anxiety and allows us to better transition from one activity to the next.
Although it takes some time, I have found it saves me (and him) a lot of frustration throughout the day.
8:30 AM – I serve the boys breakfast while my husband gets ready for work. Sourdough eats in his room, still getting his body ready to go for the day. We do not require him to eat with us except at dinner time. This is because of the noise level, and because a large portion of his sensory issues are related to eating.
9:05 AM – My husband leaves and that is our cue to get dressed and get started on school. I start with Bacon’s reading, and Sourdough starts working on a new project. He is creating a video of himself detailing how to set up a computer and its accessories. I am thrilled because this allows him to practice communicating in ways that make sense to others (and not just him). It also gives him a chance to see and hear himself when he watches the recording.
9:25 AM – Reading is not going well today. Some days, Bacon rocks it. Others, it’s like he has never even seen the English language in print. I have learned this is just one of the sneaky parts of dyslexia, but it is very frustrating for him. In an effort to keep him from giving up, I pull out our 3D letters and get him away from the table. Spelling and reading with letters that he can easily see, hold and manipulate helps, and we are back on track.
10:05 AM – I let Bacon take the dog out and run around with her for a bit, while I check in on Sourdough. He excitedly tells me all about what he has done so far, and then promptly dismisses me so he can get back to work.
10:30 AM – After running for a bit, Bacon is ready to focus. We knock out two math quizzes and begin to read a story about Leonardo da Vinci. Bacon is loving learning about da Vinci, mostly because he was an inventor who was also dyslexic.
11:25 AM – Sourdough wanders out and asks for food. It’s a little early for lunch, but we all seem ready for a break. I turn on Amazon, and the boys watch an episode of Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls.
(We have what we call “school shows” that are approved for watching during our school breaks.)
11:50 AM – I put down a tray and we all eat together on the floor in the living room. We call it picnic style, and it is one way that I keep Sourdough calm during lunch times. We talk about all the animals Bear encounters during the show and their habitats.
12:15 PM – Show’s over. We go to the world map on the wall, and Sourdough shows Bacon where Ecuador is (Bear’s location in the episode we just watched). I ask Bacon what continent it is on, and I smile when he answers South America. When I ask him if he remembers where Ecuador is, he points to Columbia and is sure he is right. Reading … not his gifting. I love his sweet enthusiasm though.
12:30 PM – I am starting to rush because I know we have to leave soon for Sourdough’s social skills therapy appointment, and he has yet to do anything other than record himself and watch Bear Grylls. I throw all of Bacon’s stuffed animals out onto our trampoline and tell him to have fun while I work with his brother.
While he jumps with the pile of toys, Sourdough and I complete a quick math lesson. Then he dictates a book report to me.
2:00 PM – I drop Bacon off with my sweet friend, who watches him for us while I take Sourdough to therapy.
3:00 PM – While Sourdough is in with the therapist, I take a breath and relax in the waiting room. I respond to comments on the blog, make my grocery list for week, and then decide I am too tired and start reading the doctor’s office magazines.
4:30 PM – While in the car and stuck in traffic, I ask Sourdough about the field trip we went on earlier in the week. He shares with me his favorite part, what was confusing, and what he learned. I consider this carschooling and call it our history lesson for the day.
5:00 PM – My friend brings Bacon to meet me at the YMCA, and he begins waterpolo practice.
6:00 PM – When we arrive home, I realize I was supposed to put something in the crock pot this morning. Because that didn’t happen, I start to look through the leftovers in the fridge.
6:40 PM – After dinner together at the table, the boys and I settle down on the couch and watch an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos. When the show is over, I leave them to play Minecraft together while I clean up the kitchen and fold some laundry.
8:45 PM – Time for Bacon to get ready for bed. I get him into the bath, and then read aloud to him. Sourdough stays out on the couch and plays a video game.
9:30 PM – Bacon is almost asleep when my husband comes home early (yay!). He says goodnight to Bacon, and then he and Sourdough head out on a drive. They listen to the latest Percy Jackson book on audio in the car. They do this almost every night, as it helps Sourdough calm down his brain a bit so he can actually sleep.
10:00 PM – They return, and Sourdough happily heads to bed where he will watch one episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown (as he does every single night) and then go to sleep.
My hubby and I snuggle up on the couch, talk a little about the day, and then watch a quick show before heading to bed as well.
Honestly, I was sure this day was a failure as it was happening. We didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to, and dinner ended up being a strange buffet complete with whole dill pickles and the last apple in the house.
But after writing it all out, I can see it for what it was. Not our best, most productive day, but certainly nowhere near our worst.
I find I am grateful for all of it.
Are you homeschooling any uniquely gifted children as well?