Written by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.
None of our days look the same, but they all share a similar rhythm.
At 6:00 a.m., I’m usually the only one awake. (I’m thankful to finally be in a season where I’m up before my kids: it wasn’t always like that!) The first thing I do is head to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee.
I enjoy the quiet time and get an hour of writing in, then head out the door for a quick run.
The kids are just waking up when I get back. I hit the shower while Will gets breakfast started.
After we say goodbye to Will, we finish getting ready, and then dive in to our schoolwork.
We call our brand of home education classical unschooling. Our curriculum is classical, but we’re pretty free-wheeling in our implementation. We also leave lots of room for self-directed learning and independent projects.
We start our school days by 9:00 a.m. The kids like to tackle their toughest subjects first. Usually that means math, but it varies depending on what the kids are studying now. (When Jack was reading The Trojan War for English Lit, that always came first!)
We’re trying something new this year: my 4th grader and 6th grader are taking classes at a local cottage school. (It’s like college: they go to one group class a week and come home with a boatload of homework.) They’re taking English lit and classical studies, and that homework occupies a significant chunk of each school day.
While my oldest two work through their cottage school homework, I do reading and writing with my 7-year-old. We’re working our way through The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, which I’ve now used with three of my kids. Reading is clicking for her now, so she enjoys these lessons. I wouldn’t have said that a year ago.
My 4-year-old loves to do whatever his 7-year-old partner in crime is doing. When she’s doing math, he counts his legos. (Or, on a really good day, chocolate chips.) When she’s doing reading, he grabs a book. When she’s writing, he writes (or colors).
I spend some dedicated time with our youngest, too: he’s learning his letters and numbers; he’s starting to learn to write.
And when he loses interest, he plays legos, his favorite thing. Legos make our homeschool possible. That’s not much of an exaggeration. When my 4-year-old is happy, the house is peaceful enough for everyone to do their work. (Well, usually.)
After we finish our core activities, we move on to the more self-directed stuff. My 11-year-old and 9-year-old are learning Latin (we’re using Latina Christiana), and we’re listening to The Story of the World audiobook.
My older three kids are also studying German and typing.
Somewhere in there we break for lunch. If it’s a beautiful day, we’ll head outside for a bit before getting back to our schoolwork.
We have a daily quiet time at about 2:00. (That includes mom—I need my rest time, too!) You can do whatever you want—as long as it’s quiet and independent. (Screens have to be pre-approved and are limited to 30 minutes.) Sometimes the older kids need this time to finish schoolwork.
Other popular rest time activities are crafting, legos, writing stories, blogging (my oldest two both have blogs), and reading. I use this time to read, drink tea, and clear out my inbox.
After rest time, we head outside. On a freezing day, this might look like taking the dog on a short walk around the block. On a beautiful day, we might play in the yard or jump on the trampoline. On a rare 56-degrees-and-sunny January day like we had yesterday, we hit the nearby trails.
This winter I’ve made getting the kids outside a priority: when we don’t, they bounce off the walls all day and don’t sleep well at night.
Late afternoons look a lot like rest time: the same activities, although they usually play together now instead of independently.
A household rule is that you have to spend 30 minutes a day reading a good book—meaning a book Mom has approved as being challenging enough—before dinner. This is a look at everyone’s current “good books.” (When you’re four, Star Wars young readers books totally count.) If the kids didn’t get their reading time in earlier, they do it now.
We almost always eat dinner together as a family. (At least we do during this time of year—ball season is another story.) There’s not a long window between dinner and bedtime. The kids usually put pajamas on right after dinner, then we hang out for a bit as a family before the bedtime routine kicks into high gear.
No two days look the same around here, but the basic rhythm is constant. We may be free-wheeling, but my kids also do very well with structure. Putting together a day-to-day that works for us has been about keeping those two things in balance.
What subject do you and your kids usually tackle first each day? Does it ever change?
How the days have changed: