This post should be called “Joel’s Homeschool Day in the Life” because three months ago my husband and I traded responsibilities: I accepted a full-time position working from our home and he exuberantly took on the role of full time caregiver and overseer of our family’s home learning.
It has been a major transition for all of us, but the rhythm of the day has mainly stayed the same and we’re happy with our new lifestyle.
While my day-to-day role has changed I remain involved in our big picture homeschooling strategy and planning, research resources and supplement specific learning themes whenever possible.
Here’s what our family’s average day looks like right now.
Mom and Dad wake up. Sometimes the kids are up with (or before) us and sometimes they sleep in for a bit. Joel heads to the kitchen to make coffee while I do some simple stretches. I bring my coffee and breakfast downstairs to my home office and the kids eat, get dressed and play while Joel cleans up breakfast.
After my seven-year-old son has eaten, dressed and brushed his teeth he may join me downstairs and we co-work — sharing the quiet space of our apartment-turned-home-office and learning nook. There is a closet filled with fun learning resources including: pencils, pens, a stapler, paper, workbooks, flashcards and games. He picks something to do out of the closet or I might have something laid out for him. It’s a nice quiet time for the both of us.
Around the typical morning coffee break we both head upstairs and have a simple circle time with the family. This has really helped the transition for everyone. I find myself missing the kids and I know it’s a big change for them to have me working all day. We light a candle, sing a song, and give everyone a chance to voice concerns or frustrations, as well as gratitude and sweet stories.
After about 15-20 minutes I go back to work and they head out on a field trip. Sometimes they go to the library or science center and other times they do an errand or take an adventure outside in the neighborhood.
After a simple lunch it’s time for stories and crafts — nothing fancy. Taking out some simple art supplies and letting everyone have fun goes a long way. We keep library books in regular rotation and there are always old favorites from our home collection.
The kids also enjoy audio stories like The Magic Treehouse Series or Sparkle Stories. The baby takes a nap somewhere around now.
Next is free time which usually translates as media time. We find the day flows best when we make a conscious decision to keep electronic devices out of sight and out of mind for the first half of the day. Mid-afternoon they can play with apps or interactive ebooks on the Kindle Fire, my oldest son will play his Nintendo DS or they might watch a movie.
I work until 5 pm and come upstairs for a simple supper. Then it’s bath time, clean up and books before the two younger kids go to bed.
My oldest stays up until 9:30-10:00 (perk of homeschooling– he can sleep in the next day!) and he really takes advantage of this special one-on-one time. Either we are reading a chapter book together, playing a game or doing some sort of activity.
Before we go to bed, Joel and I sit down at the table and look at our family binder. We have a monthly and weekly homeschool planner and every evening we transfer information into our daily template. We fill in the meal plan, a few (realistic!) tasks to accomplish and any important appointments. We also write down pre-planned overarching learning themes to guide our every day living and learning.
And then we pray that everyone sleeps well so we can get some much deserved sleep!
Has your family ever gone through a major transition that affected your homeschooling?
How wonderful that you can work from home and that your husband is willing to take care of the homeschooling responsibilities 🙂
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Thanks for the peek into your day. We haven’t officially started homeschooling yet as our daughter is only two. But since I was homeschooled I’m always curious to get a look at someone’s day and get my thoughts flowing about what homeschooling may look like in our family.
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Could you be more specific about the 7 year old’s academics? Thank you.
Hi Sue, My seven year old is learning how to read, write, basic math (count by tens, addition and subtraction as well as telling time and counting money) and is getting culture, history and science from books and hands on activities and toys (re microscope, k’nex etc.). This type of learning happens dispersed throughout his day and through various real life activities. He also attends an outdoor education program that covers an amazing depth of life science. Our style thus far is eclectic with a liberal dash of unschooling so we see our job as providing stimulating environments, discussions and resources and acting as enablers on his learning journey.
Our resources come from the library, our own collection of book and games, community programs and we are working through the Saxon Math workbook right now.
Let me know if you have any other questions!
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I am so glad you shared your day-in-the-life, Hillary! I think families need to know that Mom working and Dad schooling is just as viable — we never know what lies ahead, and it’s encouraging that you’re able to show others that it works both ways! I know families who need to hear how you are making it work, and I’m excited to share your article with them.
My husband and I were both homeschooled, and early in our marriage when I had the more stable job, we always kept the idea open that I might work and he might homeschool. Things didn’t turn out to stay that way, so now I am homeschooling and working very part time from home, and he works from home full time. I like your ideas about the flow of your day with you working (and even having your son join you as an office mate!) and still being present in parts of the family’s school day. “Coffee break” together is a great idea! I also loved hearing how you and your husband work TOGETHER to plan your family’s week — I think we could all benefit from that even if Dad is not involved with the day-to-day of homeschooling!
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Thanks Renee! I really appreciate your kind words.
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love it hillary!!! 🙂
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Thanks for sharing your day! It was great to see it, because we have kids almost the same ages: 7, 5 and 1. We homeschooled the oldest for K and the last 2 years she has been attending a wonderful Waldorf school in town. However, we loved homeschooling and would love to dive back into it but I’m a little nervous how that would work with a very active 1 year old! Seeing your day helped some 🙂
All we seem to have here is “major transitions” LOL I work too, as an elementary school teacher, and Hubby is a stay at home Dad. We are wanting to switch roles permanently, but he isn’t able to find a decent job right now to allow us to do that. So, he works in the summers and I am off with the kids. Every spring and fall there is a period of us both working and juggling babysitters for our now three-year-old twins which gets hairy scary for a little bit. We just started officially homeschooling last summer. I set routines in place which worked well until I had to go back to work. I have found though that an “unschooling” approach works really well for us right now. Hubby has a science background so he explains all sorts of things to the girls that they are interested in (including an explanation of centripetal force the other night when Arianna discovered she could swing her little grocery bag around without the toys falling out LOL) and I make sure they get lots of play time outside and that their toys are all geared to inspire creativity and imagination (we avoid electronic toys like the plague at this age). We also severely limit the amount of screen time the girls get and make sure their days are filled with lots of story books. While our yearly transition can be difficult, we find that the change is very refreshing to all of us in the end.
I am very familiar with this lifestyle! For the past three years my husband works May- September and I was the full-time caregiver and then we’d switch roles for the winter. I agree, it’s very refreshing, but the transition time is a bigger deal than we’d like to admit. It definitely takes at least a few weeks during each switch for everyone to get comfortable and settled.
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Love the item by item list of your day – it’s nice to ‘peek’ into the homes of other homeschoolers for ideas and reassurance.
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Debbye @ The Baby Sleep Site
Thanks for the insight! We have not had any changes, but i wish we would!! I am on my own in planning and schooling my 6th grade daughter with a one year old busily distracting us at every chance! My husband is not participating at all in the schooling, unfortunately, and I do find it very difficult to balance school and toddler and working part time from home!
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Hilary @ KatrinkaJane
This is crazy. My husband works from home, and by 2014 our kids will be 1, 4, & 7! And of course, my name is Hilary. Our kids are gifted, and a lot of what we’ve done all along is what I call ” lifeschooling”, as opposed to traditional curriculum. I’ve been feeling very stressed and guilty about not having a more definable curriculum, particularly with first-trimester fatigue and needing alone time to recharge. But our kids are awesome and well-rounded, and your post really helped me feel more at ease about our lifestyle (which, indeed, our method of homeschooling really is). Thank you!
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I was wondering what type of full time work you found that you can work from home? I am not trying to be nosey, just curious as I am a single mom and always looking for alternatives to living/working. Thank you.