Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool and Introverted Moms
If I had to choose a word of the year based on the way I often feel on a typical day, it might be this: RUSHING
I often have a low-grade, gnawing level of discomfort at any given moment, thinking of all that needs to be done, knowing I’ll never get around to it all today, or any day.
There’s some kind of inner hamster on a wheel inside me, trying to get me to go quicker, hurry, do more.
I bet on some level you can relate.
So how do I handle that sense that no matter what I accomplish, it isn’t enough?
We’ll come back to that.
For now, here’s a peek at the structure of our typical homeschool week:
- Mondays – Homeschool Day with Mom
- Tuesdays – Homeschool Day with Jennifer (Mom’s work day)
- Wednesdays – Homeschool Day with Mom
- Thursdays – Kids’ Internships or Wilderness School (Mom’s work day)
- Fridays – Alternates between: Half Homeschool Day with Jennifer/Half with Mom OR Homeschool co-op, followed by Homeschool Afternoon with Jennifer (Mom has a half work day)
I wanted you to see straight away that I do not do it all, and that I have help–a beautiful friend and “substitute mom,” who has been working for us almost four years now.
She’s even better than Mary Poppins because she tutors the kids in Spanish!
Her help is what enables me to work 15-20 hours a week for you all here and over at Introverted Moms.
Now that you have a sense of our typical week, here’s a peek at our typical day:
(most times, except for starting 9am & ending 3pm our homeschool day, are approximate!)
- 6:45am – As long as I have slept well, I get up to do 45min-1 hour of work, followed by a shower (Please note I did NOT do this when my kiddos were younger!)
- 9am – Breakfast School around the table
- 9:30am – Kids do chores, then begin their independent study routines; I do whatever home/school tasks seem most important
- 10:45am-ish – I take a 20 min Introverted Mom break to sit by the fire and read
- 11:15am – Reading lesson with Elijah, who is still working on reading fluency
- 11:45am – Kids begin to make their own lunches when hungry
- 1pm – Spelling lesson with Jonathan
- 1:30ish – Another 20 min mama break is in order!
- 2pm – Help Trishna with Math and/or check her other work
- 2:30pm – Math with Elijah
- 3pm – Homeschool day ends
So what’s keeping me sane this year when it comes to measuring and determining enough?
Now that my kids are doing more of their homeschool days independently, having checklists to show me what has been accomplished is a lifesaver.
When they were younger, we followed mainly interest-led learning, but now all of us are ready for a bit more structure (though much of it is still interest-led), so they enjoy their checklists as much as I do.
Jonathan (15; 10th grade) keeps track of his learning on his phone via the app Productive:
It shows us both what he hopes to accomplish in any given day, and allows him to check off or skip items.
The hardest part has been getting into the habit of remembering to update the app, which we solved by having an alarm go off on his phone as a reminder at 2:45pm.
It also includes reminders for things like chores, putting the recycling out, etc.
Highlights of Jonathan’s current homeschool day include: College Prep Genius, a SAT prep e-course that he just began in January, Sonlight (for Bible, History, and Literature), Teaching Textbooks for math, TJEd High, All About Spelling, and he is a Tech Arts Intern at our church one day a week.
Jonathan has an official “Scholar Contract” now, which outlines both when and how much he will study each week, as well as the privileges and freedoms (like having a phone) that come with this extra level of accountability.
We had a special time where both he and my husband and I signed it and we all prayed together.
Trishna (age 16; 11th grade w/ SN) has two checklists–one for school and one for self-care:
Her homeschool checklist reminds her of what she can do throughout the day–it isn’t an assignment list of have-to’s, but a list of options.
She knows she’s expected to work on something productive/educational from 9am-3pm, but within those boundaries she can choose, which still leaves her with a sense of freedom.
Highlights of Trishna’s current homeschool day include: TJEd High, Teaching Textbooks, Duolingo (she has a real gift for languages), Sonlight Science, the Couch to 5K app for PE, and an internship at our church one day a week in the church cafe.
Her self-care checklist evolved after noticing that she would forget routines like drinking enough water, eating regularly, and getting outside.
This checklist has helped so much, and it has taken me out of the seat of having to nag or remind about these things, while still allowing me to see what has and hasn’t been done.
Elijah (age 14; 9th grade w/ SN) just began a checklist since 2020 started:
Elijah has never been one for much structure, so it surprised me when I suggested this and he was up for it!
Highlights of Elijah’s current homeschool day include: All About Reading lessons, a math app, copywork (currently a Winston Churchill speech that he’ll recite to the family after he’s done), a ton of audiobooks on different subjects, and wilderness school on Thursdays.
No, my word for the year is not RUSHING, something I must remind myself every single day.
I actually chose two words for this year: SLOW and ENOUGH.
So when I find my heart racing at the thought of all that must be done and all that will never be, I say these to myself and even put them together: Slow IS enough.
I remind myself that I’m not called to be a miracle worker in our homeschool.
I’m called to simply offer my imperfect best to whatever today brings, then release all of it into the true Miracle Worker’s hands.
It’s much easier to hug my kids when I’m off the hamster wheel, after all.
Want to see in more detail how I measure and determine enough? Watch my recent mini-workshop on Creating Your Ideal Homeschool Rhythm.
This is officially my 10th annual homeschool day in the life post, wow!!!
My, how the days have changed:
- 2011: My homeschool day in the life with a 5, 6, & 7-year-old
- 2012: My homeschool day in the life with a 6, 7, & 8-year-old
- 2013: My homeschool day in the life with a 7, 8, & 9-year-old
- 2014: My homeschool day in the life with a 8, 9, & 10-year-old
- 2015: My homeschool day in the life with a 9, 10, & 11-year-old
- 2016: My homeschool day in the life with a 10, 11, & 12-year-old
- 2017: My homeschool day in the life with a 11, 12, & 13-year-old
- 2018: My homeschool day in the life with a 12, 13, & 14-year-old
- 2019: My homeschool day in the life with a 13, 14, & 15-year-old
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Caroline Starr Rose
You are such a lovely Mama! I love seeing these pictures of your enormous humans!
Thank you, beautiful friend!! xo
Loved this post! I would like to hear more about the Scholar Contract, sounds like a great idea!
Thanks, Amy! The Scholar Contract comes from the principles of Thomas Jefferson Education – you can read a bit more about that here: https://www.tjed.org/2011/06/homeschooling-excellence-scholar-phase/
It’s so neat to see how your kids have evolved. I have been following you since your kids were little.
Oh, thanks so much for your support over the years, Marnita!
Slow is enough! Amen.
It’s so encouraging to see how much your homeschool has evolved over the years.
Likewise, Shawna! I so appreciate you xo
I so appreciate Trishna’s recognition that she was having a hard time staying consistent with self-care and then creating a checklist honoring her wellness. Such wisdom! Continuing to observe how your homeschooling has evolved over the years is both grounding and inspiring. Thanks for another “peek” into your life and the lives of your children, Jamie. 🙂
I truly love this series. Our children are similar ages, and like yours-my three are all completely different. Thank you and your children for continuing this series and sharing your day. I know my crew is not as fond of me sharing information about them on the blog anymore which I must respect. It is nice to see other teens and how they spend their days. 🙂
Greetings! Thank you so much for this post!
I was curious about getting more details about Breakfast School. It’s just interesting to hear how others function at these cross moments of life…lol…
Thanks, Janet! I go into a lot more detail about the specifics of breakfast school in the workshop I mentioned at the end of the post: https://introvertedmoms.com/rhythm/ Hope it’s an encouragement!
You’re welcome, Sharon! I know it can be hard when we want to balance our kids’ needs for privacy, but also share to encourage other moms. Very grateful that my kids are still okay with me sharing – I always read to them what I plan on writing first and get their permission.
You’re so welcome, Sarah! Thank you for the kind words. Yes, I’m very proud of Trishna and also so thankful to have found an idea that works for us all!