Jessica’s Homeschool Day in the Life (with an 11-year-old only child) ~
Written by Jessica Waldock of The Waldock Way
Join me on a day in our lives as an interest-led homeschooling family! I’ll share our daily routine and give you a glimpse into the resources and activities we love most right now plus tips on what works best for us…and what drives me crazy.
Our main goal is to protect and foster a deeper family connection in our homeschool. We’re all about making time for everyone to pursue their interests and cultivate a culture of lifelong learning.
We don’t follow a strict schedule, and we move through a relaxed routine where there’s no such thing as being “behind.”
Ready to see what a day in the life of our homeschool looks like? Keep reading to find out!
Jessica’s Homeschool Day in the Life
The start of our homeschool day has changed in the last few years. Now I wake up at 8:00 and workout. Making this time for myself has been an important part of staying healthy physically and mentally. While I’m working out, Emily is busy exploring whatever I strew for her.
Strewing has been an important part of our homeschool routine for years. Now that we’re in the middle school years, strewing is often about books, games, and tech resources as opposed to crafts and building materials.
Lately, we’ve been big fans of strewing single-player games. Strewing single-player games is perfect when you’re homeschooling an only child because she can play all by herself while I’m doing other things. Single-player games are often filled with opportunities to practice critical thinking and build logic skills.
I don’t require Emily to interact with any of the things I strew, but I do ask that she give me my time in the mornings. So if she doesn’t interact with what I’ve left out she has to find another way to entertain herself.
Morning Basket Time
After my workout, we shower and have breakfast. Then it’s time for our morning basket, which we do together as a family. These baskets are usually themed to match Emily’s interests or an upcoming holiday.
Morning baskets foster connection and learning during our homeschool mornings. We have come to love beginning our day with these themed poetry, stories, and games. Plus it’s a great way for me to squeeze in subjects like poetry or foreign language that sometimes fall through the cracks.
These days, Emily plans many of our morning baskets herself with a little guidance. Morning baskets for middle schoolers look a bit different than they did in the early years, but they’re still filled with great books to read aloud, games, and our beloved Mad Libs.
Next we move on to table work. These are more structured or challenging subjects. Math and writing are usually table time assignments and this is also when we work on our current unit study.
We use unit studies to explore subjects Emily is curious about or topics she truly loves. Integrating subjects like history, geography, and language arts into a unit study about her favorite things is guaranteed to increase engagement and retention. Plus it’s fun!
In the past, we have also built unit studies around great books. We are big Harry Potter fans, so we created a unit study called Wizards & Wands that’s all about learning with magic.
This is a concept that’s amazing for homeschool families teaching an only child. It’s easy to get overwhelmed homeschooling an only child because you’re “on” all day.
Learning lunches have saved the day for us many times. During lunch time, Emily watches an educational show or listens to a podcast while she eats. I get to recharge my batteries in whatever way I need while she keeps learning independently.
We usually have our lunch around 1:00 and I get time to make a phone call, read a book, or whatever appeals to me. Mostly, it’s time that I can take a deep breath and reset for the afternoon.
In the afternoon we have project time. This is time for Emily to dive deep into science experiments and art projects. We often save our subscription boxes for this time in our homeschool day.
We love subscription boxes. They always feel like a special prize or gift when they arrive!
Subscription boxes extend the lessons we are already doing at home and give Emily lots of hands-on enrichment. Some of our favorites include Hands-On History and MEL Kids boxes.
After the afternoon project, Emily gets to spend time outside to play and explore. Kids of all ages benefit immensely from free time outdoors.
This free play time stimulates creativity and nurtures a child’s natural curiosity. Outdoor play is important for encouraging motor skills, nature study, and imagination too.
Family Dinner & Game Time
We have dinner together as a family at 6:00. I’m working on involving Emily in helping me choose recipes and cook. Cooking together is a fun way to spend more time connecting, and it’s filled with learning opportunities too.
After dinner, we like to play games together. It’s one more opportunity to learn and a fantastic way to foster connection as we laugh and have fun before bedtime.
Thanks for joining me in this peek into our current homeschool days. They are busy and full, but I wouldn’t change a thing!
My, how the days have changed:
- 2022: Jessica’s homeschool day in the life (with a 9-year-old)
- 2023: Jessica’s homeschool day (with a 10-year-old)
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