Written by Kara S. Anderson
Lately it’s a lot easier to wake before my kids.
You know that advice, to wake before your children? For years I tried, but I was an exhausted mom and they were tiny energy machines that napped, so it was hard to always get up before them.
But now they are 12 and 15 and nightowls and I’m in bed by 9, so it’s easier.
I wake up, feed the cats so they don’t circle me like a gang of landsharks, and make tea.
Then, I hit my office.
I’m trying to write a bit each morning. I work from home writing and podcasting, and I’m gearing up for a season of speaking, so there is always something to write.
After two pages or an hour, I make my list for the day.
I use a bullet journal, and it’s pretty much the best thing possible for my brain. The great thing about this system is that you can personalize it so much, but what I’ve started doing is writing my Daily List on a little index card.
It’s portable, and you can fit a lot less on an index card than in a whole notebook. (Reasonable expectations are important).
Now that my kids are older and we all wake at different times, breakfast is kind of an on-your-own thing during the week. The kids filter in and have their own little morning routines.
Things have changed so much, and this year feels different than previous years that I’ve shared our Homeschool Day In the Life posts. I feel like I’ve become more of a support person to my kids’ unique interests.
Since almost the beginning we’ve been at least partially interest-led learners, but now we embrace that more than ever.
On an average day, my son spends a lot of time working on music. My daughter loves art and animals.
We use some curriculum, like Saxon Math (with help from Nicole the Math Lady), but a lot of the learning going on here comes from reading (or listening to) what interests them and everyday life.
I’ve been trying to take more of a big picture approach to learning here. It’s kind of like looking at what kids eat over the course of a week instead of in one day!
But that makes it sort of hard to share an average day.
One day a week we take part in a small homeschool group, and there my kids do classes and spend time with friends. Another day we volunteer.
We maintain a regular library day, where we often pick out bags of books.
On days at home, we come together around 11 and talk about a plan for the day.
I usually ask the kids what they’re working on, and we talk about any help they may need (or rides)! Sometimes they’ll need supplies for a project, or we’ll need an extra library trip to pick up books we put on hold.
Often we listen to a family audiobook in the car.
Today, for instance, we need catnip. My daughter is working on making toys for cats at our local shelter, and she needs replacement supplies. So after lunch together, we run to Target and the fabric store.
Afternoons here in the winter are often for books, games and puzzles, but today my girl and I sit down to watch a favorite show together and sew for a while.
My son is immersed in music and work online.
He works really independently, but we are partnering on building a transcript for him that quantifies what he does, so we check in frequently to make updates.
Late afternoon is all about a quick pick-up of the house/chores, dinner prep and showers.
On the day I’m writing this, we’re also getting ready for a birthday the next day!
We have two winter birthdays here, and this season has been especially busy for us with moving, holidays and a death in the family.
I’m embracing what Melissa Wiley calls Tidal Homeschooling – we are in the midst of doing a lot of life together right now, but I can tell we’re all craving a bit more structure, so following a trip for me this weekend for work, I’m planning on bringing in a few more Mom-led projects and activities.
These kind of “life-heavy” seasons used to worry me a bit, but this is our 11th year of homeschooling, and I’ve come to see that we’re always able to refocus over time. What used to fill me with fear now just makes me grateful for the freedom of homeschooling.
Following dinner, we might watch a show together or just catch-up a bit, and then we each get cozy for the night. The kids listen to lots of audio (my son loves this podcast) before bed as they settle in.
I still love a good old-fashioned paper book.
The kids put me to bed now instead of the opposite, often stopping by to chat until I turn my light off.
It’s still new, having two BIG kids. I worked so hard in the early years to foster independence and confidence in them, and now that’s paying off, but it’s also a little sad as we transition.
I miss having tiny ones in the house. But I try whenever I can to focus on conversation, connection, togetherness and home. That’s one thing that remains the same.
My, how the days have changed:
- 2018: Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 10 & 13-year-old)
- 2017: Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 10- & 12-year-old)
- 2016: Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with an 8- & 11-year-old)
- 2015: Kara’s homeschool day in the life with a 7- & 10-year-old
- 2014: Kara’s homeschool day in the life (with a 6- and 9-year-old)
Are you homeschooling older kids too? In what ways has your homeschool changed over the years?
Jen @ Bookish Family
Sounds really beautiful. It definitely makes me excited for the years ahead. Right now, I’m still in the very tired-everyone-needs-me phase!
Jen @ Bookish Family’s latest post: 10+ Living Books to Read Aloud before a Florida Beach Vacation
This is such an encouraging post for me. I’m homeschooling my 8.5, 7, and sometimes my 4 year old. I also have a 2 year old and a 7 month old. Sometimes I feel I am pulled in so many different directions and as an introvert it can overwhelm me big time! I love these small years. Don’t get me wrong. I do look forward to having older children, too! I know it won’t always be this hard.
I so enjoyed reading about your homeschooling life. Thank you, Kara. Oh, and I still love the good, old-fashioned “paper books”, too! 🙂
Love how you shared how you’ve become more of a support person for your kids’ own interests now that they are older. I am in the early elementary/preschool phase and I can’t imagine being there. 😉 And I will have to find out more about bullet journaling, I keep hearing about it!
Your gorgeous dog looks just like ours did when he was young. Our guy is 12 now, so an old man, but has been the best dog ever! Love that he/she is hanging out while your daughter is reading
Hi, Kara. I always enjoy your posts. We are also homeschooling big kids. We are a little behind you and I am feeling the changes beginning this school year. I am finding my new footing and learning where our new grooves need to be!
It sounds like a lovely day! We are finally in the stage of kids sleeping in here as well. Although mine are a bit younger. I am an early bird and crave that morning quiet time before the crazy happens. Mainly because school is still very mom-intensive for our family (my kids are 11, 9, and 5 – it’s that 5-year-old that keeps me on my toes!).