Melissa’s homeschool day in the life ~
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins
So… what do you do all day?
It’s pretty much the question social media was invented for, isn’t it?
It’s endlessly fascinating. I always want to know: What’s your morning routine? What are you reading? What did you eat for lunch?
But when it comes to ANSWERING, I kind of look around and shrug. What did I do today? Oh, you know, the usual…
It’s a hard question to answer.
(Except for the part about lunch. I can answer that one. Lunch was a bowl of arugula and black olives with a scoop of hummus for dressing, and a cup of ginger-turmeric tea.)
(I didn’t say it was a GOOD answer, I just said I COULD answer that one.)
So what DO we do all day?
Here’s the basic shape of things at my house: my husband Dane and I are both working from home right now.
We have six kids—Abigail is 20, Owen is 17, Audrey is 14, Sadie is 13, Eli is 10, and Evelyn is 7—and though Abigail would normally be away at university… here in California, many universities are entirely virtual this year!
So we’re all home, all the time.
When the kids were smaller, my day involved a lot of herding. Now it involves a lot of checking in.
On Sunday afternoons, we check in with each of the kids to see what they worked on the week before, make a plan for the week ahead, and figure out whether anyone needs any supplies or support or new books or motivational TED talks or WHAT.
(I’m mostly kidding about the TED talks. MOSTLY.)
Since we’ve made a plan for the week ahead of time, we all know what to expect on the weekdays.
Melissa’s homeschool day in the life:
Dane wakes up before I do, so he encourages everyone to eat breakfast and get started on their morning chores and learning activities.
By the time I come downstairs, Audrey (14) and Sadie (13) are usually drinking homemade chai lattes and working on Geometry (Audrey) and Algebra (Sadie) at the kitchen table.
Eli (10) and Evelyn (7) are sitting together working on things like practicing their cursive, doing logic puzzles, reading to themselves, or practicing mental math.
Abigail (20) will be in zoom classes all day, and Owen (17) is at his desk learning all the exciting things that seniors in high school get to learn (macro- and micro-economics, woo!).
Everyone gets their own lunch when they’re hungry, and when they’ve finished their learning activities, they move on to other stuff they’re interested in.
Today Owen is working on building a replica Star Wars Shore Trooper costume, Audrey is teaching herself to play the ukulele with the help of online video lessons, Sadie is sketching, and Eli and Evelyn are playing a new board game.
While they’re working and playing and learning, Dane and I can work on the things we need to do for the day.
Whether I’m writing a book (afflink) or a blog post, here’s how I work from home while homeschooling. We’ve used the same strategies since forever, but between you and me, trying to get work done is infinitely easier now that nobody’s a toddler.
Later in the afternoon, the kids have a zoom call scheduled with friends. We have a few of these regularly scheduled weekly zoom dates, so the kids can all log on together and visit with friends we can’t see in person right now. It’s been really helpful for feeling connected to other families this year.
Tonight is spaghetti night, so after the zoom call, Audrey will make noodles and sauté mushrooms while Abigail, Owen, and Sadie scrub and chop and roast veggies to eat on the side. Dane will make garlic bread when he’s done working for the day, and I’ll round up Eli and Evelyn so they can wash their hands and clear the table.
After dinner, Eli and Ev will head up to bed with books, the older kids will help clean up the kitchen, and I’ll make a cup of cinnamon tea.
Before turning out the younger kids’ lights, I’ll sit with Evelyn and listen to a chapter of Pride and Prejudice. I’m still not quite sure how Ev got hooked on Jane Austen audiobooks, but I am 100% here for it. (These are the things that happen when you’re the youngest kid in the family and everyone has access to the library card.)
Once Eli and Ev are tucked in, Dane and I will hang out with the older kids. We might watch a movie, hear about everyone’s latest projects, or talk through current events.
Before bed, I’ll read a chapter of a book with paper pages, and then turn out the lights so we can start up the adventure again tomorrow.
And that’s a day!
My, how the days have changed:
- 2020: Melissa’s homeschool day (with a 6-, 9-, 12-, 13-, and 16-year-old)
- 2019: Melissa’s unschool day (with a 5-, 8-, 11-, 12- and 15-year old)
- 2018: Melissa’s day (with a 4-, 7-, 10-, 11-, 14-, and 17-year-old)
- 2017: Melissa’s day (with a 3-, 6-,9-,10-,13-, and 16-year-old)
- 2016: Melissa’s day (with a 2-, 5-, 8-, 9-, 12- & 15-year-old)
So what do we do all day? I guess I could answer that one after all! Did I forget anything? Let me know what questions you still have in the comments, and I’ll fill you in.
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Jamie C. Martin
I just LOVE Evelyn’s early adoration for Jane Austen!!!!!
Melissa Camara Wilkins
Me too!!! Plus, listening to an Austen audiobook is a pretty fantastic way to wind down at the end of the day, and it’s one I would never have thought to choose for myself. DOUBLE WIN. XD
Melissa Camara Wilkins’s latest post: How to Talk Back to Your Inner Critic
I love audiobooks. So does my daughter; she cleans her room while listening to them 🙂