Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY
The months of November and December were a planned homeschool break for us due to moving, celebrating birthdays and Christmas. We returned to our “in session” homeschool lessons and practice the Monday after New Year’s.
On that day I recorded an actual homeschool day in the life.
The first day back to a routine is not the most representative of our “typical” homeschool day. I keep our academic schedule light when we first get going and also I’m usually full of energy in the beginning of a new school term.
As my enthusiasm waxes and wanes and as we follow our individual interests our days take on unexpected twists and turns.
If I was writing this in two weeks or next month my day might look like a morning at the library followed by an afternoon immersed in books.
Or an exhausting morning of errands followed by an afternoon of documentaries and a hot bath (the first for the kids, the second for myself).
There is no typical homeschool day for our family.
When I recorded this given day I kept track of the household goings-on from the time I got up to the time I went to bed. Way too much to post here.
So what I share below is the hours between breakfast and supper.
7:30 I wake up the kids (I’ve been up since 6:00). My husband Damien makes oatmeal for breakfast but everyone eats on their own. Kids do their morning chores.
9:00 Laurent (10) and Brienne (9) have done their morning tasks and start a game of cards – war.
9:30 I close down my writing. I am now parent-on-duty. Kids are still playing cards, there is a discussion about the continents. “Is the North Pole on its own continent, like the South Pole?” I check the kids’ room and do chore quality control.
Now that my computer is free I tell the younger two to start on their math. They’ll take turns.
9:40 Meeting with 12 yr old Celine. Together we discuss her self-directed school work for the week. History, which also covers her copywork, spelling and vocabulary. Math, current events and world news.
There are other pieces to her curriculum (writing, computer programming, Bible, etc…), but our meeting only addresses the work she’s responsible for on her own.
This transition to scholarship and ownership of her learning schedule is new for us. And we are still figuring out how it works.
Photo by Renee Tougas
10:00 My pjs are still on – time to get dressed! I help Brienne with her math. Get Laurent going on handwriting practice.
10:15 I start the laundry. Review Laurent’s handwriting.
I notice it’s snowing. Again. So beautiful. Take a deep breath in and enjoy the view.
10:30 I sit down to eat some fruit with Brienne. The breakfast dishes still aren’t washed. Celine wanders into the kitchen, looking for a snack. I find out she didn’t actually eat breakfast. This sometimes happens with Daddy in charge of the mornings.
I show Laurent how to use the calculator to check his math and find his mistakes. While at the computer I check comments on my blog.
10:45 Go back to eating my grapefruit, ignoring the breakfast clean up just a little longer.
I sit and look through Brienne’s writing from last month. I find a Unicorn essay and I write a translation of her “inventive” spelling. She may actually want to read this in the future. That done, the essay gets filed in Brienne’s school binder.
Photo by Renee Tougas
11:00 I finish the dishes, finally. The younger two return to playing cards – it seems handwriting and math were just a distraction from that activity.
11:15 Damien comes into the kitchen to chat. Fills a bowl with pistachios. I spend some time snacking and talking with my best friend.
11:30 Start another load of laundry and I finally brush my teeth and wash my face.
11:45 Mad Libs – all together. Without a doubt, my kids favorite homeschool “practice.”
12:00 I prepare tomorrow’s copywork for the younger two. Every week is different – poetry, history, Bible, a passage from our read aloud.
The kids are “negotiating” how to finish the card game. Laurent is done playing, Brienne wants to continue. Back and forth it goes. Celine steps in and finishes Laurent’s game for him. Check in at my blog, get lost on an internet rabbit trail.
Download a free book to Celine’s Kindle, part of her history and literature reading.
12:15 Back to the kitchen to make lunch. Leftover soup and Chinese cabbage and tofu stirfry.
Photo by Renee Tougas
Assess what’s in the fridge, trying to make a decision about tonight’s supper. I’m thinking potato broccoli soup. No potatoes. Back to the menu drawing board. Plan B – chickpea broccoli stirfry with rice.
The game squabbling resumes. Ironic. The game of war produces a war in my home. I call a peace treaty using that age old parenting strategy – distraction. Time for Sparkle Stories (we love these stories!)
12:30 Damien joins us, Sparkle Stories on hold. Kids play magnets with their dad. I cook lunch.
1:00 Soup is served. The family sits down to eat while I finish the stirfry.
1:15 I sit down and we all finish eating together. Listen to an audio chapter of the Bible while we eat.
1:30 I sit for a moment of peace. Everyone washes their own eating utensils and Damien oversees kitchen clean up.
1:40 Computer time for me. E-mail, blog maintenance, home management stuff. Kids finish drying dishes and wiping surfaces, then it’s afternoon free time.
Photo by Renee Tougas
2:45 Still at my computer, I tell the kids to get ready to go outside.
3:15 Kids are out the door and ready for sledding on our driveway. I gear up to walk to the post office on this wintry day.
3:45 Post office is closed (forgot about that). But I’m happy to be outside anyway.
4:00 Home from my walk and I join the kids in their sledding. Feels like being a kid, in winter. It feels fabulous.
4:30 Back inside now and I start the beans for supper. I make a fresh fruit, nut and dried fruit snack and brew tea for the family.
Kids start stomping in from the cold and they’re hungry. Celine sits down at the kitchen counter to do her computer programming.
Brienne writes an e-mail to her Papa. There ensues a lot of “How do I spell…?” questions.
Laurent looks at a body book on the couch. He decides if he was a cell he’d be a white blood cell defending the body.
Celine helps Brienne with her e-mail.
5:25 I work on the grocery list, realize I haven’t checked my to-do list once today!
5:30 Girls do some computer stuff while Laurent showers.
5:45 Damien reviews Celine’s programming assignment and it’s like they are speaking another language. Oh wait, they are. When he’s done Damien goes back to his work.
Laurent is building with his magnets.
6:00 I tidy up the kitchen from snack and tea, start the rice cooker. Celine has her shower.
I dump clean laundry on the couch for the kids to fold and put away.
I work on supper and while things are simmering, start the menu for the week and return to the grocery list. Check my e-mail.
7:00 We sit down for supper and our evening routine unfolds.
That’s the end of our “day.” Because the kids aren’t littles there are still a couple hours of quiet activity after this – most notably supper clean up and reading time.
Is there such a thing as a typical day in your homeschool?