A Day in Our Life (Homeschooling an 11, 9, and 7-year-old)

        The day before I decided to record our day’s events I’d had a conversations with my best friend about how school has been going.  This is a conversation we have every now-and-again and it usually seems to fall when we have both built a bit of tension in our schooling and need to let it out.  We’re a safe place for each other, I know.  We both know how much the other cherishes homeschooling, and especially of course our children, so spilling out the labor pains of our days doesn’t come with judgement from the other; it comes with understanding, love, accountability and encouragement.  For that, I am so grateful.  In this particular conversation, a DITL blog post from a fellow homeschooler came up and I said, “It just sounded like all they do all day is snuggle and read-aloud and enjoy themselves!  I want that!”  She reminded me that posts like that are often only the highlights and she was sure everyone has struggles …

        The written recounting of our experiences, especially when written in hind-sight generally does sound better than the actual experience was, right?  Or does it?  Or do we, in the heat of the moment, just make MORE of the little difficulties we have in the day and let them get us down?  I decided to try this out then, jotting down throughout the day what we did so that I could look back and see, in hind-sight, what our ‘day’ looked like… so here we go on a Typical Thursday:

        5am – Matt wakes and I come in and out of sleep, knowing I should just get up.  The day before I’d asked if he’d help me get up earlier because the boys have been waking earlier each day and I had a lot I needed to do for the workshop before they started their day.  So he leaves the closet light on and wanders in and out gently encouraging me to get up.

        5:30am – but then, Kaden walks downstairs, still basically asleep, and climbs into bed with me.   He asks me not to get up yet because he always hopes to cuddle in the morning.  I give in (how can I not?) and cuddle until he falls asleep at 5:50, then I sneak out of bed and am glad to have made it in time to hug Matt good-bye before he leaves for the day.  More and more we start our day together and I see that having a very positive impact on my day.

        6am – downstairs to workout.  I start every weekday morning like this, spending about 30 minutes doing something good for my body, knowing lots of my day is spent sitting for school and teaching the workshop.  Right now I’m bouncing back and forth between Fit & Sleek Prenatal Physique and Moms Into Fitness Slim and Fit Complete Pregnancy Workout.  Plus, it helps me start my day with a lot of water rather than going right to coffee.  I’m sure my baby thanks me.

        6:30am – back upstairs, keeping all of the lights off other than the computer screen, I make my coffee and settle in to check on the workshop to critique the midweek assignments and return some emails.  In the 50 junk emails I get each day, occasionally there are a few I actually have to tend to!  I try desperately to stay on task, not veering over to cull my own images or look at Pinterest or start a blog post.

        6:50am – Cooper (almost 10) wakes and comes downstairs, leans over me in my chair for a hug, and starts chatting … as much as I know it is important to listen and engage whenever conversation arises with our kiddos, I remind him that this is the quiet time I set aside in the day for doing my work.  He understands, I give him a squeezing-hug and he feeds Charlie (our dog), lets the cats in (since they’d already been meowing at the door for the past 30 minutes) and feeds them to their ongoing chorus of meows.  This is usually how quiet-time ends because the cats are noisy and wake the others and gets Cooper laughing.  But today, he lays on the floor by them as they eat and all silence is restored.  Except for the hum of my space heater and the clickity-clickity of my keyboard.

        7:15am – Gage (almost 12) and Kaden (7) get up, get loves from me and start playing with Cooper and the cats in the living room behind my workspace, so I do my best to block them out and stay on task.  They are enjoying themselves, so I don’t have to redirect them toward getting the day started.  I think they know that on pleasant mornings like this they won’t have to rush through this leisure time if they stay pleasant with each other.  And calm.  And relatively quiet.  We all make our separate breakfasts on this morning since I’m trying to get these last few critiques done.  A few mornings a week they do cereal but most often I make a hot breakfast that involves eggs.  I just don’t do well unless I have some sort of protein, but that takes a good chunk of the morning so today, I just have Greek yogurt and granola.  Onward with their self-driven play.

        8:30am – I slip away to shower while they get dressed, clean up their rooms and make their beds.  I don’t know this until I’ve finished, but Gage and Cooper have also done their spelling lesson (Rod and Staff) while I get ready.

        9:15am – Surprisingly we are all already hungry again, so I make smoothies as they take a quick break before we actually ‘start’ school.

        9:30am – Settled back at the school table with our smoothies and Grammar Tests.  While Gage and Cooper work on those (from Growing with Grammar) I go over Math (Singapore) with Kaden, which is always an honest to goodness joy.  Not to throw the others under the bus, but this is about the only individual subject/child pairing that I can say that about.  😉

        Then I work on Math with Gage (also Singapore) while Cooper plugs away on his Grammar test, and really, this is pretty pleasurable, too.  Mostly because I’m re-learning right along with him now and he’s always liked math.  I enjoy his math too because it challenges both of us and we both get to enjoy the accomplishment of completing the lesson!  Funny how that works!

        Once Cooper finishes up his Grammar Test (with lots of little distractions pulling his attention this way and that, namely his little brother and the air and the smoothie and the pencil and the weather … ) we move onto History and Writing.  Today the two are merged, as we are studying states and starting on presidents.   They sum up what they’ve learned about George Washington as their writing assignment.  Normally, though, their writing curriculum is Winning with Writing with my own assignments mixed in.

        12:00pm – As they finish their History and Writing assignment, I start heating up last night’s dinner leftovers for lunch, which thankfully was spaghetti.  Its always better then next day and no one complains … actually, they rarely do.  They are pretty cooperative eaters and I consider their likes and dislikes for our meals having them usually put together our dinner menus.  As I meal plan they each contribute by telling me what they’d like to have, like stroganoff, chicken taquitos, spicy sausage pasta, or taco soup, etc.  They pick from the list of Usuals, basically.  This makes meal planning AND doling out left overs even easier.  😉

        As that is heating on the stove, I put dinner into the crock pot (which happened to be what Gage had picked for the week), and watch as Cooper works on laying his president cards out across the school-room floor, in their order.  He’s randomly reading out facts to me about the presidents as he goes and this is a reminder that so much learning happens on their own.

        While they eat together at the breakfast nook, I eat at my desk about 15 feet away and check in on the questions that need answering in the workshop.

        1pm – I sit down with Cooper for math (Singapore).  I’m not telling you anything he and I don’t regularly discuss, so I feel okay saying that this is usually a rather challenging time of the day.  I will just say that other subjects come much more fluidly for him.  We butt heads with Math.  Neither of us are as patient with him as we should be.  As I’m writing about this day, I know this was true … but it is a week later and already something has changed.  I don’t know what it is.  On this particular day and the weeks (months and years) before, he’s needed me by his side as he moves through the lesson.  I know this is for comfort more than anything … he knows the material and will randomly just burst out with his abilities.  But when putting pencil to workbook, it is just often tough.  But again, lately?  Things have changed and his confidence has grown.  Just the day before this particular DITL I had talked to him about how his melt-downs during math almost just seemed like habit anymore.  Because often there was no struggle that really even led into them.   Maybe that conversation (and me sharing my thoughts that perhaps someone else could teach him better than I can) pushed the habit to the side and he was done with it.  I don’t know.  But this particular day, was a good day with Cooper and math and I heard the angels singing.  So did he.

        Meanwhile, Gage and Kaden play a game together on the tablet … Monster Legends maybe?  Brain It On?  I’m not sure.  But let me tell you, all 3 love their tablet time.

        Once Cooper finishes, he gets a turn on the tablet while I shift gears to work on reading and writing with Kaden.  At the time of this DITL, he was just doing the Lessons in My Father’s World, but I’ve since added in Red Apple Reading and he’s loving it.  And it’s helping.  You can read more about this program over at Ashley Ann’s Blog, and also receive a discount code from her!  Now he does several lessons a day on the computer (in the other room) while his brothers do their lessons with me in the school room.  Rather than finding whatever else to entertain himself.

        (Lookie lookie who is taking after his mama and has started twirling his hair!)

        After that, Gage asks me to quiz him on his spelling words so while he lays on the beanbag with Gus, and the Straight-hairs play the tablet at the table, I go through his flashcards.  Kaden asks me, “Mom, guess what time it is?”  I guess 12:45, and he says, no 1:55.  I don’t know how I lost that hour!  He, by the way, is very into the time.  Hence, the ginormous watch on his wrist.  It’s hugeness represents his interest in time.

        I didn’t mention anything about science or Bible study.  Science, this year, started out with studying animals per the MFW curriculum.  Then, I got pregnant.  Somewhere in there we shifted to Science being YouTube channels, The Science Channel, National Geographic, Outrageous Acts of Science, the monthly Tinker Crates they received for Christmas, etc.  And, talking about the growth of the baby.  They actually all really love science and Gage often ends his day reading his Science facts books in bed.  So, they are a little on their own path with Science.

        As for Bible study, Jesus is with us daily, and I leave the ‘study’ part right now to their time in the 2 classes they take on Sunday morning and the one they take on Tuesday night, at church.

        2pm – The boys unload the dishwasher while I clean up the schoolroom because somehow, it gets shockingly messy each day.  Books, crafts, magnets, dart-guns, Legos, pencils, links, a blanket … all off the floor!  We even make a conscious effort to put lessons away when we’re finished with them but the mess still accumulates.

        I make a fire, Kaden cleans up the living room, and then I load up the dishwasher and clean the kitchen.

        2:45pm – we’re all pretty ready to break from each other by now.  Reading through this day, it sounds super pleasant.  Truly, we do enjoy each other a great deal, but we are 4 people together in a house for most of the day.  Enough said.  There were at least 12 “Was that kind to say?  How could you have said it more thoughtfully?” and 10 “Now, how did that make you feel?” and 5 “Please get back on task…” and 7 “What are you supposed to be doing right now? and 4 “Please quiet down, boys!” and 1 “Do not hold the cat like that…” and 2 “Why are you crying?” and 2 “Do you know why your brother is crying … how do you feel about that?” and 10 “Who are you leaving that there for?” and probably too many times of me saying, “Seriously?” …  Thankfully, in all love to my boys, they respond pretty thoughtfully to each question/statement.  But all that does lead to just needing some time apart.

        So, they head outside.

        I text my best friend and tell her this day was so much better than yesterday and that we got through Math with no tears and that I hoped her day was great, too.  She replied that her day had been so much better, too.  ♥  I like to think that a big part of this was that after we spilled to each other the previous day, our attitudes shifted and  therefore, our children’s attitudes shifted.  That always seems to be the way it goes.

        Then?  Tada … I do my nails.  Every 3 weeks or so, I carve out an hour or so for this process and I really enjoy and appreciate it.

        4:30pm – I don’t see the boys again until now and they come inside baring the gift of my favorite person, their Dad.  🙂  I love it when he comes home because, well obviously because he’s him, but also because he is always in a good mood.  I love that.

        Because dinner is in the crock pot still, the boys clean-up, warm-up and head downstairs to play the Wii.

        Matt and I grab hands and head out for a walk around the property.  We don’t do this everyday … most of the time the boys are involved.  But they’d already worn themselves out and I needed to get out and it had been awhile since we’d had some time just the two of us so off we went on a date.

        6pm – we finish prepping dinner together (which tonight is just shredding the chicken), eat and clean-up.  The boys try to help but in our smallish kitchen I prefer to do this on my own.  They let out their after-dinner-energy burst by wrestling around in the living room.

        7pm – I read aloud to the boys.  We’re reading The Fellowship of the Ring together and this is up there on my favorite part of the day.  I love reading a loud because they get super into the story.  SO much more so than when they read on their own.  None are looooving reading for pleasure yet so this is my compromise right now.  I hope that hearing the creativity of these stories will pull them more toward books, but in the meantime I’m good with this.   We typically give this activity at least an hour, but I’d promised them I’d play the Wii with them tonight so ….

        7:30pm – the boys talk me into playing Mario 3-D World instead of my usual, Super Mario Brothers on the WiiU.  And I find that I’m just not a fan of this game.  They are sweet to me and we switch over to my game and we play for a bit longer.  They are good to their mama.  😉

        8pm – they go through a relatively quick bedtime.  They never resist getting ready for bed but it usually ignites a burst of energy from all of them and there is more laughing and rambunctiousness that ensues at bedtime than any other time of the day.  Tonight, they get it all done pretty quickly, probably aided my my sitting in their room waiting for them.  We pray, visit for a bit, then they do their typical “I need to fill my water”, “I need to find Milo”, “I need to go to the bathroom again” and “Mom, do you know where my yo-yo is?” …

        8:30pm – I check in with the workshop one more time, answer a few questions and then settle on the couch with Matt, who’d been there reading.  We watch a few Last Man Standings on Netflix and Matt falls asleep on the couch so I watch one more episode.  😉

        9:30pm – my day always ends the same with checking on the boys, retrieving the cats from their beds and putting them outside; face, teeth, and then laying in bed, talking with Matt while we end our day, together.  Always together.


        So many things in our day are super routine.  We don’t have a lot of coming and going every week, let alone every day.  We keep it simple.  The basic timeline, what we need to accomplish from school to outdoor time to quiet time to dinner together are really routine.   As are the correcting, the guiding, the impatience, the forgiveness, the ups and the downs.  These happen every day.  As I read through this post, I’d say, “Man, that was a good day!” and it really actually was … and goodness, most of them certainly are.  But, remember, there’s just stuff that goes missing in posts like this and I assume that’s the case whenever anyone posts a Day in the Life.  I don’t believe it is intentional.  I don’t believe any mom blogger is trying to paint a picture of her life for all of us to envy.   A lot of the struggles just don’t get included because they either aren’t fair to share since they involve our kids and/or, we’ve just forgotten what they simply were.   And do they matter?  At the moment that they happen, they do matter … but more than that, it matters how they are dealt with, how they are forgiven and that they are lived through.  They don’t define the day and in this post I wasn’t going to say, “And then this boy and this boy got into it about one interfering with what the other was doing … ”  and “Then I lost my patience because ______ …”  Who wants to hear about that?  Maybe some do so they are assured that their family is not alone in facing moments like that.  Trust me.  You’re not alone.

        There are nights when I put the boys to bed with a long sigh and tell them I’m just done with this day.  There are moments in my days when I have to retreat to my bathroom, turn on my hair drier and just pray as I block out whatever struggles have compounded into nearly breaking me.  There are days when I feel like every other statement I make is a correction.  That’s just the life of a parent, maybe?  And those are such small snippets of such a bigger, grander picture.

        Can I say, too, though, that we often don’t go on and on about the moments of utter delight, either, in these types of posts.   I also didn’t go into such detail to share the words of thanks they gave me before bed.  Or about each time one came up and snuggled to just rub my baby-belly.  Or of the moments when I had to stop what I was doing to just take in their laughter and try to figure out what on earth they were thinking was so funny.  Only to realize it was something only brothers could appreciate.

        These days are full… every minute seems to be occupied with either what seems good or what seems ‘bad’ but all together it is this life of mine and it is all progressing toward something.  Toward something good, of that I am sure simply because of Who we are living this life for.

        Thank you for visiting and reading along with our day!  ♥

        Want to see a few more Day in Our Life posts??  Click HERE! 

        BTW, looking through those, I’m shocked to see how many similarities there were between this day and THIS DAY two years ago!  I’m even more a creature of habit than I realized!

         

         

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        • Ashley - You fit so much in your day!!! I’m so glad he is liking Red Apple Reading too 🙂ReplyCancel

        • Lyndsay - I loved this post! Thank you! I’m glad my homeschooling days aren’t the only ones that end with a massive mess in the classroom, and with discussions here and there. Glad it’s more than just me. New baby here, too…number four as well…I am looking forward to reading about a day in the life when you have your new baby 🙂ReplyCancel

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