If you’re here from the Simple Homeschool link-up, welcome! I’m Micaela. I’ve got 5 kiddos ages 10, 9, 6, 4, 15 months, and a baby due in late May. This is our fifth year homeschooling, which to some may seem like a lot but to me feels impossible. How have we been at this that long?!
It has been far, far too long since I wrote about homeschooling. Last fall perhaps? It’s what consumes my daily life, so I suppose by bedtime (when I blog) I’m ready to talk about something else. Or maybe I’m ready to talk to no one about nothing and instead just turn on Netflix and cuddle with my husband.
How’s that for an intro?
A Day in the Life: Homeschooling
At 6:30 I’m regularly awoken by two snuggly boys (Gabriel, age 6, and Ezekiel, age ‘almost-5’) who have come to warm their cold toes on me while I try to keep 15 month old Rosalie from waking all the way up. I’ll be honest, it can be a bit annoying. But I’ve found that I’m not the best cuddler during the day (too many things to do! must check off all the boxes!) so I try to spend a few minutes with them while I’m still too drowsy to get up.
By 6:45 cuddle time is over and Rosalie is starving. Off she goes with Gabriel for their morning banana. It’s pretty darn cute to see a 6 year old boy heft his sister on his hip and say, “Want a banana, Rosie? Do ya? Are ya reeeeeeeeally hungry?” while she nods her head/whole body because she’s a toddler and they do adorable things like that.
At 7:00 I finally admit that sleep is no longer possible and up I get. I make my bed first thing, so any stragglers (looking at you, Zeke) are kicked out of bed. Making my bed is one of two remaining habits the Flylady gave me. But now I can hardly function if I don’t, so I’m not sure that’s a win. Seems like a disability, maybe.
Once the bed is made and I’m dressed, I head out to make breakfast for the masses. Once or twice a week we have cereal, but my kids are voracious cereal eaters and I can hardly afford them! Honestly, they’re hungry again 30 minutes later too, so I usually make something hot instead. Gabriel and Ezekiel have both decided they love to make scrambled eggs and are actually pretty good at it, so they help me in the kitchen. I empty the dishwasher from the night before and the girls (Gianna, age 10.5 and Aliya, age 9) set the table.
Usually there are about 7 make-believe games (and possibly as many arguments) going on during this time. Lots of background noise.
We try to eat breakfast by 7:30. First, because my kids can. not. handle being hungry and secondly because I have the most energy in the morning and if I miss that window then our whole day is thrown off. During breakfast we’ve been listening to TAN Homeschool’s Story of the Bible, the Old Testament version. It’s been lovely.
By 7:45 the kids clear the table and run off to do their morning routine. This includes:
- getting dressed,
- brushing and flossing,
- brushing hair,
- making beds,
- putting away folded laundry,
- and some quiet prayer time.
Mind you, the reason they actually “run” to do these things is not because their internal obedience monitor is set just so, but because IF they are ready for the morning walk/skate/bike by 8:15, then they get 15 minutes at the park. It’s a motivation for all of us, trust me.
8:15: out the door we go. I push Rosie in the stroller and the kids scooter/skate/bike for 10-15 minutes and then we swing around to the neighborhood park for some monkey-bar and tire-swing work. I usually walk circles around the playground with my rosary while the big kids play, unless there is a super judgy parent/grandparent there, then I stay closer by to try and look respectable. Meaning, like I’m not ignoring my kids. I consider the rosary to be perfectly respectable.
By 9:00 we are home and the kids grab an apple/eat me out of house and home and sit down to do our Holy Mass lapbook. For those who know me, you may be shocked that I’m doing something as crafty as a lapbook. Here’s a hint as to why: Lent. But actually it’s a really worthwhile lapbook, so I’m gritting my teeth through it, the kids are loving it, and we are all learning a ton. (One day/week we skip the lapbook and go to actual Mass.)
At 9:30 or so we split up. I go over the girls’ checklists and get them started on their independent work. (I really need to write a whole post about these checklists because they’ve kind of revolutionized our homeschooling day.)
The girls either sit at the table to work or head off to their room/outside if they desire more quiet.
The boys and I head to the couch to do some pre-k/kinder work. Right now that includes:
- reading lessons for Gabe (and Zeke if he’s interested, which is about 50% of the time),
- math (currently doing Life of Fred: Apples since Gabriel has finished the Singapore kinder books),
- memorizing the First Communion Catechism (they’re little sponges!),
- reading picture books and our history books, which are the D’Aulaire biographies.
Rosalie spends all morning running in and out the front door, playing in the sand box with whomever she can distract for long enough, and biting the tips off of every single marker she can find. That particular habit has aaaaaalllllmost been curbed by the fact that I now maintain the strictest inventory of said markers. But she is still the most adept marker finder I’ve ever met. It borders on savant status.
Around 10 everyone is STARVING (again) so we stop and have a snack. (I pretty much have to shoo Gabriel out of the kitchen every 15 minutes between now and bedtime.)
After snack, I sit down at the table and go over the girls’ checklists to make sure they’re staying on task, and to to help them with whatever subjects they need assistance with. Usually it’s math, although we seem to be doing pretty well with that lately. The baby (toddler, but I can’t stop calling her ‘baby’) starts to show signs of needing a nap but I know it will go better if I wait until 11, so I hold her in my lap and let her play with whatever is handy at the kitchen table.
Right at 11:00 I give Rosalie a quick lunch and then nurse her to sleep. The boys go outside to play (they’re usually in and out whenever I’m not directly teaching them) and the girls make their lunches, take a break, or continue with schoolwork if they’ve been lagging.
Not gonna lie, sometimes I sneak in a 10 minute nap, too.
Once I have her good and asleep, though, I can’t waste much time or I won’t get any undivided time with the girls. So I get my big old pregnant belly up and out to have what is usually my first cup of coffee for the day. (I need it more during the afternoon slump than first thing in the morning.)
I send the kids to their rooms for 30 minutes of quiet reading time while I read a book or the Bible (trying to do it in a year – on day 68: woot!) or scroll Facebook or Instagram.
After quiet time, it’s usually about noon or 12:30 and I try to read aloud to the girls. We are doing BookShark this year and while I LOVE the independent reading and read aloud fiction selections, I’m having a hard time fitting in the non-fiction stuff. I either need to get the girls reading it on their own or spend more time reading to them in the evenings when Kevin can handle the little ones. Oh, and we always have one or more audio books going. We listen to those mostly in the car, or I use a little bluetooth speaker and we listen while the kids are coloring or building with Duplos. Right now we’re listening to Johnny Tremain and Winter Danger.
Depending on which day it is, we get to our afternoon activities:
- Monday: Little Flowers (2x/month) and American Heritage Girls (most weeks)
- Tuesday: home mostly, but guitar lessons via Skype in the evening
- Wednesday: co-op in which we cover California history, art, and science
- Thursday: home mostly, but choir practice at our church for the girls
- Friday: park day with our Catholic homeschool group, and now swim lessons at the same park
Whew. Written out that looks like a whole lot, but it does feel manageable right now.
On the afternoons we’re home, I try to get the kids finished with school by 2:00 so they have a couple hours to play before chore time. The boys are always done by then, if not way before. The girls are learning that they can control when they’re done and are slowly becoming more responsible about it.
We do chores about 4:00, followed by a rousing welcome home to Daddy (mostly from me, all the party horn emojis), dinner, prayers, family time, and bedtime.
Holy cow, that was a lot of writing. If you made it to here you totally deserve a medal of perseverance. I’ve got another homeschool post half-written about what’s working for us and what isn’t, so hopefully I’ll get that up in the next week or two. Make sure you head to Simple Homeschool to see all the other lovely posts.