I’ve always loved reading the homeschool “day in the life” posts at Simple Homeschool. There’s something comforting about getting a peek into another mom’s everyday life. Today I thought it would be fun to share a little slice of our life with 7 kids under 13.
We’ve been homeschooling our children since the beginning, but our schedule has grown and changed as the children have gotten older. When everyone was little, we did a lot more playing, meeting friends at the park, and field trips. With 13 & 11 year-olds, we have transitioned to spending more of our morning at home doing book work. Last year, a pregnancy and a new baby caused us to adjust our schedule again, but we are shifting back to a more “normal” routine now that I have my full energy back. We use Tapestry of Grace as our core curriculum, with a smattering of other workbooks and Charlotte Mason inspired activities worked in.
So, here’s a peek at an average day…with kids ages 13, 11, 9, 7, 6, 5, and 5 months.
6:30 – Baby wakes up to eat, but goes back to sleep for an hour. I get out of bed and head straight to the tea kettle to start some water. While the water is heating, I flip through my emails and figure out what I need to do for the day. My husband has already left for the day to meet with some other men for breakfast and my 13-year-old is on the couch working on his Bible memory. The rest of the kids are upstairs, still sleeping or reading quietly until 7:30. After I make my tea and some peanut butter toast, I grab a book I’m reading by Gloria Furman. I’d love to be studying my Bible more deeply, but the pregnancy last year and an erratic newborn schedule this year have disrupted my usual habits.
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7:30 – As the children trickle downstairs, I write down quick to-do lists for them in spiral notebooks. This keeps everyone on track for the day and keeps me from answering questions all day. Baby is awake and sitting in the corner of the kitchen playing. They each greet her as they walk into the kitchen. I think it’s her favorite part of the day. One of the kids, usually whoever comes down first, starts a pot of oatmeal.
I read at breakfast about half of the time. Sometimes I end up feeding the baby or showering instead. Today, we are eager to finish book 2 of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. (It was highly recommended on Read-Aloud Revival!) I read while the bigger kids take turns eating and holding the baby.
8:30 – The kids finish breakfast and get started on their school work. My goal is to have everyone working independently as much as possible. The 13, 11, 9, & 7-year-olds all do their math and a few other reading assignments, while the 6 & 5-year-old boys go to build some Lego stuff. I’m always available for questions, but I also try to get chores or design work done when I have a few minutes between feeding the baby and answering questions.
Piano practice starts early. The four older kids just started this year, so I listen to about 2 hours of Twinkle, Twinkle variations while they rotate through. I can’t handle piano playing while I’m trying to make dinner, so it must be done in the morning.
9:30 – I start to add a couple of new poster listings to the website this morning “real quick” but some of the images weren’t aligned right. Something that should have been a quick task ended up taking up my whole morning. I googled solutions for a while and discovered that I needed to update my website theme. After 2 failed attempts and more googling, I finally succeed in finding the correct plugin to update my theme automatically. And thankfully, the theme update fixes the image alignment.
10:30 – The girls are upstairs cleaning their room. I ask them to play with the baby so I can finally grab a quick shower. Then I spend a few minutes helping my oldest finish his worldview assignment for his co-op class tomorrow. I also log in to a website I designed for a friend’s business to help them with a quick update.
11:30 – On cue, the little boys watch the clock and announce it’s lunchtime the second it hits 11:30 and chaos ensues while everyone tries to make their own lunch at the same time. At some point this year, everyone started getting picky about how their peanut butter and jelly is spread and now they all want to make their own sandwiches. It was way easier (and cleaner) when I just lined up the plates and made them assembly-line style.
Baby takes a 20-minute nap. She’s a great sleeper at night, but not a great napper.
1:00 – While I’m feeding the baby again, I dial into a conference call to learn more about an upcoming design challenge. She falls asleep again, and this time sleeps for about 45 minutes.
2:00 – Neighbor kids are running around the yard and school work is done for the day. We live next door to another homeschool family, which is great for the kids! I’ve always been a firm believer in children should “never be within doors, when they could rightly be without.” (I even designed a poster for the shop with that quote!) My 11-year-old and one of the neighbor girls walk a 1/4 mile through the woods to visit our 80-year-old neighbors and help them vacuum. They visit regularly and enjoy baking treats for them and talking to them.
3:00 – The little boys run in excitedly with a package from the FedEx man. The (almost) 5-year-old is sure it must be one of his birthday presents. But it’s for me! I had some free credit to use at Minted (I have a few designs for sale there too!) and ordered a beautiful farm landscape painting by Robin Ott. I can’t wait to find a place to hang it! My husband also calls to chat for a few minutes.
I realize the washing machine is free, so I toss a load of clothes in. It’s not my day, but the girls have finished their laundry and mine is piling up. I walk by the lunch wreckage and ignore it until later. Maybe I can catch one of the big kids to help in a little while. Or maybe it will magically clean itself up…hah!
I need some fresh air and sun, so I strap the baby on my back and head out to walk in the path on our neighbors’ property. It’s 1/4 mile loop partially wooded and partly out in the open. The younger boys love to tag along and the bigger kids are off running around in the woods or playing with their friends.
4:00 – The big kids are still running around outside. I saw some of them on the trampoline playing games. I’m finishing a homeschooling podcast I started listening to while I was walking and taking care of a few more quick computer tasks.
5:00 – I ran out of pre-planned meals. If I don’t have a plan, I usually don’t start thinking about dinner until 5. It turns out the meat is gone too. Time to get creative. The chickens have started laying more eggs now that there is more sunlight and warm weather. I’m not really in the mood for egg casserole, so I decide to make some fresh pasta. It takes a little longer than my usual dinner prep, but my husband calls again to say he’s going to stop at the store and dinner will be a little late. The big kids start coming back home and clean up the kitchen for dinner.
6:30 – I’m waiting for just the right time to cook the pasta. Fresh pasta only takes a couple of minutes and it gets sticky if it has to sit out. We put off dinner a little longer because our 80-year-old neighbor stops by to tell us about the surgery his wife will probably need. We chat for a few minutes and pray for them before he leaves.
7:00 – Late dinner. But the fresh pasta and roasted brussels sprouts are satisfying.
7:45 – We move to the living room for family worship. (My husband talks more about it in his podcast if you are interested.) We normally read a book at the dinner table first, but it’s getting late tonight and we decide to skip it. We sing a couple of songs and read a passage in Matthew, which we’ve been working through for most of the year. The kids ask questions and make comments and then we pray.
8:15 – The two oldest kids head to the kitchen to do the dishes. We made a deal with them earlier this year that they could stay up later if they did the dishes first. It’s been super helpful to have the dishes done each night! The younger kids head up to bed and I go to feed the baby and get her ready for bed.
9:00 – My husband and I stay up taking care of some budgeting and planning for the week and then fall into bed. Tomorrow is a busy day of co-op for the oldest, piano lessons at the house, and church small group at our home after dinner…