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A Day In Our Wonderfully Chaotic Life

This article first appeared in The Informer Magazine, Summer 2014.

There are so many different types of schedules and routines for homeschooling families that it can be overwhelming trying to find one that fits. When we first started schooling, I assumed we needed to “do school” like I did when I attended public school. However, time and multiple children have changed my ideas on that. At our house, it seems like no one day is ever exactly like the last one! We currently have an eleven month old, a four year old, and an eight year old. Here is a little peek into a typical day at our house:

I have at least one to two wake-ups at night with the baby, and then my day starts around seven when my four year old awakens and comes to my room. I’ll be honest…I’m not a morning person so we take our time getting up. I get breakfast on the table and after threatening to give his bacon to the baby, my eight year old rolls out of bed. He is not a morning person either. My husband usually arrives home somewhere between us waking up and lunch. He works the night shift so he eats, chats, and then heads off to bed.

After that, I get the kids started on their schoolwork. We often will do piano first thing since my husband is still awake and won’t be bothered by it. Otherwise, we start off with language arts, phonics, and our weekly reading with books from the library. While they start working, I try to get started on the dishes, laundry, and other chores. I stay close by so I can help as needed but still get some things done. If it’s a fussy day, the baby rides along in the baby carrier. If not, he usually busies himself with his toy basket or toddles around behind me. When the kids finish up, the baby is ready to nurse again, so we settle into the living room for read aloud time.

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Summer 2014

After reading, we then delve into our other subjects. My oldest is a kinesthetic learner and enjoys doing activities that require movement and action, so I try to incorporate that into our day. Periodic stretching or jumping jack breaks are great for busy guys like him! We also play a lot of games and do hands-on activities. History is one of his favorite subjects and I let him pick out library books weekly to go along with what subject we’re studying. He also loves using our dry erase boards (we have several in different sizes) for writing out math problems, practicing his handwriting, and of course, for drawing. For math, I also let him use manipulatives, money, or dice to go along with his math worksheets.

One thing that has worked really well for us – and that I highly recommend for others with little ones – is our “busy box.” It’s a crate I have made just for my preschooler that’s chock full of busy bags, which are different little preschool and early elementary activities in individual bags or boxes. Some examples are: beads to string on pipe cleaners, color matching cards, number and letter wheels with clothespins, an “I Spy” bottle, and an egg carton bead sort, to name a few. I try to rotate things around in it so she’s not always doing the same ones. It’s been a lifesaver for when I’m doing one-on-one time with my son and need to keep her entertained. (And it doesn’t hurt that most of the things in it are educational!)

Getting back to our day, we break for lunch. Afterwards, I let the kids take a break and play with their LeapPad or my Kindle on which I’ve added educational games and apps. The baby nurses and naps, and I attempt to get the four year old to nap. During that time, my oldest son and I work on any other projects or schoolwork and have one-on-one time.

After naps, it’s the end of our formal “school day.” That’s not the end of the learning though. I consider life skills a big part of learning too. The kids have time to play until we need to start dinner. They help entertain the baby while I do dinner prep and sometimes help me make it, load the dishwasher, change out loads in the washer & dryer, and other things. After dinner, we send Daddy off to work, then start baths and prepare for bedtime. The kids and I read a devotional and then I put them to bed individually. I shoot for my own bedtime around eleven…but that often depends on the littlest one!

So that’s our day in the life. Life can be crazy though, so some days our routine is thrown out the window – like if I’ve been up all night with a teething baby, if somebody is sick, or if we have appointments, etc. The great thing about homeschooling though is that we have the freedom and the time to do that. I advise you not to try and to fit yourself into a someone else’s schedule – find what works for you and your family, even if it’s not exactly traditional. Embrace it!

Recommended Resources

Ultimate Guide to Preschool Busy Bags – Walking by the Way, www.walkingbytheway.com/blog/ultimate-guide-preschool-busy-bags/

Educational Kindle Apps – Wonderfully Chaotic, www.wonderfullychaotic.com/2014/02/educational-kindle-apps.html

Keeping Your Toddler Occupied During School Time, Confessions of a Homeschooler – www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2011/09/keeping-your-toddler-occupied-during-school-time.html

How to Homeschool with a Baby or Toddler (& Enjoy It!), Simple Homeschool – www.simplehomeschool.net/how-to-homeschool-with-a-baby-or-toddler-enjoy-it/

Age Appropriate Chores for Kids, The Happy Housewife – www.thehappyhousewife.com/home-management/age-appropriate-chores-for-kids-printable/

Shalynne Addison lives with her husband and three children in the cornfields of west-central Indiana. They have been homeschooling for four years. She is a blogger and studying to be a doula. On her blog, she writes not only about homeschooling but also about marriage, geekery, birth, babies, and more. You can find it at WonderfullyChaotic.com.

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