5:30 am. The alarm clock sounds and the husband gets out of bed to go to work. I get out of bed to use the bathroom for the third time in 6 hours. (I’m almost 33 weeks pregnant, y’all.)
6:00 am. I hear wailing coming from the kids’ room downstairs. Judah must have fallen out of bed again, that’s my guess. With the grace of a hippo, I hurriedly waddle down the stairs in hopes of getting him settled before he wakes the rest of the house up. It works (this time)!
6:15 am. I can’t fall back asleep, but that’s okay. Now I have 30 minutes of quiet time (theoretically) to spend in God’s Word.
6:45 am. I shower and dress for the day. I feel so much more productive when I’m dressed for the job (and so much less embarrassed when someone rings the doorbells at 9:00 am. Not that that’s ever happened before…)
7:00 am. The kids wake up and scramble upstairs. Typically, they’re in a good mood and full of cheerful Good Mornings, hugs, and kisses for Mommy. I love their warm cheeks, bright smiles, and tousled hair. The youngest has a warm bottle on my increasingly uncomfortable lap while the other kids feed their pet fish, get dressed, and use the bathroom.
7:15 am. Breakfast time. We’re having our usual smoothies and oatmeal. The kids put their dirty dishes in the sink when breakfast is finished.
7:40 am. Bible time. We read the Bible passage that corresponds to the chapter we’re on in Leading Little Ones to God, work on our memorization and sing a few Psalms.
8:00 am. I change the little one’s diaper and get her dressed. She wanders off to play with her siblings, finds her school books and brings them to the table. We work on Alpha-Phonics first, since it takes the most amount of concentration. One lesson takes about 20 minutes.
8:25 am. The boy feels like joining us at the table. He finds his About Three book, and I show him what to do. Then it’s on to Math for the oldest girl. She loves math and can do most of it independently. While they’re busy at the table, I check on the little one to make sure she’s not getting into trouble (she’s stacking blocks in the living room), wash the breakfast dishes, and start supper.
9:00 am. The boy had enough “school” and takes off to play with his tractors. His sister is finished her math. Her reward for completing the two hardest subjects is Science, her favorite of them all, next to Art. We sit on the couch and read about the next animal in The Complete Zoo Adventure. Each animal talked about in the book comes with a fact card that reinforces what we learned. I go over the facts on the card after reading the chapter to see how much she remembers and then gives her the card to keep. He has usually been playing his tractors nearby and I’m always amazed to discover how much he’s picked up by simply overhearing us on the couch.
9:40 am. Now it’s the boy’s turn to pick some books out for Mommy to read. They usually have to do with tractors, animals, farms, or construction. Good thing our library has a great selection!
10:00 am. Break time. The kids enjoy some banana cake (They really like my recipe. I prefer to bake it in a sheet pan rather than a 9×13. It decreases the baking time and we get more pieces!) before heading outside to play in the sandbox. I start a load of laundry and check my email and Facebook.
10:30 am. Back to school! Girl works on her handwriting. She can do this on her own and usually “surprises” me by working ahead a few pages.
10:45 am. The bulk of our schoolwork is finished. We’ll read a book or two from the library in the afternoon, or maybe a chapter from Story of The World. On Mondays, we go grocery shopping. On Tuesdays, the kids come with me to my midwife appointments. (My midwife is a gem; she lets the kids “help” her take my blood pressure, find Baby’s heartbeat with the Doppler, and measure the size of my uterus.) On Wednesdays, my oldest girl and I will do Art while the others are napping. The oldest two have swimming lessons on Thursdays, and Fridays are dedicated to Home Economics (i.e. housework and baking).
11:00 am. We go for a walk to the park and burn off some energy. The kids chat to the dog-walkers and ask if they can pet their dogs. Most are happy to oblige.
11:45 am. The youngest still likes a warm bottle at this time of day, and since she’s still my Baby for a few more weeks, I let her have it.
12:00 pm. Lunchtime. I keep things simple and serve open-faced cheese sandwiches on a napkin. Fewer options equals less complaining. Fewer dishes equal less clean-up. Grapes or bananas provide a sweet ending to our meal that everyone enjoys. As at breakfast, we finish off with Bible reading, memorization, and singing.
12:45 pm. Naptime! The older two take turns using the bathroom while I tuck the baby in bed. The boy usually naps too, and his sister will if she’s tired enough. Either way, they must observe Quiet Time until 2:30 in their room. I use this time to read, write, email, menu plan, lesson plan, and enjoy a large mug of coffee…or nap if I’m really tired.
2:30 pm. The older kids wake up and play outside while the youngest finishes her nap. I often join the older two and work in the garden.
3:00 pm. Youngest wakes up. Snack time.
3:15 pm. Visit Grandma. We listen to Kathy Troxel’s Geography Songs on the way there. My parents live on a farm with plenty of acreage, just 10 minutes away. Since my youngest brother is four months younger than my oldest, the unlimited opportunities for a good adventure are made even more fun with an Uncle who’s the same age as his niece and nephew!
While the kids are building forts with logs from the woodpile, I enjoy a coffee and chat inside with my Mom.
4:30 pm. The kids do their “Daddy’s Coming Home!” clean-up of the upstairs, while I get supper in the oven and set the table. If we have enough time, we’ll fold a basket of laundry, the kids will color, or we’ll read a book.
5:30 pm. Supper time! Undeniably, this is our favorite time of the day. Daddy’s home, a warm, hearty meal is on the table, and the kids recount all their favorite moments of the day. Plus, we almost always have dessert. He leads family worship after the meal, which usually consists of more of the same: Bible reading, memorization, and singing. The only difference is that the kids tend to be in a deep discussion mood when their dad is around, so they throw him their hard questions: How can God be three persons, but still one God? Why does God allow some people to get sick when He knows how to make them better? Why didn’t He save Himself from dying on the cross even though He could have?
6:30 pm. Husband and I do dishes while the kids play Lego or enjoy one last hurrah outside before bed. If there are just a few dishes, we’ll take a walk to the park where I sit with my feet up on a park bench and watch my sweet husband elicit a heap of giggles from the kids he’s pushing on the swings. Seeing him in love with our kids and the kids in love with their Daddy makes my heart soar!
7:15 pm. Bedtime routine begins. I snuggle with the baby and feed her a warm bottle while daddy brushes the kids’ teeth, ensures they’ve gone to the bathroom, helps them get a drink and find their pajamas. Then we all sit in the living room and sing Psalm 51: God Be Merciful To Me.
7:30 pm. Husband puts the kids to bed. He’s often in their room for half an hour since they still have so much to tell him and are particularly mushy and snugly at this time of day. Before he tucks them in, they each pick one more Psalm to sing and kneel beside their beds to pray (with some occasional direction from Daddy when they’ve gone off on a rabbit trail).
8:00 pm. At almost 33 weeks pregnant, I’m toast by this point. Lighting an Apple-Pumpkin scented candle instantly cozies up the evening and forces me to relax. Reading a good book (right now I’m working through The Case Against Contraception and The Big Book of Homeschooling), enjoying a heart-to-heart with my husband, coordinating things for our annual homeschooling conference, or watching an episode of Call The Midwife is about all I can handle before heading off to bed around 9:30.
9:30 pm. Bedtime!
That’s an average day for this homeschooling family. No two are ever exactly alike, but all in all, each one is rewarding and fulfilling. As challenging as it is to be surrounded all day by sinners who are just as depraved as their mother, I am continually reminded that there’s no other job I’d rather be doing.
I love being able to let our children prepare for real-life by having them experience real life with me.
I love that the flexibility of our schedule allows us to set aside the workbooks when something more important comes up.
As much as I dislike the hard parts of child-rearing, I know I love being available to train them more than I would enjoy entrusting the responsibility of discipline and discipleship to someone who doesn’t care for their souls as much as I do.
I love learning about flamingos, understanding phonics, and using math manipulatives alongside my little students.
I love being there to see things “click” in their little minds.
How about you? What do you love about homeschooling? Are your days similar to ours, or does your routine look very different? When all is said and done, is there anything else you’d rather be doing?