This past school year was a new adventure for us in homeschooling. With my husband working full time outside the home, and me working full time in it… juggling kids and school was quite a trick. Towards the last part of our second semester, we finally landed sort of accidentally into a good routine. My oldest, J, thought it would be fun to do a ‘day in the life’ type photolog. We didn’t get all the photos we would have liked, but I suppose what we got gives you a good idea of what our days looked like before school let out.
A Day in the Life
6:00am: I had to become a morning person.
If you’re a long time reader you’ll know that I have always struggled with mornings. Getting up this early, this regularly would NOT have worked for me in the past. But one of my doctors was finally able to get my cortisol levels back in line and it is WILD. I’m still on hydrocortizone, but we’re getting to the point where I will be able to wean off of it. My eyes pop open around the same time every morning (without an alarm!!!) and I am no longer able to make myself sleep in. Even if I’ve had a rough night. It’s basically miraculous. And it saved my butt this year.
Mornings are still rough for me on the whole (eg: if I have to go somewhere early, it can bring on an episode) but mornings at home are easier to manage.
6:00 – 7:00am I had to make a little quiet time for myself before anyone else was up. I had to forbid myself from even looking at my inbox of phone messages until after I’d had this time to myself or I would lose my mind.
My body and health are both high maintenance these days. If I skip this time for yoga and meditation, it would really wreak havoc in my system. My stress levels would go through the roof and episodes would start up again. This hour every morning keeps me grounded and feeling like I am in control.
7:00am: Wake up the kids.
This was new for all of us, and not particularly easy on anyone. As homeschoolers (with a night-owl mom) we always took our days at our own pace before, maybe not starting school until 10 or 11am. But in order for me to have a good block of work time, we had to get started earlier. It didn’t take long for everyone to adjust to earlier bedtimes and earlier mornings, but it was painful for a while.
7:00 – 7:30am: Get ready.
It helped with the entire day if I was able to get fully dressed and ready before we got embroiled in school and work. I didn’t always, sometimes I’d be in yoga pants at 6pm, but I can tell a difference in how the day goes if I get ready early on. Same went for the kids. Getting them ready for the day helped us all get in the mindset that we had things to do.
We created some extra incentive – if they could be done with all of their school stuff and chores by a certain time period they’d get more time on their electronic devices. If they dragged their feet and did not get finished with school work until later in the day, they lost all electronic device time. That was incredibly motivating for them and worked really well.
7:30 – 10:00am: Breakfast and school.
We made breakfast and everyone would get started on their school stuff.
My three older kids are very independent at this point (they were grades 3, 5, and 7 this year) and don’t need me as much. I spend the hours after breakfast helping B get through his Kindergarten work, and doing the things with the kids that required my involvement like spelling, science, and unlocking devices for Xtramath or Teaching Textbooks.
10:00am: Mom “goes” to work.
My business hours start at 10am and this is the part that would probably not work if someone was homeschooling a gaggle of little ones. The baby monitor acts like an intercom. It allows me to hear what’s going on — if any altercations erupt or if someone is being obnoxious I can deal with it, but it helps to have older kids who are responsible and you know, past the era of spreading peanut butter all over the sofa.
The big kids finish up on their own after I go upstairs to work, and bring their work to me so I can check it. If they need to fix anything, they do it right there near me. After school is all finished, they do their chores.
12:00pm: Lunch break.
(This is where we fell off the wagon and don’t have as many photos.)
I tear myself away (it is SO hard once I’m in the work head-space) and join everyone for lunch. I check in with them on school, make sure everything got done. Chores have usually started by now.
The whole house (except for my room and bathroom) is split up into sections for each kid, so as long as they do their chores the house gets a decent tidying up every day. We do a deep clean not on a schedule, just when it’s needed, and usually on a Saturday. They are usually done with their chores by 1pm and have the rest of the afternoon free. They can walk to the park, play their screen time, play games, read, whatever.
1:00pm – 5:00pm: Mom works, kids play.
This part worked amazingly well. I’ve never been a hover parent, so my kids know how to play and entertain themselves, and they love to read. It got a little boring for them sometimes, but I usually got four hours of uninterrupted work time here. Not always though. Sometimes it was one of those days where everyone was listless or one kid was just being ornery to everyone and causing problems, or other things interrupted me like doctor appointments or running kids to and fro for dance and scouts and stuff like that.
When neighborhood kids were home from school and done with their homework they’d start showing up and my kids would disappear outside to play.
5:00pm: Dinner and clocking out.
The most difficult part of my day right here, well not the desert beach picture, that’s great, but clocking out. It’s just so hard to tear myself away and then make myself turn it all off and not come back to it after dinner. Sometimes I had to to come back in the evenings to work, but I tried really hard not to. Once the weather got nice we’d drive to a park or something to get me physically away from work and make a more tangible break at the end of the day.
I love our night time routine. It’s so nice to have family time that doesn’t have anything to do with school, work, or chores. We gather in N & K’s room, read scriptures, say prayers, and then I read a few chapters from whatever book we’re reading together. B. usually likes to be tucked in after prayers, and then I read a bit longer to the older kids. I try to be in bed with lights and devices off by 10:30pm so I could wake up and do it all over again.
That’s it! We sure are glad school is out. I probably switched tenses a lot above (no time to proofread) as our schedule now is similar and we’re doing a lot of the same things. Without school stuff to worry about it feels a lot less stressful, though. I won’t lie to you and say this was easy, it wasn’t, but I do recognize that being able to work from home and homeschool my kids makes for a very privileged life all the same.
I’m not sure what this coming fall will look like. We’re in the process of packing up our little Wyoming rental here for a big move to Utah. Sun Tails is growing and life is very, very busy.