“I don’t know how you do it.” It’s a comment I get pretty often about having three kids, homeschooling and doing all of the things a mom does in a day.
When I first started thinking about homeschooling, the whole idea of it was daunting. Especially when I started learning about Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education and wanted to incorporate her ideas into our homeschool. Add an energetic toddler and a baby to the mix, and homeschooling might seem next to impossible.
But somehow it works. Letting go of the traditional notions of what “school” is supposed to be like and instead focusing on the “home” in our Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschool has given us so much freedom. We can live a life rich in experiences, surrounded by the ones we love, and most of our learning happens naturally along the way.
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No two days are alike at our house, but here’s a glimpse into a day in the life with my 6-year-old first grader, three year old and 10 month old.
It’s supposed to be the thing you must do to be productive as a mother, but I absolutely do not wake up before my kids. I am going on 6+ years of sleep deprivation from nursing babies, and I will not rise until I have to. My day starts at 6:15 a.m. when my 3 year old wakes for the day.
We enjoy some snuggles and a good book on the couch. We’re loving Angus Lost right now as he is really into dogs right now. My sweet boy rarely gets me all to himself so it’s nice to spend a little time together.
Once we’re both awake, we go outside to start on chores. We sweep the masses of acorns off of the patio, collect herbs from the garden, and water the plants. I head inside to start breakfast, and the 3 year old stays outside to ride his bike.
Just as I finish making breakfast, the baby wakes up. I nurse the baby, check on the 3 year old still playing outside and then get our family-style breakfast on the table.
My 6 year old wakes up just before 8 a.m., and we sit down for breakfast. The beauty of homeschooling is that school can start in our pajamas. Sure, I’d love to be dressed and have my teeth brushed by 8 a.m. but that’s not in the cards for me at this point in life!
Breakfast is a great time for our composer study, hymn study, Spanish and poetry. I have Beethoven’s 9th Symphony playing on our Amazon Echo to start breakfast, and then we try to learn a few lines of our current hymn, Marching to Zion.
We talk about the moon, stars and planets in Spanish, and end breakfast with “Hey, Diddle Diddle” and an eruption of ridiculously cute laughter from everyone at the table.
After breakfast, we tidy up the kitchen and all get dressed for the day. With four years of habit training behind us, my 6 year old gets dressed, brushes her teeth and feeds the animals faster than I can even get my pants on. She does her math lesson while I finish getting dressed.
I put the sleepy baby down for a nap while the older kids go outside to play. Then I gather up an old quilt, our books and a few little activities for our morning time.
Like most days, we spread out in the backyard and enjoy our morning time among the chirping of the birds, rustling of the leaves and silly antics of our kitty, who insists on being a part of the action.
Our morning time consists of our opening song “Good Morning, Dear Earth”, opening verse, telling a story, yoga, and a seasonal picture book . At this point the 3 year old is done with school, and runs off to play in the dirt with a shovel and some sticks.
My 6 year old gets my undivided attention while we work through our stack of books. We make it though selected readings from Leif the Lucky, 50 Famous Stories Retold, Aesop’s Fables, and Paddle-to-the-Sea with short narrations before she is ready to run off some energy.
The older kids play while I get the baby from her nap. I prep a snack, and bring it outside to enjoy while we do more reading. We read two chapters of our current read aloud, “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.”
When everyone starts to get restless, we take a nature walk around our 6.5-acre property. We find acorns, armadillo holes, a red-shouldered hawk feather, and see several deer.
We get home and the kids excitedly unload their treasures, begin searching field guides to identify what we saw, and choose to draw a few items in their nature journals.
We sit out on the back patio and use watercolors to finish our drawings. My 6 year old and I have been doing watercolor classes on Creative Bug, and it’s fun to put what we’ve learned into action.
While the big kids continue painting, I prepare lunch and bring it outside. My 6 year old does some simple map work using our Melissa & Doug write-on maps to identify the Great Lakes we read about in Paddle-To-The-Sea.
The two younger kids take a nap after lunch, and I spend 15 minutes with the 6 year old on language arts with a lesson from The Wand. She completed some copywork, dictation and did a phonics lesson on the the “ck” sound.
She loves this more typical school work best of all and would do it all day if I would let her! I set a timer and we keep it short and focused though. After that lesson, our school is completed for the day and we focus on our afternoon occupations.
My 6 year old spends 15 minutes practicing piano, reads a few BOB books for pleasure, finger knits a headband and we play a game of UNO. I spend 10 minutes reading Charlotte Mason’s Home Education, 20 minutes on Instagram (everyone needs a guilty pleasure, right?!) and a few minutes doing embroidery.
When the little kids wake up, we head back outside to play. The older two are immersed in an imaginary world, and the baby scrounges for whatever leaves and dirt she can get in her mouth.
Around 4 p.m. we head inside for the blessing hour. I start prepping dinner, and the kids work to tidy up the house. They put away all of our school books, pick up blocks and some other toys that were left out and fold laundry.
By 5 p.m., we head outside with dinner in the Instant Pot and the house mostly tidy to wait for Daddy. We play outside until dinner time and then eat as a family.
After dinner, Daddy takes the big kids to to outdoor chores and work on building our chicken coop while I stay back with the baby to clean the kitchen and prep for the next day.
I call in my sweaty, dirty children around 7 p.m. for baths, books and bedtime only to wake up a few hours later and do it all again.
Maybe this sounds too rosy? We really do have lovely days, but please know there were some tears, disagreements and frustrations along the way. My goal is always progress, never perfection.
If you love peeking behind the scenes into a homeschool day, be sure to check out all of the great posts on the iHomeschool Network’s Back to Homeschool Blog Hop.