Welcome to the first installment of our new blog series: A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler.
In each installment I will introduce you to a homeschooler and their family and ask them a few questions about a typical day in their homeschool. There are so many different styles and methods of homeschooling, I hope that you enjoy this sneak peek into a few of them!
Hi I’m Sarah, I’m a single mom to 6 girls, and we live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. I’ve been homeschooling since 2007, when my oldest was 3 years old. I have one child with severe ADHD, one special needs child, and one gifted child (and a first-grader, kindergartner, and my surprise baby, born July 2017!) I am an eclectic homeschooler, using bits and pieces of curriculum, as well as creating my own, to meet the needs of my wide range of ages and abilities. I use workbooks, unit studies, lapbooks, textbooks, video, and even interactive video games to educate my kids. I also work from home as a virtual assistant and small business consultant, with my business XeraSupport.com. And I blog our homeschool adventures and tips at RaisingRoyalty.ca
Q: Do you have a set schedule that you use each day? Please explain.
Sarah: I learned a long time ago (around baby number 3!) that being tied to a clock would never work for my family. Rather than a set schedule, we have a general routine that we follow. This lets us adjust to the changing needs, and still get most of everything we need to get done, done. I share exactly why we do routines rather than schedules on my blog.
Q: As a homeschooler, what does a typical day look like for your family?
Sarah: Currently, I’m educating 5 children – 8th grade, 3rd grade, two 1st graders and a kindergartner. In the morning, I’m up about an hour before my children, in order to plan my day out and gather my thoughts. Then I wake my girls, and while I’m making their breakfast, they are getting dressed, brushing hair and tidying their rooms. I dress and feed the baby while they are eating. After breakfast, they work together to clean up the kitchen, and I pull out our school pages. I hand out clipboards with their assignments on them, and then sit down to work with my youngest. My girls bring questions to me as they come up, and we work through them together. After my kindergartner is all finished, I get the baby down for her nap, and then I start making lunch. Our big meals of the day are breakfast and lunch, so I’m defrosting meats, peeling potatoes, or doing whatever I need to make lunch. My first graders (my 6 yr old and my special needs girl) finish before lunch, and help clear away school so we can eat. My 3rd and 8th graders usually do their science or history after lunch, since it’s a bit more involved than our core subjects. My kindergartner will nap in the afternoon, my special needs child uses a tablet for the afternoon to supplement her education, and I will spend the afternoon working on my blogs or for my clients. When my older two are finished school, they go and read quietly or play video games until the nappers are awake. Then they start dinner, while I’m feeding the baby again. After dinner, we have an evening activity most evenings, so we’re usually headed out. We come home, get ready for bed, and once they’re in bed (even the baby), I’ll sit down to work again, and do the bigger cleaning chores that didn’t get down during the day (like folding laundry, cleaning bathrooms, etc.) Then I’m off to bed/baby feeding.
Q: Do you think you’ll stick with your current routine in the future? Why/why not?
Sarah: I’m not sure what the next year will look like just yet. My oldest is going to a local high school for their arts program, so not having her here will make a big change to our day. Plus, my current baby will be a toddler, and that will make for a busier time for me. But generally, our systems of meals, school and activities are working well, so aside from some adjustments, I don’t see that changing.
Q: Do you have any advice for other homeschooling moms?
Sarah: It takes a minimum of 3 years before you hit a groove. And for some of us, it takes longer – especially when you have major life changes like babies, moving or, as in my case, divorce. So don’t feel like you are the only one who doesn’t have it all together right away. Most of us homeschooling moms constantly feel like we’re trying to juggle and someone greased the balls. We all drop a few from time to time. It’s not a big deal. Don’t be afraid to adjust mid-year when something isn’t working. And don’t be fooled by social media. We make it look pretty in the pictures. Behind the scenes, it’s probably just as chaotic as your home.
Thanks for getting to know a little more about homeschooler Sarah and her family.
Join us again soon to meet another homeschooling mama in our next installment of this blog series!