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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Day in the Life of this Homeschooling Mom (Ages 6.5, 5, 3.5, 18months)

Yes we are still homeschooling! It's been four months since I gave y'all a peek into our daily homeschool routine and I wanted to let you know how things are REALLY going.

The month of January has been difficult. And truthfully the month of December was hard as well. We had a lot of outside activities and down time over the past month (we broke for the holidays on Dec. 21st and didn't start back up until Jan. 6th) and getting back into the swing of things has been -ahem- a transition.

Last week I was in tears midday and seriously questioning whether or not homeschooling was the path we should be taking during this particular season. Jude is becoming more and more active and is great at causing distractions, screaming and generally getting into trouble during the hours we are trying to do school. On top of that chaos Elijah has been giving me a LOT of pushback each day when we sit down to do school. I won't go into details, but he's discovered some very effective methods of making my blood boil.

Last Friday I had a heart-to-heart with B Daddy and we came up with a little reward system we hope results in a better attitude towards the school day. The plan is to incentivize Elijah by implementing a "three strikes and you're out" policy. If he gets less than three strikes a day for 5 days in a row, he gets to go see the new Star Wars movie with B Daddy. Today was Day 1.

Without further adieu, here's what my day looked like:

6:00am My alarm goes off. I hit snooze and snuggle down deeper. Man it's cold outside today.

6:05am Ben comes in our room because he's too hot in his PJs. Seriously kid? I get up, help him change into some non-footie PJs and decide that I might as well stay up for the day.

6:15am I check my email for my morning work out from my Fit By First group and get to it. Lots of push-ups today. Ugh!

6:45am I open my laptop again for some quiet time while I cool down (right now I'm reading through Genesis using the She Reads Truth website) I spend a few minutes in prayer and try to center myself for the day ahead.

7:05am I make coffee and head back to our room to grab a quick shower and get dressed (this is highly unusual...most days I hit the snooze button at 6am and sacrifice the shower/get dressed time, so thanks Ben.)

7:30am The big kids are awake and dressing themselves, I wake Jude up and get him dressed

8:00am I make breakfast for all (today it's granola and leftover French Toast) and see B Daddy off to work.

8:45am The kids have finished eating and wandered back to their rooms. I take the opportunity to make my own breakfast and open my computer to sneak in some blog time.

9:00am Jude starts wailing the moment I sit down to eat, but seems perfectly happy once he's in my lap. C'est la vie.

9:15am I seek out the kids with the intent to round them up for school but give them an extra 10 minutes to play (because everyone is happy) and then tell them to meet me in the dining room.

9:30am History! One new tactic I'm trying is to make a list of all the subjects we need to cover each day and let Elijah choose the order he does his work in. He loves our Story of the World curriculum. It's an audio recording that I play while the kids color a map page and/or a coloring page while listening. It gives me a break from all the reading and talking that is a part of teaching and the narrator is wonderful. Today we're learning about Alexander the Great.

9:45am Jude is wandering around in a state of discontent (please read between those lines) so I re-play the lesson (about 10 minutes in length) while the kids finish their colorings and head back to his room to read him a book and put him down for his morning nap. Ben joins us for the book and then we're back out and it's quiet once again.

10:30am History is done and we move on to math. Elijah received his first strike when he moaned about the number of problems on his review worksheet. (There were 10.) Oh child. After a little pep talk and a reminder about the behavior system, we're back on track. Today we're reviewing subtraction within 20. We breezed through this in October, but lately I've noticed him struggling with these problems, so we're taking some time off our normal Singapore Math curriculum to solidify his grasp on it.

11:00am Elijah votes for Science next, which is great because Ben and Britain want to "do school" too and we all do Science together. We read aloud a library book on the skeletal system and get to the fun part - putting together a model of the human body! The kids love taking turns attaching the bones and following the directions. I am impressed with the level of detail and the quality of the model and it came included with this book on the Human Body. (Thank you to my mother in law for the great gift!) Unfortunately something happens between the boys (that of course I do not see, no matter that I am a mere 6 inches away) which results in Elijah pinching Ben. Strike two my boy. This does not look good. We still have Reading and Writing to go.

11:30am Britain and Ben want to do some of their "school" while Elijah and I start in on a writing assignment. I hope you'll note the baby on the kamikaze mission in the background...and yes I took a picture rather than get him down.

We use a graphic organizer to write out the Characters, Setting and Action in our story. Elijah rejects the categories "Problem" and "Solution" because "there is no problem in my story Mom!" and he begins to painstakingly write a sentence. ONE SENTENCE. Y'all. Minutes tick by. I am doing deep breathing exercises and counting Legos on the floor so as not to lose patience.  Serenity now Katie, serenity now. He starts in on sentence two and I realize this assignment will last much much longer than I anticipated.

12:00pm I call a time-out at noon for lunch and tell the kid we'll put in a little more work on the story after lunch. (Note to readers...this was not a wise decision.) I get Jude up, change his diaper and let Ben "help" me make peanut butter and jellies for all. Except me that is. I get to have a green smoothie because I'm 33 and that's what it takes these days.

12:45pm Back to school. Again - this was a bad idea. We sit down to pound out sentence three and Elijah digs his heels in. He doesn't want to write another sentence. He can't. He doesn't know what to write (even though I am prompting him) He doesn't know how to write. He hates writing. STRIKE THREE CHILD.

1:00pm Now I am sitting on the couch next to a wailing child who believes he will never ever be able to make it through one whole day without having three strikes. I didn't take a picture of this interaction, you'll have to use your imagination. Our system seems to have backfired completely. I'm convinced I have no idea what I'm doing. We haven't even read today. Britain is more than happy to read to us and she seems to take his mind off the doom and gloom he felt mere minutes before.

1:30pm SCHOOL's DONE! Yes! Phew. Another day in the books. The kids scatter to their various private universes- Britain is playing Barbies, Ben and Jude are chasing each other up and down the hall and Elijah is creating Lego spaceships.

I take the opportunity to fold a load of laundry and listen to a Smart People podcast. The episode I tune into is...wait for it...How Not to Screw Up Your Child. Appropriate no?

2:00pm Jude is now playing Godzilla to Elijah and Ben's Lego world so I break up the bickering and put the little man down for Nap #2. Peace seems to return to the big kids' world so I sneak away to the kitchen to see what might work for dinner tonight. (We were out of town all weekend, so my typical weekend grocery shopping and meal-planning didn't happen.) I find leftover cooked chicken and some raw veggies and decide Chicken Pot Pie is what's for dinner. I chop and prep veggies, the only thing I don't have is a frozen pie crust, so I pull out my favorite recipe and decide I'll have to make it from scratch.

2:30pm Dang - I'm missing a key ingredient (lard/vegetable shortening). Looks like I'll have to run into the store when I take the kids to karate this afternoon. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I decide to pre-make what I can and get the filling put together so all I have to do when we get home from Karate is pop it in the oven.

3:00pm I sit down with a cup of tea and a snack and try to blog. The kids see the computer open and come ask me to print out a picture for them to color. I acquiesce to three different requests and remind them that it is technically "Quiet Time" and that they are supposed to be quiet (aka do not come talk to Mommy) until 4pm.

4:00pm Quiet time is over but the baby is still napping, (P.S. Jude is showing off today. He must know I am blogging about the day as he rarely naps this long) so I turn on a show for the kids to watch until we have to leave for Karate at 5pm. They want to watch Power Rangers, which I allow. It's probably (definitely?) age inappropriate, but there's lots of karate moves so I allow it. #rationalization

5:00pm We head to Karate class, which we signed the kids up for because they could all do it together (although Ben chose not to...) and because it's 5 minutes from our house.

6:15pm Home again, home again. I put the pot pie in the oven while the kids get PJs on and Jude wanders aimlessly through the house causing destruction. We have our adult small group tonight and I realized at karate there was no way I could get the kids fed before the babysitter arrived, so I called B Daddy and asked him to make a separate kids' dinner when he got home (whatever, we all know they weren't eating pot pie anyway). I figure B Daddy and I will eat in the car.

6:30pm Dinner!

6:45pm Alleluia! The sitter is here! We scoop scalding hot pot pie into to-go containers and grab our notes (we're leading tonight - which has happened exactly twice in the last not our usual night at all) we give kisses to all (twice to Britain) and close the door on another day with the kids.

It's a crazy beautiful life, no? You can read more A Day in the Life posts from years past here:

2012 - with three kids and no school!
2014 - our first year homeschooling with 4 kids


  1. GIrlfriend, you're a rockstar! I'm exhausted just reading about your day. I applaud you for following as God leads your family. Hoping that day ended with some wine, too. Love you!

  2. #mysisterisarockstar (Please also note: when you were a kid, you wanted to be a rockstar. Status achieved, I think)

  3. This was enjoyable to read. Thanks for sharing your homeschool day in the life. I miss my kids being little! You have a lovely family.


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