A day in the life of our homeschool.

The day starts out easily enough:  I come downstairs to find the two older children reading library books and eating pancakes.  I think to myself, “This is a nice, scholarly scene.”

My illusion is shattered as the two begin bickering over who can burp the loudest.

School officially starts after breakfast and despite my encouragement for them to clean off the table before beginning their work, I find grammar worksheets sticky with jam.  Oh well.  Prepositional phrases might actually go down easier with a little sweetness.

As the morning progresses I find myself  preparing a lesson on third person point of view, reviewing the Salem witch trials, teaching about the four components to plot structure, and reminding a certain offspring about subject/verb agreement.  When I announce to my older children that they would need to write a three page short story set during the Salem witch trials, I am greeted with loud groans.  When I inform them it needs to be written in cursive, the clamoring increases to such a high, intense pitch that all the dogs in the neighborhood protest in sympathy with my progeny.

Later, I introduce the six year old to the concept of suffixes and go over her spelling words for the week.  I then begin the painful task of teaching her what an adjective is.

“I already know about nouns and those action word thingys,” she complains. “Why do we even need descriptive words?”

“So that someone can accurately describe the incredible magnitude of your whining right now, ” I tell her.

Through out the course of the morning I say “Get focused, people!” fourteen times, but that pales in comparison to the number of times I yell “Stop teasing your sister!”

Whenever I feel like I’m going to say something I regret I walk over to the window and watch my chickens chase each other until my breathing evens out and I am no longer clenching my fists.

I spend the next half hour snuggling on the couch with various kids as I read Witch of Blackbird Pond to my older two and then Charlotte’s Web to my youngest.  I mentally congratulate myself on only having three children.  Despite my intense love of books, if I had to read one more thing to another child I would probably go insane.

After taking a small break to read a few homeschooling blogs, I begin to question whether I am teaching my children enough.  I start listing in my head all the things I should add to our homeschool schedule:  keyboarding lessons and computer skills, foreign language, science labs.  The list grows and grows along with my heart palpitations.

Quickly I turn off the computer and walk over to the window, repeating the wise words of Mary Poppins in my head as I watch my chickens.  “Enough is as good as a feast, enough is as good as a feast, enough is as good as a feast.

After lunch all three children have piano lessons.  My youngest, Eden, is working on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  She is so pleased with herself for learning, in her words, “An actual Christmas time song!” and I am also proud of her.  I’m grateful she loves music and is willing to put in the time and practice to accomplish something.  However, in my heart of hearts, I’m coming to hate this genetically mutated arctic mammal and his vermilion nose.

In the afternoon, we visit the library and all three of my children shout out dozens of requests for me as I head off to the computers to reserve our next batch of books.  While I am trying to remember everything they have told me, they scatter to the four winds to find reading material for the next week.  After picking up this week’s holds I try to shepherd everyone to the check out, but herding children is like herding cats.  The whole process takes much longer than it should.

After the library and a few other errands, we head home.  This is when I realize that I haven’t even thought about dinner, which we need to eat in the next hour, so as not to be late for swim practice.  I take comfort in the fact that there are fish sticks in the freezer and salad in the fridge.  Oh the glories of frozen convenience food, saving over-burdened women since 1961.

While dinner is cooking, it becomes apparent that my middle child hasn’t finished her math for the day.  As she trudges off to struggle with long division, I block out her complaints of an unfair, cruel world by watching the chickens through the window, once more.

Seriously, what do homeschooling moms without entertaining poultry do?  Yoga?  Drink?  Futilely count to ten?

After swim practice, the day winds down and everyone gets their pajamas on.  One of my daughters sits by me and puts her chlorine scented head on my shoulder.  “Today was a pretty great day,” she shares.  “I’m so glad we homeschool.”

I put my arms around her and whisper in her ear, “I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.”

The crazy thing is that I truly mean it with my whole heart.

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7 Responses to A day in the life of our homeschool.

  1. Stephanie says:

    You know, you would be doing that much schoolwork at home even if your kids were in public school. 5 kids in public school=10+ hrs of homework/day! Someday I hope to pass kindergarten for good 🙂

    You are so good to teach your kids!

  2. Mindy says:

    I wish I had entertaining poultry. I take solace in the weekly pan of brownies that gets baked Sunday night and then portioned into individual serving-sized baggies in the freezer. If I can make it through the day without losing it, I get my hit from the freezer. I clearly need to channel my inner Mary Poppins.

    Good on you, sister. You’re doing a good thing.

  3. athenamiles says:

    I love this. We’re first year homeschoolers to 4th and 2nd graders (with two younger ones running around). I’m kind of sad the “Focus” statements don’t go away if I get better at it. Without poultry, I sneak away…look at the beautiful leaves out right now…sneak some Halloween candy…lose my temper…drink some tea. (I’m still working on my coping skills as you can see!) But overall, the time with the kids really is worth it. As well as the fact we can all sleep in and don’t have to rush out to make the bus. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • The first year is the toughest! But every year after that homeschooling just seems to fit our family better and better. Maybe it’s because I gain confidence or maybe it’s because we know a little better what we are doing.

  4. I am considering homeschooling my children in the fall. I have a 5 yr old, a 2 yr old and a new born on the way in July and I have been wondering how my days would look. Your days sound much like our family and I am completely comforted by your description! If my days involve complaining and frustrating moments then I assume we will be considered normal! Thanks for writing 🙂

    • Complaining and frustrating moments are completely normal. The trick is to not look for progress daily, but over time. That way you don’t get overwhelmed as a teacher. It’s hard to do because we’d all like to see the result of our labors instantly, but it just doesn’t happen that way.

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