Real Life Homeschooling… The Schedule

Today I kick off a blog series all about what homeschooling is REALLY like!  The nitty gritty, roll up your sleeves, get out and put some elbow grease into work.  I certainly don’t want to make homeschooling look scary or ugly because it isn’t… usually.  It certainly isn’t all sunshine, rainbows and lollipops either.  So here I am, opening the doors wide to my home and letting you see what truly lies behind this crazy world of mine where I homeschool 2 1/2 children (I say 2 1/2 – one 9 year old, one 7 year old, and one just getting started with some kindergarten level work – she’ll be 5 next month) all with a baby underfoot.

You have to promise me one thing before you read on.  I’m getting a bit vulnerable here and I’m holding nothing back.  Please be kind to me… AND! You have to promise me that you truly understand that no two homeschools look alike.  NONE!  What I do is TOTALLY different from what some of my friends do.  So no comparing.  AND PLEASE don’t tell me I’m doing it wrong!  That’s the last thing any mom needs to hear.


Real Life Homeschooling Part 1: OUR SCHEDULE!

Oh boy our schedule!  This is a thorn in my side because there is the ideal that I’d like to see and then there is REALITY!  Once upon a time we a sweet little routine schedule that we followed pretty well most of the time.  I got up early and accomplished a whole bunch of things before my children awoke.  I started the day dressed and relatively put together.  My bathroom got wiped down and my bed was almost always made and the laundry was generally always caught up.  It was pretty sweet!  Then baby number 4 came along.  Woosh out the window all of that went!  She’s a restless sleeper so getting up early is REALLY tough for this mom!  So very little gets done in the mornings these days.  Truthfully I play catch up all day long.  Honestly most days I feel like a dog chasing my tail.

Here’s what it REALLY looks like right now….

7:15 – I peek at the clock and say some not nice words to myself because the kids will be up any minute and I failed to get up early AGAIN!

7:30 – Nurse the baby while trying to balance a plate with something edible for breakfast.  Thank GOODNESS my husband gets the kids fed most mornings.  I’d crack under pressure if this was my job.

8:00 – Guess what!The baby wants to nurse again. Didn’t we just do that?  My other kids are SUPPOSED to be making their beds/getting dressed/cleaning up/getting chores done… instead they are acting like wild animals while I holler up the stairs trying to try and keep them on task.

8:30 – Kiss Daddy goodbye (sometimes I panic a bit… he is a great husband and father and I am always sad to see him leave for the day)

8:35 – The kids still haven’t finished the chores that should only take 20 minutes.  Once they do they are SUPPOSED to read a book from our library book basket.

9:00 – I am balancing getting the baby down for a nap, while trying to pick up some dirty laundry off of my bedroom floor and creating a load to go in the wash… these days the bed rarely gets made and the bathroom only gets wiped down when walking in there makes me want to vomit or we have company coming.  During all of this chaos I’m hunting down something suitable to wear for the day… maybe.

9:30 – I am finally ready to start school.  By now the boys have made their way to the school room (God willing) and have started tackling some of the things they do independently – Like lessons in Kahn Academy or their typing program.  For the past 30 minutes my 4 year old comes to me every 3 minutes asking me “Mommy when will you do school with me today?”  A smart mom would create something for her to do at this time so she’ll stop that… I haven’t done that yet.

We are supposed to start with Bible study.  We do, sort of, sometimes.  Ok I don’t actually know what we start with.  By now there is usually some catastrophe going on that I have to fix.  The dog got loose, someone’s computer won’t start right, the baby blew out her diaper, something is wrong with the washing machine.  You name it.

10:00 Break Time – yes I know.  BREAK TIME!  We haven’t started yet!  Usually by the now the kids are begging for a snack.  They go off to start some other chores and eat.  Don’t ask me what I’m doing.  I really don’t know!  I’m just… there.

10:30 – I’m begging them to hurry up so we can get back to school and get something done GOSH DARN IT!

10:45 –  Time to REALLY start school.  Usually I just pick a subject and we go.  Maybe it’s that science thing we are working on.  Perhaps someone needs some math help.  Writing maybe?  It is really all up to whatever my priority is for that day.

11:00 – Just as we get started the baby wakes up hungry and in need of a diaper. I scurry off to do that as fast as I can.  Then I come right back and juggly nursing while overseaing whatever the task of the moment is.  Usually all 3 children are working on something different so I am being tugged in 4 directions at once.  And so it goes until lunch.

12 or 12:30 – We break for lunch.  Usually I have some sort of internal meltdown because I can’t find ANYTHING in the fridge acceptable to eat.

1:00 – I send the kids to play.  I just need a little break.  Usually the baby is pretty happy so I just sit.  I have to or I’ll loose my mind.

2:00 – Baby goes back to bed.  I love to read aloud to my children so I will often nurse the baby to sleep while I read.   After that the rest of the crew gets down to work again.

3:30 – Adventures in Odyssey comes on the radio.  We stop and listen.

4:00 – This is when I’d LIKE to have the kiddos work on some independent projects.  Guitar, computer programing, an independent unit study, an art project.  This time is really the magical time of the day IF we have time for it.


Some days we have swimming lessons and we are racing out of the door to get there on time.  Other days we have co-op… again we race out the door (side note, how parents with kids in school get out every day? I’d rip my hair out!).  Then there are our field trips.  I LOVE field trips.  Often in the afternoons we have to cut things short because my daughter has karate.  It seems we always have to stop just as we are FINALLY starting to get into a groove.  ARGH!

A homeschool life can be pretty chaotic.  I have SO MANY crazy goals for my children’s learning.  I want LOTS of time for independent projects and pursuits. I want LOTS of time for them to play independently and dream up awesome stuff with their vivid imagination. I want LOTS of opportunities to participate in group activities like co-op, swimming lessons, and karate.  I want LOTS of time for us to go out and explore new and interesting places or to simply cuddle up and read a wonderful book together.  I want LOTS of time for structured learning, especially math and writing.  Except I only have 7 days in a week and there are only about 14 or so awake hours in their day.

Truth be told we don’t get lots of time for any of these things.  At least not all at once.  I’ve had to accept that it is ok to go through seasons.  Some weeks we do a lot of structured learning.  Some weeks we are going non-stop to field trips, classes, events… etc.  Some weeks they are really excited about something they love so I let them spend a whole bunch of time exploring that.  There are weeks when the weather is just gorgeous so we dump everything, load the van, and hit the trails or the parks.  Then there are the days where we are just sucked into our read aloud and we hardly move from the couch.

I’m trying to teach myself that all of this is ok.  Despite the chaos and days where I could absolutely swear that we have gotten NOTHING worthwhile done, we do.  We really really do.  I don’t see it in the moment for I am lost amongst the trees and I cannot see the forest.  Once in a while I husband drags me for air and points it all out for me.  Then I see the growth and progress.  I see just how much they are learning.

The first miracle Jesus did that is documented in the Bible is when He took ordinary water and turned into the most extraordinary wine.  Jesus takes my ordinary efforts at educating and raising my children and He turns it all into wine.  Whatever we are doing it IS working but that is because my God is in control, not me.  I praise Him and I worship him for it every day.

Homeschooling doesn’t look pretty but my goodness we make progress every day.

Note to my husband:  Yes, the next time I have a little mini breakdown and insist that it is all a mess and we aren’t getting ANYWHERE feel free to put this post in front of me.

So there you have it.  What one family’s homeschooling day REALLY looks like.

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  1. Stephanie says:

    Yes, yes and yes. 🙂

  2. Sounds familiar….Yes, even though my kids are much older (I’m down to my last two, of four). Our days still seem chaotic, often. I often wonder if we are making any progress, too. Thank God for His grace and strength. 🙂

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