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    • a day in the life

      I have really enjoyed and been encouraged in reading Simple Homeschool’s “Day in the Life” series…I thought I would participate. As many of you know, this is my first year homeschooling all 3 of my children (12,9,6). I did homeschool my oldest for kindergarten. It was a marvelous year, but at the time Simon was 2.5 and I was pregnant with Penny. I felt overwhelmed and knew it was not the time to continue our homeschooling life. We enrolled Ellie the following school year.

      So, now when people say they can’t ever imagine being able to homeschool their kids, I feel a bit ashamed. I bailed out during the toughest learning periods (in my opinion) for 2 of my kids and sent them to a nearby private school. I don’t feel bad at all about their experience in the private school, just guilty that people praise me for teaching my kids at home…they came to me well prepared! Honestly, my 2 oldest are pretty independent and go through their day very responsibly.

      I am homeschooling a 1st grader. It’s tough- but totally rewarding as well! For example, this past week we began dictation. I imagined that it may be a bit of challenge and I was prepared to wait until Penny was ready. I was wrong! This is her favorite part of her reading lesson. That’s what I love about homeschooling a 1st grader, you really do see the light bulb go off many times a day. This is so needed, because I can not tell you how may times I have banged my head against the wall!

      So- here is our schedule:

      6am- I wake up and go to the gym by 6:30…GOAL- 3x a week
      7:30- Arrive home, eat bfast, scoot kids upstairs to dress and make beds
      8:00-Remind Ellie to wake up, Kids eat bfast, kids do chores (unload dishwasher, straighten rooms), Remind Ellie to wake up (again) brush teeth, WAKE UP ELLIE!
      8:30-I get showered, dressed, house hold chores
      If the weather is nice, kids go outside and play until 9.
      If it’s cold and winter, kids may begin schoolwork or play.
      9:00- School begins.
      We begin the day with reading Scripture. The kids take turns and read aloud. They don’t know this, but they are practicing their public speaking skills! Plus, it’s a good way to start the day and discuss some very interesting and sometimes difficult topics.

      Currently we are learning about American history and we are reading some fantastic novels. I read one book aloud to the kids. If there are any other books to read aloud this is usually the time we do it, sometimes I read with Simon if he is having a difficult time focusing. He does much better being read to and pretty much narrating what he just learned, rather than regirgitating it to questions on a piece of paper.

      What’s Penny doing? She’s listening as we read. She and I are reading Story of the World, but she enjoys picking up whatever she can from her sister and brother!

      Simon and Ellie are sharing a history and science curriculum which makes it a lot easier. Obviously since Ellie is in 7th grade and Si is in 4th, they take away from their lessons varied levels of information. I love it. They both share the topic and can converse about it…

      10:00 Independent learning begins (for Ellie and Simon)

      I love “to do” lists, so my kids are given one everyday. Each week, I sit down and sift through their lessons and plan out their week. I don’t like to plan too far ahead, flexibility is necessary!

      Basically, their school day is finished once their list is complete. Each child has their own lesson book and they mark off each subject as they go along their day. I plan their subjects based on computer and book availability. I love this time of day. Everyone is busy with their own tasks! It’s quiet, but you can feel the LEARNING going on.

      We don’t have a school room, rather, we have 2 couches, a dining room table, a work table, 2 bedrooms and when the weather is nice…a trampoline! I enjoy watching the dance between the 2 older kids sharing the various work spaces they have created for themselves.

      SO- what is Penny doing? She and I are at the living room table. We cover Math, Reading, Handwriting, and History within 2 hours. It’s a lot of learning. During this time with Penny I’m giving Simon a spelling test, looking over language arts, grading history workbook pages, folding laundry and prepping for dinner. Whew. Sometimes extra work for Penny may spill into the afternoon, but this is usually fine in the winter and we are cooped up.

      12:30- Lunch. End of day, usually.

      We finish school at lunch time. My kids do a really good job staying on task. Simon usually needs a little encouragement or extra attention, but I like this…I enjoy learning along with him and it’s a lot less of a struggle if I can determine what he needs and stick beside him.

      I work 2 afternoons/evenings a week so I leave the house by 1:30. During this time, the kids do some sort of activity that gets their blood pumping (especially in the winter). They play “Just Dance” or Wii Fit. They also are not permitted to watch TV. I am amazed how they entertain one another with games, and reading aloud…it makes me really proud. On days I don’t work, they come along with me to grocery shop or we work on a project together, or we get outside. Currently we are taking advantage of the many museums with free admission in Chicago. It’s making the month of January very enjoyable!

      They do attend enrichment classes once a week for homeschoolers on Fridays and I have also designated that day for Art as well. I’m sure you can imagine there are activities thrown into the schedule like violin, Irish Dance, Daisies, and soccer. I resist becoming too busy and prioritize being home as a family so these outside activities do not happen all at once!

      So there you have it. Our day. Not too tough. I could go on about what I have learned this year, but that should be another post! I know next year will be different, but for now this rhythm is working.



Wonderful! I loved reading all that! Good job, Carol!

Cadi Palmer

Carol, loved hearing about your day today. So much in common, I had to write. I homeschool Eric and Jonathan who are 12 and 10. We’ve been homeschooling since Eric dropped out of preschool because it was NOT going well. He would lie on the floor spread eagle and refuse to respond to the teachers. At home, he said he was frustrated that they talked to him like he was a baby, so he refused to respond to them. It was a nightmare. The teachers completely did not “get” him and told me he was probably autistic. So we brought him home and have taught him ever since. Would love to catch up with you sometime. I’m sending you a friend request on Facebook. I went to high school for one year with Nathan so you know where I came from. Have a great weekend and Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!


That sounds like they’re not only learning a lot, but you are all connecting as a family. What cool memories they’re going to have. Nice work.

Molly Sahlberg

Don’t you love homeschooling? Although, with two boys, it’s usually not quiet in my kitchen! But, we have a kitchen, a living room and an exercise ball that Daniel bounces on to do his school. And yes, 1st and 2nd grade are the most intense, this is the second time I’ve done it. But, I love the flexibilty. Monday, we’re doing school at the ski hill as Laura has a ski meet!


You are so cool. How many time can I say it. While I am not homeschooling, I am really trying to make sure I don’t spread the kids (and me) too thin. We all like being home, and I like the unstructured time for playing/art/reading. Thanks for the post Carol, it is cool to get a peek into your lives.


you know i admire you for this, right? good job, carol!


The simple homeschool entry has allowed me to really sneak a peek into other homeschoolers routines. Its so comforting for me especially since we’ve only been doing this about a month. I especially love that you mentioned your work space and wii fit!

My dining room has become our school room and our two couches are the greatest place to snuggle up next to the fire and read!


Thank you for sharing this tremendous and brave parenting experience. I really enjoy reading about it. :)

Great Aunt Gretchen

Great post Carol! Brings back memories of homeschooling Heather. Lynn & I each H.S. our daughter 2 years with the Carden method. On Thursdays, each week one mom would have the day off and the other would teach both girls. That was so much fun! I loved watching the light turn on-the payment for the teacher.
PS-I still watching the light turn on with the Jr. highers I teach. :-)


Wow! You pack a lot on one day! I admire you and I’ll bet your kids are getting a much better education. Even more than education, they are free of bullies and meanness! I wish I could have home schooled my kids. I did home school my granddaughters for a short time during a family crisis, and enjoyed it!


Thanks so much for sharing!So glad it is working out so well! You are very well organized! Love you.

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