Our homeschool days right now look much different than they did when we started our first official homeschool year back in August. Then, everything was neatly planned out; work schedules and learning time meshed smoothly–we were a semi-well-oiled machine. Then, in December, I was asked to add more hours to my part-time teaching job; instead of teaching two mornings a week, I would be teaching four. In many ways, the added hours were an answer to a prayer we hadn’t prayed yet. And though our routine has gone out the window and everyone has to be even more flexible with their time and energy, we’re adjusting to a new, albeit temporary rhythm.
A little background . . . on two mornings a week I begin teaching at 8 a.m., and on the other two I start at 9 a.m. Two mornings a week the boys (7 and 3) get to come to school with me, and on the other two mornings they go to a babysitter. On late start mornings our goal is to complete our bare bones homeschool before we leave for my teaching job. When the boys are at school with me Spud (7) can work on his math (Khan Academy) and reading on the computer. They also participate in the reading class I teach to third graders.
Here’s a glimpse at how one of our “average” days went.
3:00 a.m.–One child wakes up with an upset stomach; turns out he is the third member of the family to get the stomach flu in as many weeks. He and I are awake the rest of the night until it’s time for me to head off to teach.
7:30–Grandma arrives to watch the boys while I teach. Normally they’d be coming to class with me, but the 24 hours fever- and vomit-free rule is in play 🙂
10:00–After stopping by the library to pick up some holds, I arrive home. The surprise books from the library keep everyone occupied while I change clothes, clean up the kitchen, and switch over the laundry.
11:00–Before it’s time to start lunch I squeeze in a snuggle/read-aloud session with the boys; the sickie is particularly clingy.
12:30–Everyone is feeling a little better after lunch, so we move into the core of our homeschool day which has been whittled down to essentials for this season of life. What’s working for us right now is a mash-up of Ann Voskamp’s 7 Daily Rungs and Cindy Rollins’ Morning Time. I’m also leaning heavily on the Year 1 schedule from Ambleside.
What this looks like for us is: Prayer, Worship/Bible reading, Hymn singing, poetry and then read-alouds from the Ambleside curriculum. We do these every day without fail.
1:15–Now it’s time for some free play while I do a few more quick things around the house. On a good day, dinner is already prepped and I might work on lesson plans for school or grading; today, since I’ve been up since 3 a.m., I lay down for an unsuccessful 30 minute rest.
2:00–Time to head outside. The more fresh air and outdoor time we can get in, the better. At the very least we always head down the hill to feed the chickens, and that gets everyone moving and breathing in some fresh air. With one feeling poorly today, we’re back inside fairly quickly.
2:30–Snack break and then it’s more play time and projects until it’s time to get dinner ready. This is the most free-flowing part of our day. The boys will read, build with Legos, or ask me to help them with different projects. Often projects involve baking something in the kitchen, but recently Spud built a solar pizza box oven. He also uses this time to work on math or reading on the computer, as well as handwriting if he hasn’t had the opportunity earlier.
When the weather is nice (and since it’s started warming up), we’re also starting to add working in the garden to this part of our day. The boys planted peas a couple of weeks ago that are starting to pop up, we’ve worked over the soil in the rest of the raised beds, and took a gamble and planted some beets, lettuce, and radishes, too.
5:00–Time for me to start dinner and (in theory) for the boys to clean up the living room. They help set the table and often want to help cook. I’m working really hard to *patiently* include them whenever they ask, even though our kitchen is small and the mess is big!
5:45–Daddy arrives home and we all sit down to eat.
6:30–With dinner over, I usually sneak upstairs to take a quick shower and possibly do a little more work. Often I opt for a little reading over the work. Daddy and the kids clean up from dinner on most nights.
7:00–The boys arrive upstairs on our bed for worship, memory verses, and stories.
7:45–With everyone tucked in, I’m back out on my bed for an hour or so of work (if I haven’t used my time wisely). If everything is caught up, I read until 9 or 9:30, and then it’s lights out!
While the changes that have resulted from me doubling my work load haven’t been all that welcome, I’m thankful that I’m still able to learn alongside my boys each day. Looking at how we spend our days through the lens of significantly less time has helped me think about what our priorities are and how I choose to spend my time. When this temporary time crunch ends, our experience will be all the richer for what I’ve learned now.
Thanks for stopping by! Have you ever had to significantly shorten your homeschool day?