A Day in our Homeschool

So what is a typical day like in our homeschool? Do we really only school for half a day? Does anything ever get done? Do they have social time? What do we /do/ all day, anyway? Well, here it is – a typical day in our home for you to enjoy. Or laugh at. Or cry over. Or run screaming from. Whichever. It’s all the same to me.

7:20 – My alarm goes off. It wakes the dog, too, which annoys me, because that means it’s going to be much harder to hit snooze. I’m not a morning person, by the way. I’m a stay-up-all-the-livelong-night person, and having kids is like, completely incompatible with my preferred sleep schedule. I turn it off and cross my fingers that I can sleep another twenty minutes until my second alarm goes off at 7:40.

7:23 – The dog is whining. She wants out. I try to ignore her.

7:25 – I hear footsteps going up and down the stairs. The Boy is up. Which means chaos is coming. The dog really wants out. I drag my lazy butt out of bed and manage to put on some warm socks, and stumble out of my room. The Boy is sitting on the heater. Because it’s cold in the house. And he’s half naked because he refuses to wear shirts to bed. So he’s even colder than I am. I put the dog out and get the kettle going and manage to dole out meds in a row on the counter. I also stab the button on the thermostat to warm it up more.

7:30 – I call for the girls to get up. They are not morning people either. I get breakfast ready – oatmeal usually, but today it’s a pair of hard boiled eggs and the last of the pears. Little Bit is pretty pleased, because she’ll get Big Girl’s egg yolks, and she doesn’t like oatmeal anymore, anyway. Which is too bad, because I make it ALL THE TIME.

8:00 – I yell for Big Girl to get her butt upstairs or she’ll miss breakfast. She’s still in bed. The threat of missing breakfast lures her upstairs looking like a zombie. I tell them school starts at 8:15. I say that, but I really mean 8:30, because I have to be sneaky like that to get anything done around here. If I say 8:30, they’ll maaaaybe start on things by 8:45 or 9:00.

8:15 – School has definitely not started. The Boy is screaming that I’m a bully and how he’s going to leave this house, and this family, forever, and that he doesn’t want to see my face, for… I don’t even know what, honestly. Not agreeing with him, or telling him to put a shirt on or some ridiculous thing. I tell him to go to his room if he’s going to act like that. The screaming continues, but stops when his door slams. The girls have disappeared.

8:26 – I’m calling for the girls to get out here and start on their school stuff already and quit playing on their kindles. They’re minecraft addicted. I only give them 30 minutes of kindle time a day. Well, only 30 minutes of kindle /play/ time. They can read books all they want. The Boy has popped upstairs to glare at me. I send him back to his room because he has no interest in apologizing.

8:36 – Little Bit has started working on her daily work. She’s plowing through math, one of her favorite subjects. Big Girl arrived, but left again to get pants.

8:40 – Big Girl arrives again and stares at her papers, zoning out. She hates math. And everything else, too, if we’re being honest.

9:00 – Little Bit is through with math after getting some help on a couple problems from me. She was tempted to sulk and throw a hissy fit about them, but she did not. She’s been practicing her coping skills when frustrated, and she’s doing marvelous more often than not these days. She’s now onto her language lessons and grammar. She likes this too. Big Girl is still staring at her math and filing her nails. I tell her to get her butt in gear, the day’s wasting.

9:07 – The Boy comes upstairs to talk about a toy truck. I tell him we’re busy with schoolwork. He leaves. He returns a few minutes later saying he wants to do school too. I ask if he intends to behave. He says he does.

9:10 – I send The Boy back to his room, because he’s picked a giant fight with the girls. He’s a morning person only in the sense that he has energy in the mornings and likes to get up. What he doesn’t have is a decent attitude.

9:12 – Little Bit is done with language and has decided to do her reading. She’s huddled on the couch under a blanket with the dog and a book. Big Girl is drawing on her math assignment instead of doing it. I remind her to focus. She makes an effort until my back turns around again.

9:36 – The Boy returns with a book, asking about a word he doesn’t know. He returns to his room reading. He reads a ton, actually. Little Bit goes to do her chores – emptying the dishwasher. I remind Big Girl to do her math again. She says she doesn’t know how, so I help her with a few.

9:52 – The Boy is back with another question about his book. He asks to read upstairs in the dining room. I tell him OK. He goes up and presumably sits on the heater again. Little Bit returns chasing the dog and doing cartwheels. I tell her to quit it. She wraps a blanket around her and shuffles into the other room to do her computer math drill, Xtra Math. Then she does her typing. Actually, scratch that. She pretends to do her typing and lies about it. Hah.

10:20 a.m. – I remind Big Girl to finish her freaking math already. It’s been like 2 hours. The Boy gets on the computer to do HIS math. All of his math is computerized. I tried that with Big Girl last year. Yeah, that was a mistake. The Boy focuses good, though. Just chugs on through. Little Bit screws around with the dog some more. I stare at Big Girl and redirect her continually to her math until it’s (finally, thank god) done.

10:50 – I get Big Girl to start on her language lessons, and prod Little Bit into some other independent work – writing. The Boy comes out for a candy because he got a ‘green’ on his Xtra Math. He’s pretty pleased.

11:10 – Little Bit is starrrrrving. She gets an apple and continues working. I redirect Big Girl back to her work. Again. And again. And again. Particularly since Little Bit is mostly done with her independent stuff and Big Girl thinks she needs to provoke her into laughing.

11:30 – The Boy is done with math and typing. He starts on his daily stuff – handwriting in particular. He just started cursive. His handwriting is atrocious. I know it frustrates him too. But I still make him redo the bits that are really bad. He also does his language lesson.

12:00 noon – I start to try and figure out lunch. The Boy is reading again. Little Bit is dressed, and drawing. She loves to draw. Big Girl is staring mournfully at the book she should be reading and making faces at Little Bit.

12:15 – We eat lunch. Or the kids do. I made them sandwiches and I’m heating the oven for my own lunch – tater tots, my go to ‘I have nothing better to eat’ meal. Yeah, you heard that right. While the kids eat, I put on The Green Ember audiobook and they listen to a chapter. They want to go outside, but it’s crappy and cold, so they go play Just Dance on the xbox.

12:45 – The didn’t last long. The Boy is out venting angrily that the girls have made him mad and are being bullies. This might be true. It might be a gross exaggeration, also. I don’t overreact. I just holler at them to shut it off since they aren’t getting along. They storm out mad. Little Bit hisses to The Boy:  “Thanks a lot.”

1:00 – We are back on track. We forgot our morning basket stuff, so we do that now. We start with memory work. The kids enjoy this. Except Little Bit today, because she’s still mad. She just glares. I decide to forget the rest of the morning basket, because I’m tired. And eating. So I tell Big Girl to read and get the other two cleaning up their areas while I stuff my face.

1:25 – I take a vote on what to do next. They decide history. Little Bit is mad about this too. She wanted science. I start history though, and she perks up. They all like history. Even Big Girl, who hates it all. We read from SOTW and do some fun projects to go with our Explorers unit study that I’ve added in.

2:20 – I take The Boy to his grandfather so they can work on his little sailboat for his boy scouts sailboat race. I rush back because I left the girls alone/

2:25 – The counselor shows up. Big Girl has counseling. Little Bit goes to play on the computer.

3:05 – The counselor finally leaves. I have the girls help me medicate the dog’s ears. This is a serious task. It requires all of us. And then we’re only half successful.

3:15 – I go pick up The Boy. I intend to go back and do science and geography, but instead, I stay up at the bar (my parents own it, and it’s attached to a giant shop where my father works on cars and things, and that’s where The Boy was working on his boat) talking to my brother and the bartender while she worked on opening the bar up.

4:30 – Customers are coming in, and the kids have already played pool, conned quarters out of the bartender for the candy dispenser, talked my brother’s ear off, and have eaten a bunch of chips. It’s time to go.

4:45 – I manage to get spelling done, last minute. The Boy is wild. It’s not fun for any of us, except maybe him.

5:00 – I tell Big Girl to do her chores. She disappears instead. Go figure. I make dinner and wish for a maid.

6:00-ish – We eat dinner. It sucked. That can of enchilada sauce was NOT mild as it was labeled. And what was I thinking, buying Great Value brand refried beans? Never again.

6:40 – I tell the kids to get their pjs on. And for Little Bit to take a shower. I catch her trying to lure the dog in with her. Then a cat. Is nothing sacred around here? The Boy is screaming at Big Girl for something. I don’t catch what. I just yell at them to GET THEIR PJ’S ON ALREADY. Is it that hard??

6:50 – Big Girl wants to play on the computer. I allow it…. AFTER she gets her pj’s on. Then I’m a liar, because when she returns I also  make her pick up her stuff all over the floor where she’d been sitting today, first.

7:15 – I’m even more of a liar, beause I realize it’s already late, and The Boy is going to bed at 7:30 for previous transgressions, and we haven’t done our evening reading yet. Where did time go?! I call them all back to listen to our reading. We’re supposed to do a chapter of Robin Hood tonight, but instead I choose Our Island Story because the chapters are shorter.

7:25 – We actually start the story. After numerous problems with everyone finding their copy on their kindles and whatnot.

7:38 – The story is over. I tell The Boy to brush his teeth and take his pills. I go up to get them ready.

7:45 – I tell The Boy again to brush his teeth and quit lying about it already, I can see that he hasn’t. He demands to know how I think so.

7:52 – The Boy asks if he can heat up his rice bag first. I mutter something about how he should’ve done that earlier, but ultimately consent. He goes to bed with a hug and a kiss.

8:00 – I make more tea. The girls are roughhousing. I put an end to it.

8:02 – I put an end to it again.

8:05 – And again.

8:11 – And again.

8:15 – And again. This time, by making them go brush their teeth and take their pills.

8:20 – I break up hysterical giggling that I know will lead to tears real soon, to make them brush their teeth for real.

8:30 – I give up and send them to bed early.

8:35 – Little Bit is back because she ‘heard something’. Yes. Music. I tell her to go to bed again. She takes the dog with her.

8:40 – Big Girl is back because she needs a drink. And a cat, apparently.

8:45 – Peace at last. I straighten up our things and sit down to do some pinterest things.

10:02 – I get ice cream out of the locked freezer and eat it. I have to lock the freezer to keep it safe. From The Boy. He’s twice ruined everything in there.

11:00 – I think about bed, and then get distracted.

11:42 – I actually go to bed. I put the dog out first and she comes to bed with me.

12:00 – I realize the ice cream is still in the upstairs freezer, which is not locked. I worry about The Boy taking it out and leaving it to melt on his bedroom floor again. I don’t want to get out of bed.

12:11 – I hear a noise. Is it The Boy? I wait, listening, wide-eyed. Is my ice cream gone?

12:15 – I hear another noise. I get out of bed and find out it’s the cat. I go back to bed.

1:22 – I wake up and hear a noise. Is /this/ The Boy getting into the freezer? No. It’s Big Girl, coming to tell me her stomach hurts. I give her some instructions to drink water and try to poop and go back to sleep. She’s been constipated. So it’s probably that.

2:15 – She’s back. So is the stomachache. I let her have a tums and go back to bed. She apparently crawls into bed with Little Bit instead of her own, but I don’t know this.

Because the next thing I know, the alarm is going off again.


2016-2017 Homeschool Curriculum for 3rd & 5th Grade


Shopping for homeschool curriculum can be quite a task. I want to buy it all! There are so many fantastic options out there these days, with more each year. Little Bit be working on 3rd grade this year, her first year at home. She’s a pretty typical student, though young for her grade. Big Girl will officially be in 5th grade, but has academic and learning challenges that put her pretty much at the same level as Little Bit. Their curriculum will be mostly shared, though Big Girl is somewhat further along in the same math program (having started last year) and will be doing Latin as well later in the year. Our homeschool is inspired by classical and Charlotte Mason theory, and much of our curriculum – though not all – is in line with those styles. We are secular homeschoolers as well, so our choices will reflect that.

Language Arts:

Math & Logic:

  • Xtra Math website for math fact fluency (every day, including weekends)
  • Prodigy Math website for all things fun in math (2x weekly)
  • Math Mammoth 3 (3a and 3b for Little Bit, 3b and 4a for Big Girl) (3x weekly)
  • Various math & logic games, as well as logic puzzle books (occasionally)




Foreign Language:

Nature Study:


  • Piano, Recorder lessons (weekly, with daily practice)
  • Folk Songs (new song monthly) and Composer study (monthly) per Ambleside rotation
  • Music theory


Physical Education:

  • Swimming through the summer
  • Yoga (3-5 times weekly)
  • Meditation (weekly)
  • Various nutrition and health topics as they come up
  • Plenty of time to run and play outdoors all year

This looks like a TON when I write it all down, but we don’t do every subject every day, or even, for some of them, every week. Like Charlotte Mason says, I want to spread before my children a feast of educational delights. Perhaps something, somewhere, will spark curiosity and drive passion into their lives.