By Kimberly Miller
As the mom of nine children ranging in age from one to twenty-four, I have been homeschooling for almost two decades. I have learned over the years that no two school years ever look the same. The combination of kids in my home at different ages, with unique personalities and varying interests, as well as life events surrounding the school year, all have a huge effect on our homeschool experience in any given year.
Currently, I have five children who are officially homeschooling. I have a daughter who is in her last year of school this year, one just starting high school, two who are middle-school-aged, and one son in his second year of “official” school. One of my children has a severe mental handicap, and another has some less severe special needs. I also have a five-year-old who is not officially in school yet, but who is just beginning the process of learning to read. And just to keep things interesting, I have a one-year-old who has just started walking.
The following is a general overview of what a “typical” day might look like in our home if you were to drop by and watch our family in action. To be honest, our day very rarely looks this neat and tidy. There is a lot wiggle room in this schedule, so it hardly ever looks exactly like what I have written about here.
Keep in mind that my day with my kids will probably look quite different than yours because your circumstances are likely very different than mine. As a mom of a large family, I understand that a lot of families don’t face the same kind of daily challenges ours does. And not every day falls neatly into a strict schedule. I learned long ago that trying to stick to a firm schedule did not work for our family. A flexible routine is a much better approach for us, and also much more realistic. So, please don’t take this as a recommendation of how you should run your homeschool day.
So, here is a look into a day in the life of my homeschooling family:
Between 7:30 and 8 am—My day starts around the time my two younger boys wake up. I nurse the baby, then spend about fifteen or twenty minutes reading my Bible. I ride my stationary bike for half an hour, take a quick shower and get myself dressed. By this time, my older kids are awake and getting ready for the day. I dress the baby and we all head downstairs to get everyone fed some breakfast.
From 9 am til 10am—We eat breakfast and then I clean up the kitchen while the kids do their own morning chores, which includes vacuuming, dusting, helping with laundry, taking out the trash, and other similar activities. Some of the children also have chores related to the care of our farm animals. We count this part of the day as a time for learning those all-important life skills every kid needs to have before leaving home.
From 10am to 11 am—I read a devotional book to the younger children while the older ones get started on any individual work they are able to do independently. Then I read aloud from our current science or nature study book of choice.
From 11 am to noon—I work one-on-one with my seven year old, who has some special needs and is still learning to read. When he is done with his lessons, I work with my five-year-old on his reading and they both work together on their numbers and Math skills. My older children continue to work on their independent studies during this time.
From noon to 1 pm—I help my older kids with any subjects they need assistance with. I read aloud with them from our history books and current literature read aloud. I love this part of our school day. It is such a delight to share a good book together with my children.
From 1pm to 2pm—By this time in the day, we are ready for a lunch break, which everyone looks forward to. At this point, most of our formal school time is over for the day.
From 2 pm to 4 pm—I nurse the baby and put her down for her nap. The younger kids usually go outside to play in the fresh air for a while in the afternoon. The older kids work on projects or do some free reading or go for a ride on our horses. I like to use some of this time to do some reading or writing or other projects I might be working on.
4 pm to 5 pm—When the weather allows, we go for a walk together. The children will often ride their bikes as we walk.
5 pm—I start dinner preparations. The children help by setting the table, preparing vegetables, or in the case of my older kids, they even help by making the meal sometimes. My husband usually gets home around this time as well.
From 6 pm to 6:30 pm—We sit down at the table to eat as a family. This is another one of my favorite parts of the day. We talk and laugh and discuss lots of different topics and just enjoy one another’s company. Never underestimate the educational value of family meal times that include discussion times like these.
The evenings are spent relaxing and preparing for bedtime. I try to keep a comforting atmosphere at the end of the day, so everyone has a chance to wind down from the business of the day.
Yes, our days are very full. There is always plenty of activity going on in our house. But it is a joyful busyness and I would not trade it for any other way of life!
Hopefully, you have found it helpful to take a look at our homeschool day. And even if it wasn’t helpful, I hope you found it entertaining to get a glimpse into the life of a homeschooling family of eleven!