What homeschoolers like to do more than 'most anything is to find out how other homeschoolers arrange their day. We are a snoopy lot; the reality is, that for most of us, this way of living is so far from 'normal' that it is incredibly comforting to see some frames of reference. So here is my contribution. This is a routine that has developed quite recently, in the last half year that my girls have been home full-time and my son is at school full time. A number of years ago, when all the children were home, we had a much more fluid schedule as I juggled pregnancies, babies, toddlers, older children, and tried to run a bookshop. A dear friend rang on the weekend and asked which method was more successful, schedule or no schedule, and I have to say that I prefer this way, even though it goes against all my natural inclinations. We get so much more done, and the things that the girls want to achieve get planned for, slotted in to the schedule, and actually happen, as opposed to my previous life, where they were merely added to the 'to do' list which was as long as my arm. Still, my life doesn't contain most of the craziness that was there a few years ago either, and this schedule would have to be a lot less ambitious if I had a new baby again or worked from home.
A Day in our Life
6.50am - 8.50am Everybody up, dressed, breakfasted. Much moaning. Windows open, beds turned down to air, teeth brushed, table cleared, dishes done, load of washing on, Boy shooed off to school with almost all of his uniform, sports equipment, bus money, homework etc. Beds made, bedrooms tidied, bathroom vanities wiped down, water mopped off bathroom floor, kitchen table wiped down ready for brilliant academic feats to be performed...
8.50am Everybody shooed outside. We do skipping with the long rope.
9am Morning Circle. This is part of the routine of a Steiner classroom. We all have our own cushion in a circle and recite silly poetry, seasonal poetry, one long poem (The Jumblies, by Edward Lear at the moment), songs and sometimes clapping games to make our brains work. Multiplication tables on Wednesdays, chanted at the top of our voices, just like when I was at school.
9.30am - 10.45am Three short lessons of grammar, maths, reading, French or history. Sometimes necessary to bribe scholars with something really nice for morning tea. Posy and I run around doing washing and cleaning in moments when not needed by other girls. Sometimes Posy watches Playschool so that I can work with one girl or the other. Some days no other housework gets done because Posy needs stories, puzzles, playdough or other mummy attention. Sometimes the sandpit suffices. Two days she spends with other small children in the morning so I pack a lot into those two mornings!
10.45am Morning Tea. Another load of washing for me, and reading the paper.
11am-ish-12.30ish - More involved subjects and projects - writing, history, more French, journals, science (botany at the moment).
To finish, we clean up and I read a chapter aloud from the current novel. Sometimes the girls finish off a drawing while I read.
After lunch is playtime, mad creative time, lying on the bed reading time, playing with friends or sisters time. I generally cook dinner now. Late in the afternoon we do ballet/piano/soccer/ tennis/dentist/doctor/orthodontist/running errands and other madness.
Between 5ish and 5.30ish tidying living areas is on our schedule, but, ahem, we are still working on that one.
After dinner, clearing kitchen, dishes, wiping down kitchen table and stovetop, sweeping floor, cleaning up the bathroom after baths, reading stories, kissing a naughty little four year old face, going back in to take a drink, choose another teddy, move the night light, listen to a loooong story about nothing, adjust the mosquito net so that bats can't get in...finally collapse on the couch with a cup of tea. Oh, wave at husband, persuade son that indeed, homework probably won't kill him, and some nights, do the ironing. Late at night I quietly put away all the things that have crept out of their homes while I had my back turned, trying not to trip over the giant wooden trainline/Lego kingdom/Barbie world that I promised to leave out until tomorrow.
It looks very busy, put down like that, but I don't do everything on those lists, because I have some very useful, nearly grown up children. I also don't do everything there every day, because some days are just like that. But I do enough of them enough of the time that life mainly holds together, and I am not half as stressed as I used to be. There are a couple of hours in the middle of most days that I can spend in the garden, or visiting with friends, or tackling some vital household project like sorting out new season's clothes, or canning tomatoes.
One day a week we go out walking, with the wee girls on bikes, and we take the nature diaries for the older girls to draw in while Posy and I sit on a log and chat about why she is more beautifuller than everybody, and how there is a certain Barbie lip-gloss making kit that she really needs and how the birdies in the trees makes little noises just like this which mean 'Hello, Posy, we're glad you like to visit us under our tree.'
Some days I am tired, tired, tired, but so many days I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the good things in my life, the happy, happy moments, the golden days that I can spend with my family...