A Day-in-the-Life of Homegrown Learners

I've had a few readers ask me to explain how we "fit everything in", or "what does a typical day look like in your homeschool?".  This post will show how I try to schedule our days to accomodate a rigorous education, but still retain enough time for pursuit of interests and also much needed rest.   

I will also share with you a very SIMPLE way I am keeping records this year!  

The goal of this post is to ENCOURAGE you - not to make you feel like you aren't doing nearly as much as me - because believe me, there are days when I feel that we have not accomplished much of anything. There are also days when I feel we have knocked it out of the park.   We have highs and lows just like everyone else.    

The danger in reading too many of the "Day-in-the-Life" posts is that we may start to feel inadequate.  We begin to ask ourselves questions like:


  • "XYZ mom gets up at 5 a.m. and runs 4 miles before her children are even out of bed.  Should I be doing that?"
  • "It seems like many moms finish most schoolwork by lunchtime.  Why are my children still finishing school at dinnertime?"
  • "Why don't we have time to fit in a weekly artist study?  I must be doing something wrong."


In my ideal world I would be so organized I could use this file box scheduling system, but I know myself and I know it just wouldn't work!  

 I naturally DO NOT LIKE SCHEDULES, but I know I need one to be most productive.  

It is a struggle for me to make and stick to a schedule.  


Therefore, I don't have a set in stone schedule - more of a ROUTINE that guides our days.   We may sometimes deviate from this routine, too -- if we have a particular project we are enthralled with, or a special opportunity that arises.   

I believe that God directs our days for the good!  

I'm remaining UBER flexible this year because we have more outside activities than before.  Anna sings in a Children's Chorus and takes piano lessons, and Grant plays baseball twice each week.  Add in middle school youth activities and mom teaching piano one afternoon/evening a week, and we're busy!

This busy schedule during the week means sometimes kids might need to sleep in - and I like my sleep, too.   It also means that resting in the afternoon is essential for all of us.   It may mean someone was reading a great book the night before and just wants to get up and finish it the next morning.  I want to allow these things -- within reason.  

Let me share our routine with you.

Early Morning

I set my alarm for 6 a.m. - which means I'm out of bed anytime between 6 and 6:30.   I spend time with God, drink my coffee, and some days go for a walk.  

(My hard working husband usually leaves our house at 4:45 a.m. every day - he goes to the gym before going to work downtown.  He gets home from work around 6 p.m., so he has long days.   While I would love to sleep later, we just don't get as much done, and I feel that to honor my husband and his hours I need to get up early and go to bed a little earlier as well.) 

If we don't have committments in the day or if the kids are tired I will let them sleep until they wake up, but if we have places to be and things to accomplish my daughter sets her alarm for 7:30.  My little guy is always up by that time.  His big responsibility is taking the dog outside first thing each morning.  I have to chuckle as I watch him chatting with Gizmo while they are outside - I think it's their special time together.  

Everyone has usually eaten breakfast, dressed and made their beds by 8:30 and our homeschool day starts then.


The "Non Negotiables"

Each day there are what I affectionately refer to as "non negotiables":  these things MUST be acccomplished, and generally these are done by 11:00 a.m.


  • Devotions 
  • Piano Practice
  • Math
  • Writing With Ease
  • Spelling
  • Grammar

 We sit together at the kitchen table and our rhythm has seemed to work itself out quite nicely.  While someone working on math, another one is practicing piano, etc...   If the kids ever need to wait for me or have some dead time they are welcome to read quietly, practice their typing, or do math drills on the iPad.   (If my seven year old seems particularly antsy I'll let him take a little while to ride his bike or scooter outside - just to get the sillies out!)

I don't plan to do any housework, laundry, etc... during this time.  I sit right with them and direct their studies.  It works better this way.

*As the weather cools off I may decide to have outside time first thing in the morning so we can all go out and get a bike ride or walk before we start the day.   

Taking "A Little Break"

After the "non negotiables" the kids take a little break... which means a snack, outside time, or whatever they'd like to do.   They know that the break is a time when I will start laundry, clean the kitchen, or sometimes get my shower.  

History OR Science

After a break and snack, the kids are ready for our longest lesson of the day - either history or science.   Each of these involves notebooking, so we get out notebooks and tackle The Story of The World or The Storybook of Science.   These lessons usually take an hour or a bit longer.   As the weather cools I'd also like to incorporate more nature study - maybe with picnic lunches.  


While we eat lunch I like to read aloud.   Sometimes we may also watch some YouTube videos about our current history topic, or the kids also like to check out DOGO News for current events.   I usually let them decide what goes on during lunch.  Many days I will ask the kids to take turns reading aloud while I put dinner in the slow cooker.


The Extras

After lunch we will do composer or artist study.    Some days after lunch we need to run errands or I just have a lot of housework, etc... that needs to get done.  We accomplish "The Extras" 3 times per week.

Quiet Time

Yes, we still have "Quiet Time".  Because of my back pain I find it very helpful if I lay down mid afternoon.   The kids use this time for reading, LEGO building, or whatever strikes their fancy (no technology allowed!).   I take the time to catch up on email, write a blog post, or maybe even {gasp!} take a nap.  

Anna is responsible for doing her own laundry and unloading/loading the dishwasher.   She does her chores after quiet time. 

The rest of the day is pretty much free (if we don't have any activities) until daddy gets home around 6 p.m. for dinner.    I try to have the kids do a "10 minute Tidy" where I set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes and we see how much we can clean up in that time.  

Bed Time Read Aloud

If we didn't get to our read aloud at lunch, or the kids are just begging for more, I will read aloud before everyone goes to bed.   The kids are settled in their rooms by 9 p.m. and my husband and I are usually asleep by 11.  


Record Keeping Made EASY!

Each night before I go to bed, I write in my new favorite book - The Complete Homeschool Planner and Journal.   This book is nothing but a way for me to write down what we do each day.   There are 180 pages (with your school days numbered), and a place for you to write down a few notes about what was accomplished in each subject area.  And  - it was only $5.95!   

I keep a large plastic storage box for things that need saving for each child throughout the year, and I now have this planner as a record as well.   It's VERY basic, and I like it that way.  

I've tried more elaborate systems (spreadsheets, large planners, etc...) and it was just too much work for me.   This is a very easy system to maintain!  Between this book and my blog I feel that I get a good picture of my children's days, which enables me to write our state required summaries at the end of the year. 



I hope you have been ENCOURAGED and not DISCOURAGED by a glimpse into our daily routine.   Do you have any tips for me?   Any questions?

 It's been such fun to participate in the Not Back To School Blog Hop all month -- this is the last week, and I hope you get a chance to visit some of the many links!