A Day in the Life of a Homeschooling Mama of 5

I warned you on Monday that I would be writing about the minutiae of our lives soon (I think I called it “mundane;” don’t hire me to write your book blurbs).

And, after having a version of this post written in my head for a good 6 months, today’s the day!

But before you go wondering why I’m subjecting you to a rundown of our daily grind, let me assure you that you asked for this. Okay, maybe not you, specifically. But quite a few of you have expressed interest over the past 3-ish years of my blog’s existence in knowing just exactly what we do all day long over here.

And, while part of me thinks, “Expect to fall asleep…fast,” another part of me gets it. As much as I don’t feel like we lead the kind of life that anybody would be truly interested in reading about, I am always fascinated by glimpses into other people’s ordinary days.

So! Now that I feel like I’ve adequately warned you about the possibility of your taking a spontaneous nap at some point during this post, without further ado, I give you:

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(Oh, and while I’m into disclaimers, let me warn you that this is a very picture-heavy post, and I snapped all of these pictures on my phone, some in very poor lighting, so please excuse the not-so-great quality).

Before I got pregnant with #6, I rarely woke up later than 6:30 AM, but over the summer, I got into the habit of sleeping in as late as possible. Which usually meant 7:30. Holy cow that habit has been hard to beat!

By the time school started, I had bumped it back to 7, but my body was still craving more sleep most days. Fortunately, daylight savings has helped me get back on track with getting up early.

On the morning I took all of these pics (3 weeks ago), I was so excited to be up early in the crisp, cool quiet of dawn, all alone with my devotional and my ho-cho.

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Sadly, my children were equally inspired to early rising by the time change, and a whopping 7 minutes later, my silent reverie had been broken by the clinking of metal cars and lots of imitation vrooming and–best of all–brakes squealing.

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Within 10 minutes, the whole crew was up and at ‘em, so we went ahead and got started with our day.

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Clockwise, we have Ezra shoving some leftover waffles in the oven, the boys doing part of their “morning routine” (unload dishwasher, make beds, brush teeth), and Nola being super-jazzed about the prospect of waffles with maple syrup and whipped cream on a Tuesday morning (we usually have eggs, so this was worthy of celebration).

After breakfast, we do family Bible reading. Shaun’s been gone on weekdays for the last several weeks, but when he’s available, all the kids sprawl out in various poses around the living room and listen as he reads (we’re working our way through the Proverbs, the Psalms, and Job). When he’s gone, I fill in.

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After Bible reading, the boys get started on their independent schoolwork.

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By “independent,” I mean that this part of their school is mostly workbook based, but obviously, they’re in and out with questions and needing help/explanations on a regular basis.

Although they start upstairs at their table, they usually end up migrating throughout the house depending on what subject they’re working on, where I am, how much help they need, whether their little sisters are bothering them more than usual, etc.

I don’t worry too much about their nomadic ways…unless we’re specifically working on handwriting, in which case, they’re required to sit still at a table.  The fluidity of the location seems to help the boys focus, since having to sit in the exact same spot tends to make them cranky and desperate to do anything but what they’re working on (and, yes, I learned that the hard way).

While the boys are doing school, the girls are doing this:

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That would be: eating (boy, does it seem like snack time comes right on the heels of breakfast), reading books, bouncing on the guestroom bed, unrolling toilet paper, bickering over toys, and just generally making messes so that, by the time the twins go down for naps around 11 AM, the living room looks like this.

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{The twins, who are 2, are learning to clean up after themselves, but honestly, at this point, it’s more trouble than it’s worth when they’re tired, and–let’s face it–their nap time can’t come soon enough for Mama either; they usually do more picking up in the evenings when everybody’s pitching in at once}

The kitchen usually looks a little better than the living room at this point because, between getting snacks for the girls, changing diapers, reading to them, and answering the boys’ math questions, I’ve been loading the dishwasher, wiping down counters, and sweeping. Key word: usually. Some days (like today as I write this post)–well, you could turn that camera around toward the kitchen, and it would look like Zombie Acopalypse: The Breakfast Edition.

After the twins go down for naps, Della and I start picking up the living room and work on a little bit of school . dayinthelifecollage4

{Ignore the part where it says we’re doing this at midnight; I promise I know the difference between AM and PM}

Della will be 4 on Friday, which means she’s still pretty little to be doing too much in either the chore department or the school department, but she’s (usually) a cheerful helper and loves to learn, so we spend this time working on letters and numbers and little tasks like putting toys away, assisted sweeping, and taking things back upstairs where they belong.

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Most days, the boys are done with their book-work by lunchtime, but we must have been moving slow this time around. Hence, the open workbook next to my (not terribly appetizing-looking) lunch.

After lunch, Della goes down for a nap, and the boys (quietly) practice piano downstairs.

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{How do you like my piles of laundry + wonky lampshades? Hey, this is real life, baby!}

After piano practice, the boys and I do schoolwork together (grammar and literature, Spanish, science, etc.) and chores.

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On this particular day, when we had to hustle to piano practice at 3:00, we combined the two, with the boys vacuuming, mopping, and folding, as I reviewed their Spanish verb conjugations and taught them about English linking verbs. Usually, we have a more dedicated time to sit together so we can focus, but sometimes, you gotta git ‘er done.

As soon as we finish chores, there’s a mad dash to drag all the sisters out of bed, get snacks ready for the car, and get everyone strapped in to go (I try to have the girls dressed already so all we have to do is change diapers and slap shoes on).

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{Clearly, sometimes, we just bring the shoes with us and worry about them later. Also, clearly, I meant it about dragging the girls out of bed. They all look borderline comatose}.

Side note: since this was piano practice day, everything was a bit crazier than usual, but our normal afternoon consists of rest/play/reading time for the boys while the girls nap. I usually hide in my room for 45 minutes to recover my wits, try to answer emails, and get a few things done, and then we head to the gym around 4.

While the boys are at piano practice, the girls and I run errands.

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{Our stops that day were Walmart and Hobby Lobby}

After we pick the boys up from piano, we head to the gym, and I either teach or take a class while the kids are in the gym’s daycare.

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{That’s my 33 week pregnant belly before baby boy flipped from breach to head down. I think my belly looks considerably more pronounced since that development}

On this particular day, we had soccer practice for the boys, so we picked up dinner at Chick-fil-a and headed to the practice field.

Again, this is different than our usual daily routine, since I cook dinner on average 5-6 times a week, and we usually don’t have yet another thing to go to after the gym.

At soccer, the girls act cute on the playground while the boys practice.

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And sometimes, we thank the Lord for his mercy in allowing the elementary school whose practice field you’re using to host their Halloween party on the very night that the 3-year-old decides that she MUST go potty that very moment (which means that the doors are open and the school bathrooms are too, thus preventing your having to load 3 little girls into the van just to take them to the Dairy Queen restroom).

After practice, we head home and start the nighttime mambo. dayinthelifecollage7

Again, usually this would involve all of us eating something that I had prepped earlier in the day/week around the kitchen island (it’s crowded, but it’s such a habit at this point that I don’t know how we’re ever going to be able to make ourselves eat anywhere else).

But this particular night, the twins finished off their chicken while the boys and Della put away laundry from earlier in the day, and Shaun and I brushed the little girls’ teeth and packed them off to bed.

After the twins are in bed, the boys and I read a chapter or two of something (we’re on book 3 of the Tales of the Kingdom trilogy), while Della floats around half-listening.

The boys head to bed around 8:30, and Della stays up a little longer reading a story with me and getting ready for bedtime (usually 8:45ish).

By 9 PM, Shaun and I both feel pretty much like collapsing on the couch in a heap, and many nights, that’s exactly what we do. We sit for a while, catching up on our days and then watch a recording of The Voice or Duck Dynasty. Some nights, I edit pictures and prep blog posts for the next day or load the dishwasher and sweep the kitchen again. Some nights, I snuggle with my husband and try to move as little as possible.

All nights, I am pretty tired.

Our typical bedtime is 11ish, and I’m usually asleep within 5 minutes of our saying amen after we pray together in bed.

AAAAAaaaaaand, there you have it!

A fairly typical weekday for us.

(Although, since soccer season is over and piano practice is only once a week, this was definitely a fuller day than usual).

As you can see, we stay busy.

On days this full, it feels too busy. But most days, we have more time to breathe and relax and don’t get home quite as late (or don’t leave the house at all), which definitely helps with that whole sanity-preservation business.

Tap, tap, is this thing still on? Anyone? Anyone?

I don’t blame you a bit if you didn’t make it all the way through that mile long recitation.

But if you did, feel free to chime in with your own Day in the Life! You don’t have to be nearly as detailed, of course, but I’d love to know how you guys are spending your days–whether you have kids at home with you or at school or none at all!

P.S. In case you’re wondering when I do projects or the rest of the stuff you see here on the blog…well, some of it happens on the weekend. Some of it happens at night. Some of it happens during the cracks of the day when no one’s tugging on my leg or asking me about fractions. If it needs to get done, it does. Or it doesn’t. And nobody’s the wiser. ;) Sometimes, I have great plans for posts or projects that never come to fruition or just take waaaaaay longer than I would like.

Mostly, I’m learning to be flexible and not worry about it too much if “my agenda” doesn’t happen. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything–not because it’s glamorous (unless, of course, trying to figure out where the toddler took off and discarded her poopy diaper counts as glamorous) but because I am fully convinced that this motherhood gig is not just a job (although, it definitely is that).

It’s a calling.

And I can’t think of anything better than that.

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23 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Homeschooling Mama of 5

  1. I am inspired now after reading this. I only have one baby so far but plan on more, and on homeschooling as well. I find myself stressed now so then I wonder how I could ever handle more kids but you’ve got a wonderful way of doing things and your schedule is something I actually might steal a little bit! I also love the way you have found time to get your own devotional time as well as bible study time in throughout your day, it is so important but so difficult some days. Thank you for giving me something that I can adapt for myself! :)

  2. Thank you for this post! I am especially glad to see how you fit homeschooling into your day. The oldest of my three children is 4, so we haven’t started much official schooling yet. On really hard days I wonder how I am going to teach her along with the rest of life, but I have seen that it is possible.

  3. I LOVE this! I love to peek into other moms days. I have 4 (under 7) at home and i am struggling big time with fitting in all our homeschool stuff into our day and keeping the older two focused while the little two are being. ….well, little!. you are amazing! Have you done a post on your homeschool curriculum? Im always up for sugesstions from other moms about what works for them

  4. I love when bloggers do “day in the life” posts! It’s very interesting to see how other people organize their days, because it inspires me to actually organize my days rather than just fly by the seat of my proverbial pants. Also, I think your posts help people see that SAHMs do more than stay in their sweatpants and sit on the couch! ;) Great post!

  5. I love this post. What is great is that you center your day around a few very important things (children, food, exercise, education, family time, God) and you fill the cracks of the day with the not-so-important things (me-time, tv, hobbies). Many women do not have the self control to do that, and you have definitely inspired me to be better about this!

  6. The mama thing never ends even after they are grown. We raised three, 2 boys 1 girl and we have six granddaughters. About 5 years ago our daughter, son in law and 2 g-daughters had to move in with us. Our son in law is very ill. My husband is retired and its a good thing cuz we have a full load now. My daughter has to work full time (she’s an interpreter for the deaf). So I am up early for breakfasts,laundry, sweeping, etc. she runs them to school but I pick up two days a week. On Thursdays I work at the youngests school. We are all very concerned with inculcating in them Christian principles of love joy peace goodness mildness patience faith and love. They have to go to public school but we all try to guard and repudiate teaching of immorality and evolution. We do regular bible reading and bible study and especially use a website called jw.org which has wonderful videos about principal bible characters and ways for children to deal with making good friends and dealing with bullying. The website even has a link to jw broadcasting which is an Internet tv station. So wonderful to have beautiful videos and music right at your fingertips

  7. I really enjoyed this post! It’s great to see into other mom’s lives and how they order (or not-so-order ;-) ) their days. I have three kids (4, 2, 10mo) at home and our days are pretty full too. We are pretty relaxed about any sort of preschool structure right now, though, so it’s still just lots of play, chores, naps, and errands.

  8. I loved this. So I must love boring things. I only have one babe now and am planning on many more and homeschooling. Your post both inspired me and scared me haha. Thanks

  9. What curriculum did you end up going with? A hodgepodge? A box? If you’ve already blogged this & I missed it just send the me the link :) My oldest is 4 & we are about to add baby boy #4 in Jan. I am so blessed by your blog and honesty about real life with lots of littles & lots of Jesus! :) Thanks lady.

  10. Wow! What a busy life! Sounds similar to mine! I have 4 kids(8 years-2 years) and 32 weeks pregnant. Good for you for working out at the gym! I try to go to. Do you take your kids with you and put them in the gym childcare? How many day/wk. do you go? Congratulations again! Beautiful family:)

  11. I loved reading this post! It’s so cool to see how others spend their day. A typical day for me starts around 7, I catch the bus to school around 8, go to class, then the gym and depending on the day go home and work on projects and notes. Then I have some down time in the evening.

  12. I love your blog! I have 2 children and they are young adults now…I had tubal ligation done at 22 years old because my then husband told me to and I was so in love that I did what he asked me to do. So many times I wish I could go back in time and have not tied my tubes. One of the biggest regrets of my life because I wish I had as many babies as you do to have a full day of being busy with children. My children have left the nest and now I have nothing to do. Keep blogging about your daily life I truly enjoy it. God Bless You.

  13. Yes, it IS fun to read through someone else’s day! I suppose because we’re all naturally curious. Or nosey. Or creepy. Whatever. Anyway… :D
    love the fact that it’s a calling. makes everything about it just better to deal with when I know that I’m actually not just washing clothes for the millionth time, but I’m serving God by doing it.

  14. Love this!!! My day is quite busy too. I home school a 7 yr old and have a 10 month old. This is our first year of homeschooling. We absolutely love it. With me being a stay at home mom (and loosing that income) I try to help out with money when I can. That’s where doing photography comes in. Plus I love it :) also I drive some Amish families places. We live right by their community. We have a busy life but we love it :) I so enjoy reading your blogs.

  15. Loved this post!! Thanks for taking the time to write it! Can you remind us of what your kids do while you’re @ the gym? Is there a play area/gym daycare?

  16. Honestly, this is one of my favorite posts! I was just complaining to my husband last night about all of the negative things I see online about kids. I see things ALL the time about how having kids will mean you’re constantly exhausted, house is dirty, never have time to kiss your husband, always look bad, living nightmare, etc., etc. It’s pretty discouraging to someone who wants to have kids in the future. I was trying to remember how my mom handled 4 kids, and this post actually reminded me a lot of how I grew up! It’s really nice to see that a regular day with 5 in tow is hectic, sure, but possible. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Please don’t be discouraged by all the negativity you see about having children! I used to blog a little bit when my first was a baby, and I can tell you (at least from my experience) that it is very easy to give into the temptation to exaggerate and embellish for shock/humor value. I have a 5 year old, a 3.5 year old, and am due any day with my third. I work full time, and my husband works nights. Yes, life is crazy, and when written out like that, it sounds like so much, but thanks to incredibly supportive extended family and a routine that happened mostly organically, I still feel that I have enough time to love on my husband, sew, read, watch t.v., etc. Sure, some things go to the wayside, but that’s life! It’s not like I’m sitting around yearning for the days of old. My life is so different now than when I had kids, but it’s an awesome different.

  17. I am currently 15 weeks pregnant with my first child, and reading your blog and especially this post has been amazing to see all that you do in a day! I look up to you and pray to be a great mom like you! I also love that your boys play piano! My parents started my older brother and I in kindergarten and MADE us take lessons until we were out of high school :) At some points I hated practicing, but I LOVE knowing how to play now that I’m older. I always hear people say that they wish they kept up with piano instead of quitting when they didn’t like it as much. I was able to play in youth group and now I play in our regular church services as well. You never know how God will use your gifts :)

I love comments so much I'd actually consider making them my seventh kid if I could. Seriously. Love. And I read every single one and will do my darndest to respond, especially if you have a question. So, yeah. Comment away! I'm listening!