A Day in the Life of a Child-led Homeschool Mama

Letters with Zoob - An Everyday StoryI got a lovely email from a reader yesterday wondering what our homeschool days look like for me; what do I do? It got me thinking. I guess I share a lot of Jack and Sarah’s days but not so much of mine.

As much as possible I try to allow Jack and Sarah freedom to flow through their days. I don’t make them sit down and do lessons with me. We go about our days together; with me leaving little provocations here and there to entice Jack and Sarah to explore further.

This was today.
Morning Play - An Everyday Story Tangram Puzzle - An Everyday Story

The day starts

Our days starts around 6:30am. Jack usually makes himself breakfast but this morning he plays quietly in his room. Sarah is the last up at almost 8am. She heads straight to the playroom to work on some puzzles.

I put on a load of washing and prepare breakfast with Sarah.
Juicing - An Everyday StoryI squeeze some fresh orange juice and soak the peels in a jar of white vinegar (for natural all-purpose cleaner). We all sit down and have breakfast together. After breakfast I head off for a shower. Jack and Sarah both come in several times to tell me extremely important developments 🙂 .

By about 9 o’clock we are all dressed and ready for the day. Our days aren’t overly planned; some days the kids will do art for most of the day, others they will work hard on their projects. Lately the weather has been so warm that Jack and Sarah have been spending a lot of their time playing outside. Chalk Provocation - An Everyday Story Painting with Chalk - An Everyday StoryWhen everyone is dressed and teeth brushed, I head out to hang out the washing. On my way back I pick up some chalk, water and brushes and lay them out on the path for the kids to discover.

It doesn’t take long before they are happily drawing and painting themselves (btw they decided it was opposites day today and thought it was hilarious that they had become the other person).

I come inside and unpack the dishwasher and clean the kitchen. I have a few more jobs to do but before I get started I throw a few scarves on the trampoline.
Scarves 2 - An Everyday Story Scarves - An Everyday StoryI spend about the next half hour or so cleaning. I sweep the floor, make the beds, wipe down the bathroom, clean the toilets and dust.

Jack and Sarah have come inside by now and are playing in Sarah’s room. It’s time for a cup of tea.  Pretend Play - An Everyday StorySarah makes morning tea, lays out a blanket outside and brings out the reading basket. We all sit down for a snack and read some stories. Jack brings his drawing book and caddy so he can draw while he listens. Morning Tea - An Everyday Story

Mid-morning

We tidy up morning tea. Jack heads to his room to draw and listen to an audio book while Sarah and I tend to our little ladies. This is always one of my favourite parts of the day. Sarah adores those chickens.

She feeds them their greens, fills their scratch bowls and collects the eggs.Feeding Chickens - An Everyday Story Backyard Chickens - An Everyday Story Chickens - An Everyday Story Collecting Eggs - An Everyday StoryWe pop the eggs inside then head back out to fill and tidy the birdfeeders. Filling Birdfeeder - An Everyday Story Sweeping Birdseed - An Everyday StoryWhile Jack and Sarah play outside on the trampoline, I set up some math materials. Jack is learning how to represent numbers in different ways (working towards creating sums) and Sarah is working on counting and quantifying to 10.

The numbers and counters that Sarah are working with are from Wood Puzzles. All of the maths materials Jack is working with are from a cheap store.
Making Sums - An Everyday Story Numbers and Counters - An Everyday Story Quantifying - An Everyday StoryWe work together for about an hour. The kids head back outside and I tidy up the math materials and lay out some language materials. I also put out a calculator, stopwatch and number cards for Jack and Sarah to stumble upon later. Math Materials - An Everyday StorySarah has started to recognise the letters in her name so I set out this small exploration for her. The wooden shapes are from Handwriting Without Tears. There are just the right number of pieces in the tray for Sarah to make her name. The fruit alphabet cards are from Teepee Learning and the sandpaper letters are from Wood PuzzlesLanguage Exploration - An Everyday Story Language Activities for Emergent Readers - An Everyday Story Writing Letters - An Everyday Story Jack works independently on his book. I make lunch while the kids work on their language explorations; returning every 5 minutes or so as Sarah wants to show me her writing or Jack wants to show me a new page in his book. Writing Stories - An Everyday Story

After lunch

Jack and Sarah sit down to watch a couple episodes of The Magic School Bus. I take this time to clean the kitchen after lunch then join them on the couch to relax together.

As they go play again, I get started on dinner. We have swimming lessons late in the afternoon so I need to have dinner ready for when we get home.  Today I tried out some dough for bread rolls in my Bellini. Not bad at all 🙂

Jack and Sarah are playing quietly in their own rooms so I pop the dishwasher on and have another cup of tea. I get afternoon tea ready and fold the washing while they eat. Bellini Bread Rolls - An Everyday StoryIt’s usually around 3:30 that I need some time alone so I wander through the garden for a bit, pulling weeds and checking on our little seedlings. The apple and pear trees are blossoming, the strawberries have new flowers, our peas are growing nicely and there are new buds on the grapes.

I give the compost a mix and head back inside.Kitchen Garden - An Everyday Story Apple Blossoms - An Everyday StoryI vacuum our lounge and playroom and the kids and I tidy up their rooms. It’s about 4:30pm now and time to get ready for swimming.

We get home from swimming at about 6:30pm. Time for dinner and our evening routine. I’m pretty tired after the kids go to bed so don’t do much more besides a quick tidy up of the kitchen and relax.

Then off to bed, ready to start another day.

 

17 comments on “A Day in the Life of a Child-led Homeschool Mama”

  1. Liz

    I am cracking up over the cuteness of their “opposite day”! Thanks so much for sharing this post. It’s such a wonderful example of what Reggio looks like at home on a day-to-day; flows so nicely. Also, thank you for the work you put into this blog. I have been a lurker here for a couple of months. Discovered An Everyday Story while browsing Montessori blogs, I believe. My oldest is 5 and would have started kinder here in Texas this fall (which is all day, not half day like it was for me growing up in Utah). Anyway, we knew we’d be keeping her home as homeschooling was always our plan but I didn’t really know what it would look like for us until really diving in and researching these last months. I have been inspired by you and others and now feel like I am much more prepared (and confident) to help facilitate my children’s learning.You have provided so much helpful information on your site! Thank you so much!

  2. Sara @ Happiness is here

    Beautiful!! Sounds similar to our days. Apart from squishing ‘get baby to sleep time’ in there too. I love opposite day! And them coming in to tell you important information in the shower, LOL. It’s not only me!

  3. Samina

    Hi Kate. I second Liz, thank you. I discovered you whilst stumbling around Montessori blogs too. And I haven’t looked back. We are thinking about homeschooling our two (4.5 years and 2 years old). You make it sound so do-able. I have just set up my own business and it’s tough trying to do that and be a home school-mum, although I know some parents do this. I feel I can’t give both the homeschool and business 100%. Does it come down to making a choice? Or is it possible to do both, well? What do you think?

  4. Samantha

    Sounds like a lovely day! I’m starting to really enjoy & see many benefits of child-led learning for my family. Thank you for sharing the materials that you use and how your day flows! I just posted about our amazing child-led learning day we had on Monday!

  5. Amanda Stapleton

    Thank you for this post! It helps me to have a visual of the kind of day I’m striving for with my son and daughter as they grow. I have a question though. Did you buy the majority of their learning materials at one time, or just slowly as you go? My son is 2 years and my daughter is 2 months so I am still building up my supplies, but unsure which ones are most important to start with and how to have a better flow with them now while they are so young so that it turns into a flow like yours as they grow.

  6. Meaghan

    Thank you so much for sharing what your day looks like. I just love how you set things out to be discovered but not forced lessons. I really want to head in that direction.

  7. youclevermonkey

    I feel calmer just reading your post Kate 🙂
    I do very much like those wooden shapes for making letters. I’d earmarked some plastic ones but the timber ones look much nicer – thanks for sharing the link x

  8. Leighan

    Your life;blog is inspiring and encouraging for me who will be embarking on the home schooling journey from January with my twin sons who will be four years at the time x

  9. wildflowerramblings

    What a beautiful post, Kate. You are so inspirational!! I have enjoyed being educated by your blog for some time now and it is great to see how you set out materials and encourage your child-led learning. <3

  10. Lisa Davis

    This was a wonderful twist to seeing what your days are like. I’ve been following your blog for a little over a year and get many ideas to implement now and in the future with my daughter who just turned two. One of the things that really struck me about this post was how simple your provocations are. The ones you feature tend to seem more complex, but the idea of simply leaving chalk on the driveway or scarves on the trampoline are amazing and something that has never really crossed my mind. I’d love to see more of these very simple provocations featured! Thanks so much for letting me have an insight into your life.

  11. elleseepee

    Wow! You make it look so easy. I was waiting for the “and then I referee arguments over the pink texta …” or “… and then Dad walks in the door and I try to call 3 out of the 20 people on my list while cooking dinner with one hand and vacuuming with the other.” Must just be me haha!

  12. Kara

    I love this post! I have just started preschooling my 3 1/2 year old, and your posts make it seem so do-able. I would love to see more “a day in the life” posts like this – maybe on a regular basis? Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

  13. Lizelle

    Dearest Kate!

    Your every post inspires me! Thank you! I must say, that this post is by far my favorite.
    Thanks for making me feel normal! (All the cleaning, prepping and teaching kids in between)

  14. Elyzaveta Bateham

    When do you plan the work? On the spot? If you notice/observe/journal, when do you set it up? Would LOVE to see that part of the process!!

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