A Day in the Life of Kait, Homeschool Mama to Two
Hi, I’m Kait, mama of two girls ages 3 and 8. We live in a small city in Michigan with a whole slew of pets! My mom homeschooled me in elementary school, so that’s been a huge influence on how I approach homeschooling my girls and has helped me learn to give myself a little room to breathe. Our days are always changing and our approach is pretty eclectic. We’re so excited to share our day with you!
Slow Start to the Day
Good morning! We’re so excited to share our day with you. Wednesdays happen to be our one day of the week that isn’t busy. We usually have friends in and out of our house throughout the week or classes to get to. I love having one day in the middle of the week to slow down and have minimal interruptions.
We are not morning people! I’ve tried and have completely given up. We like to wake up slow. The girls usually watch a show while I become coherent. Our evenings can be unpredictable and busy with friends coming over or different meetings and events for church, so we like to have the freedom to stay up late and wake up slow.
While the girls are getting breakfast I like to get going on my day. If I sit down, I can’t get going again. I start with the same exact chores each morning to get me moving and while I’m still groggy I don’t have to think about what to start with since it’s always the same. I like getting it out of the way, then I can focus on what’s ahead for the day.
While I’m cleaning up the kitchen I listen to a short, 5 minute podcast that encourages my heart and feeds my soul. Right now she’s reading through Philippians and teaching about joy. It’s the perfect jump start to our day!
Once the girls have finished their breakfast, they head up to change and get ready for the day. Then I take a minute to eat and make my tea.
I’ve tried waking up early, cleaning before bed, reading first thing in the morning, every chore chart imaginable, neglecting chores all together, etc. What works for me, might not work for you. That’s ok! Find what works for you and leave the rest behind. No guilt.
Get the 6 Secrets to a Simpler Mom Life
Our days are always changing, so instead of trying to stick to a schedule I have a few “blocks” that I like to check in with throughout the day. It doesn’t matter when they get done, in what order we do them, or even if they get done everyday. They just help me to have some sort of flow to our days.
Most days we try to get outside. Michigan weather is gorgeous right now! I don’t want to miss out on a single day of its beauty because I know soon we’ll be snuggled inside because of the s word. (I’m not a huge snow fan, but I’m working on learning to love the slower days it brings to our life).
Today it worked best getting outside first thing. We needed to take care of our neighbors chickens for her, so we went on a walk to our little neighborhood park afterward. Some days my three year old, which is still new to type because it was just her birthday Monday, rides her scooter and other times she rides in the stroller. It all depends on her mood.
On our walk we have no agenda for learning, but it always happens. We talk about birds. Identify plants in our neighborhoods gorgeous gardens. See what’s growing in our neighbors amazing homestead plot. Talk about the changes in seasons. Break down words we see to figure out what each part means. Spell things we see, where we’re going, or what we’re doing. There’s lots of learning!
I even sneak in some mama time while they play at the park. I always bring a book to read or listen to a podcast. The topics are always changing depending on my mood for the day. Sometimes they’re homeschool podcasts and books, novels, spiritual growth books, etc. Other times I need to just sit, text family or friends to have adult conversations, or answer some emails.
Another “block” of time we have is reading basket time. That giant basket contains all of our spine books for the year. It isn’t her daily work basket, I’ll get to that later.
During our reading time we are covering different subjects for exposure, not mastery. We might read some of these books a few times a week for just a page or two, while others we might only use as resources a few times a month. They’re just resources that go with the direction of learning I have in mind for the year.
This includes: state study, president study, Spanish, global studies/awareness, spanish, poetry, art appreciation, nature study, history, bible (the only one that’s daily), and our read aloud/audiobook/monthly book club selection.
I know by looking through this basket it can be overwhelming. Please remember that it’s taken me until she’s in third grade to have a direction for any subjects at the beginning of the year, other than math and language arts.
Today we read a few pages from only five or six of these books. We’re in our first week of adding more subjects. I was hoping I would have had spanish added into our days by now, but I haven’t. Plans are great, but connection and a peaceful home is better. So even a small amount of exposure to any of these subjects is beneficial.
Entertaining Little Ones
How do I entertain my toddler while reading aloud to my big kid? Some days I babysit a friends preschooler, so that’s a huge help. They play together amazingly and it actually takes a lot of pressure off me to entertain her.
Today, it’s just the three of us. We’ve implemented a quiet time for her since she’s been done with naps. She plays in her room for at least thirty minutes (or longer if she’s not ready to come down) with special toys that are only in her room for quiet time.
When that’s over and we still need time, we break out the snacks and iPad. Whatever it takes to get that one on one time with my oldest.
Table work is another “block” of ours. Sometimes we’re at the kitchen table, in bed, outside, and sometimes we’re on the couch with our fold up table we bought just for cozy couch days. Our table work includes math, language arts, and handwriting.
This year we made a change in our math curriculum. Not because we didn’t like our old curriculum, but I needed a little bit more margin in my days to breath. I needed her to work more independently so I could take care of my little one, get some work done, or just have a quiet hour to read in the afternoon. I’ve also outsourced a lot to audiobooks and kids podcasts for the same reason. I love using the amazing resources around to help me out!
It Isn’t Perfect
If you can’t tell, there is always an animal, or four, close by when we’re doing life. It was the same in my house growing up and I love getting to pass that along to my girls.
I always want homeschooling to be transparent and real. Our table work and basket time took maybe an hour and a half total, with interruptions. Quiet playtime for my little one was accomplished with bribing her with popcorn and the iPad afterward. Life isn’t picture perfect. These little squares don’t let you see all the struggles, just what we let be shown.
But we’re loving sharing our perfectly imperfect day with you!
Homeschool Spaces + Organization
I LOVE seeing how other people organize their school stuff!! I think all my friends have had me come over and look through their stuff. It’s probably one of my most favorite things to find on an Instagram feed too. Here it is, in all its glory. We don’t have a designated homeschool room, so we have stuff (tastefully) through out our home.
Community is Important
I love the community we have because of homeschooling! It was the same for me as a kid and I love seeing that happen with my kids too. Learning from the neighbor who is passionate about teaching sustainable living. Or the other neighbor who is an amazing artist and loves to share his talent. Our neighborhood is filled with kind people who are part of each other’s lives.
Our friends who range from lawyers to refugee social works, pastors to lobbyists, teachers to nurses. By being around adults who are passionate our kids learn by hearing our conversations and asking questions.
We collaborate with homeschool friends to do a global studies day each month and another day we have a fun book club. Tomorrow she’ll start her fine arts day where she has art, piano, dance, and choir which are taught by passionate people who people love pouring into kids lives.
People all around us are such important teachers in our children’s lives.
We Can’t Do It All
I can’t do it all! There is a list of things I wanted to do today that didn’t happen. I didn’t get to read Harry Potter (maybe there’s still some time), there was no formal spelling practice (but she did spell words all day long out loud to me), I didn’t get to our nature workbook, I forgot to change the laundry with the toddlers bedding in it, I wanted to bake with the eggs we collected from the chickens, I pulled dinner out of the freezer 20 minutes before we needed to eat, I’m ready for bed and it’s not even 7:30.
The list is can be endless. But today was a great day! There was lots of learning and life happening. We went on two walks. Also, our free little library had this gem. It’s a daily decision to see the good, the joy, and the progress of learning in our homes. Even if it’s unplanned. Even if it’s unconventional. We’ll pick up where we left off tomorrow. Or maybe we won’t. Maybe it’ll just be a creative arts day and we’ll skip the math. That’s a great day of learning of too!
Support Is Important
I want to end the day with a huge thank you to my husband! He believes in my homeschool mama dreams. He’s my constant teammate and always helping me carry the weight of this life. I wouldn’t be able to do this without you. Love you babe!
The girls are tucked into bed. Addi is reading books on her own.
Thanks for sharing our day with us! Have a great night.