Homeschooling Day in the Life: Alicia, homeschooling mom of four and founder of Learning Well Community!
A homeschool day in the life looks different almost every day, right? Over on our Instagram page, we love to give you a peek into lots of homeschool days regardless of how they change day to day.
Today, we’re going to give you a peek into the homeschool day in the life of Alicia, homeschooling mom to four kids (one is a homeschool graduate!) and founder of Learning Well Community.
We can all learn and be inspired by one another, regardless of our homeschool approach. It’s not about looking good for social media, it’s about the connection going on inside our homeschool walls and sharing with others what works for us.
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We might all homeschool a little differently, but we can always look for ideas from each other that inspire, encourage and equip us in our own homeschool days. So each week we create blog posts for you to access later of each of those “days in the life”. We hope you keep coming back for more inspiration. Keep going, mama! These days at home are so worth it!
Alicia @overatalicias is the homeschooling mom to four kiddos and is about to celebrate 20 years of marriage. Her oldest graduated homeschool in 2020 and she’s been blogging about their journey for about 13 years.
In 2016, Alicia launched Learning Well Community and Instagram account with the purpose of highlighting homeschool moms from around the US and beyond for weekly day in the life takeovers in order to glean inspiration, wisdom, and encouragement. In 2021, Alicia launched Learning Well Journal, an extension of her online encouragement but in print form. The quarterly magazine focuses on faith, family, home, and homeschool and helps moms love their life at home serving their families well.
Alicia’s approach to homeschooling has always revolved around God’s word, rich literature, unit studies, and piecing curriculum together to fit her family’s needs.
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Good Morning! It’s been a bit of a shock to the system getting up earlier these last couple weeks since we’ve started school. I am naturally more of a night owl, but I have been so focused and motivated these last few weeks and getting up early has felt so good!
My goal is to get up between 6 and 7, depending on what time I go to bed. I definitely need eight hours of sleep, if not more. (The getting to bed is the hard part for me!) If I get up early enough, I like to walk to the gym in the mornings. If I don’t go to the gym right away in the morning, it probably won’t happen. The next goal is to get home before 8am to wake up the kids.
As they’re getting up and ready, I get ready too and take a few minutes to read through my Bible reading plan. I like to turn on some hymns while everyone is getting their breakfast and getting to the table.
Excited to take you along on our day today!
This is one thing that really has been a staple over the last 14 years of homeschooling. Starting the day with Bible and some conversation over hot drinks has been a great way to start our homeschool day together. It’s evolved a little bit over the years, but this is what we include in our morning meeting now:
Bible: we just use a basic Bible reading plan. A couple of chapters, reading straight through the Bible and then the Proverb of the day.
Catechism: We love Truth and Grace books and work through the questions, a few each day.
Memory Work: Usually parts from the catechism books and a scripture.
Hymns: this is new for this year. We’ve always listened to hymns, but this year we’re working on one per month and learning about the author.
Read Aloud: this sometimes happens at the end of the day if not in the morning. Sometimes it’s a missionary biography, or a historical book to accompany our unit study, or just something for fun, like this month: The Secret Garden.
Besides morning meeting, math, and an English lesson, here’s what my teens are doing this year:
Science: Physics 101 with an online course. They watch a video each week, do quizzes, a short report, and labs on certain weeks.
Health + Nutrition: I added this as kind of an afterthought and I’m so glad I did. It’s Apologia’s Health + Nutrition course. Includes genetics, healthy lifestyle, some sex ed, exercise, and more. I’m really glad I added this in last minute. We’ll do this once a week.
Apologetics: We try to do something for apologetics each year and this year we are reading Answers in Genesis: Creation vs. Evolution. We read a chapter and answer questions and have lots of great conversations. I will add in some extra reading for this course as well.
History: This year, the high schoolers are doing world history with The Mystery of History vol. IV. I could do tons of the extra projects that The Mystery of History offers in the companion guide and it kills me a little to let that fun stuff go, but for the teens, we just read the text and take the tests and pretests and discuss. With Vera (4th grade), I’m still doing the unit study style history and including all the projects 🙂
I’ve always been a planner, but I realized just how much better our days flowed when I had a solid plan and stuck to it. I’ve definitely gone through seasons where I’m not as disciplined with planning and sticking with it, but it’s always felt better to have more structure. September especially helps get me back on track after a season of less structure. Here are a few things I always do as far as making plans:
✏️ Weekly List: Sunday night usually, I sit down and make a list of everything home and homeschool related that needs to get done. And at the bottom of that list, I make a list of work things that need to get done. It really helps to clear my head before a new week begins. During the week, I just work off of that list and check things off. If things don’t get finished, I either scratch them off if they’re not that important or move them to the next week’s list.
✏️ Menu Plan: This is usually done on Sunday too, but for September I sat down and made a meal plan for the whole month and that’s been working great. A few things that make meal planning easier: Sunday nights are for leftovers, Tuesdays are taco nights, and Friday is pizza night.
✏️ Lesson Plan: I usually do this over the weekend as well and I usually plan for two weeks at a time. Each subject is sketched out in my lesson planner so I know exactly what to do next. I’m not great at following the lesson planner of any curriculum, so I’ve always just made my own plans. I use this time to make any copies for the two weeks I’m planning for as well.
Just yesterday, I was having a conversation with a friend about how having teens had kind of thrown us for a loop. Neither of us was prepared for it. I used to kind of feel organized and in control of my day. These days? Not so much. I wrote the following last September on my Day in the Life day and given the conversation just yesterday with my friend, I thought it would be helpful to share again.
If you have teens, you know life looks very different than the days of leading your chicks all around at once–everyone has their nice nap routines and snack routines. Life was simpler then.
With teens, it feels like every day is different. There is a somewhat gravitational pull away from us as they’re coming into their own, starting to create their own identity apart from their parents. This is all good, even though it is hard sometimes.
What I’ve learned is this:
Parents of teens drive a lot (even homeschool parents)!
Use the driving time for conversations that are tricky. We’re facing straight ahead, which is sometimes easier than looking straight into each others’ faces.
Have a lot of easy meal ingredients on hand.
Remain diligent to having them do chores and keeping their rooms clean. This is a lifelong skill and I’ve noticed their tendency is to try to bend from these things because they seem juvenile. They’re not. Ask the college-age person with the roommate with moldy food in their bed.
Sleep is not better with teens now that you don’t have infants. In some ways for me, it’s worse. Teens love to talk at night. Their circadian clocks are weird. It’s a different kind of exhaustion.
Keep hugging them even though they’re big. They’ll pretend they don’t like it. Don’t listen. Stay connected. Stay plugged in. It goes so fast. One day soon, we’ll be sitting in our clean houses with a full tank of gas wondering how it all passed so quickly.
The End of the Day
We’ve come to the end of our day together. There are things we can do right now, at the end of the day, that will make our morning, and tomorrow in general, way better.
Here are a few:
Close the kitchen. Make sure the kitchen is clean and ready for tomorrow. Make the coffee and set the timer. Wipe the counters and sweep the floors.
Look at the menu plan for tomorrow and grab ingredients out of the freezer if necessary.
Set out the kids’ work and fill in their assignment notebooks.
Plug the phone in early and pick up a book.
Take some time to connect with your husband, tell him about your day and see how his day was.
Take a shower and read something delightful before bed.
I have found over the years that by the end of the day, I’m too tired for TV or shows. I just want my cozy bed and a book. But really, we should feel tired at the end of the day because this job is wonderfully exhausting. If we set our hearts to care for our homes and teach our kids like we’re working for the Lord, our days can end in exhausted contentment–isn’t that amazing!? What a gift these days are.
Thanks for spending this one with me. You can follow along on my personal account @overatalicias. Bye, friends!
If you want to see more Day in the Life photos and videos, be sure to check out our Instagram profile. There are highlights of each takeover at the top.