Homeschool Day in the Life: Annie, homeschooling mama to three in South Dakota
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 Annie, homeschooling mama to three kids, who has a passion for sharing resources and encouragement with other homeschooling families.
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!
Annie @sweetannie is a homeschooling mom of three kids, ages 9, 7 and 4. Annie spent the past 20 years living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, but last summer she and her husband of 18 years, along with their kids, pulled up all of their deep roots and moved to the equally beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. It has been an adventure of a lifetime, and it has taught them all so much about God’s faithfulness.
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Their homeschool style is heavy on unit studies, with a Charlotte Mason influence, and lots of really great literature. Annie is currently finishing up her fourth year of home education. She loves researching curriculums and sharing resources with other homeschooling families.
Annie loves Jesus, camping, books, donuts (specifically the ones without gluten because she hasn’t been able to eat that for 13 years), The Office, and whipped cream piled high on her coffee.
Good morning Learning Well Community! My name is Annie and I am so excited to join you today! I’m up early every morning, but I wouldn’t say I’ve always been a morning person. It’s definitely a muscle I’ve had to strengthen over time, primarily since having kids. On the flip side, I also love staying up late. I often can be very productive at the end of the day if I’m focused. It’s not a great combo!
I start the day with about 30-45 minutes of personal reading. I’m a lover of books, with my preferences ranging from non-fiction to historical fiction, a good beach read, memoirs, and loads of thrillers.
After that I open my Bible and dig into what God has for me each particular day. While I have been a follower of Jesus my entire life, time spent reading the Word has not always come easy for me. About a year and a half ago something finally stuck, and it has been a game changer in my life. I am a more patient mom, more willing to give of myself throughout the day, when I put forth the effort to get up before my kids.
Breakfast + Read Aloud
My kids often sleep a bit later in the morning, so we usually hit the ground running with our current read aloud book during breakfast. While we sometimes find other pockets of time to read aloud throughout the day, this is our main time to do this. Kids are a captive audience when they are eating, so the kids are less distracted and more inclined to listen during this time.
Reading aloud is the one part of our day that we rarely miss. In all honesty, we have fallen into days where nothing goes as planned and we just head back to the table to read. Even when it ends up being the ONLY thing I feel we accomplish, I feel peace about it. We have been reading aloud since my oldest was tiny and used to say “one more” after each book, and as a result, reading is beloved by every person in our home.
We aim to sit down and start school around 9:30 each morning. We don’t have any hard and fast structure to the 2-3 hours of “school time” that we do. Some days I pick where we start, and other days the kids do. I have a weekly plan that I hold loosely so that pieces can be moved around as I see fit. As a habitual planner, this is something I have had to learn to be flexible on, but it seems to work well for us in this season. I have a four year old that often times can dictate more of the morning than I anticipate, so having a moveable schedule has been important to my sanity. This helps me to come away each day not feeling like a failure when we don’t accomplish all that was on the list.
My girls have been learning about U.S. geography and we are almost done! Today we are starting here and will move on to math, grammar, and science.
I am so thankful for this lifestyle. Learning alongside my kids is one of my most favorite things. I don’t always have the answers to their questions, but that only strengthens their critical thinking skills—and mine! It seems like we can all agree that critical thinking skills are highly important in life, and have been somewhat lost. Home education allows all of us the freedoms to question and wonder, and then search out those answers without the confines of a rigid schedule. The blessing that home education is, is certainly not lost on me.
We wrap up school by lunch time. At that point we are all ready for a break and we move into a more fluid time of our day. The kids are still learning—after all learning is a lifestyle—they just have more control over what they are doing.
We make lunch and then I either spend some more time reading aloud, the kids do some silent reading, or they watch a video that *usually* has to do with our lessons in some way. We like many nature videos, Wild Kratts, or kid focused history videos. Currently we have been making our way through a series called Most Dangerous Ways to School on YouTube. It’s been eye opening to my kids who have struggled with complaining about school over the last several months.
After lunch we all settle down for 90 minutes of quiet time. Our household has done this since our oldest was a baby and will continue this until they leave our home. It is essential for ALL of us. It resets us if we have have been struggling with bad moods (me included!), and it gives my kids all practice at entertaining themselves for a period of time. They typically listen to audiobooks, craft, look at activity books, or pick some sort of toy to play with like LEGOS, Calico Critters, Hot Wheels tracks, etc.
Trying to decide how to spend my 90 minutes is usually the hardest part of my day. Do I clean the house, work, read my book, listen to a podcast, research something for school, or scroll Instagram? Usually it’s a combination of several of these.
Today I have lots of work to do, and this is where I work! Right here for Learning Well Community! It’s one of my most favorite things I do. Alicia is a friend and homeschooling mentor for me and I am so completely thankful for the work I get to do with her and for this community!
My husband is a public school high school teacher and is usually home in the late afternoon. By now the kids have smothered him and he’s likely listening to the three of them talk nonstop about their day. I use this time to pop in my ear buds and listen to a podcast while I make dinner. I know my kids are still young, but we have made some intentional decisions about their schedule and ours to make sure we eat dinner together every night. It’s a priority for us so we will continue to work towards this goal, even if that means moving dinner time to the early bird special, or a late night snack.
Preparing for Tomorrow
It’s time for bed and that means our day is coming to a close. My husband spends about 30 minutes reading aloud to the kids out of a different book than we read in the mornings. He is currently reading through A Series of Unfortunate Events and the kids love it.
While he reads I spend a few minutes preparing for our next day of school—making copies, setting out books, looking over math lessons, doing my best to help give us a successful start in the morning.
It has been such a joy sharing our day with you, friends! Seeing how others manage their days is always inspiring and encouraging to me. I hope that ours has done that for you in some way as well. We are doing important work mamas (and those few dads that follow along here too!). It can be difficult work and comes with great sacrifice, but it is so worth it.
If you’d like to continue following along with our homeschooling journey, come join me over @sweetannie !
Thank you so much to Annie for sharing your family’s day with us!
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.