A Day in the Life of Daksina, Homeschool Mama of Two
Hey guys! I’m Daksina, a 36-year-old home educating mum from the UK. I have two daughters, Vishaka and Ishvari (almost 12, and 8). Born and bred in London, I now live just outside the city in Hertfordshire. I’ve been married to my husband for 14 years! He works as a Firefighter with the London Fire Brigade.
We have been home educating since 2013 and our style has definitely become more relaxed and child-led over the years, focusing on putting relationships over productivity. We love reading, poetry teatime, travelling, playing games, watching nature documentaries, and baking together.
So excited to meet you all and share our day with you guys!
It’s 8.30am and the kids are just getting up. They’ll head down for breakfast soon and then we’ll start our day. Above is our homeschool cart that we use every day. We start the day with devotionals and scripture study as a family. Then I read aloud – our current read aloud, some books from our morning basket section, and some from our current unit study. We are big into non-fiction read alouds!
Schools in the U.K. don’t break for summer until mid-July and as the weather has been pretty wet recently, we’ll continue on for a few more weeks as well.
I always plan to school through the summer because we travel a lot during the year and take lots of breaks. But then the hot weather comes and school friends want to hang out and sleep over, and mum needs a break, so we have never managed to stick to the plan!
Let me know if you guys have broken up for summer yet, or if you are year-round homeschoolers below! I’d love to hear what your plans are for the summer.
Beginning Our Day
After our morning devotionals and morning basket, I read aloud while they snuggle up on the couch and drink tea. The little one will usually continue either colouring in, playing with slime or magna tiles, or practise her cartwheels.
We homeschool almost entirely through unit studies, rotating between History, Geography, and Science. We just finished studying Ancient Greece and topped it off with a visit to Athens for a few days. Living so close to mainland Europe means we can generally find very cheap flights for most places. Travelling is really important to all of us so we always make sure to keep it a priority in our homeschool.
Every year in October my husband takes them travelling around India for 3 weeks, but other than that, most of our travel is around the U.K. and Europe.
Last year we took separate road trips to Ireland, Scotland, AND Wales!
The year before that we drove through France, Germany, Austria, and Hungary. The kids have such fond memories of it and can’t wait to plan another trip this year. I have to admit though that coming home is usually just as fun for a homebody like me! There’s no place like home after all.
For our unit studies, I don’t really do much planning at all! I ask the kids what they’d like to learn/explore, pick some books from our collection and choose a read aloud to accompany the topic. And from there it takes on a life of its own! Sometimes we spend months diving deep (Space and Astronomy), and other times we move on after a couple of weeks. We read, watch documentaries, visit museums, do *some* hands on activities, play games, cook/bake, discuss…
Right now we’re learning about South America, focusing on the Amazon Rainforest.
Do you guys use unit studies in your homeschool? What crazy rabbit holes have you gone down? Do you love travelling or are you more of a homebody (like me!!)
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Independent Work Time
After our group work, we take a short break for snacks and chasing the bunny around the garden!
Then the kids will settle down to do their independent work. That looks different every day but usually involves Maths (Khan Academy and Mathseeds), piano practice, writing, and verbal/non-verbal reasoning.
While they work on that, I get lunch started and try to sneak in some reading time for myself.
I’m on hand to help when needed (though dad has, thankfully, taken over teaching Maths to Vishaka who would be finishing year 7 this year). We follow the Brave Writer Lifestyle and Wednesdays are usually dictation day, but the little one wants to do copywork instead so she’ll work on that. Sometimes she chooses a passage and other times I pick for her. Today she’s using Netflix subtitles from My Little Pony?
In England we aren’t required to submit portfolios or evidence our learning, so sometimes I document what we did that day but other days I don’t keep any written records. I take lots of pictures for Chatbooks instead. This is a great way for us to record not just homeschooling, but life as well. And of course, our families love looking through them when they visit.
Do you pre-plan your days or keep a record of what you did at the end of the day, or both?
Afternoon Time with Friends
After lunch and family chores (emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the kitchen, switching laundry, quick tidy up), we head to our local sports centre.
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Home education in the U.K. has really exploded in the last few years and we are very lucky to be part of a huge, thriving, active homeschool community.
There is something to do or somewhere to go every single day of the week if we choose! But it can become quite stressful for this introverted mum if we’re out of the house a lot, so we make sure to have at least 2 days a week at home.
Today is not one of those days ? The kids are part of a weekly sports group with other homeschoolers so we’ll spend the next 2 hours here. They rotate between different sports every few weeks and are taught by some fantastic coaches!
Last year I became more intentional about taking care of myself so most days I work out at the gym and also walk/run at least 5 miles every day without fail. It gives me much needed alone time, AND I’m becoming fitter!! We have a 24-hour gym about a five minute drive from our house so sometimes, being the night owl that I am, I’ll head to the gym after my husband gets home from work, around 10/11pm. But on Wednesdays I take a Pilates class at the sports centre while the kids are playing sports so that works out perfectly!
The kids really love seeing the same friends regularly, which as you guys know, can be challenging for us homeschoolers. If the sun is out we all head to the playground after, but not today as I have to be home for a delivery (I haven’t grocery shopped at a store in YEARS! Yay for Tesco home delivery!!) What do you guys do for self care? How do you make time for yourself? Do you like grocery shopping??
We’re back home now and before we all go off to do our own thing, we drink some more tea (we’re very British!), play some games, read another chapter from our current read aloud, and reconnect a little.
Then we break for quiet alone time before anyone loses their rag! They get an hour each on their tablets to watch Netflix or play Minecraft or something. I haven’t nailed technology boundaries yet and sometimes I worry that they spend too much time on their screens and other times I worry I’m depriving them so much that that’s all they’ll want to do when they grow up.
I tell myself that I’m doing the best I can but sometimes the doubts can be very overwhelming. Trying to raise God-conscious, kind, humble, conscientious kids is hard work and most days I feel like I am failing colossally.
After their screen time, they play, read, write, go for a cycle or we go for a ramble in the local woods. On Wednesdays, however, they have piano lessons so they’ll keep themselves busy until then.
I work from home as a Child Protection Director for a charity and need to make sure I’m keeping on top of emails, so I do that before heading to the kitchen to whip something up for dinner. Sometimes the kids help cook, but otherwise they set the table and do a quick tidy up of our living/homeschool room.
I’d love to hear how you guys handle screen time in your homes!
Piano + Harmonium
One of my greatest joys in life is watching my babies play the piano and harmonium.
Coming from an Indian family who only valued academics, I was never given the opportunity to take up music in any shape or form, which made me so sad for so long. But now my kids teach me and I’m even considering taking lessons myself, because why not, right?
We are so lucky to have a super talented homeschool mum and dear friend who teaches them in a way that infuses them with joy and passion.
I don’t usually sit in on their lessons though as they tend to get a tad distracted if I’m there! Instead, I head out to finish my steps (5 miles a day!) and/or sit in a coffee shop with my planner and journal.
One of my hobbies is pretty planning and I even have a separate Instagram account for it! I LOVE pens and washi tape and planners and little did I know that there is a whole community of people out there just like me! It’s a little way in which I can be creative and play!
You can find me and my planner hanging out here when I’m not at my homeschool account: @daksina ❤️ If you have a planner account, tag me! I’d love to follow you!!
What kind of hobbies do you guys have? Is there something you’d love to learn/take up? What’s holding you back?
Writing + Reluctant Writers
We’re back home from piano lessons and my 11-year-old reminds me that she’s left some questions for me in our Family Book. I started this book last year as a way to encourage my little one, who was a reluctant writer, to write more, without any pressure! But it has become so much more!! I’ll do a quick flip of it in Stories, but basically it’s a free for all! It sits on our kitchen counter and we journal in it, share interesting words and facts, leave notes and journalling prompts for each other, play word games, plan parties, write stories, mind maps, bucket lists, recipes we want to try, lists of different things, and so much more!!!! I LOVE flipping through it and can’t wait to look back on it in the coming years!
This year we’ve made it a habit to share 3 things we are grateful for each day during dinner. I read somewhere that practicing gratitude, even for the little things, means you are always scanning for positivity! I loved that and ever since then, it’s become a favourite family ritual.
After dinner, we all clean up the kitchen before the kids head upstairs for showers and my husband heads off to work for his night shift.
When one kid is in the shower, I spend some 1-on-1 time with the other one. Me and my husband both do monthly dates with each child, and me and Vishaka have a mother-daughter book club, but these 10/15 minutes every evening are so important to us. This is when they share their secrets with me – their hopes, their dreams, their fears. Their hearts. And I share with them too, because they have so much wisdom to give and I have grown so much as a mother, and as a human, by their words.
What are some special ways that you connect with your kiddos?
I read aloud for 30-40 minutes and try to tuck them in. But the little one isn’t playing ball and wants to train me in her Ninja fight club instead.
I play for a few minutes and try again! Success!! We say a little prayer each before I kiss them goodnight and leave.
They are free to listen to podcasts or audiobooks, read, write, or draw for a while before it’s lights out. Both my girls love reading and writing stories so that’s what they usually do. My little one, who writes constantly but still claims to “hate writing”, asks me to find her a couple of penpals! So, if you have any kids around 8 years old that would like to share a letter or postcard here and there, please DM me on my account @daksinabasia. She loves receiving mail and sending postcards to her friends from our travels.
And that’s a wrap from us! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining us today! I was so nervous about doing this but it was so much fun! And so lovely to chat with other mums who are in the same boat as me!!
Ps. Here’s what I didn’t share today: endless piles of dishes, laundry that needs putting away, sibling squabbles about I don’t even know what, papers everywhere – so many random pieces of paper, pre-teen hormones, so much talking that it’s hard to even hear your own thoughts, me being short with my husband and not even apologising, and so many faults and flaws, mostly mine! Please don’t think our homeschool, or our life, is free from the same struggles as yours. It most definitely isn’t, but we are all doing the best we can and are in it together.
Thank you @learningwell for inviting me to share my day! Goodnight all. I’m off to catch up on Netflix and hopefully get an early night!
Thank you so much to Daksina 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.