A Day in the Life of Homeschool Mama Heidi
Here’s a look at the Day in the Life of Heidi, homeschooling mama of five years to two boys while also juggling working part time. At Learning Well, we understand that homeschooling doesn’t look the same for all of us. We understand it doesn’t have to either for us to learn and glean good things from each other. Each Wednesday, on our Instagram feed, we feature a new homeschool mama to take over the feed and show us what her day looks like.
Some of us homeschool for religious reasons and that inspires our homeschool days. Some of us homeschool from the road and never do school in the same place twice. We might have been homeschooling for years and years. Or we may have just begun our journeys. We understand that those details don’t really matter though. The common thread that binds us all together is our desires to educate our children differently.
We might all homeschool 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!
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We get lots of requests to see homeschooling mamas who also work. If that’s you, you’re in luck!
Heidi is the mama to 2 boys and wife of 15 years to her husband, Mike. They are Florida natives who live just outside of Orlando. They love so much about living there. Disney, the beautiful springs, beach trips, great restaurants and local events, but mostly Heidi loves being near family and raising their boys near their cousins.
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Heidi’s boys are ages 9 and 3, and they have been a homeschooling family since her oldest started kindergarten five years ago. Homeschooling was not the original plan. In actuality Heidi believes you could probably say that the theme of her life is, “That was not my plan.” Haha! Between unexpected illnesses, infertility, career changes…lots of things have altered the course of their lives to have them end up where they are today, but it’s a pretty good destination!
Their homeschool looks a little different because Heidi works part time. She calls her method of education Charlotte Mason-ish. Heidi by no means is a purist, but she loves to focus on great books, music, and art in their studies.
It’s almost 8:00 am, and I just got home from a walk. We were out late last night (not the norm on a Tuesday night) so the kids are still asleep. I usually use the block of time from 6:30-8:00 to read and/or walk. Today I did a little of both.
We have a lake around the corner from our house, so a couple mornings a week I head out the door by myself for a few quiet miles to start the day. I used to listen to an audio book or podcast while walking, but lately I’ve made myself go without anything. My most recent reads are Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport & The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. I realized how little time of actual quiet I had in my life! It’s nearly impossible for us to feel refreshed or to connect with God with constant noise. Really working to create intentional time away from my phone and even from “good” noise like audio books and music. What about you? Do you have intentional spaces of quiet built into your day?
We’re wrapping up our morning routine. A little slower than normal since we had a late night last night. For years I resisted anything that resembled a routine. I’ve always felt a little like a free spirit. I think the reality is that I had an only child who was easy going. After years of infertility, we were blessed with our second child 3.5 years ago, and boy did he rock our world. He’s a little firecracker! I’ve learned to love me some schedules, routines, boundaries. When I get too bored, we change things up and ditch the schedule for a day or two. (I have been known to cancel everything and declare that we’re going to Disney for the day when I feel like the routines are stifling me ?)
After my quiet time and walk, the boys did a few chores. My oldest is in charge of his own laundry, so he worked on that. We straightened the house a bit. I made breakfast. Right after breakfast, my oldest practiced violin. He practices every morning right after we finish breakfast. We’ve found that if we wait until later in the day, it usually won’t happen. As soon as he finishes practicing, we start formal studies. This is pretty much our typical morning in this season of life.
Starting With Delight
The last two hours have been spent on the first part of formal studies. I heard at a conference years ago, “Start with delight,” so that’s what we try to do. We have books we rotate through in the mornings. We start with reading a scripture. After that we’ll loop through artist study, composer study, poetry, Shakespeare memorization, a read aloud, picture books. Again, we loop through these. We don’t do them all every day! The first photo has some of the books we’re using right now. We’re enjoying studying Langston Hughes, Harriet Tubman, Zora Neale Hurston for Black History Month. The boys are allowed to play quietly with Legos while I read as long as I can tell that my oldest is actually listening. Sometimes keeping his hands busy actually helps him focus better.
After our Morning Time, my oldest worked on his Language Arts and Science. The toddler ran in circles around the house repeatedly while I tried to keep up with him. ?
After we eat lunch, the little guy will take quiet time. (No more naps ?) My big kid will do some math, and I’ll sit down to do some work.
Working While Homeschooling
Let’s talk about working while homeschooling. This caption might get long. Haha. I’ve always had a small business that I’ve worked part time, but a few years ago I was offered a position with my church. I work as an admin for our worship department, which I absolutely love doing. We have several campuses across the Orlando area, so it’s actually pretty involved for a part time job.
My current schedule is that I have one day a week where I’m on campus for meetings, and then I do the rest of my work from home. When that schedule started, I found a local homeschooled high school student who wanted to babysit one day a week.
When I leave for work, my older son has a list of assignments he’s to complete while I’m gone. His assignments are all things he can do on his own, but the sitter is available to help if needed. She plays with my toddler while he works through his school. In the afternoon, the violin teacher comes to our home and does his lesson. In their free time throughout the day, the babysitter reads to them, plays with them outside, does crafts with them. Just because I’m not present, it is by no means a throwaway day for them! There’s a lot of learning and fun that happens on that day, because I’ve made sure it’s handled with intention.
As for working from home, it can be tricky, but we just make it work. One thing we do is when my toddler is doing quiet time, I sit and work next to my oldest while he does math. He likes that I’m close and can answer questions if he has them. I used to have weekly video conferences, and I’d try to schedule them during quiet time. My kids know that sometimes mom has to take a phone call or be on a video conference. My work knows that sometimes a toddler crawls into my lap during a video conference or someone yells during a phone call.
I’m really just making this up as I go along. Right now my husband is happy, I’m happy, my kids are happy. What we’re doing is working. This might not always be how we do things, and that’s okay. That’s the beauty of life. We can always make changes when we’re ready!
Afternoon Free Time
We finished school earlier this afternoon. I let the kids watch a movie while I rested, because I’ve been dealing with a lot of headaches unfortunately. Not the afternoon I wanted, but they didn’t complain about some screen time. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Now it’s time to get these kids outside and let them run. In the afternoons they’re pretty good about playing together in the back yard or riding bikes together in the driveway. Once the neighborhood kids start getting home, they have a crew to run around with.
My husband will be home soon and we’ll start the dinner routine together. Anyone else start to feel exhausted at this time of day? Pep talking myself that I can finish this day well.
Living Life Together
Thanks for following along with us today! This photo is from a few weeks ago, but a good reminder to me on the hard days that we are getting some things right. A friend said to me today that homeschooling is really just living life together, and that’s so true. We can get overwhelmed by choosing curriculum or by trying to make everything perfect, but that’s really not the goal. The goal is to live life together and teach our kids to love learning. (If anyone knows how to teach mine to love math, let me know.)
I hope today you’ve been encouraged. We are all just doing our best to figure this out. Be kind to yourself, mamas. Ask for help when you need it. Create some quiet space in your day where you can breathe and reset. Don’t be afraid to switch things up if they aren’t working for your family anymore. Mostly just love on your kids, and enjoy as much of each crazy day as you can.
Thank you so much to Heidi 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.