Homeschooling Day in the Life: Lindsay, Homeschooling Mom of Four With a Love For Unit Studies

Day in the life Lindsay

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 Lindsay, homeschooling mom to four with a passion for writing and creating unit studies.

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.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!

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Meet Lindsay

Lindsay

Lindsay @littleschoolofsmiths is a wife and mama to 4 little Smiths (ages 10, 8, 5, and 3). They live in Central California and love being 2 hours from the mountains or 2 hours from the beach. They have been homeschooling from the very beginning, giving it a try when their oldest was in Preschool, and loved it so much they never looked back. Lindsay describes their homeschool as literature-based, hands-on, & full of unit studies.

Lindsay loves to read, plan parties, and relax at their family cabin in the mountains. She found a passion for writing & creating unit studies for her children, to bring learning to life, and started publishing them for others in 2020. Lindsay loves to share curriculum, books, art projects, and tips/tricks on her Instagram and blog to help other homeschool families.

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Good Morning!

Good Morning Learning Well Community! I’m so excited to be sharing a homeschool day in the life today!

I’m Lindsay (also known as @littleschoolofsmiths), born & raised in California, mom of 4, married to my husband TJ of almost 12 years, and small shop owner. We are getting close to wrapping up our 6th year of homeschooling and man, has it flown by! This year I taught 4th, 2nd, and Kindergarten, plus my 3 year old tagging along. (More about toddlers later! 😉)

I own and run a blog/small shop where I share lots of fun unit studies & curriculum I have created for elementary grades. My goal is to bring lessons to life and create memories with hands-on learning! Running my shop, blog, and Instagram is a full time job, so I have trained myself (not a morning person 🙋🏼‍♀️) to get up early M-F to get any work done. I’m typically snoozing my alarm until 6:15am and then at my desk working until my kids start trickling out, usually around 7-7:30am.

We enjoy our slow mornings and my kids watch a few cartoons or play as I wrap up my work around 8am. Then it’s time for breakfast, morning chores, and the start of our school day!

Core Lessons

Core lessons

After years of trial and error, plus moving things around due to adding more babies, we have finally found a rhythm to our homeschool days that we love! Having a good rhythm has helped so much with any push back from my kids as they know what to expect throughout the day.

We start school around 9-9:30am and try to get all our core work done by lunch. Core lessons: LA, Math, Handwriting, Spelling.

My kids each have their own baskets that hold all of their curriculum and their own “independent work” checklists, so they are able to pull out their own basket, their checklist, and get to work on what they need to do that day. 🙌🏼 (These lists are also super helpful to me in remembering everything we need to complete and spacing them out throughout the week. 😉 Templates in my shop!)

While they get started, I spend a few minutes playing a game or reading a book with my toddler, make a quick iced coffee, and then join them at the table.

The next (usually just 2 hours) is bouncing back and forth between the 3 grade levels. 🤪 When I’m working with one, the others can have a quick break or finish any independent work they didn’t get to, then we switch back and forth until we have completed everything. I love seeing a messy homeschool table at the end! 😍

We use a lot of different curriculums for each of my kids. You can see everything we use on my blog or in my “curriculum” highlight on my Instagram @littleschoolofsmiths.

Next up it’s time for lunch and to rest my brain. 😅

Toddlers + Homeschooling

Homeschooling with toddlers around is not for the faint at heart! 😅

Since we have homeschooled from day one, I have never NOT had a baby or toddler underfoot during lessons. I’ve tried a million different things and not all days go smoothly, but these are a few things that have helped us during this stage of life.

  • Spend a few moments with them before lessons doing something THEY want to do.
  • Distract with a snack.
  • Grab a simple activity for them to do (I have an entire FREE download of ideas in my shop! 👏🏻)
  • Take schoolwork outside so they can run around or dig in the dirt.
  • Set up some of their toys as an invitation to play. When we get to the end of lessons, I’m not opposed to turning on an educational tv show. (His current favorites are Dino Ranch and Team Umizoomi 🙌🏼)
  • Give yourself lots of grace!

I always remind myself that it is just a season, and one that goes quickly, so try to adapt and enjoy them when you can.

Also, I’m always so proud of my big kids on how they handle doing schoolwork in a chaotic environment sometimes. They are still able to work when it’s loud and laugh it off when he climbs onto the table or destroys a piece of their work. They are patient, loving, and joyful in many situations I wouldn’t be. They teach me so much more than I teach them sometimes. 🥰

Reading Time + Lots of Play

After my kids complete their core work, we do a quick tidy of the playroom/schoolroom and then have a simple lunch. Once we are done with lunch they are free to play! Most of the time they run outside and I get a few moments to myself to read my Bible, devotionals, and current nonfiction book while I eat my lunch. 👏🏻

I let them play until around 1:30pm when we start our reading time. Every day we have a required reading time (this has taken the place of naps/rest time since they always fought me on those 😅) that usually lasts about 20-30 mins. My older 2 read in their rooms and my Kindergartener reads a few books to me. Then my 3 year old usually grabs a few picture books that we read together.

We have built up to this reading time for a while, starting with just 10 minutes at a time and gradually increasing it. A visual timer is also really helpful so they aren’t constantly coming to ask me how much longer. 👍🏼

These are some of the current books my kids are reading. What are some of your kids favorite books? I’m always searching for more to add to their TBR lists!

Afternoon Lessons

After our reading time, we gather together again and complete our extra subject for the day. We usually do History/Geography 2-3 days per week and Science 1-2 days per week.

We love unit studies and working all our subjects within the same topic. This year for history we have been learning about Early American History (Vikings to the Civil War) and the 50 states for geography. For science, we have been learning all about weather and natural disasters that occur throughout the U.S.

This week we are taking a break from history as we are in-between units (we will start our last unit about the Civil War next week), so are focusing on our final natural disaster topics for science. This week has been all about tectonic plates, earthquakes, and today…volcanoes! 🌋

With these subjects in the afternoon, I make sure the lessons don’t take us longer than 1 hour. I know that is the capacity of my kids ages at this time, so I try to keep it short and sweet. Today we did an art tutorial to draw a volcano, I read to them while they colored it, we labeled it, and then did our volcanic eruption with the volcano they made and painted yesterday. So fun!

Once we are done, it’s another quick tidy time and the kids are free to play the rest of the day until we have any extracurricular activities.

4-Day School Week

Today isn’t our day off, but I wanted to share a little about our 4-day school week. This year we take off Thursday’s and it has been my favorite!

I run a small co-op that meets every other week on Thursday’s. This past fall we studied space and the solar system and this spring we are learning about the human body. *Lots of info on our co-op and how to find one (or start one) near you on my blog! 👍🏼

The opposite weeks when we don’t have co-op, we still have the day off. We use these days to run errands, schedule appointments, have play dates, go on field trips, clean the house, catch up on any projects/schoolwork, or just rest! It has been really nice to have this day to do all extra activities and things without interrupting the rest of our school week. We go pretty hard and get a lot of lessons done Monday-Tuesday and start to get a little burnt out by Wednesday, so it’s nice to take Thursday off to refresh, then one more day of lessons on Friday to finish the week. 🙌🏼

This schedule has worked out really well for us this year and I definitely hope to keep it next year. So thankful for the freedom homeschooling brings to be able to create our own schedule however it works best!

Thank You!

Day in the life Lindsay

Thank you so much for following along on our homeschool day with us! We are so thankful for this beautiful life and hope sharing our day was encouraging to you! If you aren’t following me over at @littleschoolofsmiths please do and come say Hi! Always feel free to send me a message if you want to chat homeschool, curriculum, or motherhood. I hope to help in any way I can.

Cheering on all you hard working mother’s & teacher’s raising the next generation. 👏🏻

Day in the life Lindsay

Thank you Lindsay for sharing your Day in the Life with us!

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