Homeschooling Day in the Life: Melissa, homeschooling mom to three, gardener, and rancher’s wife

Day in the life Melissa

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 Melissa, homeschooling mom to three kids, gardener, and rancher’s wife in Texas.

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!

Meet Melissa

Day in the life Melissa

Melissa @melissa_amy_simmons was born and raised on a dairy farm in New Zealand. She is delighted that she and her Texan husband John are able to give their three children a similar childhood, as they raise grass-fed beef cows for a living on a ranch in East Texas. Melissa enjoys the simple things in life such as hanging out laundry on the clothesline in the warm sun, pouring everyone a hot cup of tea, and chatting with friends. She loves the thrill of the hunt for an antique candlestick holder or thrifted pillow, but not as much as she loves learning alongside her children and the blessing of being present for each and every milestone.

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Morning Melissa

Hello everyone! I’m Melissa! We’ve been homeschooling for four years, and our children are Molly (10), Hank (8) and Luke (5).

I usually wake up around 7, and the kids roll out of bed around 7:30. We all convene in the living room with blankets and cozy quilts and I read from our devotional and a chapter of our family read aloud. After this, we go to the kitchen and have breakfast. After breakfast, we get dressed, make beds, feed our pets, and other chores. By now it’s around 8:30, and I let the kids play while I get out all the books we’ll be using today. I also start a load of laundry.

At 9 I call the kids in, and we start every day with our memory verse, practice our hymn of the month, and say the pledge of allegiance. We then get started with Math and Language Arts. Molly and Hank do their math independently, and if there’s anything new or that they need help with, I have them skip over it and I will help them in a few minutes. While they’re doing Math, I sit with Luke in the living room and we practice his sight words and phonics. Then he comes back to the homeschool room and I set him up with math. I have Molly and Hank move on to their LA lessons, and again I am there to help explain and correct as they go. This all takes around an hour. Once these subjects are complete, they have free time until I call them for tea time around 10:30.

With tea I read aloud from one of our weekly subjects. Typically, it’s History on Monday, Science on Tuesday, Literature on Wednesday, and Geography on Thursday. Mostly I rely on the kids to narrate back to me what they understood, but twice a week I will assign copywork from said reading for the older two kids OR I will get out our journals and watercolors/coloring pencils and we will journal about what we read.

Homeschool Space

This is our homeschool room. Now… look closely, because it’s also our laundry room and where all the kids shoes live. When we built this house I knew we could really use a designated homeschool space. My husband’s workplace is right outside (we raise grassfed-beef cattle for a living), which means he comes in for every meal and at various times and we need our kitchen table cleared off so we can all sit down and eat together.

It’s so nice to have a space for books and a place where I can say “see you in the homeschool room in ten minutes, guys!” to the kids. It’s also quite convenient to have the washer/dryer in there, as I can do laundry and still be available. We have an old filing cabinet that holds more than you’d expect. Each child has a drawer for their workbooks and journals, and I have one drawer for “extra stuff” that I try to clear out every month or so. I’d still like to figure out a timeline on one wall.

There is one other space that I use, and that’s the linen closet in our living room. I keep all art supplies in clear containers in there, as well as spare paper and our laminator. I’m a bit of a minimalist and only keep what can fit in these spaces. I do keep past years’ workbooks and some of our best crafts/activities in the attic space. I spend most of our homeschool budget on books, workbooks, and art supplies.


Afternoons Melissa

Typically we like to be done with our lessons by noon. However, on Mondays (in the fall and spring) and Thursdays (year-round) our whole morning routine I described earlier is actually moved to the afternoon. This is because Monday mornings we have a two hour co-op and Thursday mornings we deliver Meals on Wheels to the elderly in our community.

We eat a simple lunch together (sandwiches, chips, and fruit.) After lunch I do try to enforce quiet time for an hour, where everyone goes to their beds to read and/or play quietly.

Hobbies (fishing, bikes, lego building), baking, board games, hay bale jumping, ranching with Dad, visiting with friends or grandparents is what makes up the rest of our afternoons. We believe all of these “non-academic” activities are so important for a healthy childhood, and ensuring the kids have the free time to enjoy them is a huge reason why we homeschool.

On Monday/Wednesday/Fridays the kids are allowed to watch tv at 4 pm, if they ask. I am typically in the kitchen prepping dinner.

We go out as a family in the evenings to check the cows, set up a new temporary electric fence, and give the cows a new break of grass. As the kids are getting older they are such good helpers!

John does a Bible reading and study with the kids every night before bed. I’m so thankful he takes charge of this!

Tea Time

Tea Time Melissa

“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.” – CS Lewis.

We have tea together every morning. I find that it’s the perfect excuse to slow down for a few moments, wrap our hands around a mug, and savor its warmth. Not to mention, tea pairs itself perfectly with a snack. We gather at the kitchen table, or sit around the coffee table, and sip our tea slowly, as the temperature gradually reaches the perfect point. And I read aloud! Years ago, when we began our homeschool journey, I realized how well our regular tea time could lend itself to a reading from our curriculum. The passage I read varies. Sometimes it’s poetry, sometimes it’s a scheduled history or geography reading out of a great living book, or a chapter of our current fiction read-aloud.

We prefer black tea. I pour each cup of tea with milk and sugar, place a snack, and put it all on the table. Let me reassure you that tea time does not need to be fancy with matching cups or a floral centerpiece, although from time to time you might include them. But teatime IS intentional. I lay a tablecloth. We mind our manners and try our best not to spill. Sometimes we’ll take the whole setup outside on a tray and sit on a quilt on the grass. This way we can enjoy the beautiful weather and hear nature sing and chirp.

If you don’t already enjoy an intentional tea time with your family, I encourage you to try it! It can be daily or weekly, whatever works for your family. It might take a bit of time to become comfortable with it, but it is absolutely worth it. Because our homes are more than just a place of shelter and lessons. They are a place of connection and relationships, comfort and nourishment, imagination and fun.


Curriculum Melissa

For Language Arts we use The Good and The Beautiful. I like their curriculum because it challenges the kids, and is very complete. It includes spelling, handwriting, art study, poetry, geography and even history. I also like that it’s open and go. We do a lesson every day (Monday-Thursday, Friday is a catch-up day on any lesson we may not have gotten to during the week.)

For Math we use Horizons. I have always used these books and they’re great! They repeat concepts for days and days until it gets almost 🤪 but the kids truly master the concepts!

For Bible, we read various devotionals. Our church gives the kids a new memory verse each month and I use that same one at home! At the end of the month I have the kids copy it out onto those border sheets (my mother in law gave me a stack of them from her homeschooling days. They’re old “A Reason For” sheets.) I usually make copies and send them in the mail to the grandparents for their fridge. We also follow @happyhymnody for the Hymn of the Month. And my husband does a Bible reading with the kids each night before bed.

For all other subjects (History, Geography, Science and Literature) we follow Ambleside Online. We have used AO for four years. This is a free Charlotte Mason-inspired curriculum, wherein I buy the recommended books and follow the reading schedule they’ve made. I read aloud and then add some copy work or journaling in twice a week. This is a great way for the kids to practice written narration, handwriting, and art. When there are two scheduled readings that week on one subject (such as history) I read both in the same morning, and choose one to turn into said writing activity. This works for us now. I am always adapting and analyzing our days and am willing to change!

Lastly, the kids do Arts + Crafts at our Monday morning co-op, which works out great for me! 😆


Socialization Melissa

Have you ever been asked “but if you homeschool, how do your children learn to socialize?” I think we all may have. 😆

We have no lack of social interaction these days. On Sundays and Wednesdays we attend our church. On Monday mornings we have our co-op (we actually just joined the co-op this Fall and are enjoying it!). Every other Tuesday afternoon we have our Wild + Free nature group meetup with five or six other families. And every Thursday we drive around and deliver meals to elderly shut-ins in our rural community. The kids come in with me to each house and we spend a good five minutes chatting.

All of this, plus grocery shopping, going to the post office, chatting with UPS delivery people, and having friends over means we are definitely practicing our social skills and being “neighborly.” Phew!

We said “no” to any team sports this Fall/Winter as I knew we’d have a lot of coming and going already with the above activities.

We love when friends come over to visit and play. Our kids will hand over the chore of bottle-feeding the calf (we always seem to have at least one that we are taking care of!) and kids just seem to love it!

What about you? Are you in a season full of activities and/or sports, or are you hunkering down and keeping things slow? There are seasons for both, I think!


Thank you for following along today in my “day in the life!” I hope you found what I shared to be helpful and encouraging. Learning and being inspired by others is something I’m always doing as well. I just love learning alongside our kids and giving them a childhood full of interesting books and free time to play! I’d love for you to come follow along @melissa_amy_simmons. I’m always up for chatting homeschool, homemaking, and homesteading!

Thank you so much to Melissa for sharing your family’s day with us!

Day in the life Melissa

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.

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