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 Vanessa, homeschool mom of three teenagers, who loves writing and connecting with others mamas.
Regardless of our homeschool approach, how long we’ve been homeschooling, or how old our kids are, we can all learn and be inspired by one another. 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!
Vanessa is a writer, book-hoarder, yoga-loving, tea-drinking, dark chocolate snob, who homeschools her three teens. Her kitchen is rarely clean, but she’s okay with that (mostly). Vanessa loves connecting with other mamas and encouraging them to find their flow in homeschooling and life.
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Good morning, friends! I’m Vanessa and I’m thrilled to share our day with the this community. I thought I’d do a quick intro to kick off things so you can get to know us a little bit better.
We are in our tenth year of homeschooling and the kids are now 15 (boy) and 13 and 13 (boy/girl twins). We’ve lived in central North Carolina for four years and before that we were in northern Virginia for nearly 17 years.
Our homeschooling these days is primarily interest-led with a few “must-do” subjects . We’ve really leaned into the flexibility that homeschooling offers and the ability to pivot too.
So, what can you expect today? Well, I’m not 100 percent sure. Wednesday is a busy day for us and this week, it’s extra hectic. We’re moving in three weeks (yup, hello, 2020!) and even though it’s a local move, there’s so much to do. Also, my kids keep needing to eat and keep having laundry so I’ve only packed four boxes.
Between homeschooling, working from home (me and my husband), travel basketball (both twins play on our local competitive homeschool basketball teams), my oldest son’s job, and my deep devotion to self-care, we are in an intentional season of busyness right now.
Ready or not, here we go!
On Wednesdays, my oldest takes two classes up at a beautiful camp that hosts homeschool classes and activities. He also volunteers there as a camp counselor and it has been amazing for him. He’s an extrovert x1000 and loves to connect with people.
He’s taking world geography and personal finance and is enjoying both classes so far. The classes include projects, presentations, hands-on learning, and reading.
He manages his own schedule and I check in with him. He takes a Latin class online, a government and economics class at a friend’s house and his grandma is his math teacher via Zoom.
We spend the 40 minute drive either talking or listening to (his) music or some days he puts on his headphones and just listens himself and I put on a podcast. Both are good. I try to give him space as needed and it’s always a balance.
I love the drive home—40 minutes alone to catch up on more podcasts and time to just think. When I arrive back home, it’s usually corralling the twins and working with them, cleaning the kitchen, and checking work before I have to drive back up north to get him.
Side note: my teens don’t usually show up on my social media feeds much because they prefer not to. I respect that and was thrilled that he agreed for a photo but he said he didn’t shave so this is him and that’s just fine.
Middle School Homeschooling
Okay, let’s talk middle school homeschooling. I’ve been homeschooling middle school for approximately 22 years.
I’m kidding. It just feels like it.
The twins are now in 8th grade. They worked together for years doing the same projects, books, subjects, etc. Last year, that all changed. They expressed the desire to do their own things and that was fine with me. My girl twin is more of a traditional learner and picks out all
her workbooks and subjects and we come up with a plan and she does most things independently.
My boy twin is basically unschooling/interest-led. He does do math and language arts. Everything else he finds himself and I help him find classes, books, resources, etc. We also listen to podcasts in the car when it’s just the two of us. He reads a ton at night on his own and also draws.
Grandma is a former high school math teacher and teaches them math via Google meetings 4x a week. She’s also my oldest son’s teacher. This is the actual best. We are very lucky and the kids are thriving.
My goal for this year was to focus on mental, physical, and emotional health first. As we all know, middle school is challenging because #thepuberties make it so.
As their educational opportunity provider, I do lots of coordinating and answering questions or simply telling them to GO GOOGLE it because they probably will anyway.
Playing competitive homeschool basketball takes up oodles of time in the fall and winter but also brings great benefits such as friendship, exercise, and teamwork.
No two middle school years have looked the same for us. Our workload ebbs and flows and right now, it’s bare bones. Moving is taking lots of preparation. And that’s okay—that’s life and that’s why we homeschool.
I thought it would be fun to share some old photos of when I was homeschooling a gaggle of kiddos and we did nearly everything together. Feels like forever ago!
We never set out to homeschool but I’m so glad I listened to my intuition and that we have stuck with it. It hasn’t always been easy (no surprise). We’ve been through some challenges like moving twice in 16 months, health issues for me, health issues for two kids, and more. That said, homeschooling has always been our touchstone. And for that, I’m truly thankful.
Now, most of our days are me bopping between the twins, shuttling my oldest around, working, feeding them, finding time for my own interests and hobbies, and doing the best I can at any given moment.
I do miss our days sitting around one big table, the crafts and projects and dress up play and cars and trucks and dolls. And I miss snuggling on the couch reading or watching all the library dvds.
It goes so quickly, friends. One bad day of homeschooling doesn’t matter in the big picture. One rough season won’t either. You’re cultivating a lifestyle of learning and growing and human-ing. It’s worth it.
Let’s talk interest-led learning. It works. Full stop. It might not work or look like what YOU, think it should look like. Ask me how I know.
See this kid? When he was little dude, he was positively obsessed with all things fire and rescue and human body. “Fireman Sam” was a favorite show and we owned every Tonka truck imaginable. He loved imaginary play and science experiments making scabs.
He built his own ambulance and convinced his little brother to be the patient then strapped him down and took off. I watched from the driveway. When we found out our county had a monthly EMT (emergency medical technician) program for teens, we signed him up.
This past winter, they announced an EMT cadet program and he was accepted. He is training online right now and was one of FIVE cadets to score ? on his first exam.
Pretty soon he will be going on ride alongs with professional EMTs. Pretty soon he will get trained to use the equipment. He is beyond excited.
Interest-led learning works. He is juggling his classes, this cadet program and also works part-time. He has matured so much in the past year and I’m excited to see where it takes him.
I do try to keep my nerves about him going on calls, seeing things, etc. to myself. He’s only 15 but has a plan for himself and we will guide him along as best as possible.
Taking Care of Yourself
Okay friends, it’s my last post of the day. I’ve got a mug of hot tea and some thoughts for you about self-care and taking time for YOU. It’s gotta be a non-negotiable.
I’ve been mom-ing for 15 years. It’s the best and most challenging job in the world. We’re raising and educating other humans. We’re educating and growing ourselves. I’m 45 and still learning all the time. I’ve burned myself out inside and out more than once. It’s been scary and eye-opening. And so, I FLOW.
I know my journey has brought me to this place and I’m passionate about showing up for others to encourage them to FLOW too. Feed your body in a way that honors your unique self. Love yourself and lean into your season of life. Own your time and space. Weed out what’s not working and welcome something new.
You can start small.
-Walk for ten minutes.
-Take a dance break.
-Buy yourself flowers or chocolate or both.
-Journal or write Haiku poetry.
-Clean out your junk drawer.
-Call or text a friend.
-Ask for help.
-Say what you need.
-You can yes to you.
Thank your for engaging here with me today. I truly hope our crazy day has been helpful or funny or inspiring in some way. Thank you, Alicia, and the the Learning Well team for having me here. It’s been an honor.
Thank you so much to Vanessa 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.