Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A "Normal" Day For A Homeschooling Mom of Six

This is the last installment of my interview with my mother! If you missed the first two posts, check out Part 1 and Part 2. This week, she's sharing the general outline of a daily schedule that works for her as a homeschooling mom.
Mom with her 1st two kids--My little sis and I!

Me: What does a typical weekday look like for you...or what has it looked like in the past? Can you give us a picture of your day as you took care of a big family and homeschooled all your children?

Mom: The typical weekday for me is always subject to unexpected changes! Changes or interruptions may be due to appointments, errands, sickness, disciplining children, important conversations that can’t wait, extra curricular activities (like gymnastics), and so on. As you know, these are in addition to the necessary grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and laundry that must be done. Nevertheless, my goal is to rise early in the morning before the rest of the family. This allows me some quiet time with God and His word before I am bombarded with the needs of the day.
When my children were just toddlers, it was uncanny how one of them would happen to rise earlier than usual and attempt to interrupt this quiet time. You’d think they had a built-in alarm system waking them when I stepped out of bed! Battling my frustration, I’d send them back to bed, if possible, until it was time for them to get up. When children are older (even before they can tell time), placing a clock in their bedroom and showing them where the hands on the clock must be before they can get up can be helpful. I used this method particularly at nap times.

When I began to homeschool Alicia and her younger siblings in the elementary grades, I had a schedule that I hoped to follow. Every school time was a challenge when I needed to regularly nurse an infant or give one-on-one help to a child. This was more practice in multitasking, as I helped solve math problems or listened to someone read while nursing the baby. I would have to be reminded, usually by my supportive husband, that if I didn’t cover ANY academics that day, it was still a productive day because I was with them and training them in many other ways.

Also, the daily schedule changes as your family changes, so I’m giving you the schedule that has worked best for me, in general, over the past 20 years.

As my children were capable, once they had dressed, had put their bedrooms in order, and had eaten breakfast, they would begin their day, around 8:30 a.m., with personal Bible reading and prayer. We would meet together at 9 for Bible lesson and prayer. I have found this to be the most vital part of our day. Discussion of God’s word and prayer set the tone for the day, and often lessons taught during that time could be referred to during the week and applied to situations that would arise.

After breakfast, they would begin with their individual math lessons. First I would get the older children started on their lessons, then I would begin working with the youngest school-aged child. The toddlers would be distracted and busy with “special” toys (those that only came out during school time). Math was usually the hardest and most time-consuming subject for my children, so we would tackle it first. Once they completed their math lesson, they could move on to other subjects.

Directly after lunch and a short break, I would typically read aloud to them. This was a very pleasant time for us all; sometimes we would read outdoors while lounging on the trampoline. This provided a special connection with my children; we still have some inside jokes or sayings from books we enjoyed together. Often, these books provided further reinforcement of Biblical concepts through our discussion of the stories and their characters.

After our reading time, would be glorious naptime or quiet time. My children generally took naps until they were 5 or 6 years of age, even if it meant lying down on their beds with books to read, look at or listen to on tapes. This was a very much-needed quiet time for everyone.

Now, early afternoon is when my children, ages 11 and 13, accomplish their daily chores and music practice, followed by the completion of other school subjects. I mainly focus on the “3-R’s,” Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. If they can do these 3 subjects well, they will have the tools to study anything. Much of their reading and writing covers what we are studying in the other remaining subjects: history, health, science, and geography. Whatever they have to research, read and write about seems to stick in their heads better than anything I just tell them.

When my children were younger, playtime was important learning time too. Their late afternoons were filled with imaginary games played mostly outdoors like building “houses” or pretending to be pregnant moms with pillows under their shirts. They would play-act many of the stories we were reading together. By the way, much of this was possible because they weren’t watching too much television. Many of the years of our marriage we chose not to watch any television. Our lives have been much richer for it. Our children exercise their imaginations; we all read more and get more done.

Evenings are when I attempt to have time for my husband, for others and for myself. This was harder when my children were younger. If I allowed it to, the work of taking care of the family and the house could easily keep me busy right up to bedtime. Now, more than ever, I have time to play the guitar, exercise and/or read in the evenings. My children’s participation in household duties has helped immensely. As soon as they were capable, they were folding laundry, washing dishes, vacuuming, dusting and so on. It was an effort to train them and to maintain quality work and good attitudes, but it has been well worth it. I hope all my children’s spouses will be thankful!
As a wife for 26 years, mother for 25 years, and homeschool teacher for 20 years (and counting!), Teresa is a lady whose brain you want to pick! In her spare time (you know she has oodles of it, ha!), she enjoys reading, guitar playing, song writing, and gardening. Thanks for sharing with all of us, Mom!

P.S. Andrew says to say that he is indeed thankful! ;) 

Linked to Works For Me Wednesday and How Do You Homeschool


  1. I'm doing a homeschool link up post on my blog today. I would love for you to stop by and link up!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Jennifer @

  2. This is wonderful!!! I just joined our Homeschool Pinellas Parents and am excited to learn about homeschooling. :) Thank you for posting, Alicia! Your mom certainly is a marvelous resource to have!
    xo Marissa

  3. Funny, I was just remembering that when Alicia was probably 7 or so, she started wanting to call her dad and me, "Pa" and "Ma"- she was reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and was so caught up in it!

  4. Marissa, that's really cool! Hope you enjoy what you learn...

    Mom, I remember that well. I also remember you were not very cooperative. *wink*

  5. I love this series. What an amazing woman! Thanks so much for sharing, Alicia!

  6. I've really loved reading this series! It's been a huge blessing to me!

  7. Alicia your mom must be amazing to have been able to fit so much into a day. BTW, I used to love those "Little House" books.

  8. Thanks Alicia! I have wanted to ask your mother this question for a while. I appreciate you taking the time to post this.

  9. Anyone who can have more than 2 kids is supermom, but homeschooling too? She should start a school for supermoms.

  10. Alicia thanks for doing this! Your mom is so inspiring - and beautiful! The Lord's radiance really shines through her (and you too by the way). I aspire to honor God and raise Godly children in a similar way. So encouraging to see that it can be (and has been) done!

  11. Hi Alicia, read your post yesterday and can't stop thinking about it. I feel like I'm tired every day doing all the things I'm doing (job, house, kids, husband) and when I read what your mother is doing...Wow! I have great respect for her and I wish I had her energy...
    Love Amelie

  12. Just want to encourage you mom did not become the organized mom of 6 overnight!!! Don't be down if her schedule sounds impossible/not doable to you. Take things one step at a time...what worked for her may not necessarily work for you.

    Amelie, you have a lot on your plate!! Don't be too hard on yourself. :)


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