My children are in 4th and 5th grade this year. We made the decision to homeschool at the end of the last school year and boy am I glad my gut instinct led us down this path. I feel for all the parents who didn’t have this plan and didn’t have the time to research homeschooling and are now because of a global pandemic, thrown into a version of homeschooling they didn’t choose, created by teachers who also didn’t have time to plan and research and who may not philosophically believe in homeschooling.
Our homeschool routines have shifted masively because of the Pandemic so its not like nothing changed for us. All of our classes got cancelled and while some transitioned to on-line versions, others could not. I am grateful though that working from home was already part of my routine and having the kids home more than not was also a part of our routine going into this new normal.
Mom wakes at 5:30 to meditate or get online to work
Dad wakes at 7:00 and leaves for work by 8:00
Kids wake at 7:30
Breakfast 8:00 (my kiddos are required to be dressed before presenting themselves for breakfast)
After breakfast my kids make their lunch (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)
8:40 Commute to oldest daughter’s homeschool group (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)
9:00 Oldest daughter’s class starts
9:15 Stop at cafe to pick up morning cup of tea along commute to youger daughter’s class
10:00 Youngest daughter’s class starts
From 10:15- 2:30 I work from home un-interupted (Monday and Tuesday), 10:15-12:00 (Wednesday)
Monday & Tuesday I pick up my youngest daughter and then my oldest daughter between 3:00 and 3:30, each has extra lessons in art, archery/games and handwork (knitting and cross stich) at the same location where they share a main lesson teacher for acadmics in the morning with their respective homeschool groups. These two days provide me with the most un-interupted time to work from home. After school we get a snack and they start with any homework or spend time riding bikes in the cul-de-sac or free play in the house. I have another hour to work from home.
Wednesdays I pick up youngest daughter at 12:30 and drive her and a friend to their African Drumming class which transitions into an afternoon beekeeping and regenerative gardening class as the same location – three acres curated by some amazing human beings who offer early childhood and homeschool classes, we call it The Land. My older daughter gets a ride to The Land with a classmate in her homeschool group and meets my youngest daughter and other friends there. Then I get to work from home from for an hour or two on Wednesdays.
I pick them up at The Land where they’ve had their Wednesday afternoon gardening class at about 3:30 and then we meet up with friends at the park near our local Farmers market. We usually have dinner at the Farmers Market before I take them to Acting Class at 5:30. Then I meet my husband in old town for dinner before picking the the kids up from Acting Class at 7:30.
Thursday morning we go to our local botanical garden for a nature walk, the kids usually wake up a little later on Thursdays and we get to the garden by 10:00. A homeschool friend usually arrives at our house around 9:00 to join us.
We have lunch at the garden, in their cafe and then head strait to the land where they have a pottery class and more beekeeping and regenerative gardening. I get to work from home while they are in class from 1:00-3:00. Then after we get home and they get a snack, I can squeeze in another hour of work.
We usually have dinner together around 6:30 when my husband arrives home from work, except Wednesdays. We frequently pick up take out or choose a restaurant to dine in together on Thursdays. I consider Thursday night the beginning of our weekend.
Fridays has a similar later start, like Thursday. The children have horse riding from 10:30 – noon and a homeschool friend frequently joins us. After horse riding we pick up lunch and head home for free play, a playdate and/or homework while mom works. The kids are allowed some screen time on Friday and Saturday.
Saturdays are for errands, household projects and dinning out. Sometimes the kids will have an all day Acting Class rehersal or our friend from The Land will offer a Parents Night Out where the kids they’ve known since preschool and from the homeschool groups have a camp out style evening while my husband and I get to have dinner out without kiddos or to meet up with our kidless friends. Sundays we go to church, where I teach an inclusive Sunday School and my oldest daughter has a choir rehersal in the afternoon. We frequently have dinner in a restaurant with Grandma on Sunday evenings.
Bedtime at our house follows the sun and the season, earlier in winter and later in summer. 7:30 and then slowly later as the sun sets later in summer to 9:00. I believe children need lots of sleep and the earlier to bed the better. It gives my husband and I time to connect and decompress for the next day and honestly, the sooner the kids rise in the morning the more relaxed our mornings are – providing ample time for finding outfits, makeing breakfast and lunch.
SO that’s it in a nutshell, lots of picking up and dropping off, three days a week of academics and scheduled routine tapering down to less rigid on Thursday and very relaxed on Friday. We still delineate between weekdays and weekend based on my husband’s work schedule and I try not to work on-line on the weekends. We also allow screen time two or three days per week (we didn’t have any when they were younger) and so our schedule is a good balance of scheduled and relaxed with enough routine to keep us on track and achieving our goals.
Were waking later, 9:00 – 10:00
Breakfast around 9:30, my husband will usually pick up my morning cup of tea from the same cafe I used to frequent but now we order on the app and he quicly picks it up with his face covered. It gives him a reason to leave the house, it supports my favorite cafe and keeps some semblance of normalcy in my moring routine.
Youngest daughter’s class has transitioned to zoom at 10:30
We get our oldest daughter started on school work at the same time although her teacher is not on-line so we print materials or provide writing assignments he has emailed to us. Then we snail mail to him for corrections and look forward to the daily USPS deliver to see what he’s sent back.
Online classes end at noon and the kids have lunch and a play break until 1:15 when my youngest daughter has her next zoom class, an art class, hand work or games (Monday & Tuesday). My oldest daughter will work on an art project or cook during this time.
I’m finding it harder to work from home while also directing the children and entertaining my husband who does not know what to do with himself. I’ve become a director of activities but everyone expects me to join them in their activity whether its cleaning out the garage or overseeing school work.
Beyond Wednesday morning we have no scheduled classes. Thursday afternoon my oldest daughter has a 15 minute check-in with her chorus teacher. Her Sunday Chorus lesson is now also online.
We spend Saturdays working out how to video my Sunday School class for church and then filming and posting it to Youtube Sunday morning.
The kids are cooking and baking on their own more, making dinner several days per week, a cake each week and my husband and I trade off cooking on the other days. The house is messier as I try to work from home with many interuptions and the kids have more free time to build forts and make creative messes. There are many more afternoons spent in the jacuzzi than ever before. Sometimes both before and after dinner.
My husband and I are still getting the kids to bed around 8:30 and then we find ourselves researching reports about the Pandemic, potential cures and how to financially mitigate the fall out until we realize its much later than we thought and we switch to bindge watching television or obsesively responding to posts on social media as a way to distract our minds from the news of the day.
We’re going to bed later and waking later. Morning meditation has become essential. Helping my husband to know what the kids need to do and what house projects he can take on is helping me to find more time to get work done on line but work is slow and the world news is tiring – less is getting done in general now.
We’re missing our friends, homeschool groups and eating in restaurants. We’re adapting and we’re grateful that we haven’t had to go from zero to 60 on homeschooling and working from home, we were already prepared to some degree and our homeschool teachers are well seasoned and prepared to support us on our journey. Rather than seeing it as an opportunity to show us how much work they do with the kids when we aren’t present.
We thought about enrolling the girls in a full time school when we move to Maui this summer but its looking like this homeschool journey will continue into middle school with a Waldorf teacher, an acre to garden with a homeschool group, pottery classes on our own land and horse back riding in the Upcountry. Maybe we’ll turn Thursday mornings into a rainforest hike or beach day – either way -it’s gonna be great!