Mount Kilimanjaro: when your dad goes to Tanzania and Belize, homeschooling looks like reading about different cultures, checking out a globe, and looking at lots of cool pictures

We’re well into our second year of homeschooling and I’m joining up with Simple Homeschool to share what a typical day looks like with our 7-year old (1st grade) and our 3-year old.

Last year the kids were up every day at 6:15. This year we get a whole extra 45 minutes before the light turns green. Woohoo! (This Ok to Wake Clock has made mornings so much smoother!)

I walk four days a week with a friend at 6:30, so my husband often does the first snuggles and gets breakfast going. He then does one-on-one time with the kids and heads to work. The kids and I all finish getting ready for the day and head downstairs to do school. Last year we were living in a two-bedroom apartment. This year we’re in a three-bedroom ranch with a full basement. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t homeschool in small spaces. But I gotta say, it’s been easier with more room.

School involves a math lesson (Right Start) and a lesson from our unit study (Moving Beyond the Page). Our unit studies cover language arts, science, and social studies through living books and hands-on activities. We often veer off course to delve deeper into a subject, skip something we already know, or stall because we’re waiting for a library book to arrive. Waiting on library books is the reality when you make an expensive curriculum cheaper by getting all the books from the library. But our interlibrary loan system is awesome!

Our three-year old often listens in as we read or participates in activities. Sometimes he just tries to make school impossible. Other times, he heads off to play by himself. I try to pull out a toy he hasn’t played with in a while when he decides he’s not getting enough attention and must disrupt. Sometimes he insists on “doing school” himself so we work on letters or numbers or I give him an extra copy of a worksheet for him to scribble on so he feels like a big kid.

We’re almost always done with official school work before lunch, and the kids head off to play while I pick up around the house and make some lunch. We usually read picture books during lunch and then the kids head off to relaxing time (which saves all of our sanity). After relaxing time, they sometimes watch shows and then play or do chores, or we head off to an afternoon playdate or activity.

When Daddy arrives home the kiddos usually play with him while I make dinner, during which we read a chapter book. We’re currently enjoying the Narnia Series.

On Wednesdays, our 7-year old attends homeschool classes hosted by a nearby public school where she takes Learning with Dr. Seuss, Art, Non-fiction Books & Art, and Gym. She loves it, and it gives my 3-year old some special time alone with mom.

When my husband headed overseas two different times this year, we took a break from our normal studies to spend time learning about the countries he was headed to, where they were located, etc. When Dan got back from 14 days in Tanzania our 3-year old came into our bed at 4am and asked, “What color was your airplane? How do airplanes fly? Why did you take a plane? Were there lion fish and stonefish in the ocean you went over? They’re poisonous.” There’s always a never-ending supply of material with homeschooling.

And that’s pretty much it. We’re still taking a year-round approach to school so when it’s 65 degrees in February like it was last week we can take a day off to play outside, and when it’s pushing 90 in August we can do some math in the late afternoon before heading to the beach to meet up with Daddy after work. This also means we can plan vacations during off seasons or head to the World Series parade and generally have a more flexible schedule – it’s one of my favorite perks of homeschooling!

How about you? Do you homeschool or are you considering it? What does your day look like?

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