A Day in the Life of a Homeschooler: Expectation Vs. Reality

I knew that I wanted to homeschool before I ever had children. It’s a topic I had discussed with my husband even before we were married. When actual children came along, I had this perfect idea of what our homeschooling would look like. I had been a teacher before I had kids, so I knew that I could do this homeschooling thing.

And then I started homeschooling for real. I had real kids, and we were living and doing school in a real house where I also cooked meals, cleaned house, and took care of babies. I quickly realized that my expectations of what homeschooling would look like for us didn’t exactly line up with what was actually happening. And I felt guilty. I felt frustrated. Honestly, I often felt like a failure. I was so sure that other homeschooling moms had this thing down. Other homeschool moms could balance teaching their kids with being mom, wife, cook, maid, nurse, taxi driver…But my reality wasn’t what I had always imagined.
As I started to meet and hang out with other homeschool moms, however, I realized that almost all of them felt the same way! Very few of them felt secure and confident in their abilities. And many of them- just like me- were convinced that everybody else had it all together, and that they were just not good at this whole homeschooling thing. Many of them- just like me- had an expectation of what their homeschooling would like, and they had found- just like me- that reality didn’t match up to their expectations.

A day in the life of a homeschool family

If you’re a homeschool mom who feels as if you are the only one who can’t make it work and you envision another homeschool mom from co-op having a prefect, stress-free homeschooling day while you sweat it out trying to keep kids alive and the house standing, not to mention actually teaching something…this post is for you.
 I’m going to give you a little glimpse of what I once thought my homeschooling should look like- my expectations. And then I’m going to tell you what our real life homeschooling days have looked like over the years. And if you need any more assurance that your homeschooling life is “normal” and not deficient, check out the other bloggers from the 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair- listed below- and see what a day in their lives looks like.

The Expectation

Coming from a job as an elementary school teacher in a private Christian school, I had a pretty clear idea of what our homeschooling days should look like.
~ We’d get up at the same time every day- not very early because I’m not a morning person, but around 8am.
~ I would prepare a breakfast for the kids- more than just cereal and milk.
~ We would begin our school day by 9am,
~ Our day would start with doing the pledges to the American flag, Christian flag, and the Bible. (I bought a little flag set for this purpose.)
~ I had desks for the kids and intended for them to keep their things organized and in their desks.
~ We would follow a regular daily schedule that included time for each subject, as well as built in time to go outside, time for lunch, and time for chores,
~ We would be finished with school work by the early afternoon, and after a rest, the kids could have a play time while I made supper.
~ I knew I didn’t want the kids in pajamas for the school day because how you dress sometimes influences how you act. When you dress casually, you act casually.
~ I’m a structured person, and, while I loved the idea of the freedom and flexibility in homeschooling, I also expected to be able to have a fairly structured homeschool day.

A day in the life of a homeschool family

The Reality

The reality of our homeschooling has been quite different. I quickly gave up the attitude of “school at “home,” dropping the pledges and the very structured curriculum I had started with. From having four children, ages six and under, I learned that our homeschooling needed to go with the flow. Sometimes we’d have to stop math because I needed to nurse a baby or change a diaper.
I learned that homeschooling meant that my children had the opportunity to learn in ways that fit them- even if that way wouldn’t have been my first choice. This meant that often one or more kids were under the table playing with Legos while I read history aloud. It meant that some of my kids would sit and do some of their work independently without lots of noise and movement, but some of them were in constant motion and needed to take breaks to go jump on the trampoline or run a lap around the house.
Our realistic homeschooling days have included some of the following…
~ Hands-on projects like lapbooks that keep kids focused and interested.
A day in the life of a homeschool family
~ A child that went in and out of his room one day putting on dress up clothes and trying to distract sisters who were still doing schoolwork.
~ Heading outside to read aloud because it’s a pretty day…but then heading back in when a child was stung by a bee.
~ Doing schoolwork with rabbit glasses on.

A day in the life of a homeschool family
~ Doing fun science experiments that usually result in a messy kitchen.

A day in the life of a homeschool family
~ Watching a science experiment on YouTube because I had forgotten to buy what we needed to complete it.
~ Doing schoolwork on your bed, wearing your favorite hat.

A day in the life of a homeschool family
~ Reading aloud at lunchtime.
~ Taking breaks to play dress up with the dog.

A day in the life of a homeschool family
~ Dropping everything to go get ice cream in the afternoon.
~ Finding fun, new art projects- like felting.

A day in the life of a homeschool family
~ Field trips on days when everyone else is in school.

A day in the life of a homeschool family
~ Having to stop schoolwork to deal with arguing siblings or other behavior problems.
~ Roasting marshmallows over a candle flame- in your pajamas- just because you can.

A day in the life of a homeschool family
~ Helping your little sister solve a problems.

A day in the life of a homeschool family
~ Playing challenging thinking games- and hoping the dog doesn’t interfere.

A day in the life of a homeschool family
So…our days haven’t always lived up to my expected plans. In fact they’ve turned out to be very different. But that’s totally okay. Because the most important things about our homeschooling days is the time we’ve had to spend together and the real life opportunities I’ve had to teach my kids. If you’re stressed about your homeschooling days not fitting your reality, don’t worry. You aren’t alone. Accept – and enjoy- your real life homeschool days.
Don’t forget to check out posts about a day in the life of a homeschooler from other bloggers taking part in the Virtual Homeschool Fair.

What do my fellow homeschool bloggers have to say about their Homeschool Method? Go visit them to find out!

Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST on Monday, Jan. 15th.
How Our Academic Co-op Completes Our Eclectic Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
A Method to Our Madness by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Finding Our Homeschool Method by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
How We Homeschool by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Give Us…. by Annette @ A Net in Time
A day in our Home by Sarah@DeliveringGrace
Lit-Based Education: How We Homeschool by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Overhauling Our Homeschool – Adjusting our “How” to fit our “Why” by Sabrina Scheerer @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ
How Charlotte Mason Transformed Our Homeschool by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
Captain’s Log, Supplemental – Our Homeschool Days by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
How we get it done. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
How to Organize Daily Curriculum with the School Cart by Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine
Learning For LIfe by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
Eclectic Homeschooling: When It All Comes Together by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool
A Typical Day? by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home
This is the Way We Do Our School, So Early in the Morning by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
A Little of This and a Little of That: Eclectic Homeschooling by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World
Still Classically Educating After All These Years by True North Homeschool Academy
So what exactly is Life Led Homeschooling? by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool
The way we learn ~ 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Our Homeschool Routine by Joelle @Homeschooling For His Glory
Homeschool Methods ñ 8 Tips for the Journey by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

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