Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Day In The Homeschooling Life

I found a copy of this old journal tucked away in a photo album. I can't remember what prompted me to record this particular day in our lives. I think I did it to show somebody what our "perfect" family does every day. Pretty soon I'm should try to chronicle another unvarnished day in the life to remember what life in the looney bin is like these days. The family has changed so much since then.  I have to admit, though - the thought of chronicling the parallel activities of 10 people makes me cringe.

Ten years ago - wow!  This log centers on Tuesday, April 9, 2002, but I had to include Monday night for it to make sense.

The players: Dad, 34 years old, working day shift
Mom, 33 years old, sahm to 5 children, classical homeschooler, aspiring morning-person
Sarah, 11, night owl, softball player
Scott, 9, high strung, very helpful, first baseman
Brian, 5, resident Wrecking Ball, mischievous, plays tee-ball
Conor, 3, "Baby Chick," adorable, stubborn
Clare, 10 months, nursing addict

At this point in our lives we have been homeschooling for 3 years and Mom is still very energetic. Lots of art study, poetry, music, plus Latin. Housework was a very large challenge to us (who am I kidding - it still is), since homeschooling takes up a large part of our typical day and extracurricular activities take up the evenings.

Monday night
9:00 pm
Dad walked baby Clare to sleep while I read to Brian & Conor; said goodnight to the boys.

Goodnight to Sarah turned into 45-minute discussion about marriage, financial responsibility, checking accounts and credit cards (at 10:00 Brian came sneaking in).

Put Brian back in bed. I went to bed to read and to wake the sleeping baby enough to nurse her, since I was uncomfortably full because Dad walked her to sleep.

10:30, 10:40, 10:42, 10:50, 10:54, 10:58, 11:10
Brian gets out of bed because he “can’t sleep.”

Brian sneaks into my bed. I pretend to be asleep, hoping he’d go away. He wakes up the baby, then promptly falls asleep. Now the baby wants to play.

12:30 a.m.
I give up trying to nurse her back to sleep or keep her from waking Daddy, and take her downstairs. We eat Easter candy and I watch a movie while she is cute and content, crawling around, playing.

2:30 a.m.
I come back upstairs after the movie ends. Clare has passed out in my arms and I successfully lay her down without waking her.

3:30 a.m.
I finally fall asleep.

Tuesday morning
5:45 a.m.
My husband thinks he has some chance of waking me up at the time we had agreed upon, before all of last night’s nonsense began.

Revised alarm goes off – I ignore it until Scott comes in to shut it off. He crawls into my bed and snoozes it for an hour.

The alarm automatically shuts off after an hour, so we are able to go back to sleep without any further interruptions.

Brian comes in, then Conor. We wake slowly, scratching alphabet letters on each others’ backs, playing the ‘leg sweep’ game. Clare is happy jumping in the crib. Scott showers. Normally Clare would wake up before 8:00 a.m., nurse back to sleep, and stay asleep until about 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon. Not today, though, with all the commotion.

With Clare still in the crib, I take a “self-preservation” shower. This means that if I don’t, I’m going to feel so grimy and oily that I’ll be miserable.

Sarah showers, I make notes for this log, Brian & Conor play cars, and Scott antagonizes them.

Dressed for the day – I attempted (unsuccessfully) to nurse the baby back to sleep while the kids went down to eat. They had cereal amid much strife – fighting over bowls and spoons, who was hogging the cereal, passing the milk, etc. Again, Scott is the source of it.

Scott begins math (on his own), Brian & Conor (henceforth B&C) play with Bug’s Life figures, and Clare motors around on the floor looking for choking hazards.

Phone rings. Sarah fouls up computer boot-up (back in the dial-up days) and the phone call is cut short by the modem screeching in our ears. I yell at Sarah for thinking she knows everything, then yell at B&C to clean up the three messes they’ve made so far. Baby is crawling up my leg (she did manage to find a jellybean a few minutes ago). Scott is TRYING to concentrate on math. I still haven’t eaten or dried my hair. PS – I hate it when my mother calls during school hours.

I decide on cheese melted on tortillas, and canned pineapple. The baby crawled around the kitchen floor crying after me the whole time I was preparing my “breakfast.” Scott finally gave up on math and took pity on her and held her on his lap until I could sit down to eat. Brian is playing computer; Conor is around here somewhere but quiet (I better go take a look), and I think Sarah is sulking because I yelled at her.

Sar wasn’t sulking; she was reading about sharks. I’m feeding the baby prunes while I eat and write this. No school being done at the moment.
Sink – full of dishes.
Table – full of crumbs from last night’s dinner and today’s breakfast.
Couch – loaded with 5 batches of clean laundry in various stages of foldedness

Sarah gets her math book. B&C doing puzzles. I don’t even want to look at the floor in there.

Brian dashes in to grab his kindergarten math book, which requires my full attention. 3 kids doing math at once – not good. They all distract each other. Oh no – now Conor is running in clamoring for his “piggy” book (a preschool math workbook with pigs on the cover). Oh, boy…
P.S. Clare doesn’t like pineapple.
P.P.S. Scott went in to finish the puzzles.

THREE RING MATH CIRCUS. At least I’ve eaten and I’m feeling human again. Scott isn’t back yet from the puzzles.

Scott’s back. Conor is on the counter. Brian is doing quite well solo in his math book. I take back what I said before – he can work alone sometimes.

Doorbell rings – kids adjourn to see their homeschooled friend Casey for a minute.

A minute turns into 20 while they show her a new game that was a birthday gift.
Sarah – poetry.
Scott – divisibility rules

Scott, Brian & Casey are playing Tonka Construction on the computer. I’m doing Latin with Sarah. Conor & Clare are playing on the floor.

Clare crawled into the kitchen during the Latin lesson – big distraction. Sar couldn’t/wouldn’t do the exercises, so we analyzed one complicated sentence, then called it quits. Now I’m trying again for Clare’s nap, writing sideways in bed as we nurse. Sink and laundry still untouched. I should think about lunch, shouldn’t I? I left Scott with a penmanship verse and some poems to browse. Didn’t do much of anything educational with B&C so far today – time is running out, since they burn out early and today is baseball practice. Scott needs geography, science, history. Religion wouldn’t hurt, either, though they get a lot of informal instruction and example in that area.

Clare is asleep! But she’s still nursing and I can’t get away yet without waking her.

Okay, she’s soundly out and I’m free! I decide to take a few minutes to fix my hair – call it sanity preservation. Kids are all quiet downstairs though I doubt any school is happening!
PS – blowdryer is missing. Thanks, Sarah. Yes, it's been three hours and my hair's still wet. I have very thick hair.

Well, at least the front half of my hair looks nice now. I’m going to order the kids to do a "ten-second tidy" while I decide on lunch.

Lunch is on the table. Boys are eating grilled cheese sandwiches and pretzels. I’ll be eating three pieces of scrapple as soon as they’re fried hard enough for my liking. The last x minutes were spent emptying and loading the dishwasher, and washing up the sinkful of dishes. During that time, the kids took all their Easter candy out, spread it all over the living room floor to sort it, then LEFT IT THERE when lunch was ready. Their teamwork was incredible, though.
PS – Conor hid a hard-boiled egg inside a plastic one and put it in the candy bag, so maybe it’s a good thing they sorted the candy before too long!

I don’t remember smiling yet today. Brian told me yesterday that I don’t smile very much. That really hurt and I’m going to work on it. I’m going to make dinner (quiche) while I eat. Also a pumpkin pie, since my DH requested one. Why not? The oven’s on anyway. Mind you, this is extremely atypical for me!

It’s only 2:30??????????????? I’ve eaten and I’m still making quiche – little hands kept snitching the broccoli I had prepared, so I had to prepare more. Kids have cleaned up candy and are now playing computer and watching TV.

B&C wandered in and are now mixing pumpkin pie with me. I’m not a custard pie baker but I hope for their sake it turns out well. I’m sitting down for a few minutes now. PS – Conor’s been running around in his underwear for a few hours now for some reason.

A little electronic solitaire, a couple books for Conor, now I’m building puzzles with him. Quiche is not done yet because our oven is slow. The 3 oldest kids are still playing a computer game.

Quiche done, pie going in. I think it’s going to be a flop – too soupy. I watched last night’s movie again while I got all the laundry folded. Baby got up at 4:00.

Drove to baseball to see if it was cancelled by rain or not. Sarah went to Brianna’s house rather than hang out in the car at the ball field for an hour.

Cancelled!!!!!! We visit with grandparents for a while instead.

Scott and I went to library for something new and exciting to read.

Retrieved BC from grandparents’ house and went home.

Daddy’s home! We actually spend some time in recreation together!

I give the boys a warning that bedtime will commence shortly. Scott is very emotional and everything is upsetting him – he also feels bad that he didn’t get a good day of school done but it’s too late to change that now. Everything B&C are doing is wrong and bothering Scott!
PS - B&C declare that they never ate dinner (not true, we had quiche, which they don’t like), so I give them a bagel and chocolate milk.

Kids head upstairs to dress for bed, brush teeth, and fight. Dad yells – boys all get into bed. Sarah is just getting home from Brianna’s.

After a little talking, I say final (I hope) goodnight, and warn Brian not to repeat last night or he’ll be sleeping in the hallway.

I nurse baby to sleep, say goodnight to Sarah, go down to look for this log, and do a laundry transfer – dry laundry to basket, wet laundry to dryer, dirty laundry to washer.

Found the log!!! I’m going to spend some computer time now typing it up. Today was an okay school day for Sarah, not-so-good for Scott, B&C were played with and read to, and the house is fairly neat.

After several trips to the bathroom, Sarah came downstairs and said we were keeping her awake.

Clare woke up crying, and Sarah went up to get her.

12:08 a.m.
Sarah and Clare are still awake downstairs. I’m going to print this out and then go to bed. Hopefully Clare will cooperate!
PS – the pumpkin pie was fine.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog! How do you do it all!???? I can barely keep my head above water with one child! :) You sound like superwoman!

  3. Wow, what a neat picture of a day in the life of a SAHM and HSM!!
    Love it Michele. :-)

  4. I am exhausted just reading that! Kudos to you!