Holistic Homeschooling: A Day in the Life
Have a peek with me into a day in the life of three holistic homeschooling mamas just like you!
Homeschoolers (old and new) often wonder just how to bring everything together. From stories to math skills, chores to family dinners, our days can sometimes feel random and scattered.
With time, most homeschoolers find their groove. Because we all have unique energy and that energy has a flow to it. This is your homeschooling rhythm.
Each family’s homeschool rhythm shifts from season to season, year to year. But rhythm provides the security and sanctuary needed for growth and learning.
And each homeschooling rhythm is so very unique!
Three Unique Approaches to Homeschooling Rhythm
I’ve asked three dear homeschooling friends if I could share how they bring it all together to make their one-of-a-kind homeschool rhythm flow. So I could share with you a holistic homeschooling day in the life.
“But Jean,” you might say, “comparing yourself to other homeschoolers is a slippery slope.” Ha! So True!
One thing I’ve said before and I’ll say again now: “Don’t drink the comparison schlager!”
In that case, rather than making comparisons or dwelling on the shoulds and coulds, think of these homeschoolers as setting the pace for you. They’ve found their stride and you can, too!
So, think about what it means to have someone to help you set your pace, to find your stride.
I’ve heard author Gretchen Rubin talk about this idea of finding pacesetters on her podcast, Happier, Episode #191. These are the people in our lives, our friends or mentors, who inspire us and motivate us. That bring us fresh energy when we’re feeling burnt out. Or reassure us when we need to let go.
Here’s the definition of a pacesetter: “A pacesetter is a runner who sets the pace at the beginning of a competition, sometimes to help another runner meet a goal or even set a record. It’s a person who takes the lead, setting standards of achievement for others.”
I love this idea! A pacesetter has your best interest in mind, takes the lead, helps you set your pace, find your path, and see all that is possible.
So, with the idea of these three mamas as pacesetters, let me share a day in the life of three beautiful, passionate, creative, hardworking holistic homeschoolers and the daily nitty gritty of home education.
First, here’s These-Boots-Are-Made-for-Traveling Mama.
As much as possible, Traveling Mama laces up her boots and gets out into the world with her children to see and experience first hand what they’re learning about in their main lessons. Together, they make big memories planning and traveling near and far, from exploring their backyard to going overseas.
Traveling Mama has four children and she’s teaching Grade 5 and Grade 7, as well as part-time homeschooling Grade 10. Her eldest is in Grade 12 and attends community college full time.
For the lessons she crafts, Traveling Mama uses the Waldorf curriculum as a guide. And she works hard to individualize each lesson to best meet the needs of her children. Efficiency is important in her lessons and so she combines or consolidates whenever she can, to get the most out of each lesson.
Ultimately, Traveling Mama wants each of her children to see that there is a path for them. Deeply spiritual and devoted to their church, Traveling Mama teaches her children to hear God’s voice and trust in his plan.
For Traveling Mama, family comes first. She and her family spend time volunteering at the food pantry and she teaches at their church. In their family, summer’s are for traveling and lesson planning. Winter’s are for ice hockey, an activity the whole family enjoys!
A Day in the Life with Traveling Mama: Simple & Structured
So, here’s what an ordinary day in Traveling Mama’s homeschool looks like:
- Early Early Morning: Time for Traveling Mama to start her day & exercise
- Early Morning: Family breakfast & chores
- Morning Skills Lessons: Language Arts and/or math with Grade 5 while Grade 7 works on math on her own; then Language Arts with Grade 7 while Grade 5 continues with math independently.
- Combined Main Lesson: Poem and movement activities, main lesson material for Grade 5 and Grade 7 together, and read aloud
- Early Afternoon: Lesson with Grade 10 while other two kiddos have free time or extra lesson time
- Mid Afternoon: Lesson planning or project time for Traveling Mama
- Late Afternoon: Virtual math class or tutoring for Grade 7 and Grade 10
- Evening: Family dinner, games, time spent with dad, hockey practice, yoga or dance class for Traveling Mama a couple of times a week
This is a beautiful, well planned flow! Sounds good, right?
Go & Flow Mama
Next, here’s Go & Flow Mama. She has a beautiful way of feeling her way into a day and creating meaning with that unique energy. The natural rhythms of waking and eating, activity and rest, flow consistently from day to day for Go & Flow Mama.
But the energy in her home and homeschool shifts slightly throughout the year. So the layers of activity change with the seasons. And throughout the rhythms of the days and seasons, Go & Flow Mama weaves the sacred and spiritual, because this is central to her family culture.
So for Go & Flow Mama, each season brings its own special energy and rhythm. Autumn days are structured and full of busy homeschooling activities. Winter days are slower paced with lots of stories, audiobooks, crafts, games, movies, and baths. With Spring comes renewed energy and focus, but this time directed outdoors as the weather turns warm and inviting.
So brilliant to see and feel this to be true! And to let it flow!
With three children at home, Grades 5, 3, & kindergarten, Go & Flow Mama feels that readiness to learn is central to growing a love of learning. Learning is happening all the time, and especially when she models a love of learning herself and teaches about what she herself is curious about. She is guided by the natural flow of in breaths and out breaths in her teaching. Especially the importance of letting the learning rest.
This tuned-in mama tells me that her homeschooling is guided by the principal that you can never have too many books checked out of the library. Because it truly is the stories that weaves it all together.
A Day in the Life: The Basics for Go & Flow Mama and her Family
- Early Morning: Wake up & breakfast
- Morning: Circle, main lesson, and activities
- Afternoon: Quiet time
- Evening: Dinner
Go & Flow’s daily rhythm has lots of room for embellishment and, at the end of most days, she’s filled with gratitude for the time she gets to spend with her growing kiddos.
For Let-Them-Run-Wild Mama, balance and wholeness are tip-top and everything else grows from there.
She has four children. Two are schooling at home, Grade 7 and Grade 1. One attends the local high school and one is away at college.
With a steady balance between structure and freedom, Run Wild Mama’s children are very likely to be found building, creating, or exploring on their own. Because having time to grow and learn is the primary reason that Run Wild Mama has chosen homeschooling for her family. The space between lessons each day, the flow of the seasons, and a long summer break allow her children to explore the wilderness of childhood and to run a little bit wild.
Run Wild Mama’s lessons are guided by the developmental aspect of the Waldorf curriculum and she puts thought and time into crafting lessons that meet each child where she is, with a pace and learning style tailored to each child’s needs. She tweaks her teaching approach continuously, plans loosely, and prepares day by day.
Together, Run Wild Mama and her family treasure tending to nature and animals, wild and tame. They pour their love and energy into their animal companions and big, big family garden.
No matter what season, Run Wild Mama and her flock find time to step away from the busyness of the day-to-day stuff to hike, camp, swim, sled, ski, and adventure. As things go, this creates the cherished balance between in breath and out breath for Run Wild Mama.
A Day in the Life with Let-Them-Run-Wild Mama (if they’re not running wild!)
- Early Morning: Run Wild Mama starts her day with exercise, reading, or journaling
- Morning: Stories, snuggles & tea on the couch with youngest kiddo
- Breakfast & chores
- Free time for both children
- Prep & scheduling time for Run Wild Mama
- Morning Skills Work: Math or language arts with Grade 7, followed by language arts with Grade 1
- Midmorning: Morning gathering with lighting a candle, singing a song, and saying a verse, tea & snacks, and story material for Grade 1 and Grade 7
- Late Morning: Main lesson time with Grade 1 while Grade 7 works independently
- Afternoon Break: Walk & quiet work time for mama; reading & a TV show for both children
- Late Afternoon: Meeting with Grade 7 about main lesson work, and on some days, drawing, painting, nature crafts, or projects
- Evening: Family dinner, games, time with Dad, swim team practice
Truthfully though, Run Wild Mama’s never hesitant to ditch her plans. Especially if it’s a sunny, warm day, maybe a rainy blah day, for sure a visit from grandma, or even an engrossing Lego project!
Find Your Rhythm & Let It Flow
Taking time to reflect on your own unique homeschooling rhythm can be so helpful. Especially when the seasons are changing. Or during times of family transitions. And also when it’s clear that something needs to shift or be tweaked in your homeschool.
I can see with these three mamas how important it is that your unique rhythm reflect your family’s needs and values.
If you value time outdoors and a love of nature, are you making space in your rhythm for this?
Maybe you value sharing great literature with your kiddos. How can you shift your rhythm to reflect this value?
What if you value cooking (or even growing) fresh, healthy food with your family? What can you let go of to make room for this value to flourish in your rhythm?
With time and reflection and support, you’ll notice your homeschooling rhythm carrying you through the days, seasons, and years.
Keep flowing, my friends!
Looking for more about homeschooling rhythm?
You’ll find more about why rhythm is so important and how it can support your homeschooling journey in Episode 3: Relax into Your Homeschool Rhythm.
And if homeschooling pacesetters are what you’re looking for, be sure to read about joining Homeschool with Waldorf. This is my mentorship and coaching community where you’ll find 20+ masterclasses, weekly small group coaching, and a super supportive community of homeschooling folks so you can make homeschooling work for your family. Come join us!
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