By Hilary Bernstein, Contributing Writer
As I write this Day In the Life post, my family has just started our school year. As a homeschooling, work-at-home mom of 2, I’ve tried to create an ambitious daily schedule to fit all my work in during the year, but this is the first day I’ve actually put it into practice.
I discovered;– as usual – that life has its own rhythm and while I may have good intentions, I can’t schedule every part of my life.;This particular morning;– our first day of school!;– I was up early, but every other day I seem to sleep right through my alarm and spend the rest of my day scrambling to catch up.
The music from my alarm wakes me up. I wish it could still be summer vacation – or a Saturday morning – and I could try to sleep for a couple of more hours. But it’s not. If I don’t get up soon, I’ll be missing out on prime working time – and that means I’ll be playing catch up the rest of the day.
The music on my alarm is still playing. I should get up. I pray to start my day, then head downstairs as quietly as possible. The wood floors in my bedroom and hall are so creaky that I’m afraid I’ll wake the kids way too early. I grab my Bible and sit on the couch, still trying to wake up, as my husband is finishing his breakfast at our dining room table.
I finish my time in the Word and my husband gets ready to walk out the door and head to work. We pray together, kiss goodbye, and I turn on my computer.
It is so tempting to start off by checking Facebook or e-mails, but if I don’t get working on a blog post right now, I’ll end up frittering my work time away on social media. I start writing about why;moms should give themselves grace.
I am in my writing zone – and just finishing up my post as my 6-year-old son wakes up and comes downstairs. I hurry to finish photos and formatting, then reward myself with a quick e-mail and Facebook check while he watches a little TV.
My 4-year-old daughter wakes up, too, and comes downstairs. Since it’s the first day of school, I probably should make a special breakfast. Lucky for me, I still have some pancake batter in the fridge, so I decide to make pancakes in the shape of the letter A since my daughter will be learning about the letter this week.
I overhear my son picking on my daughter. As I go to break up the (very loud) fight, I’m surprised to see my son sorting laundry. I’ve started using a daily chore chart with him and as a first-born, he’s thriving with checking tasks off his list. If he’ll start doing chores around the house, it will be a huge help.
Breakfast (cheesy fried eggs, letter A pancakes and orange slices) is on the table. The three of us pray, eat and visit. When I finish my meal, I start in on a Bible lesson – reading from Proverbs, and our brand-new textbook,;Who Is God? (And Can I Really Know Him?) – Biblical Worldview of God and Truth,;;I’m surprised with how much the kids are engaged.
As I’m washing dishes and we’re listening to our Classical Conversations memory work on CD, the phone rings. It’s our local school district, calling to confirm that I’m homeschooling my son this year. In my mind, this call officially starts our first day of school!
I’m finishing up washing breakfast dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher) and need to stop and break up another fight. Siblings. I hop in the shower, fully knowing I had hoped to start school at 9.
School starts. And even if it’s just the first moments of our new school year, already I love it.
Last year’s first day was the worst day of homeschooling EVER. My son screamed and refused to start his classes. It was a day filled with tears (both his and mine), doubts and plenty of prayers. To see my son so excited to start first grade is thrilling.
Our book work is done for the day – in the past hour and a half, we’ve covered math, handwriting, the letter A, and common nouns. Now it’s time for snack and on to oral presentations and social studies.
I run to the basement to stick a load of laundry in while the kids are busily drawing Native American pictographs.
It is pouring rain outside during my planned recess, so I back the car out of our garage and my son rides his bike in there. Then he decides he wants to throw the football – outside in the rain. When he’s soaked to the bone, he comes in and needs to change into dry clothes.
For lunch, I heat up black bean chili leftovers I’ve stored in our freezer. I dice up some fresh tomatoes and tomatillos from our garden to add to the chili, along with a sprinkling of cheese and a dollop of sour cream. We’re learning about American history this year, so I’m highlighting American musicians and artists. This week our musician is Louis Armstrong, so I dig out one of his CDs and use it for our lunchtime music.
After lunch we’ve played a round of;Trouble(the board game), snuggled up on the couch and had our reading time. My 4-year-old and I are slowly working our way through;Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons,;my 6-year-old is reading stories from a 1950s reader I found for a dime at a book sale, and I’m finishing up reading;Beezus and Ramona;aloud.;
Sorry for the blurry photo … my 6-year-old is practicing his photography skills.
My husband surprises us with an early day home – so we sit and talk about our days.
Catching up with my husband is nice, but it’s time to get to work. I sit down to my computer, check my e-mail and discover that I have a ton of completely unexpected – and urgent – work for my afternoon. I’m teaching writing classes in the fall, and the coordinator has sent me the contact information for my students and asked me to send a welcome letter and policies TODAY. Surprise! I need to create my policies. Right now.
I’m still working on my writing class, but I need to start supper. Maybe I can do both at the same time?
I remember that I had hoped to whip up a special first day of school dessert today. This is probably not going to happen.
Dinner’s in the oven (roasted chicken), and I’m e-mailing the parents of my writing students. But shoot. I had planned to exercise right now, and I can forget about that.
I’m done with writing class details and e-mails. Whew. I can turn my computer off.
My husband and son are upstairs building a teepee out of a toy construction set. I think I can get a first day of school cake baked – maybe not frosted prettily, but it will still be a special dessert. I ask my daughter to help me – and she happily does.
Our cake’s baking in the oven, the frosting is whipped, couscous is made, and our chicken is ready to come out of the oven. Quick! Steam some broccoli!
After eating a slice of cake (it’s so hot the frosting completely melted … but it still tastes good!), my husband’s off to his Monday night Bible study. I clear the table, ready to start the dishes.
I’m on the phone with my mom and notice that the kids are outside playing – in the pouring rain. They’re using our sliding board as a water slide and look like they’re having a ridiculous amount of fun together. (Yes, if you notice in the photo, my daughter is still in her pajamas.)
I’m washing dishes and my son is reading to his sister from his school book;while they both sip hot chocolate. I’m amazed they’re getting along. And reading!
I take our garbage can out to the curb and keep washing dishes.
I take a timeout from dish washing as I break up – another – argument.
I just want to be done cleaning up my kitchen!!!
Finally I’m done in the kitchen. I run to the basement to change loads of laundry.
Time to start bedime! The kids change into pajamas as I get their toothbrushes and washcloths ready. Even when my husband’s not home to help, our bedtime routine is always the same.
After reading from the Bible, I read Chapter 1 in Henry and the Clubhouse. I started reading my old Beverly Cleary favorites this summer, and both kids LOVE them.
My 6-year-old son is sound asleep, after a busy first day of first grade. My 4-year-old daughter asks to go to bed.
I switch laundry over again and sit down on the couch to fold the baskets of clean clothes.
I check my e-mail and;Facebook. I start uploading our first day of school photos just as my daughter saunters down the steps.
My daughter curls up on the couch beside me with a pile of books to look at and I explain to her that this is mommy’s time to work – so I get started planning an upcoming homemaking talk.
My daughter decides she wants to look at pictures from her Slamwich card game. I dig the game out and take it up to her bedroom in hopes that she’ll stay up there.
My daughter’s back downstairs. Again. To get a drink of water – and sit with Mommy.
My husband comes home from Bible study and our daughter runs to greet him. He tucks her into bed, comes downstairs, we talk about our nights and discuss weekend plans.
I keep working online, but at this time of night I’m apt to waste time. And so I do … I wrap up my work, do random Internet searches that I finally remember to do, and respond to e-mails.
Time for bed! I head upstairs, chat with my husband while we get ready for bed and set our alarms.
Lights out.;I feel like I’ve been running all day long yet;still know there’s so much to do.
My house isn’t as clean as I’d like, my garden desperately needs weeding, I have unfinished work to tackle tomorrow, and I know many of my homeschooling days in this school year will include spur of the moment activities that I throw together on a whim. It’s my life. I’m continually learning to embrace the fullness and chaos by;attempting to relax and go with the flow.
Even with everything that;still needs to be done tomorrow, I am grateful for today. There will never be another first day of first grade for my son. Baking a cake and snuggling with my young, cuddly daughter will soon become a fleeting memory. It has been a true gift to catch up with my husband on the couch;and;my mom on the phone.;
This has;been a day filled with busyness and blessings, and for that I can fall asleep;thankful.
Do you try to plan your days with a to-do list, or do you just let your days happen?
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