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A Day in the Life: The Gibson Family

December 12th, 2017

{photos by Jeannett Gibson}

Here’s another relatable Day in the Life post for all of our hard working homeschooling parents out there! Today we’ll hear from Jeannett Gibson. Jeannett and her husband Andy are in their third year at SLOCA and have 3 of their 4 children enrolled: Henry (LMS), Lucy (Intermediate), and Owen (Kindergarten). Their daughter Jill is a third grader at Ocean View Elementary. Here’s a peek at what a home day looks like at their house:

I wish I could tell you that we have a "typical" homeschool day. I wish I could tell you that we begin our days at precisely 8:00 am, and we do Subject A until 8:20 and then Subject B at 8:30 after a nutritious, organic, homemade snack, and so on. I wish I could tell you that there are never tears (of children or adults!) and that my pupils are eager to learn and never complain. But to tell you all of that would be lying.

While our days aren't picture perfect, nor are they any kind of perfect, we do try to stick to a few general rules: we stay home as much as possible, and only leave the house after all of our work is done. We get dressed and rarely have pajama days (although they do happen from time to time). Mom tries to stay off her phone and ignores the messy house. Some days are better than others. It all kinda depends. In fact, an astute eye will see that these photos are not even all from the same day. I wasn't always so attentive as to snap photos all on one day... so we'll call this a montage of a homeschool day in our home.

Our school room is the room of our home that an architect likely intended as a formal living room, but there is nothing formal about our family, so it houses all of our school stuff, a desk, a coffee table, and a couch for cozying up and reading.

The kids really like to visually see what they have to do for the day, and they especially love checking off each grid assignment as it goes. (Ten points to mom for raising list makers!)  Early each morning, before anyone wakes, I sit with the grids and write out what each kid needs to do that day. It gives me a chance to gather any extra supplies, print supplemental assignment sheets, and just mentally prepare myself for the tasks that day. At the top of the dry erase board is the Latin phrase of the week, which we will practice randomly throughout the day. I found that unless it was in plain view, I never remembered to work on it, so it lives on the dry erase board all week and I'll sometimes yell it out hoping a child is running nearby to hear me.

Each kid approaches their list in a completely different way. My daughter insists on going down the list exactly as shown and gets upset if we deviate. My son likes to jump around doing whichever item sounds best in that moment, which changes daily. The youngest can't read, so he doesn't have much of an opinion (he's also the youngest of four and tends to go with the flow of any situation).

Regardless of how the day ends, the day always begins with getting Jill out the door and onto the bus. Jill is one of our children, who, because of her special needs, attends the local elementary school. The arrival of the bus signals the start of our home day.

This is my first year with three kids at SLOCA, and I've found managing the day to be more of a challenge. There seems to always be someone killing time while I work with someone else, but I try to rope in my bigger kids to help with some of the Kindergarten grid. Besides, I figure it helps them too in some way.

Luckily, the older kids are usually happy to help... and I may or may not offer payment of a dollar to the sibling willing to do the Kinder art project for the week with their brother. I have no shame in this.

Solitude activities are done in various places outside, which gives me a bit of a break to work with one of the other kids.

We inherited this giant atlas book, and use it almost daily.  It really helps to show more detail than a globe can, and the kids often sit with this open on their laps as I read from the history and trace the voyages with their fingers. There is also always a dinosaur on my floor. Of every room. In my entire house. Always.

We tend to migrate to the living room to do reading since it's brighter (and cleaner) in there. The little guy is always nearby playing while we read, so while it's not on his grid, he definitely learns alongside the others and can rattle off facts about King Tut and Hatshepsut with the best of them. (See? Pajama day. They happen. Although I do try to avoid them.)

We always do spelling lessons on a dry erase board. I'm not sure why I started doing it that way, but it is fun to give the kids a different medium to learn in and they like the fun colors.

My fifth grader works at the desk on his math while I help Lucy with spelling. It's a lot of volleying back and forth for mom, but it works.

IEW edits and copy work are often completed outside just to get a change of scenery, and allow me to work with someone else.

Jumping between three kids is exhausting. The kids get plenty of breaks, but if I want to be done with everything before Jill gets home at 3:00, I rarely take a break myself because I'm bouncing between the three. Lunches are often eaten while mom reads aloud or is pulling together art supplies, and we work hard to finish completely before the bus comes ambling up our road.  

And that, my friends, is the sanitized version of our homeschool day. We check off our list, we change our scenery, we pool resources, we help each other out, and then we crash. Some days I yell, some days someone cries, some days it's lovely and breezy and I kinda want to pinch myself not believing its true. All days it's worth it though.

Besides, those Mondays and Wednesdays when they're at 165 Grand are a great recharge. I love my kids dearly, but some days I need to love them from afar, ya know?

Yes, we know. Thank you, Jeannett, for taking us on a journey through a typical home day! There were several fantastic ideas to glean from this, and we are encouraged by your honesty and reminder that all the days are worth it.


Did you find some similarities here to your own routines or experiences? Feel free to leave a comment below and let’s talk about our home days!