Primary Sources and Vernal Pools: Homeschool Day-in-the-Life, Year Seven

I’m a bit shocked that this is the seventh year I’ve written a day-in-the life homeschooling post. The days are long, but the years have flown by so quickly. Pip is now 10, and Bean is about to turn 8; our days are full and sweet. I’ve found that the school days are easier in the sense that the kids are capable of independent work, but busier; we’re suddenly doing so may outside activities. It’s both joy-filled and exhausting!

We wake up on a Tuesday. Snow blankets the ground, and frost has sheathed the tree branches in crystal that glints in the early morning light. I’d like to say this is the first thing I notice, but I don’t until after coffee.

We get up around seven, and once everyone’s clean and dressed we pray with Dad before he heads off to work for the day. We all do our morning chores (including the kids), and then we have a sliver of free time before school. This morning, as is often the case, Pip and Bean spend it on the living room carpet playing a board game; usually it’s a Pokemon battle. I take the time to get a bit of housework done, and then cram in some writing (the fourth book manuscript in The Dream Keeper Saga is due in a few weeks!).

School starts at 9 am, over breakfast — a routine that’s seven-years strong! We always start the day with devotions, history, biography, and the arts. I read aloud while they munch, until it’s time for them to break out the charcoal pencils and draw. Today “Breakfast & Books” looks like this:

  • Devotions — study and discuss Matt. 7:13-23 (the passage of focus at church on Sunday)
  • Apologetics God’s Crime Scene for Kids (this has been a fantastic series; I give a very brief review here)
  • Professor Noggins trivia card — they picked bugs & insects this month; we read a card a day
  • HistoryStory of the World
  • More HistoryMiddle Ages for Kids
  • BiographyWho Was Louis Armstrong? (another great series; the kids pick which one to read next)
  • ArtsArt for Kids: Drawing . They each have their own sketchbook and pencil set, and we do a lesson a day.

On quieter days after breakfast we dive right into a full school day, but today at 10 am they have an online history class with staff at the Strawbery Banke Museum. They learn about how historians study the past using artifacts and primary sources.

After their class, they grab a snack, and we dive into “Meat and Potatoes” school, so-called because it’s only language arts and math — we skip science and poetry on busy days! I work with Bean, and Pip works independently. He’s now at the stage where he can do most of his work on his own, and I just check and discuss with him once I’m done with Bean.

  • Bean’s Meat & Potatoes:
    • Language Arts: The Good and the Beautiful
    • Math: The Good and the Beautiful
  • On days when we do a full load of school work, she also does:
    • Science — Reptiles, fish, and amphibians unit study from The Good and the Beautiful
    • Extra math — Bedtime Math
    • Typing — daily lessons on
  • Pip’s Meat & Potatoes:
    • LiteratureThe Hound of the Baskervilles (he reads several pages daily and we work through the student guide from Memoria Press. I love their literature guides!!)
    • WritingWriting and Rhetoric
    • Math Beast Academy
  • On days when we do a full load of school work, he also does:

After we’re done with Meat & Potatoes, the kids have lunch and spend a bit of time outside. I notice Pip belly-down in the snow at one point; upon inquiry, I’m told he’s pretending to be a “snow mummy.” While they enjoy the sunshine, I make a batch of muffins so we’re not scrambling for breakfast when we rush out of the house early on Thursday and Friday morning (Thursday is a homeschool class at our local art museum, and Friday is our co-op, where the kids are taking LEGO robotics, mystery science, gym, and “duct tape engineering,” and I’m teaching a clinical anatomy class for middle schoolers).

At 2 pm we have another class, an online webinar this time with No Sweat Nature Study. They grab their notebooks, Bean opts to break out her travel watercolors, and there’s lots of enthusiasm while they learn about vernal pools. A few weeks ago, they ooh-ed and ahh-ed as they learned about the winter sky.

We’re packed and out the door at 3:30 to get the kids to their climbing team practice, which is from 4-6 twice a week. While they tackle boulders, I squeeze in a visit with a loved one with dementia; when we come back on Thursday, I’ll do the grocery shopping while they climb. I arrive to pick up Pip and Bean, and discover them flushed, covered with chalk, and happy.

In the evening, I scramble to get something together for dinner, the kids wash up and do chores, and Dad arrives home. We recount the day over a meal, then have family worship, and finally end the day watching a cheesy cartoon from the 1980s together. They laugh, we hug, and Dad and I spend a long time talking and then praying together as the sounds from their bedrooms dwindle.

I’m up late again working on the manuscript. When dawn breaks the next morning, I stumble out of bed, thank God for the laughter I hear down the hall, and eventually, after coffee, I notice the frost glazing the trees outside.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Amy Sloan says:

    My kids enjoyed that very same astronomy No Sweat Nature Study class! It was a fun one. 🙂


    1. Katie Butler says:

      Thanks Amy! Agree, it was so fun! Thank you for posting your day-in-the-life, it was sweet to read about your day. 🙂


  2. says:

    Hi Katie,

    My heart was warmed as I read your post about your day. I loved seeing how central prayer is to your life. Then I happened to click on one of the links and see that your have continued to recommend our book, Frog’s Rainy-Day Story and Other Fables. Thank you!

    We have just introduced a new expanded edition, and I’m going to send you a complimentary copy. I’m also going to send you a copy of The Lowly Stable, which my wife, Sarah, illustrated. I hope you and your family enjoy them.

    Did I mention to you that my wife and I used to live in Ipswich? The area where you live is such a beautiful part of the country. We didn’t like the short summers, however.

    I praise God for you, your family, and how he is using you.

    Warm regards,

    Michael J. Dowling


    Creators for Christ



    Creating stories and art that proclaim to the culture the truth, beauty,

    and love of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures and Creation.


    1. Katie Butler says:

      Thank you so much, Michael! And thank you for your heart for leading kids in the Gospel!


  3. Katie Butler says:

    How fun! Thank you, Allacin! I’ll be praying for you as you make these trips. What a blessing; I pray the Lord works through you to bring your grandson to Himself.


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