The Art of Juggling or, A Homeschooling WAHM’s Schedule

A Homeschooling WAHM's Schedule

Considering I’m rather inept when it comes to juggling, or really much of anything that involves too much hand-eye coordination, sometimes I impress myself when I look back and see what I manage to accomplish in a single day. And before you roll your eyes at me, I’m not trying to brag or make myself sound like supermom. I’m simply a parent.

Whether you’re a parent who works full-time outside of the home, full-time in the home, part-time worker, or a stay-at-home parent, you’re working your ass off pretty much every hour of every day, and that makes you awesome. When I say that sometimes I’m impressed by what I accomplish, I mean that the pre-family me would have never of pictured me doing what I do today.

In a single day, I manage to homeschool my preschooler, work a full-time job from home, assist my husband in managing a farm, study for my doula classes, grow a baby (due October 2015), make healthy meals from scratch, somehow find time to read, and occasionally get a shower. For someone that’s as scatter brained and unorganized as I tend to be, all of that’s quite an accomplishment.

My days only flow well if I stick with a daily rhythm with the kids, while also sticking with a fairly rigorous work schedule for myself. They also only work well if my husband and I work together as a team. Some days I don’t get much sleep, or the house doesn’t look perfect, but I do manage to get all of my work done and at least some school work done with my son.

Without further ado, here’s what my typical day looks like:

7am – 8am: I almost always wake up at this time. Now, a lot of bloggers mention that first thing in the morning is their personal time that they like to spend journaling, reading their religious texts, or what have you. Honestly, I would love to be one of those people. I would love to be able to wake up at the crack of dawn, do some yoga while sipping jasmine tea, then work on my Book of Shadows while my whole family sleeps peacefully. Sadly, I’m not one of those people. I hate mornings. On a typical day, I’ll lie in bed and think about how I should be getting out of bed, but I usually just roll back over and try to daydream about Jason Momoa some more before my kids wake me up with farting and giggling.

8am – 9am: Kids are awake. My husband’s has been awake for a while, so when the kiddos and I come out from the bedroom, he usually gets breakfast started while I work on getting the kids and I dressed and ready for the day. This includes making beds, changing diapers/using the potty, hygiene, etc. By the time we’re done, Viking Man usually has omelets or oatmeal ready, depending on what we have in stock. We sit, eat, clean the kitchen (the kids help), then work on getting ready to go outside. If we need laundry washed, Viking Man almost always has it started already by the time I’m up. If he doesn’t, then I’ll get it going before breakfast. In the wee hours of the morning is when Viking Man gets his freelance work done. I think he usually wakes up at 5:30 or 6, but I’m never up that early, so I can’t guarantee that one for ya.

9am – 11am: This is the time we spend doing nature walks and farm work. If the weather is nice, I’ll line dry our laundry. We try to only do laundry on nice days in order to keep our energy bill low by not needing to use the dryer. We live on roughly 70 acres with a bunch of horses and enough wild berries and greens to feed an entire troupe of foragers. Right now we have been busy making garden preparations, cleaning up fence line, pruning trees, and lots and lots of foraging.

11am -12pm: We all go back to the house to prep lunch. While I make lunch, the kiddos usually watch an educational program that we recorded on the DVR while we were outside. Their current favorite is “Little Einsteins”. I usually make lunch with dinner leftovers, or we’ll have something simple like sandwiches. While I’m making lunch, Viking Man checks his work email (he works as a Russian translator on the side) and will check my work email if I’m expecting anything important. The kids’ show usually takes about 30 minutes, so I try to time lunch to be finished when their show is done. We’ll sit, eat, talk and laugh, then clean up the kitchen.

12pm – 2pm: The kiddos get prepped for naps. They have to put any toys that they may have gotten out away before nap time. We usually do a story time before they lie down, typically something from Gerald McDermott or Dr. Seuss. Once they’ve had their faces washed, nap clothes put on, and story read, they’ll all lie down with Viking Man for a nap. Little a is going through this phase in which she has to have either Viking Man or I lying down with her in order for her to go to sleep, so he usually does it so I can get some work done.

12:30pm – 3:30pm: After I’ve done story time with the kids, I leave them with the hubs so I can get to work. I start off the work day by checking my email, updating Facebook posts (which automatically sync to Twitter), and going through any blog comments that I might have. Then, I move on to doing whatever pressing freelance work I might have. I work as a ghostwriter, content writer, blogger, and medical (pharmacology) writer. I’ll also squeeze in during this time some research that I might have to do for an upcoming project.

3:30pm – 4:30pm: The kids and Viking Man usually only sleep until 2 or 2:30, so while I’ve been finishing up work, Viking Man has been changing diapers, giving out snacks, doing some school work with the kids (he and I split up the school work to help share the load – he handles Russian and some of their math studies, while I do the other stuff). Once I’m done with work at around 3:30, we’ll all head out for a walk. Toys must be put away before we go on our walk. Our mailbox is a ¼ of a mile from our house, so we’ll usually make a trip to the mailbox and back during this time. We also usually check fences while we’re out doing this, since the trail to the mailbox consists of a good portion of our horse pasture.

4:30pm – 5:15pm: I work with Big A on some of his school work while Viking Man and Little a do a bit of housework or watch a show (both of them are Trekkies, so they get some good father-daughter bonding time with Captain Picard). Big A and I work on sight words and other language arts projects applicable for a preschooler. We’ll also squeeze in an arts and crafts project, which Little a usually participates in.

5:15pm – 6pm: Viking Man goes out to do the evening feeding chores while the kids watch an educational program (usually Jack and the Neverland Pirates or Dora the Explorer) while I cook dinner. When Viking Man gets back in, we sit and eat, then clean up the kitchen (the kids help).

6pm – 7:30pm: This is our chill-out time. We’ll watch some television, read books, or just hang out. If the kids are distracted enough, sometimes Viking Man and I try to sneak off for some alone time, but they usually notice and foil our plans. Regardless, we try to have some quiet time before bed so that everyone can hang out without having to rush to get some farm work, school work, or any other kind of “work” done.

7:30pm – 8pm: Bed prep time. We don’t all bathe every day. Most weeks we only bathe 2 or 3 times that entire week. Some of you might find that gross, but if you wipe down the appropriate areas, you really don’t need to bathe daily, unless you’re just getting filthy. Viking Man probably bathes more than the kids and I do, because he does more work with the horses, but he still doesn’t bathe every day. Also, the kids and I are Latin, so washing our hair every day is a major no-no, or it’ll dry out really bad. Once everyone is dressed in pajamas and basic hygiene has been performed, we’ll all lie in bed and read a story. It is mandatory in our house that the kids have their toys picked up and put away before they go to bed, so if that hasn’t been done, they need to get it finished before lights out. Viking Man will usually lie down with the kids until they fall asleep, but sometimes, he dozes off, too. If he manages to stay away, he’ll get up and catch up on Doctor Who while I work, or he’ll work on a translation project he might have lined up.

8pm – 12am: This is when I get the bulk of my work done. I’ll finish up my freelance projects, work on my blog, get whatever research completed that I need to do, send out emails, etc. I try to get every bit of my work that involves social media done in the earlier half of my work day so that I can focus on writing late at night, but that doesn’t always work out. My work rarely involves me having to make phone calls, so it doesn’t hurt me any to do the bulk of my work late at night. Most nights I can be finished by midnight, but if I have a major project due soon, I’ll stay up until 2am sometimes. I’ll also wash diapers while I’m working and will hang them up on the drying rack right before I go to bed. They’re usually completely dry by the time Viking Man is up in the morning. If I have some doula studies I need to do, I’ll try to get them done during this time, too.

12am, 1am, or 2am: Before bed, I’ll check over things and make sure nothing needs to be folded or wiped down before the morning. Viking Man is pretty good about helping keep the house clean, so I usually don’t have to worry about anything. I do my part to be a good Cuban and have my midnight snack, then I’m off to bed. If I’m not completely tired, I’ll read for a little bit before going to sleep, but I’m usually too exhausted for late night reading. If I feel up to reading, I’m usually reading a book that is required for my doula training.

All-in-all, I work roughly 7 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. Viking Man and I tag team with homeschooling, but our kids receive around 1 ½ to 2 hours of homeschool work about 4 days a week. We count a lot of the things they do on the farm as some of their school work, but Big A (our only school-aged one at this time) does do sheet work and manipulative work around an hour each day. He and Little a both receive instruction in Spanish and Russian, while English (and Spanglish) is used in our day-to-day speaking. I’m not sure how much time Viking Man spends entirely on his freelance work. I would say he spends roughly 2-3 hours a day for about 4 days a week. Most of his job is focusing on farm work and helping me with the kiddos, but the extra income he brings in is certainly very nice to have.

I’ll post a future article that details what the kids’ homeschool schedules look like, but I wanted this article to show what my schedule as a WAHM looks like. Since Big A is a young preschooler (he’s 3 ½ years old), we try to focus more on independent learning, with a bit of sheet work here and there for practicing patience and all that other boring stuff…

We definitely don’t have everything perfectly organized. Our house isn’t always immaculate, but it’s usually fairly clean. I know that our situation, having both parents at home, would not be ideal for all families, but it works pretty well for us. Both my husband and I have the luxury of working jobs that are easily performed entirely from home, while also being able to be with our children all day. Some days, it drives me crazy being around my loud little bunch 24/7, but when I look back, I’m eternally grateful for this time and the luxuries I have been afforded.

What does your day look like?