Earlier this week, I wrote about our homeschool’s goals for 2017-2018 and how our daily rhythms support them.
Now, I’d like to provide you with a visual chart of our days, so that you can see more clearly how it all fits together. Consider this a “day in the life” post.
Please note that this is an ideal—and not an exact—representation of our days. We do have weekly outside commitments, like our Bible study, that are not all included here and of course, things like playdates and teething babies also force us to shift our schedule at times. Despite that, I hope that this will give you an idea of how we incorporate language learning into all elements of our day—and perhaps give you some inspiration for how you could do so as well!
6-7 AM Quiet Time and/or Sleep
If I’ve woken up less than three times the night before, I’ll get up around 6:00 and spend a half hour reading my Bible, praying, and enjoying my first cup of coffee. I’ll then spend about half an hour reading through Feedly and updating my Twitter feed with the best new articles on homeschooling and language learning.
If the baby has been up more than three times the night before, well, all bets are off.
7-9 AM Café + Libros/Breakfast
My older son comes out of his room at 7:00, and we usually snuggle on the couch for 30 minutes to enjoy “Café + Libros”—our Spanish-language version of Coffee and Books. We’ll usually get through two picture books or a chapter of our Magic Treehouse books before the baby starts squawking for attention. Xavi especially loves this time because he gets his daily tablespoon of coffee. As you can tell, I really am doing my best to immerse him in Latin American culture.
9-10:30 AM Playtime + Chores
While the baby is taking his morning nap, Xavi and I usually play together for 30 minutes or so before doing our daily chores. There are some challenges to living in a small space as a family of four, but getting chores done isn’t one of them! Every time I clean my house, I am grateful for its limited square footage, since I generally need only 15-20 minutes to accomplish my daily “big chores,” such as cleaning the bathroom or the kitchen. Oftentimes, Xavi listens to an Audible book while I do this, but I also pull him into these chores as appropriate. So far, he’s really good at spraying and wiping down counters, scrubbing the kitchen floor (we put down rags and “ice skate” to get it clean), and cleaning crevices with the Dustbuster.
10:30-12:00 PM Outdoor Time
At this point in the morning, I’ve been awake for a few hours and am starting to feel claustrophobic in the house, so we head out. Depending on the weather and the day of the week, we will go to a park, a nature center, or a local Storytime. Our double stroller has repaid its cost ten times over (at least!) with these outings.
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM Lunch + Siesta
Lunch is well, lunch, but I consider nap time to be a cultural experience in and of itself—after all, we’re participating in “siesta culture!” All jokes aside, nap time is non-negotiable in our house. I use that time to read, work on this blog, prep for my Bible studies, and complete any volunteer work that I’ve signed up for. Two days a week, Xavi spends this time in preschool, so it’s just Felix napping at home with me.
3:00 - 6:00 PM Adventure Time
Since this is the longest period of the day when both kids are awake, this is when we do our big adventures: hikes in the forest, trips to downtown DC, and long, lingering visits to the library. I generally plan one “big” outing per week (like a hike) and reserve one afternoon for grocery shopping—for the other three days, we just do whatever sounds good that day.
6:00 - 7:30 PM Dinner + Bed
My husband works long hours, so most nights, I fly solo with the kids for dinner and bedtime. During dinner, we like to listen to classical music and play “conductor”—Xavi and I pretend to conduct the music and Felix gets a good laugh out of it. Listening to classical and chamber music during dinner, especially when I am alone with the boys, helps me feel more like an #awesomeadult and also develops their budding appetites for good art, so win-win! Xavi has become so enamored of Wagner because of our classical dinners that we are actually heading to a (local, free) Wagner concert in a few weeks! I’m pretty sure that we won’t be able to stay for the whole thing, but I do hope that he at least gets to hear “The Ride of the Valkyries” performed live.
After dinner, Xavi picks up his toys and is then allowed to watch one show in Spanish (this month, it’s Octonauts) while I clean up the kitchen. Felix gets his last wiggles out cruising along our furniture at this point. Afterwards, we get pajamas on, brush teeth, and start in on bedtime reading. We read a picture book (Xavi’s choice), read one story from our current Spanish Bible, and finally, pray before going to sleep. The two questions that guide our prayers (which we learned from our pastor in a sermon he preached last year) are these: "What happened today that you would like to thank God for?" and "What do you need God’s help with today?” Once Xavi is down, I take Felix and put him to sleep in our room.
7:30-10:30 PM Cooking + Blogging
After the kids are in bed, I clean up dinner and then start cooking. Ever since I had Xavi and was writing my dissertation, I have used the evenings as cooking time. Back then, I found it impossible to focus on any serious intellectual work after having already spent hours of my day poring over academic research and writing. Nowadays, I’m somewhat less exhausted (at least mentally!), but its still a good time for me to listen to audiobooks and putter around in the kitchen. I generally cook three nights a week, six meals at a time. Since we have some serious food allergies between Felix and myself, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen making meals from scratch. Although this can be intense sometimes, I love it, because it frees up our days and lets us spend the maximum amount of time outdoors, since we never have to be back home to cook dinner—it’s already prepared.
I also use the nighttime to read and work on administrative tasks related to the blog (like social media scheduling and e-mail). My husband comes home late (some nights at 8 PM, some nights at 2 AM…), so whenever he arrives (although not at 2 AM), we check in and try to spend at least 15 minutes together rehashing the day. Most of our “together time” is on the weekends, though.