Our typical “day in the life” with an almost-5 year old

Eek, almost 5 already! We’re just a few short weeks away from celebrating that milestone, and I’m starting to feel like I’ll have a real honest to goodness kindergarten-aged kid on my hands. Time flies!

So, I feel like I’ve covered a lot of what we do for “homeschool” (a term I hesitate to even use at almost-5) in my “plans” post (“plans” also used loosely…we’re pretty relaxed over here). But, I like a lot of what I read when I drop in at Simple Homeschool, and the roundup of “day in the life” blog posts is also fun to read, so I felt the need to reciprocate.

A typical day starts at 6:00 AM when the alarm on my cell phone vibrates, wakes me up enough to nudge my husband out of bed, and I fall back asleep. He’s off to work by about 6:30 and that is unreasonably early to me!

By 7:30 AM I have usually completed an extra sleep cycle and grab my phone to take care of morning emails from under my covers and let my brain slowly wake up. Lily stirs next to me (yes, we have a family bedroom still at almost-5) somewhere around 8:00 AM, closer to 9:00 AM if it was a late night. We cuddle and chat for a while in the morning and then get up out of bed.

I enjoy some coffee while she sits down with cereal or leftover fancy breakfast (like pancakes). As soon as she’s done with breakfast she’s onto some serious play. Some days it’s elaborate setups with her stuffed dogs, other days it’s sitting amidst a great sea of Legos, sometimes she gets crafty with our superfluous supplies, and other days she’s inside a blanket fort reading Biscuit books to her toys.



I feel like free play is so important and she does it so well, most days I hate to interrupt her. I usually do my own work during this time, be it cleaning or stuff for my 3 college classes I’m enrolled in this semester, or sewing or editing photos (two of the jobs I actually get paid to do). But if things hit a lull and we’re both looking for something to do we’ll figure something out!

Some days it’s a few rounds of cards…


Other days we sit down at the kitchen table…


We’ve been casually working our way through the Primer level of Math U See since fall, and she requests to do it often. We pull out Handwriting Without Tears ‘Letters and Numbers for Me’ sometimes too, though her enthusiasm for handwriting has lessened since fall now that she can reliably write all uppercase letters. I’m still waiting for her enthusiasm to return when she realizes that lowercase letters are vital too 🙂

Other times we cuddle up on the couch to read together. She LOVES Biscuit books and can read the “My First I Can Read” ones entirely by herself now. We own a lot of those and she’s about to get a few more for her birthday, plus an adorable Biscuity stuffed animal. On days following library trips we usually take turns with me reading more elaborate picture books; us reading We Both Read books from the K, K-1, or 1 level; or her reading independently something else that she’s found.

So, after playing and/or doing something more homeschool-y, it’s then lunchtime around 12:00 PM and then we usually have plans in the afternoons.

For example, this past week we…

  • Monday: bowling party! Our local homeschool group (a chapter of Illinois H.O.U.S.E.) has monthly parties like bowling, mini golfing, rollerskating, swimming, etc., as well as loads of other regularly reoccurring activities like art classes, Culture Club, park days, nature class, and more. H.O.U.S.E. keeps us pretty busy and seeing a lot of local  great homeschooling families on a regular basis!


  • Tuesday: we ran errands. Up to drop off some sewing projects for a client of mine, down to register her for a 6-week park district horsemanship class as a birthday gift where she’ll get to learn the care and riding of ponies, and to the store for some food we missed on our weekend grocery run. Tuesdays she also has park district gymnastics class in the afternoon.
  • Wednesday: we went to my cousin-in-law’s to get a friendly “how to teach piano” lesson. She teaches lessons, I used to take lessons as a kid, and I want to share that with Lily. My cousin-in-law encouraged me that I am quite capable of teaching at least the beginner level. After that we were off to photograph rescue dogs for the local group I volunteer with. Lily loves meeting the new dogs, and it’s good to kid-test them as well before they head to their foster homes 🙂
  • Thursday: was Culture Club with H.O.U.S.E. This month we studied India and Lily made her presentation by coloring pictures of an elephant, peacock, and tiger, as well as coloring the flag of India. From her first presentation this year she had no hesitation to go stand in front of the group and speak loud and clear; I was so impressed! We all listened to everyone’s presentation, then enjoyed our potluck Indian lunch (and people seemed to enjoy our masala dosa dish more than I thought…wish I’d just stopped at a restaurant instead of cooking from scratch!), and then the kids did a craft (colored mendhi designs on traced hands) while the adults cleaned up.


  • Friday: we had open gym at our local park district. They offer “homeschool open gym” that coincides with their “tot lot” so there are ride-on toys for the 6 and under crowd while the older kids have the option of basketball, pickle ball, or soccer on the turf. Open gym is magnificent for the months that going to the park just isn’t an option. When the weather is milder we spend WAY more time outside! So at open gym the smaller kids sometimes join in with the sports, and the older homeschool kids are amazing and inclusive, and it’s so wonderful to have such a great network of families here.

Honestly, it’s the amazing group of people we have found that will likely keep us homeschooling longer than I could have ever imagined. I’ve known for quite a while that I wanted to do it through at least the early elementary years, and always be reassessing as we go along as to what is best for her, but it’s becoming pretty clear that we have amazing resources here and it would take some pretty big shifts to change things up!

Anyway, Art gets home at 5:30 PM and if we have time in between our afternoon outings and dinner time she’s usually off to play some more at home or we do something together. After dinner we relax indoors since this winter is never-ending, or if we’re not stuck in winter we go for a walk or bike ride or to the park or just spend some time outside chatting with neighbors. Art and her often work on electronic projects together as that’s a big hobby of his, and sometimes she suckers him into doing Snap Circuits with her too 🙂

By around 7:00 or 8:00 PM she unwinds with an episode of something or other that’s age-appropriate on Netflix, and then I cuddle with her in bed until she’s asleep. Wash, rinse, repeat Monday through Friday until it’s finally the weekend and we have loads more family time!


Our life via Instagram as of late

Saturday morning Google Chat with Lily

Lily:  Mom hi mo I love you <3  :-*
Me:  Hi Lily, I love you too!
You are a fun kid.
You can read!
Lily:  You can read too!