Homeschool mom confession here: If we were to meet at Starbucks today for coffee, I would probably show up with my hair done and my makeup on. I’m guessing you’d probably do the same.
Subtly, our perfect hair and made up faces would say to each other, “I’ve got it all together.” And maybe even, “My homeschool life is perfect and without any flaws.”
But the truth? I am far from flawless and I live a very imperfect, very real homeschool life.
You’re more than aware of your imperfections; and I’m definitely aware of mine too.
And yet, when do we share this? When does this very real homeschool side come out?
Now I’m not abdicating that we abandon makeup and all hair products in the name of being real. Or that we never clean up our house or make things look tidy.
But can we be authentic with each other? Wouldn’t that be refreshing? Can we be unafraid to disclose our messes and our failures… simply in the name of encouragement?
Let’s Keep Homeschooling Life Real
Today, I want to encourage you by sharing some photos of our real homeschool. It’s not anything fancy or forced–just a few snapshots of what life looks like inside our four walls.
Ready to see a glimpse of real homeschool life looks like in my home?
The Never-Ending Pile of Dishes
The morning starts with doing dishes.
At least, that’s what my kids are supposed to do as their morning chores. Most days they remember. Some days they need a little coaxing, and some days they need a lot of coaxing.
Right now our rhythm is that The Innovator does dishes in the morning (shown here), and Renaissance Man does them in the afternoon. The other kids help out with the dishwasher loading and unloading as needed.
It’s not a perfect set-up (I sometimes have to call them back to re-wash a few things), but oh, it is lovely to not have to do them all myself. And to me, that’s worth having to do a little coaxing (and re-washing).
My Biggest Pet Peeve as Homeschool Mom
In a word: clutter. It drives me insane to see shoes, books and clothes not put away (even though we have designated spots for all of these). It’s bad enough when it mounts up inside my kids rooms, or on a counter, but when I see it in the middle of the floor I just want to go bonkers.
The kids aren’t the only ones guilty of it though…
Yes, this is one of the counters in our kitchen right now. It’s the spot where all the mail (and everyone’s papers, artwork and random toys) gets dumped. Aggghh!
About once every 10 days I end up taking about 45 minutes to tame this beast: sorting mail, throwing away stuff we don’t need and (once again) reminding the kids that this counter isn’t a dumping zone.
I know… I can hear the home organizers saying, “I can send you my list of 10 tips to keep your mail counter clean!” And I would totally love encouragement here.
But honestly? It’s been a low priority to me in this season. So my let-it-pile-up-and-then-clean-it-every-10-days strategy is working for me right now.
What Our Homeschool Really Looks Like
First, let me just say that we are extremely blessed to have a designated homeschool room. I know that it is a luxury and that many of you may not have one.
I don’t think you need one, but boy, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t nice to have one.
The first time we walked through this house we saw this room with its amazing built in shelves and my husband and I said (almost in unison) “…and THIS would be our school room.”
I adore my shelves. They are pretty, pretty, pretty, and oh-so-functional. They may not always be perfectly arranged (it is a working school after all), but it’s the place where we store all our books, and the kids store their schoolwork bins.
Except on the days when they pull out their individual bins in search of a folder… and then leave said bin on the floor (see the two purple bins on the floor?). See? Imperfection abounds everywhere.
Which reminds me (again) to offer grace, because if I focus on the messes and it not being exactly as I want, I will live my life in grouch-mom mode. Which isn’t fun for anyone.
So on those days I look at (the good parts) of my pretty, pretty, pretty shelves… doing my best to be grateful and not grouchy. It will be tidied up… eventually.
Confession: What My Teacher Desk Looks Like
I also am (extremely blessed) to have a teacher desk in our classroom.
After we bought the house, we turned this area of the room from a wet bar into a desk. In a classroom, we figured we’d have more use for a desk than a sink (go figure). Although some days (especially craft days) I think, “hmmm… maybe we should have kept that sink..”
But yes, you can see that my desk is also currently going through an identity crisis. It most desperately needs someone to come in and file old papers. Any volunteers?
Our Real Homeschool In Action
This day the kid and I were working on our sarcophogi (we’re studying Ancient Egypt right now and totally getting into it)! In this picture, they’re painting shoeboxes, and then adding hieroglyphs.
Except for Prince Charming. He’s sitting there with his breakfast, being a stinker and refusing to eat.
Keep in mind that it’s something he happily eats all the time (scrambled eggs).
And keep in mind that this photo was taken about 11:30 a.m. Sigh. Toddlers.
My Two Favorite Signs in Our Schoolroom
I saw this about a year ago and knew instantly that it belonged in our classroom.
I’m always telling my kids to work hard and go for their dreams. To not be afraid to love fully and to take risk. And to expect God to answer in big ways.
This lovely little plaque encapsulates all of this in one lovely little 11 x 17 unmatted photo canvas.
And then there’s my other favorite signage…
Ha! Moms, I dare you to read this without smiling, laughing (or at least smirking). I know you can relate to this one!
I wrote this one day about 2 years ago when I was just about at the end of my rope. At that time, I had three very needy kids (“MOM! I CAN’T FIGURE THIS OUT!!”) who all needed lots of (unnecessary) hand-holding. I also had a brand-new baby at this time.
I’m all for helping kids out, but sometimes it’s clear the real help they need is to learn some self-motivation (and patience).
And so, out of sheer desperation, I made this very unfancy chart and told them to “follow the steps” when they had a question.
Does it work? Eh, most of the time. It was a really helpful reference tool during that specific season (I can’t tell you how many times I had to say “go look at the chart”!).
I still keep it up now because it comes in handy from time-to-time, and honestly, it makes me laugh about how desperate we moms can get sometimes for peace!
My Greatest Treasures as a Homeschooler
Many years ago, a homeschool mom walked me through her house one day and (with a grand flourish) opened up her linen closet to reveal… books. Lots and lots of books.
Honestly, I was kind of unimpressed.
“These are the greatest treasure in our home! Books! Knowledge!” she said excitedly. “These resources are how I get to teach my daughter about all the glorious of God’s creation, and the beauty of following Him!”
While I don’t believe all knowledge comes from books (and I know my friend would agree with this too), I now get what she was saying.
Books. Are. Treasure.
And this shelf of books is what I’d consider our greatest of those treasure because it’s our read-aloud shelf. This is where our beloved family classics sit.
I look at these and I think about the hours and hours spent together snuggled up as a family and savoring these stories. Do you have a treasure chest like this?
Where Our Real Homeschooling Happens
Our backyard is one of our favorite places of our home. It’s 1.5 acres of rolling hills and space to run, climb trees and be free.
It’s the reason why we moved into the country, and why we often drive a little further to places.
And in the afternoons, the light cresting over the mountaintops is just heavenly. A beautiful orange glow sets over everything and it’s simply magical. Bar none, it’s our favorite spot to be from around 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. when the sun sets.
When this picture was taken, I’d just returned from the library with a basket full of new books. So I gathered up the kids (along with a few blankets since there was still a winter chill in the air) and we sat outside reading.
For me, these are the moments when homeschooling is at its sweetest and purest. That day, I wanted to hold all my babies and snuggle them close and never get out of that spot.
What Dinner Looks Like in Our Imperfect Homeschool Life
I realize that this photo makes our meal look rather glamorous. My point in taking it was to say that our meals really aren’t.
But toward the end of the month sometimes I find that we have a little extra of this, and a lot extra of that.
Or there are just days when I want to play around with food and experiment.
This day was a little bit of both.
So, using a new fancy peeler I’d gotten the day before, I turned carrots into thin strips of “pasta noodles” and topped them with kale, roasted garlic, italian sausage, baby tomatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes. Plus a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and lots and lots of basil.
We follow a Paleo diet, so I am always looking for fun ways to make a gluten-, grain-, bean-, dairy- and corn-free diet interesting.
Anyway, this was tonight’s concoction. Tons of extra carrots plus italian sausage that needed to be used up equaled this dish.
Want More Glimpses of Real Homeschool Life?
- Homeschool Day in the Life Vol. 1: Cars, Creation and Chat
- Homeschool Day In the Life Vol. 2: The Day We Ditched It All
- Homeschool Day In the Life Vol. 3: Commitment, Cat in the Hat and Compassion
- Learning Life Lessons: Determination Is Contagious!
- Flappers and a Five-Year-Old: What My Daughter Taught Me About Child-Led Learning