We don’t have very many typical days! My husband, Daniel, and I both study nursing externally full-time. Sometimes we have residential schools or placements, sometimes we have masses of assignments to do, and sometimes we have very little to do. We’ve been living in a caravan since May 2015, fitting in travelling between our nursing requirements (and for our nursing requirements, because we can get sent to lots of different places). Right now we’re in Cairns, during a heat wave in an already hot and humid tropical summer. Therefore we spend far more time that usual inside, worshipping the air-conditioner!
Today, Daniel’s on work placement on the cardiac ward. Gabrielle is 12, Holli and Asha are 10, Rex is 9 and Forrest is 7. We’re fairly eclectic homeschoolers. While we’re child-led and could be considered unschoolers we have a strong family culture of academic work and challenging ourselves, and enjoy many classical-style resources. I call us eclectic classical unschoolers – if you don’t fit into anyone else’s box then make your own!
This day is a Monday. We start our work week on Mondays, and Mondays are usually our heaviest bookwork day, as the children like to get their work out of the way early and have long weekends. Smart kids!
5.30 – My alarm goes off at 5.30 and the husband and I snuggle up for ten minutes or so before the snooze button forces us up. I turn on the oven to bake the sourdough bread I mixed last night, then dress quietly and take my gear outside to start working. Daniel begins getting ready for placement.
7.00 – Daniel leaves for the day, and we do the normal morning tasks of showers, brekky, brushing hair and teeth and cleaning up.
8.00 – The children settle down spontaneously to make their lists for the week. Usually this is done over the weekend, but we were busy. H then moves on to continue the Plate Tectonics MOOC she’s currently doing through Open University, G begins her maths unit on negative numbers, A works on a logic puzzle and R is ‘reading’ his book. Meanwhile, F and I do a reading lesson using Stairway to Reading. H moves onto maths, F to Write for Queensland and maths, and G helps R do maths (it’s all about the numbers right now!).
10.00 – Everyone spontaneously stops around 10am. Holli makes chocolate as a snack. While F, H, A and R play Monopoly G reads about how to capture a wild sourdough culture, and makes a levain (a flour/water mix to catch a wild yeast). We’ve been making sourdough bread for three years with a purchased culture, but she’d like to see what a ‘local’ bread would taste like. When she’s made the levain she decides to make a loaf of bread with our existing culture. Meanwhile, I make muesli bars, do some more cleaning and help out anyone who needs it.
12.00 – We eat lunch. Today, it’s leftover pasta bake from last night. I love leftovers for lunch. I try to make extra for dinner to ensure the next day will be easier.
12.30 – F does the dishes (we have a roster for dishwashing) while I start reading Story of the World. We’re doing the chapter about the fire of London.
1.30 – The kids start on SOTW activities, especially excited about building a model of London then burning it (anything with fire is fun, right?) Meanwhile, I buy solar panels for our caravan. After eight months in it we’re still slowly upgrading and renovating our little home, and i’m especially excited about making free camping more comfortable by having enough power to have a fridge and fans when we’re out bush!
2.00 – The kids have finished up their pyromaniac preparation (they’ll burn them tonight) and disperse again. H makes a few stop-motion films with farm animals, G kneads and shapes the sourdough she began earlier, along with making a stencil to mark it as her bread. F and A begin another game of Monopoly (we don’t have it with us all the time, they found it in the book exchange at our caravan park so they’re making the most of it!) I lend a hand when required while R helps me prepare dinner.
3.00 – G starts science, A does maths, and H reads aloud to the boys (the Faraway Tree series for about the twentieth time). I finish up dinner preparation (yes, it takes that long with constant interruptions!) and help the girls.
3.30 – Dad arrives home! Everyone catches up and chats.
4.00 – G reads aloud to everyone – our current family book is Heidi Grows Up. While listening H and A make paper dolls from a previous chapter of the SOTW Activity book and F does copywork. He LOVES writing (yet isn’t particularly interested in reading independently).
4.30 – I escape outside to work on my website, while everyone else continues reading and crafting, and cooks dinner.
5.00 – We have an early dinner outside.
5.30 – The dishes are done hurriedly and we all escape to the pool! Even though it’s as warm as bathwater it’s still a relief, and great to get outside after being cooped up for much of the day inside.
7.00 – Showers, teeth brushing, and all of the associated getting ready for bed stuff, while I read aloud from Heidi Grows Up. The boys go to bed at 7.30, while the girls go at 8.00, and read. It’s early, but they get up early, and we’ve found it’s necessary for our sanity, as we have our children 24/7.
8.00 – I work on a palliative care MOOC i’m doing, while the husband potters around getting ready for his shift tomorrow.
9.00 – The husband and I go for a walk outside and chat. This is a nightly routine, when we give each other our full attention and get outside into nature.
10.00 – We go to bed, read a little, then go to sleep early, ready to get up early again tomorrow.
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