A Day in the Life- Happy Hearts Homeschool (ages 18, 16, & 11)

A little background first- We are currently living the expat life in Lima, Peru. It’s not very glamorous, but it is interesting (although it may not seem very interesting based on this post, but right now the kids and I are stranded at home during the day while my husband is at work, so most days we just hang at home all day and we do our grocery shopping at night together as a family, and we get out on the weekends for sight seeing and such.) It’s like a long, glorified camping trip! No, really, that’s what it’s like.


Darcie, me (the mom), Marissa and Marcus

This morning I was up and going by 7am because that is when my hubby got up for work. I spent the following hour in personal scripture study and exercising to one of my work-out dvds. Today’s choice was two 10-minute dance routines. I love this me-time. It’s the perfect way to start my day. 

Meanwhile, my 18-year old daughter, Darcie, was getting ready for her day at Westfalia orphanage. She’s been volunteering there twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, and you can see her pictures and read all about her experiences at her blog.

Also meanwhile, my 16-year old daughter and my 11-year old son got up on their own and started reading. They both love to read so it’s no wonder that’s how they start (and end) their day. Marcus has been dutifully reading his scriptures first thing, before he dives into his latest book.


Our breakfast routine varies. Some mornings the four of us eat together. Other times only Marissa and Marcus eat together while I’m working out and Darcie is sleeping in. It just depends on the day. Today I found Darcie downstairs in the kitchen with two other youth from our church. They were packing up sack lunches and grabbing water bottles. Soon after, they all left in a taxi. (Marissa will join them on Friday. She wanted to focus on school work today.) I sat down with my other two at our dining table, all of us thrilled to be eating Rice Krispies. Oh the little things expats get excited about!

DSCN0308  These little beauties cost us a small fortune ($10 a box!!) and are a rare find here so this is a treat for us.

After breakfast, Marissa retreats to her bedroom where she studies and watches her online classes. Both she and Marcus are distance students with the one-of-a-kind Liahona Academy. This is Marissa’s third year with Liahona, but Marcus’ very first. He is in their youngest distance class, Liahona Junior, made up of 5th and 6th graders from all over the U.S. and at least three other countries (I know there is a student in Italy and another in Germany). They have a class blog if you’d like to check it out. 

I finally take my shower and dress for the day. Today my shower started out hot, but quickly turned a chilly cold, so it was a quick shower. Told you. Camping trip. While this was going on, Marcus was supposed to be straightening up his room, making his bed, and putting his toys and gadgets away. Today’s a day the maid comes to clean our house, and I never want her to do for my kids what they can do for themselves. So, she doesn’t make our beds or put away our laundry, and we don’t pile up dishes from the night before and leave them for her. She has enough dishes to hand wash at her own house (no one here has automatic dishwashers).  

As I run a comb through my damp hair, I start loading Marcus’ online videos from yesterday. Marissa can watch her Liahona videos either live or recorded, but Marcus only gets the recorded option. So we are always one day (or more) behind. But it all works out because Liahona doesn’t have school on Fridays, which means we have Mondays to catch up.

I start a load of laundry going. Our laundry room is outside, behind our kitchen, which is fun (not).

DSCN0274Before summer time hit Lima (in December), Marcus and I often watched his videos together on the family room couch, but it’s so hot and muggy right now that we prefer to sit on my bed in the only air-conditioned room of our house. Marcus has four online classes: Reading, English, History and Science, in that order. He has four notebooks, one for each class, and I make him take short notes on each class, giving one page to each day. He also takes his quizzes in his notebooks, and keeps test-notes in them as well. In the middle of Marcus’ History video, our maid arrives. I let her in and as we chat for a bit, I check on the laundry and keep it going.

100_4808  100_4751100_5119100_4741


We squeeze math in at some point, sometimes before we start watching the videos, sometimes after. We use the Learn Math Fast System for math. I think it’s a great math program. We don’t spend a lot of time on math because Marcus picks it up fast. I do make sure he’s mastered one skill before we move onto the next.

Today we break for lunch around 12:30 or 1pm. Marissa opts to eat her lunch in her room so she can keep at it with her classes, but on other days she joins us at the table. Our maid eats with us, too and this is our down-time where we just relax for a bit. After lunch, Marcus and I usually read together. Currently we are reading Warriors Into the Wild, by Erin Hunter. It’s about warrior cats.

The cover of Into the Wild.

After our read-together time, Marcus may jump back into an assignment or tackle a science experiment, or he may get back to his personal reading or whatever catches his interest.  Throughout the day, I often end up retrieving laundry and folding it, taking Marissa a snack of apple slices, checking on the maid to make sure she’s drinking enough water and staying hydrated, and just chatting with her because she’s also my friend (she asked for this job to help her family earn more money). And when she’s ready to head home, Marcus and I sometimes walk her to her bus stop. Today she heads out around 4pm which is around the time Darcie makes it back from Westfalia.

On Fridays my maid brings her four boys over to play with Marcus and on those days we do what we can ’til they come over late morning and then we pick up after they’ve left, or just catch up on Monday. It’s summer time here so the local kids are out of school ’til March. I figure his play time with them is good Spanish practice anyway.

Between 6 and 7pm we eat dinner together as a family, and then we unwind the rest of the night, sometimes watching a movie together, and trying to end our day in family scripture study and prayer. We are all habitual night-owls, and some of us are trying to reform ourselves, but it’s a work in progress. Electronics have to be off by 9 so that only reading and journals are allowed after that. 

And, that, more or less, is a typical homeschooling day at Happy Hearts.

12 thoughts on “A Day in the Life- Happy Hearts Homeschool (ages 18, 16, & 11)

  1. A really nice day! I LOVE that pic of your son with that “jungle” he created. I showed it to my girls and they were super impressed, and are already getting ideas to make their own creation. 🙂


    1. hicamie

      That’s one of my favorite projects, too. His assignment was to choose a habitat and find out which animals live there. I hope your girls have fun, and thanks for reading my post and leaving a comment.


    1. hicamie

      Yes, it certainly is different. Sometimes I really miss my kids being little. I loved that stage of mommyhood, but there is joy in every stage of being a mother, and just because my kids are distance-learners now, with other teachers they are accountable to (something we did not start off doing as part of our homeschooling, but were led to), doesn’t mean I take a back seat, at least not with my son. I watch the videos with him and direct his assignments, and we are really enjoying the experience together. I thought I’d dislike sharing him with another teacher, but she is so wonderful, someone I’d be friends with, and we make a great team. Thanks for your comment.


  2. We used to live in East Timor as lay missionaries before moving back home to the Philippines. 🙂 I can totally relate to “spending fortunes” on stuff from home! 🙂 Also, our laundry area and cooking area are also at the back of our home now – quite common for us here in the Philippines! Teehee! 🙂 God bless you and your family, and stay safe!


    1. hicamie

      It’s nice when others can relate! My dad lives in the Philippines and when we Skype we end up comparing our lives, which actually have a lot in common right now. He only recently bought his family their first oven, imported from Canada. I told him my oven here can’t even fit a pot roast! It’s only casserole size. Thanks for your comment.


  3. What an opportunity for your children – such a different kind of life over there! Your homeschool sounds like it has a very pleasant rhythm 🙂
    I know what you mean about the Rice Krispies. I lived in Spain for a year and used to get very excited about Heinz baked beans and proper English tea when I could get them!


    1. hicamie

      We do have a pleasant rhythm, mostly because my son and I are a unit with his formal education and my daughters both govern themselves, and our days together are in sync. It’s pretty calm around here, especially the way we have to live here in Peru. Thanks for your comment.


    1. hicamie

      It is a wonderful adventure, although there are things I miss, like being able to hop in my Tahoe and drive myself and my kids to the library or grocery store anytime we feel like it. Right now our life seems a bit mundane since we are stranded at home while my husband is at work, unless we schedule a taxi to pick us up and take us somewhere, and that requires bravery on my part since my Spanish is a work in progress and Lima is a big city (and I’m a country girl). Thanks for your comment!


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