Each year, Simple Homeschool (my favorite homeschooling blog) gives readers a chance to share a “day in the life of their homeschool.” This is my post for that linkup.
Since this is a linkup post, I thought it might be good to introduce our crew – Big Girl (8 and in 3rd grade), Man Cub (almost 4 and in my lap most of the time) and Little One (2.5 and “staying little” because everyone needs thumb in their mouth and a 50-year-old dress in her hand). The picture below is from a recent trip to the zoo. We broke the rules and took a pic with the alligator.
No Day Looks the Same
I’ve given up thinking homeschooling is going to look lovely every day and every year. It’s a lifestyle and I really planned on us having a very organized day with bins of things for the toddlers to do. I planned on us having a preschool time a few times a week and a big girl who did almost everything on her own this year.
Yeah, and then life happened. Life always happens. And you have to be prepared to go with it or throw in the towel and send them off to school. I’m pretty stubborn, so I’m going with it.
We have our constants of what we call Monday School (time with a few other students and a tutor) on Mondays, Classical Conversations Community Day on Tuesdays, Bible Study on Wednesday and Thursdays and Fridays at home. I started working a bit again this year and we have a lovely sitter who comes to play and cart the kids around to activities, but life just hits hard sometimes.
You Can’t Force Life to Fit School
And then I realized that I’m better at building school into our life instead of building life around school. We get so much more joy in doing school in the moments where toddlers are fresh from a nap and eating a snack or doing subtraction facts while the big girl jumps rope. Why don’t I remember that this is how we thrive?
It’s because I place expectations on myself that aren’t feasible. Instead of just opening the book and glancing at the lesson to see if I can make it a little more fun, I get bogged down in long library lists and turning everything into a project.
The Day That Works for Us
So, I’m going to give you a day that works for us. I recently made a schedule of what a perfect week for my big girl looks like.
I started writing the morning schedule and the afternoon schedule on the easel. It’s been remarkable that we are getting the things I know need to be done, well, done.
Then, we had some hard stuff hit our family the past few weeks.
I lost a sister and we lost a cousin on my hubby’s side. That’s tough stuff. Like life-changing stuff.
But the thing about kids is that they still have to be fed, loved and occasionally bathed. So, after, all the family celebrations of life (I refuse to look at funerals as the end of a beautiful life. We’re celebrating a person who has just started her perfect walk in eternity.) I was craving normalcy.
But the thing about kids is that they still have to be fed, loved and occasionally bathed.
So, last Friday, we got back to work. I got up about 7:30, read my Bible, drank a cup of coffee and got the stuff out for the day. I made stacks with plans to get as much as work as we could in. Then, I get interrupted by the big girl who is mad at me for not getting her up early enough to pay attention to her. She really needed sleep, so I told her we’d do something for 15 minutes. We chose a drawing project of a mailbox with flowers climbing it.
Then, we met a man cub who wanted chocolate milk. So, I got to work on bacon, eggs and English muffins.
After breakfast, I sent the only child who can dress herself off to do her morning duties. I told her we would be doing Morning Time at 9:30. I set off to dress the year-apart twins. We really get started at 9:54. I think that’s a good start for where we are today.
9:54 a.m. Morning Time
We gathered around our lovely farm table with coffee (Yes, I’m that mom who lets her kids drink coffee flavored milk) and crayons.
I pull out an old staple – The One Year Bible for Children by Gilbert Beers. I put this one down for more age-appropriate Bibles for each of my children. And I’ll tell you. We do better as a one schoolroom family. My littles can pick up on what they pick up and we have time to expand as they get older. This is one of those areas I talked about previously that I overthink. I don’t need coloring sheets and memory verses from the day’s reading. I just need to read and discuss the Bible with my children. I require a narration from my oldest and ask my littles a couple of simple questions such as “Who is talking to God?” I’m amazed as usual at their grasp of material I consider over their heads.
We do better as a one schoolroom family. My littles can pick up on what they pick up and we have time to expand as they get older.
Next, we say a short prayer. Then, we have a seating adjustment. My almost 4-year-old needs to sit in my lap for book time. It’s how I got him to talk and just one of my favorite things about him. The little one is still working on her picture of “Old McDonald’s”.
I read two pages of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner with a man cub on my lap. (He loves the pirate-like language of this poem and books in general).
Then, I read Sir Cumference and All the Kings Tens. I thought the big girl could use a bit of review on place value and didn’t want to do structured math today, so we read this delight of a book. It gave her a chance to narrate and to giggle through some of the names.
Next, we added a little more math into our morning. I read a chapter from Life of Fred Butterflies. I’ve loved this book series, but it comes in spells in our house, so it fits really well in Morning Time.
10:25 a.m. The Wiggles Set In
I had planned on reading a piece in Nature Friend, but the wiggles set in, so I decided to move on to chore time. I assigned each child a little something to do while I loaded the dishwasher.
There’s a lot of running around and I gather the flock back to the table. Except this time, we’re standing to do science.
I use a variety of sources, but I’ve enjoyed some of the experiments in Mudpies to Magnets.
Today, we’re looking at speed at rest with the use of a few grocery sacks and assorted grocery items. I give each toddler a bag with an item and have the big girl write the scientific method on a sheet of paper. We discuss our purpose, our procedure, materials and hypotheses. Then, we spin some bags and record our results. (These are sneaky ways to encourage writing for a reluctant writer.)
This lasts about 30 minutes and the big girl starts asking for more science and the littles want lunch.
I give the big girl a couple of critical thinking worksheets since we didn’t achieve much math, and I believe critical thinking is the one of the best things we’ve done for her education.
Within the next hour or so, we eat lunch and take a little outside break. I clean up the kitchen again (Didn’t I just do this?)
Big Girl does her piano practice and I sit in for some of it. I’m trying to let this be an independent activity, but she gets a little overwhelmed without my presence.
Our babysitter is coming in about an hour so I can work the afternoon on writing a proposal for a new client. She also gets the kids out of the house and takes them to the park and on fun outings.
I tell the big girl she must do phonics and English before she leaves. So, we pull out All About Reading. Today’s a reading day. So, we read a story about a pesky shadow and the man cub and little princess giggle through it. The big girl narrates a little and does a quick activity. Then, we play a little game from First Language Lessons.
1:45 p.m. Out the door
The kids file out the door to go on their grand adventure. I sit down with another cup of tea to work and enjoy some quiet for the first time in several weeks. I think I like routine and a schedule on the easel.
The munchkins show back up just before 6 p.m. and I make a party tray dinner and we watch the new Trolls movie.
It’s been a good day. We needed one of those.
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