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A Day in our Homeschooling Life: 7-year-old, 10-year-old, 11-year-old, and a 15-year-old nephew
Breakfast and Before:
A typical day for me starts anywhere from 7am-8am. I try to get up, showered, and dressed at least an hour before the kids get up. Sometimes it actually works. I head downstairs to make coffee, and while it is brewing I open the drapes, unload the dishwasher, and straighten up a little. After I have my cup of necessity and cream beside me, I settle in for my daily devotions. Right now I’m reading through The Love Dare Day by Day: A Year of Devotions for Couples on my phone. (I love the app version because the Bible passages are linked right in with the reading.) This is my daily reminder to be a more loving person, not just to my spouse, but to everyone. Great book. About the time I’m finished with my quiet time, I hear Lemony pattering into the kitchen. After some snuggles, she goes back upstairs to get her brother and sister, and they all get dressed and eat breakfast. I head back upstairs to put in a load of laundry and begin the long process of getting my 15-year-old nephew out of bed. I head back downstairs, get a little breakfast for myself, and wrangle the kids to the table to start school. To use my step-dad’s favorite expression, it’s like herding cats.
Pre-Lunch School Time:
We start with Bible time, copy work, and then our read-alouds. We are using Trail Guide to Learning, Paths of Exploration which we love. (See this post.) This week, I’ve started a new sequence to keep the doers and the dawdlers on the same page in group work. (The picture below, sans Beanie, tells the whole story–someone is always in the bathroom around here!)
We do our Bible time together, and then we used to start on copywork and memory verse writing just after. But, with bathroom breaks and other dawdly type nonsense, the doers were sitting around getting antsy, and the dawdlers were, well, still in the bathroom. So, now we go straight from our Bible time to our read-alouds, which we take turns reading. After that, we launch into our word study, vocabulary, and/or reflective writing assignments. Lemony, my 2nd-ish grader, does abridged versions of these assignments, but she also works in her Abeka workbooks–Letters and Sounds and Language 2–daily. I let the kids finish this work while I list any pre-lunch assignments on the board, such as copywork, spelling, memory verses, and math:
Once each child is finished with those assignments, they are free for lunch. And here’s where the new sequence is working brilliantly: the doers can eat lunch then play in the basement until a certain time and the dawdlers either have to buckle-down and finish or forego any playtime. (This is not a situation where a child is struggling or frustrated. Just dawdling, dreaming, etc.) I use this time to use the computer, make some calls, start dinner/think about starting dinner, switch out the laundry, and/or make bread.
Dawdler strikes again. Notice the doers doing and the dawdler, well…? ;o)
Somewhere during all this time, the teen emerges from his bat-cave, showers, eats breakfast, meanders a bit, and starts on his work. I have the same basic schedule lined up for him each day, each week. He seems to do well with a concrete plan. Bible study, MathUSee Algebra I, Biology via ACE, grammar on M/W/F, writing and reading assignments to work towards his term paper on T/TH, 20th century history readings and summarization, and hopefully soon, Spanish. He will ask questions when he needs direction or information, and we usually do the math together. But for the most part, he is autonomous. It’s a beautiful thing. (It hasn’t always worked this well, but I am thankful that we finally found a schedule and curriculum that works for him.) He breaks for lunch when he’s hungry, and grazes the rest of the time.
Post-Lunch School Time:
This when we get back together to do another round of group learning from Trail Guide–geography, science, art, etc. When this is completed, the girls and I have tea and all three do their personal reading and update their book logs. This is typically when I find the teen chuckling somewhere, iPhone in hand, YouTube open and redirect him to the less amusing world of grammar or history or biology. Then the kids do their personal reading while I straighten up the kitchen, then we start putting away the school stuff. The kids have some free time until 3:30-ish.
It’s now chore time. I’m going to admit something: I pay my children to clean the house. This is more than the usual “pick up your room” stuff. On Mondays and Fridays, we deep clean the downstairs. Each child has a room to clean, dust, vacuum/mop, then they all converge on the powder room, hall, and stairs. (I always keep the kitchen as my chore room.) On Wednesdays, we clean the upstairs, including the bathrooms. Since I’m paying for their services, I am very, very picky. ;oP
Here’s the powder room checklist that I posted on the back of cabinet door as an example:
(Yes, I realize that there isn’t a tub in the powder room, and yes, it bugs me that my sign clearly suggests a tub. And yes, I thought about taking it down and, retyping it before I took this picture. No, I am not quite that nuts, but close.) This is a total win-win. My house is clean! The kids have their own money to spend at the store! I didn’t have to do it all! My house is clean! (Sorry, said that already, didn’t I?) I hope this is teaching the kids how to keep house and learn the most important fact: the house doesn’t clean itself. They are proud of the job they are doing–I can tell that by the way they bounce up and down and beg me to come “inspect” their work while they grin from ear-to-ear. They are also taking greater care of the house in between cleanings.
Now it is time to get dinner started and wind down our day. Whew. I’m kinda tired…in a good way!