Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Homeschool: A Typical Day

While we don't have a daily homeschool schedule, per se, over the years we've worked our way into a routine. We adjust this as necessary, but most days contain these elements. There are some things that we do throughout the week, and tomorrow I'll write about what the full week looks like, with activities and lessons which are not daily ones thrown in. This is a quick rundown of the part of the day that is generally the same.

We do some schoolwork together, and other things my kids do on their own. I aim to get the part in which I am involved done by 3pm, as that is the time we visit our neighbor twice a week, and it also means that we won't get started too late. It is all too easy to stay in bed a bit longer or to keep working on a project instead of getting started with the kids' work. Some days it's worth it to do those things, but mostly I try to follow this routine.

I usually wake up between 7:30 and 8am. I do not use an alarm clock, so this varies. After J leaves for work around 8am, I go downstairs and get a cup of coffee, then sit in bed with the cats for half an hour, checking and responding to messages and taking a glance at Instagram and the news. Sometimes E will wake up during this time, and other times she doesn't wake until I go in and turn off the girls' sound machine and open their blinds at 8:30, or if we've had a late night the night before, 9. Z is my heavy sleeper, and she always needs a bit of prodding to get moving. Once everyone is awake and somewhat upright, the girls will do a few little things on their own, sometimes playing together, sometimes cleaning up their things if they want to have non-educational screen time. During this time, we all grab something to eat, though our days of sitting down together for breakfast are largely over. I use this time to do any tasks that need attention that are computer-based, as well as get laundry started, and if we need groceries, I schedule them to be delivered during this time.

Sometime between 10 and 11am, we get started with schoolwork. E goes first, and Z goes second. While each of them is having their lesson time with me, the other can either listen along or do education apps on old iPhones that they have access to. Z also has the option of doing typing lessons on my computer. With each child, I do two to three readings from literature, history, or science texts.  During the readings, I will incorporate other appropriate materials such as maps or diagrams or manipulatives. We discuss the readings as we go along, and I note things that have piqued the children's interest so we can do further study. I try to answer any questions I can on the spot. Once we've done the readings for literature, history and/or science, we do two chapters from Life of Fred math. Mostly, I do these readings for each girl separately, but from time to time there will be a reading that would be good for both, and I do that at the end. For example, today I read King Lear to both girls once I was done with their individual lessons.

During our lessons, one or all of us often become hungry. We each usually have a drink in the living room with us when we are working, and sometimes I also bring in a light snack. But if we need to stop for something more substantial, we just do it. I also find that I need small breaks between readings to rest my voice (and my brain if there have been lots of questions) a little bit. So we work that in, but not in a structured way, just as needed.

Once each girl has had her turn working with me, they are welcome to pursue other projects or simply to play together. Z must practice her violin, and E is required to do work on one of her reading apps if she hasn't done so while I was teaching Z, but there is no firm time schedule for this; it just needs to be done before we have dinner. At this point, I work on whatever projects I have that need to be done. This might be cooking things to freeze (today I slow roasted more tomatoes to put in the freezer), working on organizing our homeschool meet up or coming up with a craft, or any other thing that needs to be done for our family or for my volunteer commitments. I suppose you could say it's a bit of free time.

Free time is ended either when we have another commitment to attend to, or when it is dinner time. This varies by the day. Most evenings, we eat dinner together, after which we begin the slow march toward bedtime. There are baths at various times for various people, quiet play (which may or may not include something educational), and finally, we read a from a chapter book while the girls get settled into bed. We say prayers together, and if they want, J or I sit in their room with them while they fall asleep. The day is over, and we are ready to rest up for the next one.

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