Monday, August 24, 2015

A Day in the Homeschooling Life

I am asked often, "How do you do it?" I wrote a post about it a few months ago called, what else but How DO Your Do It?!  Today I answer the questions and tell you quite literally how we do it with a 'Day in the life of' kind of post. Much requested, and I'm finally MAKING myself git'er'dun.
   To start: Alarm goes off at 6am. I actually slept until I heard it this morning, which is rare. Usually my youngest has me up already. Get up and at 'em, and start my day with my playlist on my laptop on the kitchen counter. It's all my favorite worship songs, and gets my head in the right place for the day. 

The next most important thing after that: a cup of home-brewed kombucha. It's always the first thing I put in my stomach. Fantastic for both immune and gut health. 

After that, I munch on a bowl of cashews while I get around to unloading and loading the dishwasher, making Husband his breakfast, and packing his lunch(usually leftovers). Today straining kombucha and getting a new batch brewing was added to the list. Yes, a kombucha tutorial is also much-requested by my readers. One of these days I'll make the time to do it.

While I'm puttering around the kitchen and talking to husband about his day, the kiddos begin waking up and doing whatever the mood strikes them. Thankfully, it's usually something quiet. 

Usually. Sometimes they wake up and announce their presence by hissing and growling ferociously from the top of the stairs, letting us know not only are they awake, but they're a rabid raccoon today.

Somewhere around 7am, we all meander out to the front porch(pets included. No joke. They're always there) to give Daddy our hugs and kisses goodbye.

.... Then we stand there and wave, kids screaming, "BYE DADDY! I LOVE YOU! YOU'RE THE MOST AMAZING DADDY IN THE UNIVERSE! BE SAFE! I LOVE YOOOOOOOOU!" until he's out of sight. Undoubtedly, we are the neighbors an acre over's alarm clock. I'm sure of it.

Once he's gone, I make breakfast for the now-awake remainder of the household. Today it was smoothies. One over-ripe banana, 2 cups frozen mixed fruit, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 cups organic, pure coconut water makes enough for all four of them. Add a handful of almonds to the side of their cup for more protein, and breakfast is ready in less than 5 minutes. 

While they're eating, I get to thinking about the day's meals, and do any prep I need to. Today I put a roaster chicken rubbed with garlic powder, sea salt, and chili powder in the large crock pot on high, then 2 cups pinto beans, 1/2 a chopped onion, chili powder, and cumin, and 6 cups water into the small crock pot on high. They'll be done for a kind of Tex-Mex flavored lunch with cubed cheese(protein for the poultry-allergic one), grapes, and mixed greens sale. 

Everyone was up early today(usually breakfast is at 8, today it was at 7:30), but regardless of the time, the routine after breakfast is the same: Wash hands and faces, brush teeth, get dressed, come downstairs ready to start school. The goal is by 9, but today we started shortly after 8. Look! I took a selfie so you could see that even I get dressed. Well, you know, if you consider layered tees and my fave LuLaRoe leggings dressed. I do. 

We start with math. It's the hardest for my oldest so it takes her the longest, and since I started teaching her first we've just stuck with that. We get it done and out of the way while her mind is fresh, and the rest of the day is smooth sailing. It works well for everyone else, too, so we don't fix what's not broken. 
Start with #1. She likes to work beside the guinea pig cage. I guess Wilbur helps her focus. We go over her work for the day(review of multiplication in horizontal, vertical, and word-problem forms), and I leave her to it. 

#2 gets to work by himself while I'm working with #1, because he's an excellent reader and can get started by himself. I check in with him to make sure his lesson is going well. 

Before I sit down with #3 to do her math lesson, I hunt down #4 and make sure he's not harming himself or anyone else. Just then he was playing in my bed, laughing, and talking to himself about some imaginary adventure in the blankets and pillows. I leave him to it. 

#3 sits quietly at the table waiting for me. Don't you love her "fashions"(what she calls her outfits and accessories)?

We go through her lesson on simple addition, sequential numbers, and the 40's family at the dining room table, then go to the wall in the school room to practice her counting, by 1's, 10's, and families, to 100. 

While the big kids continue their math, #3 and I work through her reading(practicing letters sounds and basic blends) then phonics workbook. At some point during this, #4 meanders out and does a drawing, adds stickers, then asks to play PBS kids on the laptop. Yep, that sure is smoothie on his forehead and shirt. He's a grazer so he was still sipping on his and I don't bother cleaning him up until he's done. 

#1 comes out and needs help clarifying a concept on a word problem, then goes back to her work. #2 comes out and needs his math checked. Done, and I give him his reading assignment. Off he goes to the floor behind the couch with the dog to read, and #3 and I do her history. We learn about the flag, and how many states are in the USA. After that, draws a picture of the flag, then she practices some lower-case s's for penmanship, before reading a quick paragraph with me about fingernails in science, then she's done and off to play PBS Kids with #4.

 I go over reading comprehension questions with #2, then we get to work on his grammar and phonics work. Also, I'm hungry again. A bowl of mixed greens topped with purple onions, crumbled leftover falafel, feta, and drizzled with tzatziki join our ELA work. #2 plugs his nose while he works. 

#1 comes out with completed math, and today everything's correct. HOORAY! She takes a while(today it was 1.75 hours), but she's thorough, heartfelt, and as long as she's focused she does very well. I give her the day's reading assignment(She's working on Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women"), then go through the day's history with #2. By the time #2 is on to penmanship, #1 is moving on to her Language Arts workbook. Before long, I am in the schoolroom breaking up the bickering as #2 bemoans cursive t's and #1 has insulted him by insisting they're "Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy." I got bad with the pictures after this as I played referee between them and tried to help #3 and #4 realize that repeatedly jamming their fingers on the touch screen of the laptop would mean the computer would freak out and NO ONE got their way(compromise-shompromise when you're 2 and 4). #2 finished penmanship so we did his science as #1 did her history reading and wrote in her notebook the answers to the reading comprehension questions. #1 and I review and discuss her history, then she moves on to penmanship as I give #2 his spelling test. 100%!  He's proud, and I'm proud of him. #2 is done for the day and scampers off to build a boys-only fort in his room out of bed sheets, blankets, and the bunk bed. #3 and #4 follow him and do likewise. #1 and I do her science reading together and discuss the various joints of the body after, then I give HER her first spelling test of the year. Out of 25 words, only two wrong. She gets down on herself very easily, because she's a natural-born perfectionist. I try to encourage her that she's AMAZING, pointing out how she spelled much harder words like delightful, disobedience, and Pennsylvania just fine, it's just the easier words(today it was errand and academic) that trip her up because she over-thinks them, expecting them to be much harder than they are. She is her mother's child, to be sure. 

By 11:30am we're done for the day, eat lunch, then run outside to play with the hose on this nearly 100F, stiflingly humid day. Even the puppy partakes! 

Clean and dry clothes followed by 1.5 hours of quiet rest time(the younger ones nap, the older ones or whomever doesn't sleep lay quietly in their beds and read books), and our afternoon is wide open for anything and everything. Today we laid low and played inside, because I was too tired and sweaty for any adventures. The boys pretend to be mummies in their sarcophagus- aka an old box from recycling- and the girls have a birthday party for #3's imaginary friend, Bleh-Bleh, complete with ripped-up paper confetti and a cake made from Styrofoam and colored pencils. Happy 42nd birthday, Bleh-Bleh! Hard to believe you've been around that long. Do you age in months?

That's about it! I'm busy all day. If I'm not teaching, I'm cleaning or doing laundry. Or something. Always something. 

Have any more questions on how we do our homeschool day, how we teach, or our curriculum? Ask away! I know every family is different, and I'm happy to share what works for us. 

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