Monday, January 28, 2013

A PEEK at Our Homeschool Day

If you were to ask pretty much any homeschooling mother (or even father), "What is the most often used comment when people find out you homeschool?" and they will most certainly say, "WOW, You're a busy Mom (or Dad)!" Most of the time I respond, "Well, no, not really." We might just get a bit more done in a day than most because we don't need to rush around and follow a set schedule (though we are very routined). I don't count myself busy so much as blessed to see my children learn & grow 1st hand.

So here is a breakdown for those of you who wonder exactly what do we do as homeschoolers? This is just starting to include more from the 4 year old boys who will soon begin a more intentional "teaching" routine. This is a very good day. Not ALL days look like this, but if the majority could I would be joyous beyond all measure!

  • Children Wake 7-7:30AM: Owen (8) helps get the others (ages 4, 4, 2) dressed and ready for breakfast while I get my morning coffee (winter is tough on me for needing more sleep).
  • Breakfast 8-8:30AM: Mango, Banana, almond Milk, Vanilla Yogurt, Chia Seed Smoothie. I must say, the days we have smoothies/shakes the children are better behaved and aren't begging for more food in an hour.
  • Music 8:30-9:00AM: A half hour to soak, dance, sink, jump to some worship and start he day right. The days I skip this I will pay dearly with often ME having a bad attitude, but the children as well. I often pray, but it's certainly time we all do it together again (se got out of this when we moved).
  • Clean-Up/Set-Up 9-9:30: While I tidy up from breakfast (and sometimes the night before) the younger children can play downstairs for a while.
  • Bible/History & Geography 9:30-10:00 (roughly): Owen does his Bible lesson or as many as he can before the next activity. Today he did Science as well (his favourite).
  • Art/Cooking 10-10:30 (roughly): Because I have two 4 year old boys I am finding that splitting them up to trade off for two activities is best. Today I tried out having Owen lead the "craft". He chose puppets & plates today as I wasn't prepared in advance. He did a craft while I took the other one in the kitchen. We made Quinoa Tots (recipe to follow soon). After the trade, the other boy and I made tomato soup. If they finish early or before i need them, they go off to play for a while. 
  • Language Arts/Clean-Up 10:30-11: In between helping his siblings Owen was able to get in another lesson and help tidy up for lunch. Though today he managed to finish all but his math before lunch.
  • Lunch 11:30-12:00
  • Outdoor Play 12:15-1PM (if I'm lucky in the winter): Today the weather was great! They did very well, though our 2 year old just gets lost in the deep snow. So she helped to make hot chocolate after 15 minutes. The boys climb trees, hunt for our snow covered sleds or build with coloured ice blocks made from another crafts day. I might check emails, blog or prep dinner for those busy evenings.
  • SCHOOL12:45-3:15PM: We do have one child who is not our own and we have to put him in traditional school, so sadly he goes afternoons 3 days a week. Thankfully my husband works a job that allows him to take our boy to pre-school so we don't have to pack up everyone.
  • Story Time 1-1:30PM: Owen is a FABULOUS reader so often each child picks out their favourite book and they curl up on the couch for story time. Owen loves it! He like to cuddle with his siblings but they don't often let him. This way they get that closeness time in.
  • Nap/Quiet Time 1:30-3:30PM (or longer as is today): The "baby" goes down and the other 4 year old either plays quietly in his room or naps himself. During this time Owen finishes any other subjects not yet complete. 
  • Science and Math 1:30-2:00PM: we have modified the math recently because it was more pages than he was able to handle in a day. The actual work wasn't too hard to understand it simply was too many pages (3-6 pages of addition & subtraction can get to be a lot). As a trade we take him shopping so he adds up our groceries as we go along and we see how close he gets at the till. Kind of fun for us both and it keeps me from buying too much!
  • Review/Baking 2-3:00PM: Owen loves to bake or make desserts. Today he is making layered Jell-O cups. We talk about solids, liquids & gas and how one can change to another state (also called phase transition). Science and History is something we both enjoy so i look forward to our future researching. Once that was done (or waiting for the next phase to complete) we go over his workbooks and discuss what he has learned. I ask him questions to make sure he is grasping all that he is reading and learning. Seldom do I have to correct him other than to remind him to be tidy and watch his spelling.
  • Free Play 3:00-4:30PM: Often a time where he can watch a program on Netflix, but once all his brothers are awake or home he is to play creatively with them until it's time to get the supper table ready.
There you have it! It's really not all that complicated so long as I keep this basic routine there is actually a lot of peace in the house. If I try to do too much more or less things go a bit crazy (mostly for me I think). As you can see, my son spends only about 1-2 hours total in his workbooks (days will vary), the rest of the time is hands on learning, leading and helping. We have play dates and soon Owen will be joining the local school children for swimming lessons so we will need to adjust again, but that's a great thing about homeschooling, we can!