Monday, October 12, 2015

A day in the life of our homeschool

This year I hope to capture our school days in pictures.  I hope to do this a few times and put the days in a school photobook. I can hardly remember what school looked like last year so I imagine that in 10 years these days will be a blur.  That's a little sad for me.  I want to remember.  So while my photography skills are none existent, and the lighting is terrible I whipped out the camera and began snappin'.  (We put in new windows and still need to finish trimming them out.  We don't have any window coverings up yet.  Oh the glare!) I have told myself that in 10 years I will not care that the photos are not perfect I will just be glad that I have the memories.

I wanted to share these because I know that there are so many of my family who are just plain curious about what it looks to homeschool with 5 kiddos.  It is very busy and loud.  It definitely falls under the category of organized chaos.  It is hard.  It is good.
This is what our day looked like on October 5, 2015.

I start my day by 6:00.  I don't really like to be with people for my first hour.  Since I cannot ask the crew to refrain from speaking until I am fully awake, I am getting up before they all do.  We are all happier when I get up earlier.  The  kids are supposed to stay in their rooms until 7:00 a.m.  Audrey lets the animal out of the cage at 7:00, and the day begins.

This morning we have Dutch Baby Pancakes.  Elise is actually eating breakfast today.  She usually only will eat yogurt.

 After breakfast people are supposed to disburse and find something to do that doesn't annoy anyone else until 8:00.  Shockingly this morning Reuben actually does.  Simon is not supposed to play the piano, but he was so cute singing to his own music this morning I let it go.

At 8:00 I send everyone up stairs to get dressed, brush their teeth, etc.  I clean up the kitchen, get my second cup of coffee and check my to-do list (and my phone-let's be honest.)

Simon needs his second breakfast so I find a left over muffin.  Then he runs upstairs to get in on the fun he hears going on over head.

Elise comes down, and I go back up with her.   I cannot take pictures of her all day in mismatched clothes.  Vanity, I know.
I find Simon is having a great time playing with toothpaste.  Marvelous.  With everyone dressed and ready for the day I throw in a load of laundry, and see that it is 8:45.  I grab Elise's preschool crate. It's time to get started with school. 

We begin with Morning Time.  Our Morning Time consists of songs, hymns, academic memory work, reading, memory verses and prayer.  I use actions for as many of our songs and memory work as possible.  It helps the memory and gets the wiggles out.  Morning Time takes about a half an hour.

After Morning Time Audrey, Jonah and I look over their assignment notebooks, and they each begin history.  We use Veritas Press Online.  It is great.

  While I was helping the big kids with a question the other three got into Elise's crate. I don't even bother to pick it up we just start in on our reading time.

  I sit with Reuben, Elise and Simon on the floor, and we read picture books.  Today Reuben grabs one and starts reading it himself.  SCORE! The neighbor drops off our invitations to her costume party.  The kids are so excited.  I calm them down, and we read a couple books.

Audrey is done with her history, and now she has "Simon Time."  She gets Simon ready to go outside on their morning walk.  As determined as she is I step in to make the process go  more smoothly since he is resisting the idea of a jacket.

And then I warm up my coffee!
Reuben is using Math-U-See.   He beings each week watching the DVD instruction.   He thinks it is great that he gets to watch something like the big kids.

Elise and Jonah start on handwriting.

Rubes ends up back at the table with me working in his math workbook.  He loves math and wants to only do math this morning.  He skips to the problems he finds most interesting.  I remind him to "FOCUS" about 100 times.

Jonah can't handle the noises Reuben makes while learning, and takes his book to the porch.  After that he is back on the computer for his math.  He is using Teaching Textbooks, and that is working really well for him.


After math Reuben works on phonics.   Elise snaps this picture of Reuben reading to me at the end of our time working together for the morning. This is probably one of my favorite times of the day.  I can't think of a better way to learn to read than snuggled up together!
Simon is screaming.  It is 10:00.  Hooray we have made it to our morning break! 

The kids eat apples and play outside.  Simon doesn't like apples.  I take him up stairs with me as I switch the laundry.  Then I warm up my coffee.  Again.

After break it is Jonah's turn to have "Simon Time."  He decides to take Simon and Reuben upstairs to play Legos.  10:30 is Audrey's time work with me on her math and language.  She is using Horizon's for math because having 3 kids using 3 different math programs just sounds more exciting.  I am not sure that I have hit a home run with her with her and a math program, but I am not sure that a perfect "Audrey math program" exists.  It isn't so much that she is struggles to understand; I think she just holds too high expectations for a math book.

 We interrupt this homeschool progress with a bit of Elise drama.  Something has gone awry between her and the Lego brothers.  It can only be solved with Netflix.  I call the boys down.  Jonah begins practicing his piano lesson, the littles watch PBS kids, and Audrey and I continue to on in her Abeka language workbook.

Our morning is on the home stretch.  Jonah and Audrey switch.  Audrey does piano, and Jonah heads back to the computer for the last time to do science.  He uses Switched on Schoolhouse.  This is one of my biggest concessions of the year.   I did not have time to teach him science in the fun, hands-on way that I want to.  In the homeschool world we talk about education lighting the fire of learning as opposed to just filling a bucket of facts.  I might be just filling a bucket this year.  I try to make up for it with "light the fire" field trips. 

Lunch time!  I use lunch time to read to the kids.  It works well since most of the time their mouths are full and not prone to talking.  Simon still inturrupts a lot.  We just have to deal with that.  Today we are reading Mr. Popper's Penguins.  (I read this to Jonah 5 years ago.  We studied penguins, and it was so sweet.  If Reuben needs to learn more about penguins than is in this book we'll have to see if "Wild Kratts" has an episode on penguins-no extra time for Antarctic animals today.  Sad but realistic!)

The older four leave Simon and I to clean up lunch while they run outside until quiet time.  Poor Simon really wanted to go too!  He brings me shoes and yells "I go!" to the kids out side. 

Oh sweet 1:00 I made it to nap time!  Confession:  I lay down too.  I've been up for 7 hours by this point and need to reboot!  Simon, Elise and Reuben all go with me upstairs.  I put Simon in his crib and settle the other two down for individual quiet time.  The big kids stay down stairs get out their drawing and listen to an audiobook. 

The timer goes off.  My rest time is over. The big kids get out their reading. I do more laundry and make sure I have got something ready to make for dinner.

Jonah finds the most interesting positions in which to read.  I don't care as long as it gets the book read. 
Spelling time!  I switch from coffee to green tea and try to get my students back at the table.  I teach both Jonah and Audrey spelling together.  It is working.  Time will tell how well it is working.  We use All About Spelling.  My goal is to get this done before Reuben and Elise come down so I feel like I am in a race.  I am edgy because it always takes longer to get to the table than I think it should.

Spelling is wrapping up and Elise and Reuben immerge.  Reuben and Audreay each work on their handwriting. and I work with Jonah on language.  (Do not ask what we use for language because this post is already too long and it's complicated.  :) ) Elise hangs around waiting for Audrey not so patiently.  I threaten everyone with their life if they get too loud and wake Simon because everyone is getting antsy to be done for the day.

DONE!  2:45 and we are done with 15 minutes to spare.  I shoo everyone outside for 15 minutes to myself before Simon wakes and everyone wants to eat. Again.  All in all it is a good day.  It has flown by like everyone of our days has lately.    Audrey finds her friend and there are at least 5 neighborhood boys in the side yard playing football.  It is time to grab the play-doh and play with the younger three!