A few days ago I was asked what a typical day or week looks like for us, with our two early elementary students plus a preschooler. At the same time, the kind folks over at Simple Homeschool have invited links to Your Homeschool Day in the Life. So, here we go — let’s document today!
Monday. The school bus just sped by our house. It is 7:12a.m. and every weekday it is with that low, thundering rumble that we wake up. This is when our preschooler typically stumbles down the hall asking what that noise was all about. Exactly. DearHubby jumps into the shower to start his routine. There is shaving and dressing and the first few kisses goodbye.
MissSassafras stirs from her room a few minutes later, usually no later than 7:30. She makes a beeline down the stairs for a cup of water, and gives another hug to her dad, then twirls over to her cafe table in the family room. From there she will make some amazing creation of play-doh & buttons, or perhaps some found objects are assemblaged. I am envious of her sparkling creativity so early in the day.
Hubby then releases TheHound to the backyard where our pup sets off for her day of deer-patrol and napping duties. It is now 7:34 and the second school bus zooms by for the elementary students. Thus, YoungMerlin finally stumbles into our room, looking a tad rumpled and disheveled as he curls up in our bed. Sometimes he even manages to get a five minute snuggle before I wrangle him down the stairs for breakfast.
The kids are now in the family room and the TV turns on to PBS for some Electric Company action. Toast is made, Cheerios are poured, bananas are peeled, Greek yogurt opened, coffee brewed, sometimes an egg or two are thrown into the mix. (Needless to say, our attempt at gluten-free hasn’t made it into a routine yet. We’re slowly warming up to it.) While the kids enjoy breakfast and a show, curtains are opened and cats are fed. First cup of coffee is being consumed. It is now 8a.m.
On this Monday morning, MissSassafras goes up to take a shower and the boys play with a remote control car while I sit at the breakfast table and stare out the window, finish my yogurt, check emails, type this note, drink more coffee. Our shepherd is barking at deer, so I go out onto the frozen deck to play fetch for a few minutes, then go inside to wash slobber off my hands.
8:20a.m. We come together in the sun-filled living room, do some stretches and simple breathing exercises. Both violins come out, the music stand is filled. Beside us in the hallway, Grasshopper plays marble-race (thanks, Granda!) Scales, more scales. Sibling bickering and elbow jabs last about 45 seconds until I give the hairy eyeball. Then… Allegro, Perpetual Motion, May Song, Long Long Ago, Swallowtail Jig, Lightly Row, Song of the Wind, Ode to Joy. Then there are some rhythm clapping exercises. A YouTube video is viewed which shows a violinist playing Allegro, and the kids practice it a few more times.
9a.m. I turn on some soft classical music in the background and the breakfast table suddenly transforms into the homeschool table. As they get settled, I read aloud from the iPad at History.com for a brief history on Valentine’s Day.
Grasshopper breaks out his magnet toy while the older kids open their FlashKids workbook for independent work — two pages each from reading skills, spelling, math, language arts, writing. The magnet toy keeps Grasshopper’s interest for only a few minutes today, so I hang out nearby with Grasshopper and we play around with Chinese checkers. I occasionally move back to the table to help answer questions or check work. Dictionary skills are a new challenge right now, so that takes some extra guidance. It usually takes about an hour to complete their pages, but at this point YoungMerlin hasn’t started his language arts or writing pages yet, so he knows those will need to be completed this afternoon.
10:35a.m. They put away their workbooks. Our muddy pup comes inside for a rub and to take a warm nap. Some multiplication memory songs are sung together (numbers 3-7). Then we move to the white board to focus on one set. We read a chapter from Life of Fred elementary series for some math silliness. Grasshopper has wandered off with his rediscovered Spiderman toy.
10:50a.m. Everyone bundles up in coats & hats and the kids run to mailbox in search of Netflix or letters from Nana. They run around the yard — from what I can tell there is an international super-spy who is hunting a garden fairy. There is lots of high pitched shrieking, mixed with secret codes spoken into some invisible communication device hidden on our spy’s wrist. Bikes suddenly emerge from the garage, with quick laps out front on the road. (Didn’t know fairies could ride so fast.) Cheeks are suddenly flushed bright pink. There is snot.
We go inside to thaw out. There are apples w/peanut butter plus tiny brownies complete with om-nom-nom noises while I read from our library book. I think I have an awesome fake British accent. The children seem to disagree, seeing as they keep giggling along with the story. They start making a valentine for their dad as I read.
Noon. We release TheHound again to find a sunny corner on the back deck. Dog biscuits and chew toys are provided. We move to the family room for a quick game of Prof. Noggin’s card game before lunch. But one kid wants Countries of the World, the other wants the Science deck, the little guy just wants to be in charge of rolling the dice. I tell them to Rochambeau for it and they just stare at me. Oh my. This quickly leads to an impromptu lesson in Rock-Paper-Scissors. This lasts much longer than expected. But there is lots of jumping up and down and laughter as they go through at least ten rounds of this classic, nay, ancient, hand game. And then I throw in a curveball — I add in dynamite as a fourth option of ammunition. Like, woah. Next time, I’ll add in Spock and lizard signs and really freak them out. We then discuss coin tosses and the drawing of straws, and have a discussion about the dealio of making a deal and living with the consequences and final outcome of a game of chance. Ultimately, I warned them not to let a game of rock-paper-scissors decide your fate on anything too major. Stick to the basics, like deciding who will pick tonight’s movie, or who will vacuum the floor. A whole new world suddenly opened up for them! OK, finally we move into a condensed game with the Countries of the World card deck. There is a pretend buzzer, and I get to be the gameshow host, so it’s a win-win.
1p.m. Lunch prep begins as they sit at the coffee table making little hearts and pinch pots out of air-dry clay. I prep some quick muffin-tin-meals. The TV turns on as lunch is enjoyed in front of a new Readeez DVD. I bought it for Grasshopper, but the older kids laugh along too. Big fans.
1:45p.m. We return to the table so YoungMerlin can resume his two language arts + two writing pages, with plenty of support. There are delay tactics, some window gazing, a bathroom break, a sip of water… but eventually he gets it done. MissSassafras sits beside us doing her addition Wrap-Ups keys, then she starts doodling in her journal. Grasshopper gets some belly tickles and then plays with his fridge magnet shapes.
2:30p.m. Spelling Power. Test new words, memory/practice exercises, review. It moves super fast. Hurray! Then we read a few passages of French, share a basic conversation about how we are doing and what we like to eat, and this is followed by a quick French vocab review together on the iPad.
3p.m. Free play. We went waaaay long today. But it was a good day and we were on a roll. So now… Hang out until their dad gets home. After they straighten up their rooms, Legos are built, a puzzle is put together, one kid yells at the other to turn down their music, pictures are colored with pastels. And of course, I go about with the laundry, cleanup, checking of email, taking a shower, writing more of this post. I’m getting zonked of all energy now, so I caffeinate.
5:30-6:20p.m. Hubby arrives home a bit early at 5:20. Dinner prep begins, then a family meal is enjoyed at the dining room table.
6:30-7:30p.m. Kids all pile together in our bed with their dad and watch some of the Cars movie while I use the computer and we finish tackling the laundry. We all play a cheesy fun fishing game to close out the evening.
The kids enjoy their new Ology books that we gave them early for Valentine’s Day. I love these amazing books, we now have quite the collection! I highly recommend them.
7:30-7:45p.m. Bedtime routine is typically around 7:30-7:45 each night. Teeth brushed, hamsters fed, potty, handwashing, pjs, hugs & kisses, someone has a question, or needs to get one more thing from downstairs, then a few more hugs. Time’s up, folks. Grasshopper falls asleep pretty quickly after we turn on his nightlight and white noise machine. The older kids get to read or play quietly in their own rooms until around 9p.m. (MissSassafras) and 10p.m. (YoungMerlin) — this is quiet chill time in their rooms before bed. Some Nintendo-DS is consumed on some nights, and there are major Lego builds on others. They enjoy their own music quietly. Sometimes books are read or written, or stop-action films made, or artistic masterpieces created. The kids are typically very creative during this time at night in their own spaces.
So, Hubby and I consider 7:30-11pm+ to be our sacred time. We like consistency. The kids seem to thrive on it although every day is a bit different. And each season has its own rhythm — in the spring-summer it will change up quite a bit with more group classes and outdoors time.
Tomorrow, (Tuesday) we have lunch plans in town with their grandparents, followed by our weekly hour-long violin lesson with the music teacher. Then, probably a stop by the library. So tomorrow morning we will wake up to Valentine’s gifts (stuffed animals and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates) then have breakfast. They will write in their journals and do Spelling Power, but will most likely skip the “bossy book” pages, and instead do some French together on the computer. We will practice time and money together with coins and a clock, and work on their math lessons online. If there is time we will also read from Story of the World. Later in the afternoon when we get home, they will likely play outside for about an hour. Then bath/showers, and we will return to our read-aloud book. Followed with some quick chores and then free time. Dinner will be Vietnamese take-out to celebrate Valentine’s Day (this was my request, instead of Dear Hubby spending money on flowers.) And we’ll probably end the night by watching some Good Eats or by playing a game. Then bedtime routine. >>Update: SOTW didn’t make it in today, will cover it Thursday.
Wednesday we will probably kick off the morning with some reading, but then leave soon after to drive about 30 minutes to a beautiful nature center in the city. Each child is taking homeschooler science-nature classes. We will follow up with a picnic and park visit with some of our homeschool friends. When we return home that afternoon, the kids will have a snack, take baths/showers, and have free time. Read-aloud. Rinse and repeat the evening routine.
>>Update: after our fun morning classes and nature center visit at Maymont, we all ditched our picnic plans and went to feast at Baker’s Crust instead. It was an amazing day and the kids were on a roll, so I went for Richmond’s field trip trifecta: Maymont + VMFA + Science Museum. Whew! It was a busy, fun day.
Thursday will be a similar repeat of Monday — a big push for core academic stuff.
Friday will be looser, but will most likely include violin, some French, hopefully Writing with Ease or First Language Lessons, some math (with plans to be completely finished by lunchtime so we can visit with a houseguest.) And that should just about do it for this week. >>Update: we got in around 20 minutes each of violin, French and reading. Then we cleaned the house a bit and went outside to ride bikes and play until our afternoon visit.