Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Typical Day 2016

A typical day?  What IS that?!

Let's face it, there are many things people don't want to share online, but it's still fun to get a glimpse into the inner workings of different home ed families.  I know I learn something every time I read a typical day blog post.  It's interesting, encouraging, and reminds me we're all doing the best we can with what we've got.  So, drawing upon my notes and memories of this month, here's a glimpse into our homeschooling life so far this year.

The GOOD - Moments to celebrate and remember:

*  Connections are made, like when we were reading "Pay It Forward", tied it in with Fibonacci's Rabbits and got to interview Nanna about her experience with acts of kindness.
*  Twice this month, someone has woken up motivated and finished their independent work by 9am, then proceeded to do lots of extra chores (ok, there was money involved).  Early-bird work happens at my friend's place quite often, but for us it's a first!
*  Relaxing home days with one or two outings or play dates a week, usually after lunch.
*  We got to mind a bunny for a week whilst searching for it's owner.  That was lovely.  Eventually the owner saw one of the pages we letter-boxed and came to collect the sweet little rabbit.  Turns out they only lived around the corner, and the reunion was beautiful!

The Bad - Challenging moments, and what helped:

*  I was this close to having an introvert-overload induced implosion ... a nap helped a bit.
*  Someone had a sad day, and needed lots of rest, cuddles and stories ... I was super tired that day too, and easily decided to ditch the plans and focus on nurture, peace, kindness and creativity.
*  Sickness forced me to delegate teaching duties to ABC iView educational shows ... no harm done.
*  Someone little had a wonky day thanks to a thyroid flare-up ... a morning resting on the lounge, a lunchtime movie, ice cubes and gluten-free brownies helped soothe the fractious mood.

Hopefully that puts things into perspective!

What happens here on a 'Typical Day'?

We work from 9-11am every day, and 1-3pm three days a week.  Sometimes it's more like 9-12 and 2-3pm, and the lighter days vary according to what's on that week.  Lots of learning happens outside those times too, and I record it all.  If we're tired we start later.  If we have momentum, we keep going.

I am trying to ensure we have a two hour break, as it's necessary if we are to feel properly refreshed for the afternoon.  Two hour breaks mean we can have lunch, make phone calls, hang a second load of washing or have a bike ride or walk, and I still have time to read or nap while the kids read or play.

Sometimes one or both children do their maths at night, when they feel focused and settled.
Sometimes the wheels fall off and we take a gentle approach ... reading and listening to read alouds, talking, playing, watching dvds or shows on ABC iView, listening to audio books and doing creative activities like Lego, painting and baking.

I adopted the "task book" idea from Renelle, and it is working extremely well for us.  I write in them each night ready for the next day.  The picture above shows task books and my home ed journal.

5:30am - Sometimes I wake up when Hubby leaves for work, and I might write in my morning pages journal before falling back asleep or reading my Bible.

7am - Usually the kids and I wake up.  They go in the lounge room to play, and I often stay in bed a while longer to read, pray and think about the day.

8am - We get started on breakfast, showers if needed, housework, pet care - any one of us might get caught up in book in my Poppy's armchair in the sunroom.

9am - If we are ready to start the day, we get a drink, gather at the table and get out our baskets (containing stationery and diary).  We might do All About Spelling together first.  Otherwise the children get straight into their independent work.  They look at their 'task books' to see what independent work I have suggested for them today.  They are free to do it in any order, and there are often choices for them to make, and when needed there's space to record pages done in workbooks.  Things are running more smoothly of a morning, and we are all enjoying this more than printed checklists, verbal instructions or post-it note tagged workbooks in baskets.

My home ed journal is also set up on the table, partly filled in with plans for the day, ready to add to change as the day unfolds ... did I mention I love rub-out pens?  I work on record keeping, prepare a lesson, do marking, help with maths or english, wash the dishes, serve late breakfast or morning tea, or hang up washing.

Independent work usually happens in the morning and includes several or all of the following:  copy work, maths, assigned reading, diary, an English textbook, guitar or ukulele, and devotions which they might do alone or with me.  I have set up a shelf with 'assigned reading' options for each child, but they choose what to read when, and are free to add books from other shelves, so adding assigned reading to the list is just a daily reminder to read more widely, and to record books they read.

Copywork from read-aloud novels and poetry ...
I write it in my book then the children take turns copying it. 
DS11's textbooks for Maths and English.
He also uses Maths Online.
DD10's textbooks for Maths and English.
She also uses iPad apps for maths, such as Targeting Maths.
DD and I do 'creative copy work', copying mottos, verses, lists etc.  DS prefers to use his book for written conversations and interviews.
I am amused that, from the options I presented, my son has chosen all Excel textbooks for English and Maths.  I think they're good enough, but I find some of the questions rather ambiguous, and am glad there is a marking guide ... though I don't always agree with the reasoning behind the 'correct' answers.

10:30am - Independent work is finished and I read to the children in the lounge room.  They might be laying down, cuddled up to me, doing a puzzle, colouring in or quietly fiddling with something (Lego, finger knitting, dolls, paper).

We have a few read-alouds on the go at a time.  We have already finished "Tuck Everlasting."
Presently we're sharing these books:

  •  "Pay It Forward" by Catherine Ryan Hyde
  •  "Dear Mr Henshaw" by Beverley Cleary
  •  "Mistakes That Worked"by Charlotte Foltz Jones
  •  "Nonsense Limericks" by Edward Lear
  •  "A Vision Splendid: The Complete Poetry of A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson"
  •  "Hero Tales" by Dave and Neta Jackson

11am or 12noon - We break for two hours, and each go off to do what we want to do.  At some point one of us remembers we need lunch, and we make it together.  Otherwise, it's free time and anything goes ... internet research, email, reading, play outside or inside, craft, and sometimes for me a nap or writing time.

1pm or 2pm - Sometimes we just bake or enjoy some more read-alouds, but usually we work together on other subjects such as art, science, history or health.  I will elaborate on our plans in those subjects another day.  This month our focus has been Antarctica ... timely as Aunty J. and Uncle B. were there, so we followed their itinerary, looked at webcams and weather maps online, and used a pile of library resources.  We did a very smelly experiment to see how blubber insulates seals.  Once Aunty J. and Uncle B. recover from the experience and sort out their photos, they will visit and tell us all about it!

3pm - Dad arrives home from work, friends arrive home and often come to play, and if we need to some of us go shopping or to the library.  DS11 has just finished cricket and next week he'll start soccer training.

5:30pm - Dinner might be cooked, dishes washed, washing folded etc.  We eat, play, talk, tidy up, get ready for the next day, and I often go for a walk and talk with one or both of the children.  Ideas and deep thoughts come out, problems are solved and we make decisions and imagine possibilities.  Then there are showers, chores, board games, books and rumbles.

8:30 or 9pm - Teeth are brushed and people start heading for bed, usually Dad first because he gets up so early.  Kids read, colour in or relax in bed, and I finish cleaning up, chat with my Hubby, sometimes call Mum, check emails and Facebook.  I tuck in whoever is ready when they are ready, and I start to relax.

10:30pm -  Usually everyone else is asleep.  If I am still up I make a cup of liquorice and peppermint tea and enjoy the peace, read, write or chat online.  I almost always read before I fall asleep.

That's the pattern of our days.  One day soon I will write about how we rescue rotten days!

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