I hesitated to write a post about a typical homeschool day in our house because frankly one day seldom resembles the next, but recent changes in our lives have forced me to be more organized and a routine is developing so that’s what I’m sharing today.
5:30 My husband has been awake for a while now and either the sound of the shower or the blow dryer wakes me up. First duty is to fix his breakfast and pack his lunch. In the past I might return to bed or turn on the news and “lollygag” waiting for my son to wake up. Now I can’t afford to waste the hours…I do my exercising, walk the dog, gather books and materials for our homeschool day, and check in with the Homeschool Crew. If my son wakes on his own he may take a shower, use the internet (our service has bonus time before 8 am so this is when he can stream videos), or watch cartoons. If he doesn’t wake on his own I get him up by 8:00 so he still has some time to himself before we start school at…..
9:00 We start our school day. We used to say we’d start at 9:30, but it often was much later as he was in the middle of building something and I was busy trolling the internet. That’s almost never the case any longer. With deadline in the afternoon we need to get started early. We always begin with prayer and Bible to demonstrate the place God deserves (and frankly both teacher and student need prayer). Then we more in order from least favorite subject to most favorite. This way we’re doing what he perceives as hardest while he still has the most energy and we’re always motivated to move forward because what comes next will be better. This means we start with language arts (spelling, grammar, writing), move on to history, then science, then math and end with piano of all things.
I’m discovering just how important it is to put everything back in its place when we’re finished with it as well. Our school storage place is in the basement, but that’s a little cool down there to stay for any length of time (but we love it in August). Even when we’ve carried everything we need upstairs and resolve to keep it in a pile, something always goes AWOL the next time we need it—the Bible, the page where he wrote a key word outline, the colored pencils, etc. We just don’t have the time to search for things anymore.
11:00 or 12:00 On Wednesdays we head to homeschool gym at 11a. A local private Christian school allows us to use their gym for two hours. The gentleman in charge organizes a devotional and some games for the kids. The rest of the time the kids play on their own—basketball, ninja tag, hula-hoops, etc. Believe me in the dead of winter, you want your kid to be able to disperse some of his pent up energy in a gym and not your house. There’s even lunch available for a mere $1.50. And here’s the big secret, we moms don’t go to gym for the kids sake—while their playing in the gym, we get to talk with other moms in the cafeteria (there’s a giant glass window so we can keep an eye on everyone). I usually jog on the elevated track for thirty minutes and then work on what my Ranger Kids will do that evening.
On Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday I have to head to my part time job at the library. This is the new development that is causing such a need for organization. We no longer have the luxury of being able to finish up school after lunch. I have to grab a quick lunch and take Schnickelfritz over to his grandparents so I can be at work by noon. He will occasionally take “homework” to their house—usually his reading assignments. Sometimes we take advantage of their unlimited high-speed internet for science videos, etc. Three hours may not seem like enough time for school, and working with a class room of students it probably isn’t. I’m only working with one child so my attention never needs to be divided and I’ve already customized our studies to his learning styles which makes most things move faster. Still, I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel more rushed to finish. We don’t have time for “going down rabbit trails” , for deeper conversations, for slowing down and savoring the moment because 4 out of 5 days there’s a deadline looming over our heads to finish.
Schnickelfritz and I are usually back home between 5-5:30pm, depending on how long I stop to chat with my mother. If I was on top of my game earlier I’ll have dinner in the crockpot or the sourdough pizza rising so dinner won’t be too far behind. If I’m not, I scramble for something quick—hamburgers or this wonderful creation that can be done in 15 minutes in the pressure cooker—you can even throw in the ground beef still frozen. There’s usually not time to wash dishes afterwards because our day isn’t done yet.
7:00-8:30pm Right now we’re in the season of busy nights—karate, basketball practice, Royal Rangers. Three out of five nights (two of which are days I worked) we’re headed back out the door. This is where I cave to the socialization police: after being with me and/or his grandparents all day I want him to have time to be around kids his own age and learn to be under the authority of other adults (coach, instructor, commander). This is his last year of Upwards Basketball and karate doesn’t meet in the summer. I’m really looking forward to being able to stay home at nights.
9:00pm Honestly, when I get home I’m exhausted. I’d like to say I do the dishes and clean the kitchen but often the dishes are still in the sink next morning. Schnickelfritz goes to bed at 10, and he still enjoys me reading to him. He really has a terrible time getting the whirlwind in his mind to slow down enough for sleeping so I do believe this read-aloud time helps.
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