Our first day of homeschooling went very well today. For those of you who are interested, I will give a brief re-cap of the day, which was actually a very typical day for us. While I don't have a set minute-by-minute schedule, I do follow a certain pattern every day.
My alarm goes off. I get up anywhere between 5:30 and 6:30 am every day. Usually, I don't need an alarm, but I had stayed up late the night before because I went running after the kids were in bed, and then I still had chores to finish up on, too.
Take puppy out to go potty, start laundry, get dressed, fix hair, start cooking breakfast while working on my memory verses.
My bed-headed breakfast helper
All kids except the baby are up and dressed. They are busy doing their morning chores (empty dishwasher, feed and water both dogs and the chickens, water the garden, make their beds and mine, do their personal Bible reading, etc.)
breakfast - I try something new: biscuits and sausage gravy. All but one child like it. Anna is up by now and absolutely LOVES this meal.
Kids clear their dishes and brush their teeth, we take pictures outside and play until we start promptly at
My husband heads out for a job, and we start "school." First is me reading the daily Bible portion from the One Year Bible. Afterward, all kids but the baby sit down to do their book work (i.e. spelling, handwriting, English, and math): boys in the school room, girls in the kitchen at the counter. It is a very busy time for me as I keep making the round working with each one of them.
The kids know the rules in mom's school room:
#2 Don't get up!
#3 If you are done, wait until I get to you.
New this year, I put a huge "lazy Susan" on the table where the boys work, on which we keep each of their water glasses, a box of tissues, lots of pencils, and a bell. That way the glasses don't get knocked over, and they have no excuse to get up. Sounds strict, but if one gets up, they suddenly all need to get up, and what should take an hour takes three, and causes lots of frustration all around. Obviously, if they need to go to the bathroom they can get up anytime. The bell is for them to ring once when they are done with whatever assignment they have been given. Again, it beats yelling "I'm done!" because they can signal that they are done without opening the flood gates of their little chatterboxes. While waiting for me to get them working again, each boy is allowed to color or draw.
Miriam and Becky work in the kitchen at the counter, where they are allowed to be much more distracted and loud. They both do great working together in Math, and have to have their books taken away because they want to just keep working and working.
We're still working on the correct way to hold a pencil. It's a pet peeve of mine.
All this time, Anna is sitting on the floor of the school room playing with various manipulatives, talking with the puppy, and happily observing the madness.
by 11:00 am
The boys are done with the work assigned for the morning. They play outside and drive the neighbors nuts with all their screeching and riding their bikes down the street like maniacs. I sit outside and practice reading one after the other with Becky, Miriam, and John. Since we are done in the school room for the day, the boys clean up whatever is still out while I serve lunch.
Lunch - leftovers from the previous night's dinner, like every day. Today it's leftovers from our Labor Day BBQ: T-bone steaks, oven potatoes, garlic bread, and corn. It all reheats really nicely in the oven and everyone is happy. My husband stops by in between jobs just to grab a plate and leave again. While the kids eat, I reload the dishes. It is strategically absolutely necessary to have the dishwasher running both for naptime and bedtime, as it makes the girls drop off to sleep instantaneously.
I give Anna a quick bath because she is grubby from playing on the floor and from lunch, after which she immediately falls asleep. Then I tuck Miriam and Becky in for their naps, while the boys clear their dishes and sit down for "silent time": they each read 2 non-fictions books relating to this week's subject (stuff about New York state). After I get the house back in order and the kitchen clean, I take care of some business on the computer, such as renewing library books, ordering stuff we need, and checking the blogosphere. Miriam gets out of bed after Becky is asleep, as she is allowed to do on most days.
I teach the boys and Miriam some German, and we play a game to learn some new words. They have a snack and the boys head out to the pool. Anna and Becky wake up shortly before 4 pm, and we chat and read some picture books while watching the boys swim.
My husband is back sooner than expected, so I decide to run over to Costco for a few items. I herd the boys in from the pool and tell them to pick up the house while I'm gone with the girls (there was almost nothing to tidy up). While shopping, I think of 10 more reasons why I hate Costco - I only go there for the organic items they carry but hate everything else about them.
Get back home. My husband needs to leave again The boys look suspicious, but there is no tell-tale mess. Then I realize the oven is on even though the kitchen is still spotlessly clean. I don't let it on that I have a hunch what they are up to, and act surprised when the timer goes off a minute later and they pull chocolate chocolate-chip cookies out of the oven that they made by themselves, from scratch, for all of us, while I was at the store.
Oh, these babies were GOOD! Denise, are you out there? What is your psycho-babble analysis of this nice gesture? (For those of you who don't know, Denise is a regular, and (may I add) cantankerous, commenter, who on a previous post suggested that the fact that my kids act so loving towards us parents is a sign of their deep-rooted psychological damage, and that they may in fact grow up to kill us).
How the kids manage to bake stuff without ever making a mess is beyond me - I was gone for less than 45 minutes total. Solomon tells me he turned the mixer, that had nothing but flour in the bowl, on the highest speed to show his brothers why that is a bad idea (i.e. flour everywhere), but all signs of that mess were cleaned before I got back. My husband, on the other hand, can't hardly pour a glass of milk without making a complete mess of the kitchen. Go figure.
Kids go back out in the pool until it's time for dinner
Dinnertime: chicken soup and buttered bread. I didn't have to cook it tonight because I made a huge batch last night when I took some to a young couple in our church who just had their first baby, and the bread was in the freezer from another day when I baked 5 loaves at once.
Kids do evening chores (water garden, empty dishwasher, tidy up house one last time, fold and put away some laundry, brush their teeth, put on PJs, etc.)
Storytime: We don't do this every day, but probably four days a week. We like to work on character books and chapter books. Currently, that's "Created for Work" and "Robinson Crusoe". I do a quick review on Bible memory verses with the boys because it really helps with their retention.
Lights out! Silence! Each child insists on being tucked in and prayed for individually. As I do so, I have to sit on their bed, rubbing their back. Miriam asks me to stay there all night and keep rubbing her back, "it feels so nice". When I tell her I can't, she says she will never get married so she can stay living at home, and after the other kids are all grown and gone I can rub her back all night long, every night because I won't have any more work to do.
My husband gets home and eats dinner. Kids tucked in, Anna goes to sleep as soon as I sit down to nurse her, while I read the latest issue of "Taste of Home". Once she is in bed, it's chore time for me. My husband is tired from working all day and heads to bed, which helps me because it keeps Annie fast asleep as she snuggles up to him. Tonight, I mop the floors in most of the house, and tidy up our office/guest room. While doing so, I discover a big fat Black Widow spider sitting smack dab in the middle of her web behind the costume box in the school room. I feel kind of glad to see it because I have been finding her webs back there and tearing them down, hoping to run her off, but then the webs would appear again without any sign of the spider itself. Well, she's toast now! So far this summer, we have found and killed two black widows, one brown recluse, and three scorpions. Lest you think our house needs to be treated for these critters, they are arachnids, which means that they do not groom themselves. Thus, they would not ingest the poison while grooming like other bugs do. Arachnids can only be killed by direct contact, but they usually hide.
Chores are done. Usually, if there is any time left before bedtime, I go online or do a craft - I just started working on Christmas presents for the kids. Tonight, I furiously type out this blog post.
Just before midnight
My goal is to be in bed by midnight-ish.Which means I'm off right now!
Now only 179 more days of this, and all the kids will have bumped up a grade! :) I love that I get to be the one teaching our children and spending time with them all day long.