My Homeschool Day in Life with a 6 and 8 year old

DSC_1011About this time last year I took part in Simple Homeschool‘s A Day in the Life series for the first time  It is always interesting to chart a full day of activity at home. We like to run our days pretty naturally, but over time we have gradually imposed a little structure. Nothing rigid. Nothing formal. Just… a more organised flow. So here is what a typical day kinda looks like this year.

6:45am

I hear Prince getting up. He goes downstairs, but I doze for a bit longer. I’m at that blissful stage of being able to sleep even if my kids are awake. Yes – it really does happen. Yeah – it is as good as it sounds.

7:30am

I get up. YAWN. This is my new weekday rising time. I have never been an early riser. It’s not in my genes. Even so, I have found that doing it regularly makes it easier, and the benefits of a longer morning are worth it. I come downstairs to find Prince has been reading a book on the solar system, and he is now drawing a picture of what he has read. I smile to myself; homeschool happening while I sleep?  Cha-ching!

The kids get breakfast started for themselves. So far, so normal. But I check outside and see that our new electric car, which has been charging in the garden overnight, has got stuck in the mud. Literally. The next hour I forget our Morning High Five ritual and spend it trying to help my husband and brother free the car. Unsuccessfully. Luckily we have a back-up.

8:30am

When we finally give up on the car, I come back inside to find the kids playing ‘Cards of Maths’, working their quick addition skills. We invented the name for this game from Life of Fred. So far today they’ve covered science and maths, and we’re not even dressed. Did I mention I love homeschooling?

At this point I get them started on Morning High Five, while I potter around doing things which need to be done – packing the dishwasher, chatting to my husband, hosing the mud-caked car wheels…

9:30am

Hubby arrives back from dropping my brother at his course. He’s not feeling well (particularly after spending an hour in the cold mud), so spends the day in bed. Meanwhile, the rest of us are finally dressed, fed and ready to officially start our day. We get wrapped up and head outside for our morning walk. We try to do this everyday, regardless of weather. In reality it probably happens three days out of five. Today we stroll over to our local field, where the kids enjoy walking on walls, investigating puddles and playing pooh sticks. These short bursts of fresh air are always so delicious.DSC_1007

10:00am

We have a rotating schedule of different Bible activities that we do throughout the week. Today I put on a couple of chapters of The Lamb for the kids, while I take the time to read my own Bible. After this we pray together.

10:30am

I guess this is where learning ‘really’ starts. (If you ignore the reading, playing, exploring and discussion which has happened since the moment we got up.) Princess and I snuggle up on the window-seat and read two chapters of her maths book, Life of Fred: Butterflies. We started going through the whole elementary series all together a few months ago, but when we reached half way it started to get a little advanced for Princess. She is only six, after all – still my baby. So while Prince continues to storm his way through, Princess has gone back to redo the earlier books. I like to make sure the foundational understanding – in any topic – is rock solid. While we have fun reading about Fred’s silly adventures, Prince is upstairs doing drum practice.

After this, we swap. Prince reads Life of Fred: Honey with me while Princess is whizzing through some mental arithmetic and recorder practice. As Prince moves onto his written math work, I hop on to Duolingo for a bit of French. I enjoy learning, and love that the kids see it as a natural part of everybody’s life – not just something children are forced to do between 9 and 3, Monday to Friday.

11:15am

Princess recently commented that we hadn’t been doing as much free learning time as we used to, and she missed it. I love to have feedback from the kids, and really believe in the value of listening to their opinions. So this morning I call ‘Free Learning Fun’. This means ‘you can do anything you want so long as it’s educational.’ It’s a great way to fuel their natural love of learning. The kids have a quick conversation and decide to play Flags of the World. They just use the European cards for now, and focus on learning the flags, countries and capitals of our continent.

While they play I sneak in another round of Duolingo, and work on writing a script for my next Advanced Creative Writing Open University assignment. At some point I notice that the sun is shining brightly. As we have solar panals, this is my cue to do any electric-heavy housework, so I quickly pop some washing in the machine and enjoy the thought of a free spin.DSC_1015

11:45am

The kids take a break from playing Flags of the World. I pull out the Kindle, and we all snuggle up under a blanket for a couple of chapters of Black Beauty. Reading together has so many wonderful benefits. It’s a great way to fuel a love of books and teach your child to read; it creates shared experiences; it starts conversations; it expands horizons; it strengthens bonds. Most of our curriculum choices are based on reading aloud together.

12:00pm

Lunch time. We don’t always eat this early, but that’s the way it happens today. After eating, the kids carry on their game while I do a bit more script writing.

12:30pm

Another snuggle gathering. I love the way so much of our learning takes place under blankets full of love. This time it’s history, and we are nearing the end of Story of the World volume 1, which we thoroughly enjoy (Prince almost always begs for the next chapter when we’re done). We’re in the midst of the Roman period, and today we read about the intense persecution of Christians. After reading we get caught up in a chat about the Ichthys symbol, so we do a bit of research and some drawing on this topic.

1:oopm

DSC_1016

Officially this is free time. Prince gets stuck into drawing, which is both his highest passion and talent. Princess gets out her plethora of card making supplies and soon the house is covered in paper. It’s messy, but I love it. Especially as they are old enough to tidy it up themselves. They also read, play, and generally amuse themselves productively. Although not officially a learning time, there is plenty of learning going on if you look carefully.

I make use of this time to do things I need or want to do. Today it’s a mix of housework, studying and research.

4:30pm

Tidy up time. We always try to tidy up before Daddy, Nana and Uncle Sean get home (yes, we have a full house – just the way we like it!), so even though Daddy is already here, we still get things sorted. This end of the day sort out also help me to relax after the kids are in bed. Clutter is not my favourite. Tidying up keeps the kids occupied while I get supper sorted (fish salad tonight) and make sure the kitchen is clean.

5:30pm

I leave the kids with Daddy while I nip out to pick up my brother. When we get back it’s dinner time. We try to eat early on Tuesday’s as we host house church from 6:30pm.

 

7:30pm

Bed time routine begins. This tends to get dragged out these days. If it finishes quickly, the kids get reading time in bed. Prince is currently working through many books, but mainly the Narnia series. It think he’s on Prince Caspian, but he moves through them so fast I can’t keep up. Princess is into Milly-Molly-Mandy right now. Tonight, however, there is no reading time left, so it’s prayers and lights out.

8:00pm

I love to end the day snuggled (again!) with my husband. We usually put something on to watch. I almost always get a foot rub. I know – Best. Husband. Ever. Tonight we watch something on his Ipad in bed, so as not to share germs with the other adults in the house. We watch some documentaries on healthy diets, and fall asleep inspired by ideals we might never achieve, but enjoy striving for.

And that’s it! A typical day this year. What will it look like next year, I wonder?

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16 Comments

  1. mylittlepoppiescaitie said,

    February 2, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    I just love reading all of these. We, too, adore Life of Fred. I love the high five routine that you have going on and I’m off to check out that Flag game now 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • DeneM said,

      February 3, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Hi, thanks for reading! Seriously, ‘Morning High Five’ has been revolutionary around here! We (mostly I) used to be terrible about getting organised with basic things so early in the day, but now it’s simple and fun. Win, win!

  2. danielle said,

    February 2, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Looks like a great day (except for the vehicle in the mud)! 🙂 My boys learn so much on their own as well. I love when passion drives learning!

    • DeneM said,

      February 3, 2015 at 10:38 am

      Yes, I agree – passion driven learning is the best! It is retained so much better, too, when it is internally motivated 🙂

  3. hicamie said,

    February 2, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    I love your morning walks! And I’m going to look into Flags of the World. We’re big readers, too. Thanks for sharing your lovely day with us.

    • DeneM said,

      February 3, 2015 at 10:41 am

      Morning walks are such a blessing! I don’t always feel like going out (especially in winter!), but I always appreciate it once I get there 🙂 Flags of the World has really helped my kids with general geographic knowledge. It’s an unusual game, and at first I thought they would find it boring – but they love it!

  4. February 2, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Love It! We too love Life of Fred and our Morning walks! Thank For Sharing!

  5. 3littlewees said,

    February 2, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    What, if you don’t mind, is pooh sticks?? If that was happening at my house, here in Pennsylvania, it would not be pretty…but I think maybe something is being lost in translation. Loved reading about your day!

    • DeneM said,

      February 3, 2015 at 10:46 am

      That made me giggle! ‘Pooh Sticks’ is a game Winnie the Pooh invented! It started with pine cones and progressed to sticks. The idea is each person picks a twig, and you all drop them together into the stream on one side of a bridge. Then you run to the other side and see whose stick come out first! I highly recommend it 😉

  6. Kaylie said,

    February 2, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Seriously? I will someday be able to sleep when my kids get up? Amazing!

    I can’t wait to use Life of Fred! Your day sounds like a blast!

    • DeneM said,

      February 3, 2015 at 10:47 am

      Seriously. I promise, Kaylie! Yes, my days are always SO MUCH FUN. Sometimes I can’t believe how blessed I am to spend the day with my kids. People ask how I do it, but really – how could I not?!

  7. Nicola said,

    February 3, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Loved reading this. I can relate to some. Are you in the UK? We’ve got Life of Fred here too. 😉

    • DeneM said,

      February 3, 2015 at 10:48 am

      Hi Nicola – yes, I’m in the UK! So glad that Life of Fred is available here, as we are the biggest fans of it! My son even asked for a maths birthday party… now there’s a testimony!

  8. Angie said,

    February 6, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    I appreciate your commitment to training your children’s hearts to love God!

    • DeneM said,

      February 7, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      Thank you, Angie, that is kind of you! It is an honour to be guardians of their hearts.


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