My Homeschool Day in Life with an 8 and 10 year old

Every year Simple Homeschool runs the Day in a Life series. I love how every homeschool life is different, and I am always on the lookout for great ideas to incorporate into our own daily rhythm. I also love taking part in this (even when it’s my only post of the year!) as it is an opportunity for me to reflect on how we grow and change through the years. Some changes are down to finding better ways to do things, some to changing interests and still others to the natural changes that occur as my ‘babies’ are growing up.

7:30 am

My alarm goes off. A combination of the tail end of a cold plus an emotional week has left me more tired that usual, so I hit snooze and catch an extra 15 mins of light sleep. I can hear the happy, soft voices of Prince and Princess in the background – my favourite waking up sounds. At 7:45 I wake fully, and pull open my Bible which lives next to my pillow. Personal time with God is how we all start our weekdays. I am reminded how much I love not having the school rush in the mornings, giving us the freedom to linger and fill ourselves up with the Lord for the day.

Science & snuggles!

8:30

When I’m done upstairs, I come down to find the kids already finished their Bible time and Morning High Five. They have started working; Prince is on the computer doing French on Duolingo, Princess at the table writing in her journal. I drink my water and grab a piece of fruit for breakfast, then potter around tidying the kitchen and sorting out washing. I have learnt over time that I find these kinds of job easiest in the morning, so I never worry about leaving last night’s dishes out. Work is always easiest when you find your personal rhythm, something I try to apply to Prince & Princess when I’m planning our schedule.

9:00

Wednesdays are our day for majoring on subjects we don’t get to every day, so I pull out one of our science books and we snuggle on the sofa to learn about muscles and tendons. We examine some of our own tendons and marvel at their strength. Then I do a quick search and pull up a few videos clips on the same topic for the kids to watch. Learning happens in different ways for different people, and so I like to solidify our understanding of topics through a variety of mediums.

9:45

As in previous years, I like us to have a morning walk at least most days. There is nothing like stretching our legs in nature and fresh air. It’s forecast for rain today, so we get on our wellies and waterproofs and head out to Nymans, my favourite place in all the world. As we walk we talk about nature, and how things are changing in the spring. There are plenty of puddles which provide much delightful splashing, and I feel my spirit soar as I walk through the incredible wonders of creation in the company of these two incredible children.

Strolling down the Lime avenue at Nymans

11:00

After a deliciously beautiful (and dry!) walk drinking up the spring beauty we get back in the car and head over to Little Crafter’s Pottery to pick up the ceramics we painted at a half-term family outing. This was a fabulously fun activity, and we are all delighted with the finished products. In the car we listen to our history CD, Story of the World. This is one we’ve used for a long time, and done several reviews of, but we all love it so much that the kids beg for more and I am only too happy to oblige.

11:45

Once we get home again the kids head upstairs to play while I prepare lunch: scrambled eggs and veggies, a staple quick fix at our house. When lunch is ready I set mine aside and while the kids eat I pull out the Kindle and read the next chapter of our current read-aloud. We are working through the Anne of Green Gables series and we’re in book two, Anne of Avonlea. I love the wonderful use of language, which stretches both our imagination and our vocabulary. After reading a chapter I turn on BBC iPlayer and let the kids watch the next episode of The Big Painting Challenge. The series is meant just for fun, but it includes some great art tips for my budding artists, and I know it will fire them up with enthusiasm. While they watch I eat my own lunch, check Facebook and do some more pottering around.

1:30

Predictably inspired, the kids pull out the painting supplies after the show and get to work on some masterpieces.While they delve into the world of acrylics I use the time to have a deep clean of Prince’s bedroom. Although they both tidy their own rooms regularly, every once in a while I like to do a major sort out. Feeling focused I plow through it and feel very satisfied with the end result. I always have high ambitions it will stay this way, but experience tells me it never does…

3:15

By now the room is tidy and the painters have packed up, so we return to some of our daily work – music practice. Prince has recently decided to try out the flute instead of drums, and is enjoying it so far. I help him with this, as I have been progressing well with flute myself. I’m considering doing a grade five exam this year. After flute Princess gets out the violin. She’s still doing keyboard (taught by her lovely older cousin), but has been wanting to do violin for a while as well. She is blessed to have an aunt who plays wonderfully, so we have picked up some tips and she is starting to learn the basics.

3:45

While I do my own flute practice the kids get on with some geography games I’ve set for them. Then we pull out our geography book and snuggle back on the sofa to read about the core of the earth. Prince remembers a model he made several years ago and runs to get it for a visual aide while we read. Princess colours in a card she made for one of her cousins while she listens.

4:30

Tae Kwon Do buddies

We eat early on Wednesdays, as the kids and I have Tae Kwon Do, so I work on dinner while the kids do some tidying. Daddy comes home just as I’m serving up – perfect timing! I love it when we eat together at the table.

5:30

We start getting ready for Tae Kwon Do. This is something the kids and I all enjoy very much. The three of us don our doboks and belts and we all head out the door. The kids train from 6-7 while Ben and I enjoy watching and chatting. Then my hero husband takes the kids home, where he reads them some of their bedtime read-aloud, Lord of the Rings. In the mean time I get to enjoy an hour and a half of Tae Kwon Do. I’m so thankful for a husband who helps me do the things I love.

8:45

Prince is still awake when I get home, and greets me with a big hug at the top of the stairs. He’s nearly as tall as me now, but I love that he still wants to cuddle. After kissing him goodnight, Ben and I enjoy the rest of our evening close together, chatting and watching things together.

We are in a phase of life where each of our days are different, but they have a common, comfortable rhythm. We are flexible, and fallible. Some days don’t work out as planned. But we have fun. We learn. We love. There is so much beauty in our homeschool lives. Thanks, God.

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?

My Homeschool Day in the Life with a 5 and 7 year old

I love hearing how other people construct their homeschool days. I like to find new ways of doing things, ideas I can incorporate and lessons I can learn from. Recently Simple Homeschool ran a ‘day in the life’ series and ended it by inviting readers to share their own days – so I am! I hope you enjoy this peek into our life as much as I enjoy living it!

Friday 14th, 2014 – Valentine’s day!

7:30 am

Wake up! I don’t always get up at 7:30, as I don’t like to set an alarm. I usually wake when the kids climb into bed for morning snuggles, but today they stay in their room playing quietly so I wake on my own. Not sure what time they got up… probably 7ish, as normal. Once I’m up I tell the kids it’s time for ‘Morning High Five’, a fantastic idea I found on this blog recently. I adjusted the download from there to suit our own needs and ended up with this Morning High Five poster – feel free to print and use, but please keep the original copyright info so the right person gets the credit 🙂

How we do morning 'stuff'.

How we do morning ‘stuff’.

We normally complete this list of morning jobs and end with a super excited high-five. Today, though, we have swimming lessons so we skip the chores and get ready to go out quickly.

8:00 am

Princess & I finish getting ready for swimming while Prince, who has finished everything he needs to do, catches a few mins to read some Magic School Bus in his Book Nook.

8:15 am

It’s time to leave for swimming. We are blessed to have private swimming lessons funded by Grandma, so the kids get detailed attention from their teacher and are able to progress quickly and effectively.

10:15 am

We’re back from swimming now.  I get a snack sorted (brownies made with spelt flour and muscovado sugar – that’s healthy, right?!). Prince sets up our next activity (Bible Study) while Princess gets out the abacus and does some counting.

10:30 am

Friday is our Bible Study day (we have a rota of different types of Bible/worship/devotional sessions that we go through each week). We’re in John currently, and read a bit of chapter 2 today while eating our snack. After talking about it a bit we pick a memory verse and have a short prayer time.

11:00 am

We move into ‘Learning Fun’ now. Prince decides to read the Usborne First Illustrated Science Dictionary while Princess writes out our memory verse, taking extra time to get her letters formed right, and everything spelled and punctuated correctly. In between helping Princess and responding to Prince’s frequent calls of “Mommy – LOOK AT THIS!!!” I practice some French on my Duolingo account.

Learning Fun!

Learning Fun!

11:30 am

I call the kids together and tell them we’re going to do some science. Although this is technically a ‘lesson’ we all see it as great fun and more like an investigative game. Today we learn about air as a real substance, and how to demonstrate that it – along with all matter – has weight (technically mass, but we’re not that far yet) and takes up space.

12:15 pm

We finish our science lesson and I switch on Classic FM for some background music. Princess plays around with a left over balloon from the lesson, while Prince goes back to reading his science dictionary. I get online to check emails, catch up with Facebook, and work on my blog – frequently punctuated by exclamations of interest from Prince and calls that I “must” come see some thing or other. Love it!

12:30 pm

I grab the kids a piece of fruit each and we snuggle up on the couch to read a bit of the poetry book we are going through: Where my Wellies Take Me by Michael Morpurgo. I love this book – it has quality illustrations, a good selection of poetry and a delightful nature-centered story line.

12:45 pm

I get ready to make lunch, and Princess decides to help me. Together we mix up a yummy-scrummy scrambled eggs with tomato, onion and fresh basil. Meanwhile, Prince signs into his Duolingo account and does half a lesson of French.

My Princess mixing the eggs.

My Princess mixing the eggs.

1:15 pm

Lunch is ready! The kids settle down to eat while they watch a nature documentary – ‘Life in the Undergrowth’ today. I eat at the computer to catch up with some more online stuff, then unpack my Book People order which arrived earlier in the morning.

1:45 pm

Princess has finished eating, and although the nature documentary is still on, she has had enough of it. Now she moves to the table and makes nature pictures for “sick people” – her aunt, her great-uncle, and her special friend, a girl we support through Gospel for Asia. I sit with her and wrap my husband’s valentines present (‘The King’s Speech’) and make him a card. At 2:00 pm Prince finishes watching ‘Life in the Undergrowth’ and joins us at the table.  He wraps his cousin’s birthday present ready for her party tomorrow.

2:30 pm

We now have a couple of hours just moving from one thing to another. This time is filled with reading some of the new books, maths on computer, more Duolingo, unpacking the dishwasher, and Skyping with Grandma.

Enjoying the new books.

Enjoying the new books.

4:00 pm

I call the kids to the couch again, and we snuggle together while I read the next chapter of our current read-aloud, ‘Pollyanna’.  I LOVE this book!  If you have a Kindle you can get it for free, which is simply awesome.

4:30 pm

It’s tidy-up time. We always try to tidy up before Daddy gets home. Usually this is when I also make supper, but Friday means Family Night and take-out chips for dinner!

5:15 pm

Daddy’s home! We settle down to watch an episode of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ while we eat our chips. Prince has a slight earache, so I make him up a ‘garlic hearing aid‘ which seems to sort it out.  I love garlic on so many levels.

6:30 pm

We send the kids up to get ready for bed. Daddy helps them, then we all climb onto our bed for Bible reading with Daddy. He’s reading right through the Bible, and tonight we are in Genesis at the battle of four kings against five. At one point Daddy reads something about ‘tar pits’ and stops to check if the kids know what those are. This conversation ensued:

Daddy:  “Do you know what tar pits are?’
Prince:  “No.”
Daddy:  “They are pits which are full of black, sticky, thick, icky, gooey stuff.”
Prince:  “Like tar?”

7:15 pm

After praying with the kids we go down to watch ‘The King’s Speech’. I get foot rubs, which is always one of the best parts of my day.

10:00 pm

Bed! After a super fun day of learning and love it’s time to sleep. What a blessed Momma I am!

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