Monday, February 3, 2014

A Look Back at a Day... Eight Years Ago

A friend posted a "day in the life" post on her blog and it made me think of this post I wrote eight years ago. Wow, how life has changed in eight years of homeschooling. My youngest is now the age that my oldest was when I wrote this. Enjoy! Maybe I will give you an updated look at our homeschool day sometime soon.

Tuesday February 21, 2006

BIO – We are a family of 6.  Bob and I have been married for 18 years this June.  Our children are David - age 11, Emily – almost age 9, James – age 6, and Suzanne – almost age 4.  Our children have always been homeschooled.

CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP  At 7:45, my alarm startles me out of sleep and I see that Suzy, age 3-1/2, and James, age 6, have climbed in bed with us at some point.  I thank the Lord for a king sized bed for the umpteenth time!  The four of us cuddle and chat.  I do an impromptu speech lesson with James – pronouncing “licorice”.  We work on his speech sounds throughout the day, as they come to our attention, since he has trouble with several speech sounds, including “L” and “R”.

Around 8:05, I haul myself out of bed and my oldest, David, age 11, comes pounding down the stairs, also jumping in bed with Daddy for a quick cuddle.  Emily, nearly age 9 and the late sleeper of the family, is still asleep and will probably have to be awakened sometime soon.  I peer outside to evaluate our Michigan winter weather conditions and notice a few snowflakes floating down.  The high today is expected to be 33, which is warmer than the last few days but still not warm enough for extended outdoor play, depending upon the windchill.  So, another day of indoor activities looms ahead.

Suzy announces, “Me made your bed, Mom!”  I thank her, grinning at the mental picture I get of the bed's appearance.  David shares some Everlasting Gobstoppers with his siblings, bought with his own money; this is not our usual before breakfast fare, but still a sweet thought.  Emily appears, to my surprise, and  I ask her jokingly if she smelled the candy and she says YES!

By 9:00, all beds are made (or so I'm told!), breakfasts are eaten, heads are combed, teeth are brushed, and bodies are dressed.  It's time for school!

“Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love,” I sing out, calling the children to the kitchen table for Bible study.  This is the opening line to the hymn we are currently learning.  They come running, with schoolboxes in tow, joining in with the song.  I have seen the singing of hymns disappear from modern churches and I am determined that my children will be familiar with a number of these masterpieces, so we learn a new one each month.

Today in Bible study, we are studying the character trait of Deference, which has been a real eyeopener in our home.  Thankfully my children have risen to the challenge of deferring to others and I've seen a real change in their behavior in the few days that we have been working on it.  Hopefully this new trend continues!   We are using Character Building for Families: Volume 1 by Lee Ann Rubsam.  We alternate character studies out of this book with units from our regular Bible study book – Bible Study Guide for All Ages: Volume 2 by Charles and Mary Baker.

After Bible, most days we do Art.  I have found that my children tend to do their regular schoolwork better if they have done something creative beforehand, so I've instituted art as the second subject we study each day.  The main resource I have been using for our lessons is How to Teach Art to Children from Evan-Moor Publications.  This is a great book that teaches the 7 art elements with great step-by-step directions.  We are currently studying texture and today's project, scratch-board paintings, has been a 2 day project.  The paintings turn out wonderfully, with multicolored highlights shining through the black finish!

Next is Science which is the most challenging subject for me to teach.  After a false start earlier this year, we are now doing a unit study on ecology using The Earth Book from Learning Resources.  Soon we will begin a study on Nutrition.

I move on to History with David and Emily while Suzy and James, who take a break from schooling at this point, play a new Sesame Street game on the computer. We are using Mystery of History Volume 1 by Linda Lacour Hobar this year and our topic for today is The Trojan Horse.  This history curriculum is just what I have been looking for and I plan to stick with it throughout the 5 volume series.  (Volume 2 is currently available.)

Bob leaves around this time for a worker's compensation vocational counseling appointment and some errands.  He is looking for work after being injured on the job 4 years ago and having been under medical care for most of that time.  My kids have really been blessed to have their dad at home with them, even though it's been a long recovery for him!

At 10:30, we finish history and have some pretzels for a snack.  I decide to make banana bread with Suzy while James does his math.  First he does a math test out of Math-U-See Alpha and then I have him work on addition sentences with the Learning Palette (Educational Insights).  Emily does a Math-U-See math test also, from the Beta level, and David, who is waiting for delivery of Math-U-See Epsilon, does 3 math pages from a book on metric measurement.

After math, Emily reads Luke's Fate (a Star Wars reader), David reads The Phantom Tollbooth, and James reads a Bob book aloud with me.  I read a Bob book to Suzy at her request and then she looks at some herself.   I confiscate a green sticky ball from the boys and redirect them to their work as I make some notes for the day.

It's time for Alphabet Island Phonics with James; he is working on 3 letter words with short “a”.  I supervise David doing Handwriting at the same time (cursive h)and then he begins his Electronics study.

Emily, who says she has finished reading, needs some redirection.  I take a balloon away from her and point her toward her Handwriting book.  David and I have a disagreement about how far he is in his electronics book.  He's been working with his dad but not doing the written work.  He says it is hard and makes his head hurt. I encourage him to keep at it and I'll help him later on.

We can all smell the banana bread cooking now – yum!  Emily has finished handwriting and is now reading a short book about Helen Keller – she has a minor fit when it becomes apparent she has not read the whole book even though she said she had and I send her back to read the rest.

At noon I take the bread out – yummy!  Suzy is so proud of it!  David is my helper for food preparation today.  Lucky for me – he decides on a meal (chicken noodle soup & biscuits) and then cooks it all.  Suzy sets the table.  James is playing computer and Emily is reading.  Those 2 will clean up meals today.

At 12:25, we sit down to eat.  I try something new I read about – reading aloud to the children while they eat, and eating my own meal afterward.  I pull out Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis and they cheer!  T

One of my biggest downfalls as a homeschool mom is my lack of reading aloud to the kids.  Our schedule is so full and varied that I have found it difficult to find a regular reading aloud time. Combine that with my general dislike of reading aloud (It's so SLOW!) that we haven't made it a priority.  I generally feel quite guilty about that and when I heard the suggestion to read aloud during lunch, I felt that maybe this was our solution!

After lunch, Emily clears the table, James does the dishes, and David starts his folding.   In our home, we have what we call “1:00 Jobs”.  We do 2-3 loads of laundry a day and it all gets folded in the afternoons.  Each child, even Suzy, does his or her own folding and puts it away.  They each have an additional folding job, such as matching socks, folding washcloths, etc...  Besides the folding, they each complete a chore.  David washes a couple of windows, Emily cleans the bathroom, and James does some dusting.  Suzy takes the recycling out to the bin.

David has such a great attitude today!  A little praise during lunch-making has gone a long way!  James, on the other hand, is being especially recalcitrant during 1:00 Jobs.  No matter, it all works out in the end.

Slipping my shoes off for a minute, I check my email while the kids do their folding.  Most of the schoolwork is done now, with just a few odds and ends to finish up.  The kids finish their chores and James puts in the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD.  We've been watching either this one or the Word Factory every day and it has been helping reinforce his phonics lessons.  All the kids watch, even though it is obviously aimed at lower elementary age children.   After a while, my friend Jen signs on to AIM and we chat for a bit while the kids finish their DVD (and I finish my Diet Coke – ahhhh!).

Just about 1:45, the DVD ends, and I sign offline.  I work with David and Emily on English From the Roots Up (Latin root of the day: video/visum).  While they are making their memory cards, Suzy colors with dry erase markers on a large dry erase board and James plays on the computer (Toy Story).   I strip the sheets off my bed and throw them in the washer.

Once they finish their root word cards (it takes them different amounts of time), David and Emily each have Spelling Power to do.  While I give David his words, I mend a shirt.  Seeing me sew, Suzy decides SHE wants to sew as well.  Not being prepared for teaching an almost 4 year old to sew today, I pull out the lacing cards and she plays with those as I finish spelling with both the older kids.

At 3pm, we have the banana bread as a snack.  I have a difficult time setting aside some bread for Bob to have when he gets home as the kids enjoy it so much!

By 3:15, the kids have donned snow pants, boots, and assorted winter gear and headed outside.  It is a lovely sunny day and much warmer than I imagined it would be, so I think they should be good for at least half an hour outside.

Just before 4pm, I call the kids in as they have pleaded to watch Cyber Chase (PBS) today, one of the very few TV shows that we watch.  While they watch the math show (today's concept – mathematically predictable body proportions), I blog and read email.

The remainder of the afternoon is free time for the kids as I straighten up and make dinner.  Suzy sets the table for me (not without some drama over her favorite plate being dirty) and David assists me with some dinner prep.  After dinner, Emily and James clean up.  Tonight the older 2 kids have baths; the younger 2 had theirs last night.

It's 9pm and I've just tucked the last child in after a few rounds of Uno and a couple picture books.  Now I'll exercise, check email again, spend a little time with my husband and settle down to watch a DVD before heading off to dreamland myself somewhere around midnight.   It's been a long fulfilling day at home!

~ ~ ~ ~
Hope you enjoyed that look back! I have been reminded of some important ideas that may make their way back into our lessons.


Wee Pip said...

Tried to comment twice from my phone - no deal:( Great idea to bring back a day from years ago! What a sweet time that was. Your day looked wonderful, and full. I bet there is a lot less togetherness now, and no Bob Books or Letter Factory. Each season is a blessing, in its own way.

Denise Bryant said...

That was fun to read. :). Those days sound so simple and peaceful!