I decided after a hiatus of 18 months that it was about time to revive this blog. I let it slide because life was just too busy to commit to it. Life is still busy, but now that Rosebud is two, I feel like my head is kind of coming out above water again. Sometimes.
I could do a long boring post of all the news since I last blogged, but it would be, well, long and boring. So I am going to give you a snapshot of what our days look like now, and the news can filter in where it’s relevant.
I looked back over my last day in the life post. Some things have changed dramatically. Some are pretty similar.
Our Homeschool Day in the Life (March 2018)
6am: My alarm still goes off at 6am. On the good days, I stumble out of bed and shuffle downstairs, thinking to myself that 30-mumble hurts a lot more than I expected it to at 20. On the other days I lie in bed reminding myself that consistency and diligence is the key to a successful day. Sometimes it works.
When I do make it to the kitchen I make tea and sit down with my Bible, resisting the urge to look at my phone. After some quiet time I sometimes call my family in Australia, or sit there succumbing to the phone temptation, or enter a tea-drinking time warp.
7am: Gone are the days that I need to put on music to wake the kids up. Rosebud has a Grow Clock and at seven every morning enthusiastically goes to every room to inform everyone that “Mr Sun’s Up!”. They come down and get themselves breakfast, I chat to my husband for a bit then go and have a shower.
My strategy for keeping the mornings running is a thing called Checkpoints. Every morning by 8am the kids need to be up, dressed, hair brushed and beds made. By 8:45 they need to be done with breakfast, emptied the dishwasher, and tidied the kitchen. If they have done all this they can play, but only if it’s all done and only until 8:45. After 8:45 they need to get ready for school, which involves cleaning teeth, making hair neat, using the toilet or getting a drink or a jumper or slippers if they need to, and getting the Bibles out. By 9am they all need to be at the table, ready to work.
I used to have lots of complaints about Checkpoints. But now they mostly accept them, and the definitely keep our morning flowing. Because the kids know what they need to do by when, it means they can get on with it, and I can get on with my own tasks – vacuuming the kitchen and lounge (which I do every day, because Dog); feeding said dog; putting washing on; doing a quick tidy; saying goodbye to my husband; drinking more tea and mentally girding my loins for the day.
9am: We meet at the table for Bible Time. We do our school day prayer, read the passage in the Bible that we are up to, and do our catechism question. We use the New City Catechism, and it has a song for each question and answer. Dancing sometimes breaks out. Once we have composed ourselves we go around the table and pray, each saying a Thank you and a Please prayer. We finish with the Grace, then into…. Maths Drill! I give them a 25 question sheet with basic maths facts, set a stopwatch, and they complete it as fast as they can. Buttercup does just one column, the older two do the sheet.
9:30ish: With Bible Time and maths drill done, we head into bookwork. The weather here has been awful the last few months, and we’ve hunkered down inside a lot. But a couple of weeks ago it was sunny one morning and I made everyone go outside between maths drill and bookwork and run up and down the street a few times. It made things go much better through the morning, so I would like it to be a regular thing.
We use a variety of resources for bookwork. Sonlight, IEW, Conquer Maths, Miquon Maths, Reading Eggs. XTB Bible notes, and some random bits and pieces. They each have a folder of “fillers” to do if they finish early or are stuck and waiting for my help. The fillers have some colouring, some word/maths puzzles, a fiction book, and a non-fiction book.
I spend this part of the morning going between kids helping with maths problems, explaining writing tasks, listening to Buttercup read, checking work, motivating, dealing with squabbles, helping Rosebud find things to do, stopping Rosebud drawing on people’s work, preparing food, and sometimes, if I am lucky, getting washing on or out. Tea is consumed during this time.
10:30ish: We pause our bookwork mid morning for a snack and our history read aloud, and geography song. This is a recent thing. I used to have all our Sonlight Core read alouds and work in one spot as a morning basket at the start of the day. But we were starting bookwork too late and maths and writing weren’t getting done. So I tried doing it as an afternoon basket. But it just meant that there were a few months were the Core work just didn’t get done. So now I have split it. We do Bible at the start of the day, History, Geography songs and Aesop’s Fables at morning tea time, literature at lunch and dinner, poetry during our weekly Poetry Teatime (more on that later), and catch up on everything else on Friday afternoon. It seems to be working better, although the jury is still out on the Friday afternoon slot.
After morning tea everyone goes back to finishing off bookwork. Rosebud goes down for a nap at about 11, which gives me a lot more freedom to help people finish off work and get lunch ready. I am trying to be organised and get dinner prep happening here too, but this is the Disorganised Homeschool, so don’t worry – it doesn’t always happen.
12:30: When everyone has pretty much finished their bookwork, we sit down for lunch. Sometimes Rosebud is awake for this, other times she is still asleep. We eat, and I read our current literature read aloud. This is an Institution. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Monday, a Sunday, or the middle of the school holidays. I am expected to read while we eat lunch, unless we are running late or I am too tired, in which case I put my foot down in order to hurry everyone off to….
1pm: Rest Time. We still maintain this time with religious fervour. I don’t get any arguments from anyone about this time. Everyone scatters to their bedrooms. The kids each have a calico bag which is their “Rest Time Bag”. Like a library bag, they fill it with books, take it upstairs, and (in theory), bring it down again at the end to put the books away. Before you run away screaming “Oh no! This is looking organised! Run for your lives!”, I still have to go on a book hunt at least once a week, and still daily go looking for a culprit who has Not Brought Down Their Bag. But it’s a nice idea in theory, so I cling to it.
2pm: Rest Time finishes, and the girls come down and watch an episode of The Famous Five, while I make more tea and take a deep breath for the afternoon. After they have watched, they are hungry, and we go into our afternoon activity. I am trying to create a rhythm to our week. So, in theory, on Monday we do Nature Study, Tuesday is free for either catching up on housework, visiting people or just having a free afternoon, Wednesday we catch up on missed bookwork or do art or handicraft. Thursday is given over to Poetry Teatime and science experiments. Friday is our Core Session, where we catch up on any read alouds, do art appreciation, watch YouTube clips, and do timeline and map work.
The afternoons are a work in progress. The only consistent thing we do is Poetry Teatime, where we sit around with nice china and read poetry. I could say more but really it deserves its own blog post, so stay tuned.
3:30ish: When our afternoon activity is over, we are supposed to do housework. Often we scatter to play. I’m working on it.
5pm: As the kids get older, life gets busier. At the moment we have evening activities on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Otherwise it’s play, dinner prep, and tidying up from the day.
6pm: Dinner, and more reading aloud of our current book. We are way ahead on our literature read alouds, and that includes adding in extra books. I often get asked to read more than one chapter, because we just need to know what happens next. I love the books we are being exposed to through Sonlight, and the fact that reading together is such a part of our family culture.
7pm: We move into bedtime routines, and after we have cleaned up the kitchen, my husband and I collapse on the couch, or head to bed to read for a while before we succumb to exhaustion and fall asleep, ready to repeat it all tomorrow.
Phew, what a long post! Thanks for sticking with me to the end. I would love to hear what your daily rhythm is like.