Monday, February 29, 2016

Meg's Homeschool Day in the Life with a 6 year old and 8-year-old twins

Today I've linked up to the folks over at Simple Homeschool for their "Day in the Life" series of posts.

So, here's my "Day in the Life" with my 3 Wild Things, my 8-year-old twins, and their 6-year-old brother.

I like to try to keep things flowing and flexible. My active and silly boys keep me on my toes, and I want to allow them to explore what they love and to foster in them a love of learning.

 If something isn't working for us, we will change it. I'm not married to my routine. And we are movers and shakers who don't like to get stuck in a rut. We do school 4 days a week, usually taking Wednesday to be an adventure day.
Each of our school days around here looks a little bit different. There are a lot of variables, depending on whether we have swim class, speech therapy, or errands to run. Or if I just slept in and didn't get my stuff together until a few hours later than I like.

Amazingly, this day had no extras and I didn't hit snooze 15 times.

6.30 a.m. I am up doing dishes, laundry, tidying up the classroom, eating my breakfast, and having a little morning quiet time. As enticing as the snooze button is, I really don't feel centered without this time to myself every day. I'd like to get up even earlier and maybe work out a few times a week, but I can't seem to make that happen this year.

8.30 a.m. The green light comes on, indicating the the boys are allowed out of their room. No one is up just yet, though. My little guys are night owls and all 3 share a bedroom, so sleep doesn't always come easily. For that reason I try to encourage a late start to the day. We have one of those nifty clocks that changes from a yellow nightlight to a green light when it is an acceptable time to wake up.

8.45 a.m. Little bed-headed zombies begin stumbling out of bed, laden with blankets and stuffed animals. On days that I am not ready for them for one reason or another, They are allowed to watch some PBS Kids. Thank goodness for shows like Wild Kratts and Word Girl. Today, however, I am prepared. No TV.

9.00 a.m. The boys are settled at the table eating their breakfast and already starting shenanigans. After they finish eating, they clear the table, brush their teeth, get dressed, and "make" their beds. Some mornings I have an extra chore or two for them to do, but today it's just making sure their animals are all back in their room instead of strewn around the living room.

9.30 a.m. My goal is to start school by this time daily, but it doesn't always happen. Today is flowing smoothly so far, and I am able to ring the bell shortly after the half hour.

We begin our day with a short devotion and prayer. This helps to center my own heart as much as it does theirs. This morning I pray for extra patience and love, as I have been a bit on the grumpy side for the past few days. We also review the previous day's behavior and dole out any rewards or punishments earned.

We transition into our Bible lesson. We are working our way through the Old Testament this year and are currently wandering the wilderness with the Israelites.

It's important for my very active little men to get some of their energy out in order to focus. So we usually get up and MOVE next. What we do depends on the weather and the rest of our schedule. And how motivated I am. Today we roll balls around the room while singing "Carol of the Balls" & then have a drumming circle to the song "Haida." This is actually one of their favorites, and it's easy for me. Win-win.

Science is one of our favorite subjects, so they never complain when we move into it. We have just finished up a unit on zoology. Today we introduced anatomy and the human body. My 6 year old got so excited he immediately picked up a crayon and a piece of paper and decided he was going to make his very own pop-up book about the body. With that kid, each day has to involve a craft of one kind or another. It's just in his nature.
Math comes next these days. We have been struggling to find a place for this in our schedule that is consistently good. It's not that we struggle with the concepts, or even that we don't like it. It's that we struggle with the focus necessary to make it through. Sometimes we cruise through an entire lesson in no time flat. Sometimes I feel like I'm wading through tar and trying to drag the three of them along with me.

I usually make the older 2 get all the way through an entire "lesson." If one finishes before the other, we have a collection of books or quiet games or crafts he can do while he waits.
The boys are all close enough in age that we treat our core subjects like a one-room schoolhouse, so it's easier for me to wait for the straggler than to end up all staggered in what I need to teach. It's not always the same straggler, either. If it were, I might have to find another plan. Little brother sometimes gets cut some slack, and he only has to do a portion of a lesson if he is struggling to focus.

It's 11.00 a.m. and we are ready for History. Today I am reading a chapter from our History book about the Roman Empire and reading a fun fictional book set in Rome. My active men cannot always sit still for this reading, so if they feel they need help keeping their hands busy, they are allowed to choose an activity. Today one is knitting,
one is coloring, and one is cuddled up on the comfy chair with a blankie and some animal friends. Occasionally you might find the 6 year old standing on his head.
We also like to munch on some snacks at this time.

11.30 Our Spanish curriculum is on the computer for the time being, so this offers me a nice chance to catch up on photocopies or reheat my coffee.

When Spanish is finished, we grab our Handwriting books.

After they finish their handwriting pages for today, they are allowed to read a picture book, play a quiet game, or draw a picture while I prepare our lunch. Today the little one decided to draw a picture, Thing 1 watched a video to learn some sign language, and Thing 2 read some Judy Moody.

During lunch we listen to an audio book. Without something specific to watch, listen to, and think about, complete anarchy breaks out during meal time. We sit for over an hour while nobody eats, and I spend all my energy in correction and redirection. It's amazing how much a book helps. Right now we are enjoying Little Men by Louisa May Alcott.

1.00 Phonics/LA The twins are busy writing sentences with their spelling and vocabulary words for this week. Little brother is reading his phonics reader to me and answering comprehension questions.
1.30 We like to make Geography fun. We sing songs to help us remember countries in different regions and try to locate them on the map. Then we read about different cultures and people groups and spend some time praying for them.

Piano is our last subject of the day. I don't push them too hard in this, but we do spend a little time learning notes and rhythms and practicing some simple songs.

2.30 We are finished for the day. Time to play, craft, run errands, etc. I believe that a lot of learning at this age is done through play and exploration, and I try to make sure that each day has plenty of time for them to develop in ways that can't happen in a structured setting.

On days that we don't do music, we do art. Well, we are pretty much always creating something around here regardless of the day's lesson plans, but we have a focused art project once or twice a week. 
My men are all quite artistic, but the little one is in a constant state of creating. He's the main reason I have to spend so much time cleaning up the classroom every morning. 

Let's keep it real, people. Creativity is intense. Imagination is messy.
Those are legitimate paper and foam Hot Wheels tracks they created and played with the rest of the day. They are counting the seconds until I let them work with wood and metal.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016



According to some, I am now officially "over the hill." Although, there appear to be several other proverbial hills that I will hopefully have the honor of going over along this crazy journey called life.

So, I am standing here at the precipice of this hill. And I have to say, I am enjoying the view.

Behind me are years of insecurity and self-discovery, years of sleepless nights and dirty diapers.

Ahead of me I see miles and miles of not caring as much if I am cool or fashionable or liked. I see the confidence to let loose and just be me. I see a light on the horizon as my children grow into young men who are both capable and independent. As they grow, so will I. I will once again have a little time and energy to devote to my own interests. I can even bask in the fact that for now at least, the munchkins need me less and less but still like to have me around. It's a glorious balance.

Once upon a time FORTY seemed like an impossibly large number. That I would be OLD. That the best years of my life would be behind me.

But from what I've tasted of 40 so, it's pretty sweet. In fact, it has hints of coconut and rum.
if you like pina colada...for your Jamaica
Jamaican birthday with cricket
birthday coconuts
birthday giggles
birthday bouquet bigger than my head
birthday cake with one sweet boy
birthday snow with the amazing twins...squint to make them both appear
birthday shopping spree with my personal fashion consultant
birthday tiramisu
birthday coconut with friends
Here's to the next decade and to ageing like fine wine.

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