I thought I would put a post together that helps give a flavor of what our daily homeschooling routine looks like. So many of my posts are compilations of our activities, but they don’t actually show what happens day-to-day. It’s about time to do that again (and I enjoy reading these posts later as the kids get older!)
We have finally gotten back to a relatively normal schedule. (If you follow my blog you’ll have read that I had ear surgery in mid-October. It’s been a long recovery – more about that at the end of this post.) I use the word ‘schedule’ lightly, though, because our day ebbs and flows. We are quick to delve into a subject and spend more time when there is interest. We definitely don’t have a strict time-line we follow. And actually, no day is truly “typical” in our homeschool but I’ll describe what “could” happen!
Getting Our Day Started:
Most mornings ED and I are the first ones up. Usually when I head out to the kitchen, ED hears me and joins me to get her breakfast. I used to always read to her while she ate, but lately I’ve been putting the dishes away, making my coffee and hopping onto the computer for 5 or 10 minutes while she eats. By the time I finish with that, I grab my coffee and we head into the homeschool room. I make a fire in the woodstove and then she reads me one of her phonics readers. We have been using the series from Primary Phonics and she is now on the last set of 10.
Meanwhile, DD and LD have woken up and they get their breakfast and do some independent reading. They both love to read and it’s hard to tear them away from their books! While I was recovering from surgery, I had the kids choose a Newbery novel to read. They both finished those in the past week or so. LD read Wringer and DD read Ramona (She then went on to read several other books in that same series.) Now they’re on to other books. Sometimes they are so into their books that they join us in the homeschool room in front of the wood stove:
On Monday mornings, I’m still having to drive (45 minutes each way) to see my ear doctor. We’ve been listening to Ella Enchanted and the kids (and I) LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that book!! I highly recommend that if you have kids ages 5-12.
What Happens Next?
Honestly I have a mental list of all the things we could/should/would like to cover, but what we start with varies from day to day. And, we don’t always get to all of this, though that’s the goal.
Science and/or (usually OR) History — This is the most “hands-on” portion of our day. Sometimes we jump right in to activities. Sometimes I hold out the “exciting, hands-on stuff” until we get a few other things done. And sometimes, we just all jump onto the couch and simply do some reading together. We finished our science unit on Simple Machines about a week ago and we haven’t continued on to a science new unit. Instead, we spent most of last week finishing the Buddhism portion of our India unit. The kids loved the story books, we worked on the Asia map, and finished up the worksheet pack (which put Buddhism into the modern context. Where is Buddhism practiced today? How popular is it as a world religion, etc.). Sometimes we spend 15 or 20 minutes on science or history. Other times we’ll spend an hour or two or more (like when they really got into making pulleys!).
Language Arts — We spent a lot of time working on free writing (see the posts I wrote about Creating a Writing Workshop) and editing (Editor in Chief) at the beginning of the semester. The past few weeks, it was time to bring back in some spelling and grammar. For the past several years, we have been using All About Spelling. This program works extremely well for us. It focuses on various spelling rules and my son in particular like how logically it is laid out. ED demands to be a part of everything (I’ve written how she decided to join us in our writing workshop). She also said that she wanted to start doing spelling as well. I pulled out the first level and she is very happy with that. Here she is using the spelling tiles to create some short A words. She has been zipping through the first lessons of the book. I also brought out the grammar workbook that we use — called Write Source Skillsbook. It goes over the use of commas, apostrophes, etc. and I find the books a good match for our family. I also made some grammar sheets myself to really focus on some areas where they need work.
Biography Project — While I was recovering from surgery, I wanted the kids to have a project that they could work on somewhat independently. My kids have not ever written a research paper. I wanted to start helping them learn how this is done.
I had them choose someone they wanted to learn more about and for the past three weeks they’ve been working on that project. They had to find their own books at the library and resources on the Internet. We went over proper bibliographic format and talked about how to do research and take notes, etc. I’ll share more about that in another post, but they’ve learned a lot about the writing process and their final project is due this Wednesday (before Thanksgiving). (They did only the research/writing project, not the poster or newspaper article projects.)
In the meantime, ED has been continuing to write in her writing workshop journal. Her entries are still mostly about cats or McKenna (an American Girl Doll), but she generally writes 3 or 4 sentences now.
Math — I’ve shared some of the fun stuff that ED has been doing (the Thanksgiving math and this post on Kindergarten Math). She enjoys playing various math games and will search through her math notebook for things to work on. Meanwhile, we’ve had some big changes in our math for my older two. LD and DD still do some daily work from their math books (fractions, long division and that sort of thing), but we’ve added in a new focus in our math day. We call it Math Circles after the Russian tradition of “showcasing the beauty of mathematics and its applications.” The kids absolutely love this portion of our day now. Those math brain-teaser riddles from yesterday on the blog and the other one over at my Facebook page are just a small snippet of why they love math circles! I need to write up another post — explaining what we’re doing — and sharing a number of the books we’re using. The kids BEG me to continue with math time now! Yes!! (Big fist waving in the air!) See this post on More Math Brain-Teasers (Free Printable) for a long explanation of how we’re trying to make math more engaging, challenging and fun.
Music and Art — Our plans for music and art were put on hold for the semester. In music, I really want the kids to have a better understanding of music theory and music notation (half-note, whole notes, quarter rests, knowing the notes on the staff, etc.). In art, I was excited by Meet the Masters… but it just hasn’t happened the past six weeks or so.
Rotations — The kids continue to work on several subjects (mostly) independently from me. We have a timer for each of them. They spend 10 minutes (or more if they want) on piano, German (listening to Bobo stories) and typing. (I sit down to work with the kids on new piano pieces or to go over new material for German, but not every day.) ED decided she should be doing this as well. She’s taken it upon herself to do most everything her older brother and sister do!
Sports and Extras — My kids have tried a bunch of different sports, but this fall we’ve settled into team gymnastics for my son, aerials and parkour for my daughter, DD. My youngest does a bit of gymnastics and parkour just once a week. The girls are both participating in Girl Scouts — as a Brownie and Daisy. They love their troops! 🙂 That’s enough to keep us pretty busy!
My Ears — If you’ve been reading the blog this fall, you know that I’ve had big dramas with my ear surgery (which was Oct. 16). Pretty much any complication that could happen, has happened. I came out of the surgery rough and had to stay overnight. The ear hasn’t healed as it should and became infected (and was quite painful for a number of weeks). The strong antibiotic I was on has a side-effect of causing tendinitis in some people… I got Achilles tendinitis in both ankles. I got somethings called BPPV which causes incredibly bad dizziness/veritigo/nausea and I wasn’t able to drive for 10 days … Last week, I was finally feeling much better, but it wasn’t to last. The dizziness/nausea came back over the weekend. Plus, my ear doctor is unhappy with the way my skin graft is healing… and it’s looking like I’ll either need an in-office procedure (with the ear canal, etc. numbed) or will need to go back into the OR. I’m hoping, hoping it’s the former — so keep your fingers crossed for me!! Anyway, that’s why I’m still having to see the ear doctor once a week (as I was mentioning above). UPDATE: In the end, my ear problems became more and more severe… I wound up having six operations that year and had to go to a specialist at Johns Hopkins. They were not able to save the hearing or the balance system in my left ear. They removed everything and plugged up my left ear completely (like a belly button!). But luckily there’s some new fancy technology that allows me to wear a special device that transmits sound through my skull. So life is returning to normal.
Well — this is a HUGE long post, isn’t it? If you got to the end, thanks for reading!! ~Liesl
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