13 February 2015

What Our Homeschool Days Look Like Right Now

At least once a year, usually more, I like to draft a blog on what our everyday craziness looks like. From a homeschooling perspective, it's interesting to see what kinds of activities dominate our days at different grades/ages. From a parenting perspective, it's nice to look back on our various "seasons" and know we survived. Plus, they are just plain fun to re-read.

This is what our homeschool days look like right now. Our students are third grade, first grade, and portable tornado. I mean, we also have four-year-old.


I try to be up no later than 6:00, and the Senior Agents (ages 8 and 6) are typically downstairs before 8:00. Our littlest Agent (age 4) still sleeps the longest; he doesn't join us until closer to 9:30. 

Early morning time for me means coffee, drafting blog posts, reading, and catching up on social media. The girls might take turns with the Kindle, read a book, color, or just play one of their made-up games. If Agent A isn't downstairs by 9:30, they go to wake him up.

No later than 10:00 we have some fruit and begin planning our day. I'm not sure when the "fruit as first breakfast" thing started, but somehow it became an everyday thing. Recently we evolved into having a bigger "brunch" type meal somewhere between 10:30 and noon. This involves some combination of pancakes, eggs, bagels, bacon, muffins, French toast, yogurt, or more fruit.

The rest of our morning and early afternoon generally don't follow any particular schedule. Kids play, read, have art time, or just make up crazy games to play. I clean or write or do other Boring Mommy Stuff while simultaneously offering any necessary assistance. If they ask, I play/read with them (and sometimes I volunteer just because I like to play/read with them) but they don't need or want as much hands-on direction as they used to. Honestly, now that the Agents are all out of the high intensity baby/toddler stages, my mothering "work" is more of the supervisory and mediation variety.

We're all kind of homebodies, but if/when we do leave the house it's almost always late morning. Which means we get the oh, no school today? question a lot. Still, this works better for our schedule so that's what we do. We like to be home by early afternoon. We're fine with only having "plans" one or two days a week.

I don't find staying home most days to be constricting in any way; in fact, we enjoy the unhurriedness of it all. (That is totally a word.) Especially when we'd have to deal with snow and ice and single-digit temperatures, not having to be anywhere most days is not a negative for us, it's a luxury.

We have our structured school time after lunch. (Yes; we have breakfast, brunch, and lunch. We're hungry around here, what can I say?) So, typically we don't break out The School Stuff until 2:00-ish, sometimes later. 

Most days we'll work on 3-4 subjects. Because my kiddos are young we focus on math and language arts. Oh, we still cover Everything Else (geography, history, science, health, music, art, PE) throughout the week but the majority of our daily, organized, Momma-sitting-at-the-table-with-them-let's-do-this work tends to be related to the three R's. At their ages, "formal" lessons take surprisingly little time.

Our go-to method for other subjects at this age could be summed up as Read All the Books. At any given time we have 50-100 books out of the library about our current history, science, music, etc. studies. (So we don't get them mixed up with our own, we have an entire bookshelf off the kitchen devoted to just library books.) We do some written work with all subjects, but it doesn't take priority.

The girls both read quite a bit, spending a minimum of two hours a day (usually more) buried in various paper and Kindle titles. In addition to reading about our current school topics, they both love fiction, especially historical fiction (American Girl, Magic Tree House), stories about mythical creatures (e.g., mermaids and unicorns) and modern twists on fairy tales (The Land of Stories, Whatever After).

Agent A is finally patient enough to sit through not just one book, but a whole stack, so we do that at least once a day, often more. (His current favorites include Elephant and Piggie, Olivia, and Curious George.) Other than reading whenever he likes, we don't do anything that would really be considered "school" with him. Since he has a fall birthday, we likely won't until he's close to turning six.

Our late afternoon/early evening time looks a lot like our late morning/early afternoon time. The Agents play, read, and (yes) watch videos or Netflix. They color and draw a lot . . . Agent J even has her own comic book, ha. Mostly they just hang out together and have fun. I love that they are able to enjoy so much free time each day. 

Dinner is usually around 6:15-6:30-ish, which coincides with Hubby coming home from work. Everyone heads upstairs around 7:15-7:30-ish for baths/pajamas and then back downstairs by 8:15-8:30-ish for a movie, snacks, more play time.

We've pretty much settled into a pattern of going upstairs to get ready for bed at 10:00. Everyone (usually) is sound asleep before 10:30. It's later than what we used to do, which means everyone also sleeps later in the mornings, but it's working for now.

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