A Snapshot of One Homeschooling Day

We're pretty relaxed homeschoolers but need a bit of form to our day to keep from going insane. We typically have a general plan of where we'd like to end up, but often get there in unconventional ways. There's a very fine line around here between organization and chaos. I jump over it frequently.

Today I'm sharing another quick snapshot of what "educational" things we might do during a given day. Some of these occur during more structured "school" time and others just kind of happen. I should probably add a disclaimer that I wrote this down after the fact, so it's likely I forgot something, and these "activities" are listed in random order. And we did Other Stuff, too; I'm just trying to single out the most school-y things. Also, we didn't go anywhere this particular day (library, errands, etc.). 

Watching Little Pim (Spanish) and playing with Little Pim flash cards. We love that adorable panda around here, and have used both the Spanish and Italian videos in the past. And the flash cards, well, let's just say the Agents are the type of kids who actually like flash cards and enjoy organizing them into stories. Or, spreading them around the living room floor randomly. 

Reading all the books. I once tried to keep track of how much time the Senior Agents spend on independent fiction reading each day, but I gave up. I usually assume at least two hours, but honestly, it's probably more like three or more many days. Mostly they like "real" (paper) books from the library or our own bookshelf, but they've both been more into Kindle books in recent weeks. (We got the Agents their own, shared Kindle for Christmas last year, with Free Time Unlimited, and I think that's when they started becoming more keen on the whole eBook concept.)

Marriage discussion. We had a very interesting (impromptu) chat about who can get married. Yes, this was very educational. Up until this point, they honestly had no idea that a woman could marry a woman or a man could marry a man . . . even though they had met a married, lesbian couple and chatted with them just a few months ago. Full disclosure, they had a little trouble digesting this new information. But, young kids in general are extremely accepting and this is no different. Agent J confirmed for me during our discussion that she will still be marrying Patrick.

(Side story: About a year ago Agent J told me she had a dream about her future husband. His name is Patrick, he has blue eyes, light brown hair that is kind of thin, is about the same height or a little shorter than her future self, and has a skin tone slightly darker than hers, kind of like a perpetual tan. Yes, she was that specific. They meet in Starbucks and date for ten years before getting married. Agent E is her maid of honor, of course. She is undecided as to whether she will take his last name, keep her own, or use both. They go on to have three children (two girls and a boy) and they name them Unicorn, Rainbow, and Pants.)

Checking out videos and articles on KidsHealth. This is one of our absolute favorite go to sites for science and health questions. I believe the topics that day included why we have gas, what happens when you throw up, and the kidneys and urine. If anyone thinks girls are not into gross things and bodily functions in the same way boys are, um, yeah. They would be wrong.

Math. We use a few basic math workbooks we found Amazon (not a full curriculum). Agent J worked through some basic addition and subtraction and Agent E learned about area. We also read a book called Math Appeal, which is part of a series of math "riddle" books written by Greg Tang. While I like them, they are not that into these books, however, and prefer some of the others we've read, including the Sir Cumference series. 

More reading. We did a quick recap of the books they had read yesterday on the specific school subjects we're covering right now, including two books about presidents (Lincoln and Cleveland), two books about kangaroos, and one about Charles Darwin. For today's "lessons" they read more about kangaroos (we're studying animals and Australia, so it makes sense) and a short biography of Bach. 

Scrabble. At some point Agent E and I played a game of Scrabble. She often still needs my assistance, and we don't keep score, but she's getting better. Agent J occasionally plays with us, too, but I have to help her a lot. We frequently play a "game" where we just look at all the letters and try to spell as many connected words on one topic as we can. So, for instance I might put "Mickey" in the middle of the board and they they have to build as many Disney-related words around it as they can. 

Watched an episode of How the States Got Their Shapes. We generally like this show (yeah, Netflix!) but this particular one was kind of weird and not as good as some others. Overall, however, they enjoy it and like learning random facts about the states.

Music. Both girls (well, mostly Agent E) practiced a few notes on the recorder and watched a short online lesson about the music staff and learning the different whole notes. We decided to work toward learning a few simple songs like Mary Had a Little Lamb and Jingle Bells. (I should add here that we just began exploring the idea of learning an instrument about 3 days ago, so we're pretty early in the process.)

So we covered math, language arts, a little science/health, music, Spanish, and a touch of history. Some more than others, but I tend to think in terms of balancing weeks or months, not necessarily covering everything every day. (We do tend to lean heavy toward math and reading at this age, though.)

I often wonder if we would still do the kinds of things on this list if the Agents went to a traditional public or private school. I would like to think that we would, but honestly, I think time constraints and schedules would get the best of us. Truthfully, one of the best things about homeschooling is how little time it actually takes to work on our "curriculum"; we all have way more free time than we would if we had to conform to a 7:30-3:30 Monday-Friday plan (not counting homework). Their independent reading time would definitely be curtailed, that's for sure. Would they still be excited about watching Spanish language and history shows? I don't know. All I know is this is what we're doing and it works for us, for now.

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