February 01, 2014

A Day in the Life

Every now and then I try to capture a fairly normal weekday in all of its insane glory. It's fun to look back later (like 3 years from now when I'll be working on this year's scrapbook, lol) and see some of the things we took for granted...and how quickly they change! So here was a day in our homeschool/life...


Up at 5am. Ted showers, I nurse Seanin and read a few pages on a Kindle book (When Godly People Do Ungodly Things by Beth Moore) as I rub the bleary out of my eyes. (I only nursed Seanin because he was awake and crying...usually it's closer to 6 or 6:30.)

5:45. Ted brings coffee! We pray together, then Ted puts Seanin back to bed and we do our Bible reading. (Today for me: Exodus 23-25 and Matthew 20:20-34.)

6:45. T-Tapp time. Only 15 minutes of exercise? Yes, please! (14 inches lost since November 1!)

7-8ish. Kitchen puttering. Write out older kids' assignments on white board in kitchen. Breakfast. Send Ted off to work. Write notes on planner. Do my Rosetta Stone lesson. (Still on level 1. Unit 3. Slow but steady progress.)

(OK, I am stopping with the specific times. Everything from here on out is a blur!)

Little boys wake for breakfast. ("Mooooommmmmmmyyyyyyy!" Zaden keeps calling.) I hustle upstairs, trying to shush them--good heavens, the echoes in this house!! Sunshiney smiles from Lucan and Zaden. Why can't we all wake up this joyful?!

Start the boys on breakfast--cereal with fresh, raw milk. Once they are settled, I return to the 3rd floor to get Seanin, who is awake again and ready for second breakfast--he's a hobbit minus the hairy feet! By the time I return to the kitchen, Kenna has joined the crew. And Charis surprises me--she's awake before the older boys! She makes herself some hot tea to ward off the junk she's been fighting...'tis the season in Naples. I holler for the older boys and go over the assignment board with the older three, then go with Kenna to the library (a room near our family room) to do some reading with her. We read about ancient Roman times (what a coincidence, ha!) and do her reading lesson from Phonics Pathways. I ask her to choose one of the phrases from the page of reading exercises and dictate a story to me--it occurs to me that we haven't done much in the way of creative writing with Kenna, so this is a spontaneous assignment that she gleefully agrees to do. I write out her story, and she illustrates it. (Click on the picture if you want to see it enlarged!)

I am pleased with our time together thus far! I send Kenna off to read with Arden--I have decided the older kids need to be involved in the younger kids' education at least minimally, and this allows them to read some books they either haven't read themselves or don't remember from when we read them the first time around. (Sneaky, right?!) Kenna fell in love with the Boxcar Children, our first read-aloud with this core, so Arden is reading book #2 with her. Later Tobin will do science with her, and I smile in delight when I overhear him giving further explanation about the rotation of the sun. I LOVE this plan!!

I check in with the older kids to see how they are doing on their independent work checklist, and then I spend some time reading with Zaden and Lucan. They absolutely love this book that has 12 popular children's stories...I got it from Sonlight a few years ago, and it is totally falling apart, the sign of a fabulous book in our house. It's been awhile since we read from it, though, so here we go. Today's stories include Goodnight Moon, which has Zaden repeating everything once we get to the part where we tell all the objects goodnight, and Harold and the Purple Crayon, with Lucan playing the part of Harold, drawing various items in the air.

When little boys start getting wiggly, it's time to head to the kitchen. Charis is working on Rosetta Stone--I'm determined that our family will leave Italy with at least a level of competence with this language! We were pretty faithful to do these computer-based lessons throughout the summer, but once Seanin arrived it was survival mode only. We just started this up again after the holidays.

Kenna is working on her math and handwriting pages, so it's time now for me to occupy the younger boys so they don't start fighting over who gets the dark brown Playmobile horse for the 47th time. We make banana bread to use up the squishy bananas. We almost never have squishy bananas because they mostly disappear 18 seconds after I put them in the fruit stand, but I purposely kept buying them so that eventually we WOULD have some for banana bread--it has been far too long since I made any! We put together two loaves' worth with a minimum amount of mess!

Lucan does some schoolwork at the table while we are in the kitchen. He is delighted to be a big boy and have school books, too! I ordered the early Explode the Code books, and he is doing well with this Get Set for the Code workbook.

Meanwhile, Tobin has ventured on a rabbit trail...instead of schoolwork, he is devouring his new Boy Scouts' handbook and excitedly showing his siblings how to carry someone in need of assistance with either the two-hand or four-hand hold (the latter of which is shown below). Both Kenna and Charis receive "rescue rides," as the boys demonstrate the two different holds (one for a conscious subject and one for unconscious). Much to Kenna's disappointment, Mom puts the kibosh on this activity (after watching and giving hearty approval for awhile--I'm not a total killjoy!) and sends everyone back to work.

With the banana bread baking, I put Seanin down for a nap and check in on the older kids, who are working to finish their independent tasks before lunch. At some point I work in spelling and grammar with the older kids, but I really do need to rework our schedule so I can have one-on-one time with them on a more regular basis that does NOT involve constant interruptions. Now, Tobin and Charis are beginning research projects, Tobin doing the state report that Charis had to do last year (they both chose Ohio) and Charis comparing and contrasting Hindu and Muslim cultures in India. Here Tobin uses our World Book Encyclopedia to do some Ohio research--so far we have only used it for our Eastern Hemisphere studies this year, but there is a lot of information available on it!

Approaching lunch time. Again, I work to involve Zaden in the preparation process--not particularly because I want or need his "help" (think Steve the monkey in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: "Helping...helping...helping...") but because it will keep him from driving his older siblings bonkers. And, I have to admit, it is also good character development for me! I am forced to slow down, make my words gentle, and teach him some basic life skills. ("Don't grab the knife out of Mommy's hand" comes to mind.) We are having hot dogs with cheese stuffed into slits. The 'dogs are Hebrew National kosher franks, so I suppose you could say this is another culture study in the making! ;-)

Over the lunch break the kids are supposed to practice their music. Charis does so, practicing both piano and violin. (Now that I'm writing all this out, I think the boys actually skipped out on this--grrrr!) We are borrowing a keyboard because our electric piano has apparently died and we haven't done anything about it yet. Thankfully the kids' music teacher has a spare keyboard, but we really should get on the ball and order a new one ourselves!

During lunch I begin reading Kenna's next read-aloud, Dolphin Adventure. The older kids note that it's the same author (Wayne Grover) as their current reader, Ali and the Golden Eagle! What a coincidence! The chapters are very short, and we get through four of them.

Things tend to fall apart a bit (OK, sometimes a lot) over the lunch hour. I work hard to get Zaden AND Seanin in bed for a nap so that once Tobin finishes washing all the morning/lunch dishes we are ready to sit down for our Sonlight reading (Bible, geography/history, science--some of this is simply checking the work the kids did in the morning). However, today Seanin is miserable. Zaden goes down well enough for his nap, but Seanin is having none of this sleeping thing. I do manage to get my own lunch eaten before I decide to put Seanin in the Ergo and bounce around with him while I finish reading the dolphin book to Kenna and Arden.

Whew. It's 2:00 before the older kids gather in the family room for us to finish our school day. I remember the days when school was all done before lunchtime...  We usually do our Bible reading first, but today we actually did that at the breakfast table. We are in Hebrews now. I always love it when I read a verse and one of the kids' pipes up, "I know that verse! I learned it in AWANA [or Bible Bee or whatever]!" Since Charis, Ted, and I are reading through the Bible in a year and have been reading in Exodus, it's a cool parallel to read about the ministry of Jesus as our high priest.

Anyway. Our afternoon school time today involves checking the science activity sheets they did along with the morning's reading (they are learning about the human body this year, so part of today's reading was about food and nutrition). Today's history time together involves checking the pages in the kids' Eastern Hemisphere notebooks. We are beginning a new unit on the Middle East, having celebrated our end of the India study on Monday. The kids read the overview and history synopsis of the Middle East on the aforementioned World Book Encyclopedia during their morning work time. Their notebook pages have an extensive timeline, which was rather overwhelming for them, so we ended up doing this part together. By the time we finish this it is nearly 4:00, Zaden is ready to get up from his nap, and Seanin is ready to nurse again.

And this is what our family room looks like.

I wish I could say that everything got put back in place and the children engaged in worthwhile, creative activities until dinnertime, but I'm pretty sure the house was still a wreck when, exhausted, I give permission for Arden to start a Veggie Tales DVD for the littles while I take a few minutes to breathe, check email and Facebook, attempt to put Seanin down for a real nap, and then begin dinner. Actually, Charis probably WAS engaged in some kind of crafty project in her room, and Tobin was either playing with Legos or reading his Boy Scout handbook in his room, so I suppose not everyone's mind turned to mush in front of the TV, ha!

We had taco casserole and peas for dinner and went around the table to tell something we learned during school today. Attention waned so we didn't get to do our "Joy, junk, Jesus" sharing, but hey, I guess you can only take so much family togetherness. The little boys got baths, the older boys took showers, Charis swept and mopped the kitchen, Arden washed dishes, Kenna rinsed, and I sat with an ice pack on my back, which was starting to spazz out again. Ted returned from putting Lucan and Zaden to bed and paced the family room with Seanin in the Ergo, since he hadn't napped more than a few minutes all afternoon. I began our new read-aloud (Shadow Spinner), and we got through 3 chapters before calling it a night.

Whew! We usually only have 2-3 school days this full during the week, since we go to Support Site on Tuesdays for my ladies' Bible study time in the morning and homeschool park/play day after lunch. Piano lessons are on Fridays, and we try to cram in other work so we don't have as much to do on Fridays. We never get to EVERYTHING on any given day, but Lord willing, we hit most of it when we can and grab other subjects on other days. I constantly pray that God will direct our children's education and allow them to love learning so much that they will independently seek out anything we may be missing in our official curriculum so that HE will prepare and equip them for the calling He has on their lives.

I am so grateful for His grace in this homeschooling life adventure! We know we are so inadequate in and of ourselves, but praise the Lord for His Spirit and divine power which has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

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