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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Welcome to our four ring circus!

This week, my fellow Crew members and I are inviting you along on a blog cruise and welcoming all of you into a day in our lives....

You know those homeschoolers who start their day before the sun rises, grinding wheat and making homemade bread while simultaneously doing 5 loads of laundry and walking 3 miles and spending an hour with the Lord...all before their precious children crack open an eyelid?  Well, that's NOT me :-).

A typical day in our "academy" begins at different times for different kids.  Sari, who is almost 7, wakes uncannily around the same time I do, no matter how quiet I am or what hour I wake.  Most days, that's around 7ish.  She cons her daddy into making breakfast spends some quality time with her father over waffles while I spend some quality time with God.  Usually sometime during that process TJ wakes up and joins the craziness.  Scott and Mimi would, given the chance, sleep the morning away, but I usually wake them before Sari and I head downstairs to our basement-turned-schoolroom and begin her day.  We go down first because most of her work requires the two of us working together.  We start with Leading Little Ones to God and then she does Reading Made Easy for reading and Right Start Level B for math.  She is the slowest, most distractable student known to man and this can sometimes take us ALL MORNING.  Sometime during all this, the older 3 join us. 

We use workboxes, which have single-handedly changed our homeschooling.  Because each year my kids get older, and the mantle of responsibility for their education gets heaver, I've found myself in a place this year where I feel like I spend my entire week-end planning for the school week coming up.   See, I'm keeping it real.  I'd love to tell you after 9 years of doing this I have it all figured out, but I just don't.  I'm getting better at it all the time, but this year has really bogged me down planning wise!  Anyway, I spend each week-end creating a schedule for each of them for the whole week and prepping their work into folders (organized by day/child) so that each morning when Sari and I go downstairs, I just fill their boxes with the paperwork or materials they need for each subject.  Then they can begin work when they come down.

Once Sari and I are at some sort of stopping point and all 3 older kids are downstairs, we break to our Sentence of the Day challenge.  It is the single BEST thing I have done this year!  I'm using this book.  I write one grammatically incorrect sentence on the white board and the older three (10, 12, and 14) commence with figuring out what is wrong with it.  They have taken this to a highly competitive level.  The prize?  I do their "daily" chore.  See they have daily upkeep chores every day in the room that is their responsibility, but each day has an extra chore too-and that's the one I do for the winner.  After someone finds all the mistakes in the sentence, I teach the grammar behind it to all of them, and after that we pray for our day.   Then, it's back to work.

Scott, who is 14 and on the Autism Spectrum and a little delayed, is doing Sonlight Core 100, Teaching Textbooks 7,  Apologia General Science and lapbook, vocabulary from an SAT prep, Precept Discover 4 Yourself-2 Timothy, visual Latin, and a cursive writing drill book.

Mimi is 12 and is also doing Sonlight Core 100 and Apologia General Science and lapbook.  She does Math Mammoth for math, Precept (the new study starts Tuesday, so I don't know what book yet), Visual Latin, cursive from Handwriting Without Tears, All About Spelling, First Language Lessons Level 3, and Read Live, which has single-handedly upped her reading pace by about 40 words per minute in just 3 months. 

TJ is 10 and does Math Mammoth, cursive from HWOT, All About Spelling, First Language Lessons 3, Sonlight Core D+E, and Apologia Land Animals of the 6th day and lapbook.  Oh, and Precept.  He's finishing 2 Timothy also.

Each of them does what they can do independently while I am busy with whatever sibling is at a place where they need me.  Just before lunch, I do FLL or AAS (we alternate days) with Mimi and TJ.  Every other day, I read science aloud to TJ and Sari together.  The day after that, TJ has lapbook work to do that goes with what we read.  Mimi needs me to do parts of Read Live with her, so usually that's an after lunch activity.    Beyond that, I check their work as they complete it, and have them correct it right away.  We don't do "grades"-I want them to actually get the right answer!  And between Core 100 and D+E, we always have some read-aloud going on that gets pigeon holed into the day.  Oh, and of course any product we are using for the Crew has to squeeze in there somewhere!

And what is Sari doing during all this, since she's done with most of her work?  Her current love is Reading Eggs-an online program that works on reading skills.  She also has handwriting to do (HWOT printing), and usually some sort of worksheet type activities I can pull out for her when she clamors for more.

I'd love to say our school day ends at 2:30ish, but I'd be fibbing.  We take a decent lunch "break" for chores and a little quiet time, but the trade off means our afternoons go long-usually 4:30ish.  Sari's excused from the after lunch work, but she prefers to hang with us anyway.  Our new schoolroom pet, a hamster named Rascal, may have something to do with that. 

Of course, all of the above assumes that any day is "typical", which all homeschoolers know it not very likely!  But it's what I aim for at least.  Like any multi-ring circus, it's a juggling act, and there's never a dull moment.  But I wouldn't have it any other way. Thanks for joining me for the cruise. Go HERE to see what a day is like for some of my other Crewmates.
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Melissa said...

Thanks for the peak into your day.

Mozi Esmé said...

Sounds like you do a fine job of juggling! I like how you allow the olders to start at their own pace.

(And we love Reading Eggs at our house, too...)

Our Peculiar Lives said...

Thanks for sharing! You're a world class juggler!

Marty said...

I agree! Great juggling. I have three teenagers, and it does get easier as they get older.
With so much going on, you may or may not want to add in anything, even if it is meant to help and enhance. But we are doing Apologia General this year, too, and I scour the internet each module and post videos (and anything else I can find). I list them by section, and assign the kids what section to watch/read each day.
Some modules I have better "finds" than others. =)
Just wanted to share, and loved your post. =)

Marty said...

Oh, I forgot to post the link. =D

Tiffany said...

I know we talk regularly but I enjoyed hearing about the flow of your days. You've got a whole lot going on!

Coloring Pages said...

Children react differently to same situations and it needs our being to pinpoint where the problem is. Not always an easy thing to do. Thank You
Coloring Pages