Oct 20, 2008

A Day in the Life of... Tisra

I'm about ready to make dinner, so before I forget, I figured I better post the details of today.  Today is NOT a typical homeschool day, but documenting this is certainly encouraging because it shows that you can take what you've got and USE IT!  Never wait for the "perfect day"... it will never happen.

Yesterday, two neighbors asked if I could watch their children at points in the day.  Both had pressing needs and I wanted to be there for them.  BUT, I also have a few days coming up that I allotted as non-school days when I fly for a girls weekend in NYC and Daddy is home with the kids for 4 days.  (Lest you think I say that casually... I am totally thankful and THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!!!!  EEEEeeek!)  (Okay, resuming...)  Because of my upcoming absence and the fact that we were on Fall Break only a week ago, I have no room to spontaneously take a day off and watch other people's children.  As crazy as it may sound, I insisted that we proceed with school today.

My children are 8, 5, 3 (nearly four).  The first set of kids (Group A) were 5 and 3.  My plan was to bring the 5 year old into the lesson and allow the 3 year old to play with our 3 year old.  The second set of kids (Group B) needed watching after lunch and there was a possibility that Group A would be gone by then but, if not, it was my intent to let them simply play while we finished up school work or skip the last activities of the day and let everyone play... I'd decide later.  Group B consisted of two boys: nearly 8, and 13.

I woke up at 6, got coffee and sat to read my Bible in the still, dark morning.  This was the most peaceful part of my day and a total necessity.  My husband left for work at about 6:45am, and I tinkered on the computer for a bit, then helped my kids get ready for the morning.  At about 8am, the kids were all dressed and ready ("starving") for breakfast.

Group A arrived about 8:20am, and joined us for blueberry pancakes.  I usually read our devotional or Bible during breakfast and did so this morning.  We read Lesson 21 out of "Leading Little Ones to God" and had some good discussion about sin and forgiveness.  We never got around to reading directly from Scripture, but sang "Jesus loves the Little Children" quickly while clearing away plates.  While everyone washed the maple syrup off their hands and brushed their teeth, I finished cleaning up breakfast and putting away last nights clean dishes from the dishwasher.  The children played for a bit as I continued on to a few other tasks: making my bed, starting a load of laundry, and getting out of my robe and pjs into proper clothes.  I quickly dusted on some make-up and brushed my hair, too.  But I haven't showered- I didn't really trust the kids to be alone for 15 minutes; I will tackle that tonight when my husband is home.

By the time that was all taken care of, the phone rang with something semi-urgent.  Grant, my oldest, took advantage of my distracted-phone-talking-self to go ride his scooter outside and chat it up with the lawn guys who came to seed and aerate today.  Off the phone, I went outside and collected my son, telling everyone that it was time to assemble for school.

At this point, it is about 10:00am.  Group A's 5 year old, and my two school-age children sat down to do their more strenuous tasks for the day.  I always get the paper work out of the way before my children say they're "tired".  These tasks include: Handwriting, Math, language Arts written assignments, and Spelling.  While they worked on what they could independently, I cleaned the children's bathroom- it was getting to be "past due" (almost 3 months into school, and I am still battling with how to keep the house clean).  My 3rd grader usually has more to do than the Kindergartner, so I played Letter Sound Bingo with the 5 year olds while Grant did his spelling words.  Then we did some reading in our Language Arts books.  Everything took longer this morning (surprised?), so we broke for lunch around 12:40pm instead of our normal 11:30 or 12:00.  This was fine only because breakfast was served a bit later, too so they weren't "starving" again.  Oh, and I let them have dry snacks upstairs in the school room just to keep my kids focused a bit longer (this is a no-no normally to avoid mess, so they loved that).

Eating lunch is normally the perfect opportunity to read from our Literature Read Aloud (currently Mountain Born) or our history read aloud, but today everyone just ate.  I needed the brief pause, and I think that having 5 kids around the table made it too noisy to have good listeners.

So, then we went outside to play in the neighborhood.  Our house is situated on a cul-de-sac with a grassy island in the middle.  It was at this point that my kids, Group A and Group B all intersected and we had a noisy, fun, messy play session.  I love watching all of the ages figure it out together- perfect opportunity to learn the art of compromise!  The younger kids pulled each other in the wagon.  The older kids dragged out a heap of boxes and objects to make an obstacle course from.  About thirty minutes in, compromise and bliss gave way to tattling and hurt feelings- we are talking about 7 unrelated kids so I suppose it is to be expected!

It was then clean up time (about 2:30pm), and all the outside objects/ride-ons/toys were hauled into the garage while all the children except the oldest from Group B came inside to play.  I surveyed the playroom/school room and considered it "a wreck".  As I helped the  youngest children tidy up, Grant did our science reading out loud.  There was still History and Literature to be done, but this is the point at which we called it a day and went outside to play again (roughly 3:30pm).

Considering the circumstances, I think that wasn't so bad.  And THAT is one of the biggest advantages of homeschool- being able to remain flexible and speed up or slow down depending on LIFE.

Oct 14, 2008

A Day in the Life of...Julia

Ok, I thought this would be fun. Let's each take a turn and share about our day...a typical day, if there is one. I just love to hear how other people spend their homeschool days. I'll start. And I'll begin by saying that today wasn't special in any way. No fun things on the calendar today. No homeschool group today. No cute science experiments today. No exciting field trip. Just a day in the life of our homeschool family.

I rolled out of bed at 9:00 am today. Yes, it's true. I stayed up late with my husband last night having a date-night of sorts watching a few shows we DVR-ed on our tv. It's cheaper than going to the movies and way more comfortable since I can lounge on the couch with my pj's on! My oldest daughter spent the night at my parents' house last night so I had only two kids for 1/2 the day today. Ahh, do you know how much less conflict there is when you take just one kid out of the mix? A lot less in this house. Anyway, Anna and Nathan made themselves breakfast as usual (cereal), I sat with them and checked my email quickly. Then Nathan and I sat on the couch and went over several pages of his reading book (Phonics Pathways) together. Anna did what Anna always does, she read. She got up early this morning (like 7:00 or something like that). She generally gets up early and sits in her bed reading until I get up. Then she eats b/c I make her. Then she reads again. On to our day... I went upstairs to take a shower and get ready for the day. Nathan went to his room with instructions to review his Phonics Pathways words and either listen to books on CD's or music. Anna started her laundry (yes, I teach my kids early to be independent!), cleaned her room, got dressed and started on her morning work. Morning work consists of things that she can do independently while I am getting ready in the morning. Her list includes: assigned reading book, spelling, personal enjoyment reading, devotion/bible study, Flashmaster (a super-great electronic math fact machine), Mavis Beacon typing CD-rom, Chinese language Nintendo DS game (b/c we couldn't afford the $200.00 Rosetta Stone program I really wanted) and reviewing her memory verses. Then I helped Nathan finish a craft project (those beads you put on plastic shapes and iron together). He picked out some Christmas wrapping paper, wrapped it , and then found a good hiding place for it. It's his gift to Daddy for Christmas. Check. One gift done (!!). It was lunch time by then. The kids made their own lunch and I made mine. When I grocery shop on Mondays, I generally splurge (like $4-5.00...ooh, I know...such a treat!) on one special treat for myself for lunches for the week. It usually is a gallon of sweet tea from Chik-fil-A. However, this week I bought a loaf of sundried tomato bread from Panera for my sandwhiches. OH MY GOODNESS! It is so yummy! Yes, little things like that get me excited and make my day a bit more enjoyable. On to lunch...we ate together and laughed a lot. Then it was off to the basement. The serious work gets done down there. I put Nathan's math DVD in (Math U See) while Anna worked on her Latin. I graded some of Anna's work from last week. I usually do that on Monday morning but didn't get to it yesterday. My mom came home with Kara around that time. She stayed and visited with us for about an hour. The kids showed off some of their school work to her along with their "still a work in progress"-Christmas list that they are really in to right now. She left, Nathan continued on with his math, Kara got started on her work for the day, and Anna finished up her Latin. Then we took a break and went to the library to get new books. We returned home around 3:30. (See sweet picture of all three kids reading. Ahhh, if only my whole day looked like that!) I started making dinner while the kids all read their new books. And that's it. That's our day so far. I'll have them start setting the kitchen table and cleaning up the family room shortly.

So, how about you all? What's your day look like? No cheating...you can't wait until a really good/unusual/totally make the rest of us feel like slacker moms kind of day. So, start sharing! Can't wait to hear your "day in the life" post!

PS: As I re-read this post, I thought I'd add one thing. I do teach my girls. It didn't sound like I did from this post! Although I do it a bit differently than most, I think. They are in 4th and 5th grade. So, they are fairly independent workers. The way I structure our week is that I give the girls their lessons for the week on Monday. I teach them, for instance, the grammar lesson and then give them 5 assignments for the week. Then they are on their own for Tues-Fri. If they work really hard, they can get all of their work done early (sometimes as early as Wed). If they don't, then they are stuck with a really awful Friday. It didn't take them long to learn a valuable lesson. Work hard, enjoy some time off. Procrastinate, pay the price on Friday. And doing it like this allows me to spend more time with my 5 year old who requires one on one teaching time. As for this week, Kara took some of her work with her to my parents' house and did it this morning while there. And of course, I am usually answering questions here and there about the work they are doing. But I'm not supermom and can't always answer questions immediately (like when I'm making dinner, in the bathroom, on the phone, etc, etc). And let's face it, questions generally come at those times! Anyway, the funny thing is that as I was grading Anna's math work today, she had this written for three of her word problem answers: "unknown- you wouldn't answer my question". Supermom I am NOT! Although I do consider it a good day if I have dinner prepared by 5:00. It is. I'm good for the day!! julia.

Oct 10, 2008

Will The Boats Float?

Tuesday it rained and rained and rained.

When it stopped - the big girls asked if they could make boats
out of pine bark ,sticks,mud,and leaves.

The wanted to see if they would float down the creek
and in the puddles

Here they are......
and yes they did!

They were so proud!

Fun Little Monkeys.

This is what happens when you won't let them turn on the T.V.

Oct 8, 2008

Lemon Squares & Life Skills

Caleb had plans( with one of the guys) to watch a movie.
I hear"Mama, can you make those lemon squares for Benjamin & me?

I said,"No..but you can get in there and make them , if you want."
C-"Mama! You know I cannot make those!"
M-"Really? Do you have a physical disability that makes it impossible?"
C- "No."
M- "Do you have a reading comprehension problem that I am not aware of?"
C- "No."

M-" Well then, you can read the back of the box and follow the directions just like I can. "
C- " What if they do not turn out right?
M-" Then we can buy some more and you can try again later."
C- "Mama! PLEEAASSEE...Why can't you just do it for me?"
M- " Because I am busy and because I am not the ones who wants to eat Lemon Squares...You are."
C- " Oh Yeah!"

So Caleb, Hannah, and Ben got busy.
The squares turned out great.
His buddy thinks Caleb can give Emeril a run for his money
(when it comes to lemon squares) and Mr. Caleb was quite proud of himself.

I was ,too.

My future daughter-in-law BETTER appreciate all I am doing for her!

Oct 7, 2008


Wow, look at all the animals on the beach! Isn't this the most amazing little drawing?
Alaina (age 5) learned how to draw these cute little pictures by studying this wonderful little art book that was a gift from Grandma. It gives step by step instructions on how to draw. Alaina has amazed us with her ability to draw these pictures.

Fun Spelling Site

Hi Ya'll!
I wish I could say I had anything to do with this but alas I did not. However I know you will have fun. My children have truly enjoyed it. It is called www.SpellingCity.com You can put in your own spelling list or use the ones they have. They have games for the kids to play while learning their spelling words. Check it out!

Oct 3, 2008

Starfall Website

For some reason this site just crossed my mind. A couple of years ago when my son was REALLY struggling learning how to read I found this website....Starfall.com. It's a really, really, REALLY great interactive website for the kids. It was awesome for me to be able to send him to the computer and let him click away on this site. I could have a bit of a break, and he'd be learning!! So if you have little ones learning the alphabet or learning to read...check this site out!!

Oct 2, 2008


DLTK Printables in Color and Black & White.

The little ones have"crafted" all day!