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.


Andrea said...

Good grief, Mama!
That was one busy day!
Just READING it made me want to be knee deep in a bottle of whiskey! :)

Sounds like the kids had a great time...kinda makes it all worth it, doesn't it?

I know your friends appreciated your help so much, not to mention the little ones who were in on the blueberry panckes!


julia and andy said...

How sweet of you to help out your neighbors. You sound like a better friend than I am! Like you said, I love that we can be as flexible as we want during our days. And days like yours sometimes make you appreciate a boring day at home with nothing special to do! That's a good thing to remember now that winter is fast approaching and many of us (who aren't blessed with warm weather like those in the south) will be stuck inside for days and days.

Thanks for sharing about your day! julia.

Tisra said...


"like those in the south"... Heh, heh... this is warm?! No seriously, I'm originally from Southern California and I now that I'm here in Nashville, I think I know COLD. I know, I know... nothing like other areas. :-) But still, this is hardly WARM. :-)


Kelly said...

What a FUN day!! But I have to know did you actually get that shower!?!? (ha ha ha) I have to admit more of my days are like that than not. What a blessing you are to your neighbors and teaching the kids people always come first!! Thanks for sharing- enjoy your time with "The Girls". BTW, yeah it snowed here in CO Springs today - winter has offically arrived! YIKES!!!

Rebecca of "China, Baby!" said...

Tisra... I thought I had left a comment on this one (???). Weird. Anyways, I enjoyed reading about your day - I wish I could be as organized!! Right now I just feel I don't have enough hours.