Sunday, October 7, 2012

Be a fly on the wall while we homeschool...

So what is homeschooling really like? What is a typical day at our house like? Well, join me as I ramble on about a typical day here...

6am - I am up to either read my Bible or one of my kindle books (I have about a hundred going at any one time), play on my phone, or exercise....Drew is up and about around 645 so we chat and I make him a sandwich to take to community college.

7am - wake the little girls, help them pick out clothes, make breakfast, pack their lunches, deal with endless fussing and arguing, brush out and condition hair, drive girls to school (used to take the bus each morning but I have found that since we live less than 3 minutes' drive to the school, it pays to let them sleep a bit later and drive them myself - if we are ready early, we will walk). John is up now and we get to visit for all of about 2 seconds, kiss, and say goodbye for the day.

745-9am - walk the dog, exercise if I haven't already (DVD or walk the neighborhood), make breakfasts, wake the other three, check email/facebook/blog, make the day's to-do list, start some laundry, have some strong tea.

9-1030am - Kate, Jack, Ben and I meet in the family room. I like to sit on the floor and each of the kids take one of the two sofas and one chair. Often the kids are still eating their breakfast, some might be in pajamas...(gotta love homeschooling!). We are studying Sonlight Curriculum's Core F - Study of the Eastern Hemisphere this year. I love Sonlight - which is a Christian (very missions focused), literature-rich - very thorough course of study - with almost too much packed in so we pick and choose what we do and it is still a lot. I chose this Core since it covers China and Africa which I thought would be appropriate for our family! (I love Asian studies/history). We will be covering many, many countries - we have been studying China so far which has been great (especially fun because of our future trip to meet a certain cute little Chinese daughter!).  I am supplementing our readings with movies and documentaries. On a typical morning, we would accomplish the following (Sonlight covers our history, geography, literature, Bible, and missions):

1. Read a Psalm and one chapter from John - discuss and answer questions.
2. Work on memory work (Psalm 91).
3. Watch the current movie for Sonlight Curriculum's current mission project and discuss. This year, Sonlight is partnering with the Far East Broadcasting Company to help provide radios to the unreached people groups throughout Asia with the Gospel. Today we watched a short movie about Bali - it's culture, religion, animals, etc. As a family, we are planning to help purchase several radios.
4. Read today's current country article from our World Book DVD (today was the Great Wall of China) - answer questions in workbook as a group.
5. Locate on the globe the locations mentioned in the article and any locations of current Sonlight books we are reading.
6. Readaloud book - currently we are reading two books - one about the first missionaries to China and the second is a novel about a boy living in China in the early 20th century as an apprentice coppersmith. Typically we will read aloud a chapter from each, answer questions, write up new vocabulary words. This year we will be reading over 45 books total (that includes those read aloud and those read on their own).
Sonlight's Core F - Study of Eastern Hemisphere

Around 10:30am we begin our individual work. Here is what might occur on a typical day:

Jack will go off to read the assigned chapter in our Sonlight reading book. This book will be shared by all of them throughout the day. Currently we are reading a book about an American child living in China in the 1940s. Ben will go to the basement to practice his music and then shower. Kate will meet with me. We will go over the prior day's work and together will put together her list (in an assignment book) of what I expect her to accomplish during the day. Along with her academic assignments, will be chores like cleaning her room, doing laundry, workout (she walks to our neighborhood exercise room some days to workout).

Her typical assignments are (10th gr):

1. Writing homework - she takes a college prep writing class at our local co-op. She has homework nearly daily as she has assignments and papers due each week.
2. Math lesson each day - she is doing Saxon Algebra and meets with John on Monday nights to go over the week's four lessons and to review areas of difficulty. Thank God for John!!!
3. Grammar - we are reviewing grammar using an Abeka grammar book - in preparation for the community college entrance exam.
4. Art - Kate is taking a high school studio art class at the local co-op. She has weekly homework and I have also just started another art workbook with her (she is a really gifted artist so I am trying to allow her extra time to draw).
5. Science - Kate is taking Physical Science (we did things a bit out of order - she did Biology last year). At the moment we haven't started as we are waiting to borrow a friend's DVD series. As soon as we get that she will start. We have all the Sonlight materials for the experiments as well.
6. Driver's ed - will be starting the online course shortly.
7. Chinese. Kate is quite good at languages and is currently teaching herself Chines (she wanted a switch from Spanish). At the moment she is watching a youtube video series called Chinese with Mike. They are hilarious videos made in Mike's garage - teaching about the history, culture, language and writing of Chinese. It's fascinating and entertaining and Kate is already teaching us things about Chinese and begging me to buy the Chinese Rosetta Stone program.
7. Literature reading - Kate will do the same assigned book that all three are reading with an additional classic book or another book of my choosing that goes along with our history studies - or even a current book that I have read and think she will like or find interesting. The main thing here is to just have a good book going at all times and to read daily. She will also have a few books to read for her writing class soon.
8. Chores.
9. Many days, when Kate is done she spends time creating something - sewing, painting her walls in her room, making magazine scrap mosaics (here's a photo of her first one), you never know what idea she has come up with.

Kate's collage made with ripped pieces of magazine pages.
Her latest project - hair bows to sell to help fund our adoption - "Ting's Hair Things"

After meeting with her - which takes about a half hour, she is on her own. She organizes her time, does things in the order she chooses and is typically done by mid-late afternoon (except on Mondays when she has "math class" with Dad after dinner).

After meeting with Kate, I move on to Ben (if Jack finishes his reading, he can get his shower). Ben and I meet to do much the same as Kate tho' we will spend more time on math and grammar as I teach new skills. We cover the following (6th gr):

1. Math - doing Saxon. We go over the last day's lesson as we correct it, answer any questions and then move on to the mental math part of the Saxon lesson. After that we read through the next lesson - cover and practice the new skills so he can do the lesson problems on his own later.
2. Grammar - using ABeka grammar book. I assign about 2 pages a day.
3. Spelling. We are working our way through Spelling Power. We are working through lists of words and reviewing those that he misses.
4. Writing - Ben and Jack will start an online creative writing class later this month. It is taught by the writing teacher from our co-op. Both boys will start taking her classes at co-op next year. We will listen to the class on line on Mondays and work on the handouts and writing assignments each day.
5. Music - Ben plays guitar, drums and a little piano. He is in the middle school youth band and has music to practice each week.
6. Science - Ben and Jack are sharing books and doing the Sonlight Science F  (Health, Medicine, and Human Anatomy). There are four different books and a workbook. They have reading and workbook assignments three days a week.
7. Reading - Ben is also reading the Sonlight assigned book each day (typically a chapter).
8. Chores.

(Ben takes art, gym, and chess at co-op - none of which have homework.)

Ben now has his list and heads off to do his work on his own. Of course, if any of the kids have questions or trouble they are welcome to come and find me!

It's about 1130am at this point. Jack comes to join me. He sees a tutor once a week so all of my language arts assignments come from there. We do the following on a typical day: (8th gr):

1. Math lesson. Using Teaching Textbooks but without the video portion this year. I found that the last two years he loved this video curriculum (as much as one can love math), but NEVER wrote much down so we are doing the curriculum in the book only this year.
2. Language arts - provided by tutor - today we did word study (reading long word lists, dictation of words in like groups, and sentences), worksheets on pronouns, reading comprehension packet, reading and taking notes on a chapter of The Hobbit in preparation for an upcoming paper.
3. Writing - Jack will soon start the creative writing program with Ben.
4. Science - same as Ben
5. Reading - same as Ben
6. Art - he's also taking a studio art class and has homework each week.
7. Chores.

(Jack also takes chess and yearbook at the co-op but neither have homework).

This all takes us to about noon or a bit after. We all break for lunch and then the kids get right to work on their own - seeking me out if necessary. I have a bit of free time now for a exercise (if I didn't do it before), shower (thank goodness, right?), laundry, phone calls, cleanup. About once a week we do a movie time at 1:30pm. Today, for example, we watched a History Channel documentary on the Great Wall of China.

At 240pm my little darlings arrive home on the bus. I spend about an hour at the kitchen table with the girls - eating snacks, reading, homework, Bible verses - and then on to the couch for a chapter in our current book (can't help doing a little "homeschooling" with them). The three big kids are typically wrapping up their work by around 3ish - sometimes a bit longer.

SCHOOL is OVER....and we are off to - play board games, ride bikes, play in the yard, visit the neighborhood park, run errands, soccer practice,  ice cream run, kung-fu class, youth group... and of course, make a fabulous home-cooked meal for the family...

Jemila at soccer practice in the background.

Drew arrives home around 530pm with John and will work most of the evening til late at night at the dining room table - with occasional calculus assistance from John, or paper editing suggestions from me.

Then there are the different days like - Mondays when we try to have a family evening time - dinner and a family meeting/devotion followed by math class - Tuesdays with tutoring and co-op classes instead of our usual schedule - Thursdays when I am attending a women's am Bible study at church. On Thursdays, the kids do things in opposite order (individual work in the am while I am gone, working together with me in the pm). Drew is home doing his work all day at the dining room table on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When the girls are out of school for the day, then all bets are off. It is hard to do school at best, so we just shoot for accomplishing the most essential subjects (math, reading, language arts).  There are days, and even weeks, that require that we re-work our schedule. Flexibility is key - especially on days when several are going to the dentist, dr, or orthodontist. Many days run so smoothly, I can't believe how awesome it all is...some days...well, not so much! lol

So, there ya have it...phew...


Miriam Nissley said...

This fly on the wall is ready for a nap! Whew! Way to go Snell family!

Julie said...

Sounds exhausting but in retrospect, it's actually my easiest year so far...the years we were homeschooling all six were the craziest by far...I know you must have had some wild years too Miriam! You are coming into the homestretch - congrats!

turtlemama said...

Ooooh-- I LOVE being a fly on the wall. Day in the life posts for littles are everywhere, but far fewer of the older kids. I always enjoy seeing how everyone else rolls through their days. It does seem so orderly and almost serene at your house. Far from it here! These last two years have been a little crazy. Still wouldn't trade it for the world.

Kate's artwork is fantastic! Would love to see more. What a talent.

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