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A day in the life

2010 August 28
by Pamela

This is the last in a series of posts about our experience as first-time homeschoolers.  You can catch the other posts here:

Why we decided to be weirdos and homeschool

The curriculum we chose and why

How much this adventure is costing us

What we did to get our house organized for said adventure

I’m writing this mainly because I love reading other people’s posts about their daily life.  Especially when people write about when things go a little nutso.

Then I don’t feel so crazy when things like this or this happen.

Okay, I still feel crazy, just a little less alone at the loony bin.

With this being the first year of homeschooling, I was totally prepared for the fact that it might be a roller coaster ride.  I didn’t know if Mary Claire was capable of sitting still for an hour.  I didn’t know what we were going to do to keep Elizabeth occupied during our table work, didn’t know how to read an Instructor Guide, and certainly didn’t know what our school should “look” like. 

There were a lot of unknowns to work out in the equation.

Thankfully my friend Susie welcomed me for an observation at her home so I could watch what her day looked like.  I highly recommend going on some visits if you are considering homeschooling and know other homeschool families.  I visited four other families as well and saw that each one did school differently.  And it worked just fine for them.  Seeing that there were many ways to accomplish effective learning gave me a great sense of freedom.  We decided to be really wild and crazy and  start school in July so we could take a longer break when baby #3 arrives.   I felt like I was really living on the edge with that decision. 

Our Day

When I usually read posts like this, I see the common refrain “Everyday is different, none look the same!”  which strikes me as odd at the moment because nearly all of our days have looked identical.  I can ascertain a few reasons for this:   I am a bit obsessive compulsive about routines, Mary Claire is pretty compliant about school, and we have a strong circle of support around us. 

We aim to be at the table at 10 a.m., having already eaten breakfast, gotten dressed and ready.  I’d like to say that I’m already showered but frankly that hasn’t been added into the equation yet.  I am only doing school on mornings when Bob is home or when I can score a babysitter.  I tried teaching Mary Claire a couple of times with Elizabeth at the table and it was kind of a disaster.  And that’s putting it lightly.

Here’s Mary Claire on her very first day of school:

We start out reading a bible story from the Jesus Storybook Bible.  I know it’s already been mentioned by so many other bloggers, but I’ll add myself to the list and say that I highly recommend it.  Then we work on a memory verse from Seeds Family Worship or Sing the Word from A to Z CD.  I can’t say enough good things about the Seeds Family Worship Cds.  We own all of them and love them to bits (you can listen for yourself by clicking on the above link and then clicking on the red airplane that flies across their screen – it takes a few seconds to pop up).  After that we pray and get started with Phonics.

Mary Claire works independently on Phonics at the moment with the aid of flash cards and a recording.  While she is on one side of the table I am preparing for Math on the other side.

Once I quiz her on her Phonics cards, we move into Math: 

What?  Don’t all homeschool children have tattoos?

After Math is over, we put all of our books and materials away.  I give Mary Claire a ten minute break while I record what we’ve done in our homeschool journal and get our current reading materials out.

Then Mary Claire and I move into our Literature, Geography, and History reading in the family room.  I don’t read them all at once, but try to do a big chunk at this time.  After I finish the reading I ask her to narrate what she’s learned.  Sometimes this goes easily,  but other times I need to prompt her with questions that guide her memory through the reading. 

If there is any map or timeline work to be done, we move back into the dining room to complete it.

For some reason I only read poetry to her during night-night snack time.  The first time I read to her I cleared my throat repeatedly and acted out the poem dramatically which is something she now insists on.  Especially the throat-clearing part. 

And that is pretty much our Day in the Life.

Some asides:

I don’t do anything else while I’m with her and never leave her side once we start school.  Once I envisioned that I would cook dinner or do laundry while monitoring her work, but in kindergarten it is 100% hands-on. 

I have it so much easier than other moms because my husband or a sitter is home to help with Elizabeth when I’m teaching Mary Claire.  I recognize that this kind of support is rare and I’m incredibly grateful and that we have both the schedule and resources to share this adventure as a family.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Sarah (Batson) Boyd permalink
    August 28, 2010

    I love your blog Pam! I makes me smile :) Good luck with the homeschooling, I would never have the patience.

    • Pamela permalink*
      August 29, 2010

      Thanks Sarah! Believe me, I pray for patience everyday.

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