Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Day in the Life at Gracious Heart Homeschool

Just so you know
A day in the life at our house changes by the week, month and season.
My goal is to create a lifestyle of learning. You can read more about it here.) I believe that children are learning all the time. The world is new to them and until we've electronically deadened them or stressed them or whatever'd them, they are eager to learn and grow and develop. I also believe that we need to intentionally cultivate this innate desire to learn and grow because the world, (and lets face it, the enemy of our children's souls) wants them bored, uninterested, unmotivated, complacent and weary ASAP- people with this as their MO are much less of a threat to kingdom issues than those who are active, vibrant, alert and full of Joie de vivre. But I digress....)
We  batch and do many things seasonally. 
 We have a Dad/Husband with a bizarre schedule. His evenings are booked so often he'll be home until mid or late morning and he works from home 2 days a week. If you stop by on a school morning you might just find us on the porch drinking coffee together instead of at the table doing school. That's because mornings often are family times in our home.
We have the additional challenge of living in a 1/2 finished house which we are continually working on and managing our lives around.
Perhaps I am over-explaining but in case there is some new home schooler out there reading this I do it to offer you courage. No matter how unusual your life is or what challenges you face, if you are called to do this work of home educating, there is a way to get it done and done well.

We participate in an Academic Class day one afternoon a week. Between the drive (we live way out of town and often play history or poetry CD's and listen to books on tape) and feeding everybody it's a short morning at home of putting the finishing touches on homework due (my kids hate to be unprepared in front of their friends- love that positive peer pressure).
One other morning a week we participate in an Enrichment Co-op. The kids do chorale, art and a unit-study. Between the drive, feeding everybody, doing our weekly grocery shopping, getting Feeche to ballroom dancing in the evening and socializing, that day is totally out-of pocket and one very well spent.

3 Days 4 School: That leaves us 3 1/4 days of "school" at our house (unless its Lego League week, then we is down to 3) because the week-end is usually chock-full of other living stuff. I'm changing things up a bit this year from the last 2, which have been crisis or just getting over crisis-mode (You can read more about our house fire/re-build in the Tear down To Build Up posts). On the 3 days we're home, we school.

Before first things: Feeche and Dad often go jogging and work-out after getting up at the crack of dawn and having devotions/writing. After their jog, Dad does Karate with the kids.
First things: we are going to be doing Bible reading and VP Bible cards together. Though Feeche is a Jr, very responsible and diligent about his work, and does his own regular devotions as well as a Bible study, I miss gathering together with everybody as we start our day. Plus, he doesn't mind memory work and we haven't done the Bible cards yet. I want to give the Cub and Flower plenty of time to read the cards, and think and talk about them and get into the narrative of the text. We all know a fair amount of ancient culture, archeology, history and Bible at this point and discussions are generally vibrant. Love that. Then we'll go over memory work.
Memory Work: utilizing our trusty wall board (made from a pexi-glass storm window), lap white-boards (made from shower tile), flash card sets we've made (from index cards or using Amy Pak's Homeschooling in the Woods ) and purchased. Memory work areas include Latin, science, poetry, Bible, scripture memory, history, grammar with lots of input from IEW's Linguistic Development Through Poetry and Living Memory. The kids have been doing focused memory work for going on 5 years now. They know how to memorize. They revel in being able to rattle off poems or facts. It’s not always their favorite thing to do, but they get the benefits. Love that.
Skill work (morning): Grammar, Math, and Foreign Language. Grammar is not my dd’s fav and math is not my ds’s fav. It’s work. I get math, I don’t always get grammar. It’s work for me too.
Lunch- usually grab-ur-own (left overs, quesadillas, Ramen, etc). It’s nice to sit down together and touch base, necessitating clearing a spot on the table. (Move over math and grammar).
Content areas (afternoon): history, science, literature. This is the stuff that I love, this is what they love. We are going to be adding to our nature journals this fall, recording the wild-life that is so prevalent in the boon-docks.
Free time: Afternoons also find us taking walks, jumping on the tramp, gardening, making dinner, baking, sitting on the porch (have I mentioned that I love, love, love my porch?) and chatting, especially when KB comes home late afternoon. The notsolittles try to get a movie in now and then or computer time but we limit screen time during the week and they go days without either (we haven’t had T.V. for years). We do allow the X-box out during the deep winter cause we do get house bound and cabin fever but it goes away in March and stays gone till late November. The kids read voraciously and spend hours playing, taking walks, meandering in the fields and having space and time to think and ponder. Love that.

High School: High school is a whole different animal than eled imho because there is a greater need for quiet study and lots of independent work. Our goal is to sit down on Mondays together and go over the work that needs done and check time-frames on work due. Outside accountability for homeschooling high school teaches the kids that due dates aren't suggestions. After we do Bible together, Feeche generally heads for somewhere quiet and gets to work. He’ll have weekly check-ins/homework due with Science, Writing, Medieval history and bi-weekly check-ins with math.

My "maid-servants" work for me daily: the computer, DVD and CD players. History, Latin, Science, writing, etc.

We also have daily chores. The boys start laundry before they come up in the morning (we still have a kids dorm in the basement). The not so littles put away dishes and help me clean the kitchen after breakfast while Feeche does animal care.
Because we live in an area with extreme seasons and we have a large garden we also have seasonal chores. Because we are also involved in an extensive house re-model we have house chores.

Challenges: We live 2 miles past the boon-docks. We schedule our trips in to town, and pack out time in town to the fullest. Which is efficient, but we don't have a lot of social interaction besides each other when we're home (we have NO neighbors) and this leaves the World Wide Web as our link to the outside world.  It's awfully easy to say, "I'll just check this thread and be done in 5 min" and spend the next 2 hours linking and hopping and getting socially connected, ignoring the house, school and the kids. Beginning in September I’m going to be off the computer between x a.m. and x p.m. I haven't decided on the real times yet, cause I want to make it do-able.

Strengths: I like the pressure of a just 3 days a week to get stuff done. We work harder and more efficiently with the schedule more compact. Evenings and week-ends are "free" to do kid stuff, house stuff, and seasonal stuff.

It’s going to be a full year. We’re officially starting school Sept.5 and the books that I ordered on Tuesday are already arriving. We are deep in to discussions about who is taking what at Tutoring Center and who will have what car which day of the week (oy vey, the car/kid shuffle/exchange).

What does a Day in Your Life look like? Be sure and stop over at HOTM and link-up! Not Back to School Blog Hop


Nicole said...

Sounds like you have it down to a science. Thanks for sharing your day/week. It's very inspiring and encouraging.

LaughingLioness said...

Have a great year, Nicole!

April said...

Hi! I’m following your blog. Please stop by and say hi when you get a chance. If you’re ever interested in a blog makeover please let me know. Take a look at my portfolio and packages when you get a chance. Hope you are having a Sweet Week.

A Mommy’s Blog Design Studio
Join us every Friday for our Blog Hop!
Review and Giveaway Blog Directory