Thursday, June 5, 2014

School Days

Discovery Day kids with their final presentations
I wrote the majority of this post awhile ago. Due to limited time in the evenings to blog (ie, I had other/better things to do - more about that next time) I never quiet finished it. But now, on the eve of our final school presentations, I want to make sure to publish this so as not to forget - once summer has come and gone, I'm going to need to look back on this to remember what and how we "did school".


As far as routines/chores go, I think we're in a pretty groove right now - not that we don't slip and/or have to have mama there every second to direct (I'm praying for the day when they'll remember that every morning they...and just do it. Ha!  But, there are such things as miracles.)

So that I don't forget this season and for anyone out there that might need an idea to springboard off of, this is how we do life/school, starting first thing in the morning when everybody stumbles out of bed. Are you ready?

Somewhere between 6:30 and 7:30 am we all wake up. The kids get dressed and throw their laundry down the laundry chute, and come downstairs. Sammy sorts and starts a new load of laundry while Ben unloads the dryer from the day before into individual baskets (everybody has their own laundry basket that their clothes are sorted into). Livvy and Jon unload the dishwasher (I run the dishwasher every night after dinner). Then we all sit down and have breakfast. If I'm finished eating before the kids I will pull out the Bible and start reading the Bible lesson for the day. <We just switched our chores, Livvy used to be in charge of laundry, but now Sammy is taking over her job and Livvy is in charge of Jon - getting him dressed, doing chores, etc.>

After breakfast the kids put their dishes in dishwasher and do table chores: Ben clears table (he needs LOTS of reminders to do EVERYTHING), Livvy and Sammy alternate days & jobs: one washes table, the other sweeps floor after every meal. Then the kids grab their laundry baskets, take it to their rooms, and put away their clothes (shirts are hung up, socks, and underwear go into baskets in their drawers, pants are shoved into drawers - I used to try to make them fold them, but I've given that up). Sammy puts away his clothes and helps Jon put his away as well. Danner's, Tom's and my laundry all get put into one basket that I am responsible to put away.

Once everyone is rounded back up again, usually between 8:30 and 9am, we gather on the couch or at the table again to start "school". Regrading school, we're currently using My Father's World, Creation to the Greeks (and loving it!) for our Bible, geography/history, and science. For math the big kids (Livvy and Sammy) are using Teaching Textbooks, Livvy does Rod and Staff English/Grammer and spelling, and for Sammy and Ben's reading I use All About Reading (although Sammy actually just finished Level 2 and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with him next). And I think that's about it. We get together on Thursdays for our Discovery Day co-op. During that time we do Spanish, science, art, and writing using IEW. The kids and I LOVE the family we get to co-op with - they are such a blessing!

Anyway, back to the couch. We start, or wrap up, our Bible along with history/geography. If we're on the couch reading, and Ben and Jon are having a hard time paying attention, I'll have them sit on their blankets and play with a couple of toys (Ben is perfectly fine with this and somehow listens very well to what we're reading. Jon, on the other hand, doesn't really like toys and so will usually just lay there and suck his thumb). If we're at the table copying verses or journaling (illustrating the Bible story that we read), Ben and Jon like to sit down too. Ben usually draws his version of the story while Jon grabs his markers and a piece of paper to make his "A's". Even though I don't necessarily require Ben to listen to the Bible and history readings, I'm always amazed at how much he hears.

Most mornings we're done with our Bible/History/Geography around 10am and then we take a 10-15 minute break before moving into the school room. Every year I write up a nice neat little schedule of what each kid will be doing in 15-30 min time frames between the hours of 9am - 12 pm and every year without fail, I do something different (not completely different, just slightly), for the life on me I can't seem to stick to it - I like having it there to reference things that need/should be accomplished in the day, but it never seems to happen in that order. Oh well.

I sit down with Ben first. I use a mix of All About Reading Pre-Level 1 and My Father's World Kindergarten - I've half given up trying to come up with fun little crafty things for him to do, he just doesn't care. As soon as I'm done sitting with him, he gets to do a lesson or two, along with games, of Reading Eggs. He's also supposed to spend 15 minutes in the "reading nook" (looking at books). That doesn't happen as often as it should - it's one of those things that gets forgotten about. He does, however, end up looking at books on his own, just not during "school" as I had planned.

While I'm sitting with Ben, Livvy and Sammy start going through their list of daily activities, usually beginning with their math. I switched both of them over to Teaching Textbooks soon after Danner was born - I just couldn't find/make the time anymore to go over each of their math lessons like before (and even then, I never really did that great of a job - crazy that math was one of my favorite subjects when I was in school).

If you look really close at this picture you can see Jon sitting on the couch in the background. He's watching his new favorite thing to watch during school - Baby Einstein On the Farm. He used to sit in the school room and play with one of the many boxes of school toys. But right now he's into Baby Einstein and I'm okay with that for now. 

After the big kids are done with their math, they move onto their next task - Livvy has English, spelling, piano, and some more math (a mental math workbook and a math facts worksheet). Sammy moves on to his extra math, silent reading, and then reading/spelling/pre-English with me - like I said, we're still trying to figure out what to do next.

Danner seems to nap during a good portion of school which is very nice. Once he's up and nursed, he's usually passed around, jumps in his jumper which hangs in the school room door, or rolls around on the floor...or a combination of the three.

Around noon we usually eat lunch. As soon as we're done eating and everybody has done their table chores, we sit down and have story time.  We'll read a book or two that pertains to school and/or just some fun stories.  After that, usually between 1:00 & 2 pm we have rest time - everybody goes to there own space for at least 30 mins, if not an hour.  I love this time - I get to lay down for 10-15+ minutes and then catch up on e-mails or anything that requires my undivided attention.

When the kids are done with rest time, they do their afternoon chores: Sammy and Ben switch the load of laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, Livvy and Jon run out to the chicken coop, checks their food and water situation (do they have any), and grabs any eggs. They're also supposed to feed and water Phoebe the cat, though she is forgotten and the cat goes hungry. Sorry Phoebe.

Once afternoon chores are done, it's snack time and a mix of anything that wasn't done before rest time like writing, Greek words, piano, etc, and free time until dinner.

In between and during everything there are lots of breaks, moments where play breaks out and is allowed to continue so that I can get something else done, enjoy some downtime, or nurse the baby.

So there you have it, that's a typical day in our household, just in case you were curious.  Although it's a very fluid system, it seems to work for us, for now. Key words, "for now". I'll be sure to post if we change anything dramatically, but this is how we've basically done things for at least 3 years. Every season requires tweaking here and there, but the base seems constant - it's what keeps me sane. And that's a good thing.