Tuesday, February 23, 2016
A Day in the Life of Homeschooling
In anticipation of Simple Homeschool's Day in the Life Community Link Up next week, I figured that it would be a good exercise for me to record what happens on a "typical" day of school with the sprouts. I took notes throughout our day yesterday, and this is what we did...
The day began with me getting up (before the kids!) to get dressed, make some coffee, feed the cat, and pack my husband's lunch before he left for work. By the time that was done, the kids were coming downstairs for the morning.
I put on "Here Comes the Science" radio from my Google Music account for everyone to listen to while I re-heated leftover biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast.
After we ate and cleared the breakfast dishes off of the table, I brought out our Morning Basket that we formed at the start of the year. The sprouts pulled out their new sticker books that they'd gotten as gifts from Nana over the weekend. As they played with their books (engaging in lots of fine-motor practice), I paused the music and continued reading Hans Christian Andersen's version of "The Mermaid" that we had started last Friday as part of an ongoing exploration of traditional tales.
We made it through about 15 pages of the tale before the sprouts started getting restless, so I switched gears to helping First Sprout with practice on telling time as Second Sprout finished a design in her sticker book. Then, we piled up on the couch to read a chapter from Life of Fred-- we're just on the first book of the elementary math series, but we all love it! The two older sprouts each have a dry-erase board to doodle on while I read, and then they use the board to "play along" with Fred at the end of the chapter. During this time, Third Sprout is entertaining herself with her own dry-erase book on the floor nearby.
After Life of Fred, I helped Second Sprout with a math practice page on counting numbers to 10. I've found that the sprouts seem to prefer doing their practice pages in dry-erase books (like The Priddy Books) more than conventional worksheets. I'm not sure why it makes a difference, but I'll take it if it works!
Our Morning Basket routine is still pretty short and sweet, so at this point we switched gears into Project Time. The older sprouts have shown a renewed interest in Pokemon as a part of their project work, so they asked to play their Pokemon games on the 3DS. They began busily comparing their Pokemon rosters, so I took the opportunity to start a load of laundry and wash the breakfast dishes.
I had some overly ripe bananas, so I invited Third Sprout to join me in baking some yummy banana oatmeal muffins. She helped me count scoops, pour ingredients, and mix everything together in the bowl. She also helped portion the batter out into the muffin tins, and it was super nice to have that time working quietly alone with her.
Once the muffins were in the oven, the bigger sprouts asked to turn on a series of Disney animated short films on Netflix that include several wonderful folk tales, plus some original stories (most importantly, Frozen Fever). It includes a stunning versions of "John Henry" and Hans Christian Andersen's "Little Match Seller," so I felt like that was a good fit with our study of traditional tales.
With the sprouts absorbed in their movie, I decided to sneak in my own project work by listening to Podcast #2 on Read-Aloud Revival with Sarah Mackenzie while I cleaned up the dishes from baking. By then it was time for lunch, so the sprouts paused their movie to eat some freshly-baked muffins with yogurt and sliced apples.
Meals are generally a great time for generating discussion, and this particular lunch was no exception! As we were making plans for the afternoon, the topic of weather came up. Second Sprout wanted to know what would happen if the temperature reached 199 million degrees, and we discovered that would be much hotter than even the temperature of the sun. We also talked about the temperature where we live compared to places like Florida or the desert. The older sprouts then launched into a metaphysical discussion of whether people could actually live in the desert or whether they would simply die and "live" as spirits instead. We linked the talk about spirits back into our discussion of "The Mermaid" from that morning since one of her motivations in the story is to gain an immortal soul. That led to questions about sea foam, a Google images search, and speculation as to whether you could stack enough seafoam to reach outer space. First Sprout was adamant that stacking seafoam was unrealistic, and wanted to know more about rockets that actually go into space. We ended up watching this compilation video of rocket launches for the remainder of lunch.
Let me just stop here and say that I don't know how we'd manage this eclectic, delight-led learning without my smart phone or Google. So, thank you Google (and my tech-oriented husband who helps me make sure all of this stuff is working!).
After cleaning up lunch, the sprouts all got dressed while I threw some things into the Crock-Pot for dinner. We decided to take some of our banana oatmeal muffins to a friend with a 3-week-old baby (don't worry, she knew we were coming). Thankfully the weather was lovely, and we were able to make the 20-minute walk without too much trouble. We enjoyed the sunshine while the older sprouts filled me in on the ballet version of Rapunzel they had seen over the weekend with their Nana. First Sprout talked through a really detailed analysis of the similarities and differences between the ballet, the Tangled movie, and the folktale.
Most of the afternoon was spent visiting our friend, snuggling the new baby, and playing with her bigger kids when they returned home from school. We didn't make back it home until nearly 5 o'clock, which gave me just enough time to put the finishing touches on dinner while the sprouts finished watching their Disney animated shorts from earlier. By 6 o'clock, my husband was home and we had family dinner.
It wouldn't necessarily be true to call this a "typical" day of homeschooling because all of our days end up looking so differently. We do lean toward project-based homeschooling and even to unschooling, so the only really structured time is first thing after breakfast when we go through our Morning Basket. Otherwise, we practice research and discussion habits that we carry with us through everything we do during the day. I hope you've enjoyed taking a little peek into what "A Day in the Life of Homeschooling" looks like for us.
Until next time,