Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An average homeschool....

day post is about as sure 'nuff a way to jinx an average homeschool day as purposefully not feeding anyone breakfast, missing my morning coffee and handing out 44 math problems just for the fun of it.

But why live safely? Isn't life too short? Joie de vivre the goal? Carpe diem the point?

I'm out of cliches here. That and I've been very interested in the Simple Homeschool series going on about what a homeschool day in the life looks like for all types of families, age ranges and homeschooling methodologies. Last week in the comments the editors invited readers to link up their stories.

Umm. I missed that deadline. Fortunately I have a blog. A ha! So I can submit my own entry in my own sweet forever.

It was a book with this type of feet on the ground information that was part of my research and reading prior to our own transition. Reading all of the differentness in each family's day gave me the courage to join the movement knowing that I did not have to cookie cutter our lives to "make it work".  I also gain tremendous insight from others in reading how they handle a particular subject or teaching time. Ideas abound, and I don't mind at all running beside with my hands open to catch particular ones.

Presenting {fanfare flourish} A Homeschool Day in the Life of A Complete Thought:

5:00 -- 6:00 a.m. I get up to get my head together through prayer and Bible study. I also use this time to listen to music, think through the day before the questions begin and even write a little bit. *(Since my back surgery I have greatly modified this earliness and am just starting to work my way back. Baby micro steps.)

6:30 a.m. Boys' alarms go off. They do morning chores such as pet care (guinea pigs and cats), bedroom straightening (beds, bathrooms, stray clothes), household chores (opening blinds, sweeping, unloading dishwasher, setting the table).  *(Baby micro steps again per previous note. We are all working back to this goal.)

7:00 a.m. Breakfast. I try to cook our breakfast most days. Thursday or Sleep In Day is the exception where everyone can fend for himself/herself.

7:30 a.m. Family devotions. We do various things here but Husband leads unless he has a super early morning. This year he has been reading out of the chronological Bible through the gospels, giving a real thorough look at what each book says about Jesus' time on earth.

8:00 a.m. Bible. The boys work on their independent Bible lesson. They are studying Isaiah this year.

1) History. We are currently using the Mystery of History Vol. III, The Renaissance, Reformation and the Growth of Nations. This was the period of history we completed three years ago with Veritas Press. However, this period is massive and repeating it has not really had us "repeating" all that much. MOH includes so many more historical figures and places that on some days I wonder if we won't be repeating this book to get everything in.

Our lesson involves my reading the material and the boys narrate a la Charlotte Mason style what they heard. Discussion and working on the MOH worksheets is also included.

2) Geography. We chose the Trail Guide to World Geography by Cindy Wiggers. She has the program set out in four days of questions but we usually do two days at a time, which means that we do geography twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays. Friday is for our mapping work. We use Uncle Josh's Outline Map Collection on CD-Rom and print as needed.

3) Language Arts. I am using a book called Figuratively Speaking to teach literary terms and devices. This book includes examples from literature, exercises for practice and suggestions for writing and advanced practice. In our reading aloud time at night, as these examples come up, we'll stop and discuss how the author used the literary device in the story. Again, this is a two to three times a week exercise. The other two days of the week the two older boys work on their Analytical Grammar Review and Reinforcement.

4) Writing and Vocabulary. The older two boys are working through the Institute for Excellence in Writing program. My youngest is working through Wordly Wise Book 4 and also is doing a unit study on Farmer Boy.

5) Math. This subject I should label Splitsville. For several reasons. One, my understanding of math went splitsville around 4th grade and has always been a struggle for me. Two, my oldest son's competency with math went splitsville with my being able to help him about 4 years ago. Three, no one around here is on the same math program requiring three splitsville types of approaches. And four, after any especially strenuous lesson, we all go splitsville from one another to separate rooms for recuperation.

That being said, the math must be done because I'm not balancing anyone's checkbook later when they are (please, Lord) gainfully employed young men. We have plugged along at it and, praise the Lord, Husband has the head for math that he did not marry. My oldest is working on a Saxon Algebra program. The second is working in a Math U See program and the youngest is using Teaching Textbooks right now.

6) Science. We love Apologia. The two oldest boys are using both the textbook and CD-Rom for Exploring Creation through General Science. Using both types of media matches their individual skill sets. My youngest is working through Land Animals of the Sixth Day.

7) Spanish. We use Rosetta Stone.

8) Art study. A couple of years ago I won an art grant for some high quality prints. We put one of these up on our school room wall and study it throughout the week noting artistic details like color, shadows, proportions, shapes, techniques and so on. On Friday we discuss the artist and the context for the painting.

9) Read alouds. As a family we spend about an hour a day reading aloud from either a living history book or a classic literary work that we discuss. Right now we are reading through The Fellowship of the Ring.

I started out with times beside everything and then realized you might actually want a realistic view. The only stated goal times are those up until 8:00 a.m. After that, it is work until you are done. Recognize, adapt and overcome with flexibility that you may take longer on one subject today than tomorrow or with boy #2 today and boy #1 tomorrow and boy #3 the next day.

We do break around noon for lunch. Everyone has a quiet time of at least an hour after lunch, some days two hours, and then the afternoon may involve finishing up school work. We also utilize Netflix, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel for educational videos. Every two weeks we go to the library for the next infusion of reading material.

Homeschooling is both exactly what I thought it would be and not at all like I thought it would be. Hence, life. I do not regret our decision to make this choice but remain very grateful for how God is allowing these days to be used of Him in my life and in the boys' lives.

Any questions?

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