20 Jan 2014

A day in our homeschooling life.

Inspired by reading how other homeschooling families spend their days, I thought that it might be a good idea to write a post each week, about a day in that particular week.  It will also be useful for me, when I need to put things into perspective. When reading about what we have actually accomplished in a day or sometimes in a week ( if I keep a journal), I do surprise myself, as I sometimes feel like we are gliding along.

I  have always loved reading about the days of other homeschooling families, with differing educational philosophies, some adhering strictly to an ascribed homeschooling methodology, others walking the footsteps of a leading homeschooling pioneer or some like us, hackschooling by taking bits and pieces from everywhere and weaving it into our everyday lives. A few abiding by time tables and well laid out plans, others unconditionally unschooling and freeing themselves from the conventional expectations that we are so used to, or still some like us, who have a foot in both worlds. The disparate ways of homeschooling,  though some seems to be poles apart, all enabling homeschooling families to fulfil, the endeavour they have undertaken, with tremendous freedom and enjoyment. Homeshooling enables each and every distinct family, to cater for their children's needs in specific ways, for are we not all unique? 

These past weeks, Mr Curious had been complaining that the days are quite short and he had not been spending enough time outside. Miss Delightful who loves the outdoors, had requested to play in the garden on a few occasions, but it had been raining on and off most afternoons. Since we started on our homeschooling path, Mr Curious and Miss Delightful had both had the flexibility of sleeping at a later time and waking up later than their schooled peers. Their usual bedtime had until now been 9-10pm (Mr Curious reading sometimes until 11 or later) and rising at 8 - 10 am. It was always 2-3pm, by the time they finished lunch and were ready to venture out. So, getting together, we came up with the idea that the children will now wake up with their Papa at 6 a.m. They were both so excited with this idea, that they could not fall asleep and I could still hear a commotion in their room at midnight! I did wonder if it would be plausible for them to be up before the crack of dawn the following day!

As usual they proved me wrong, and they were rearing to go as soon as Papa pulled out their covers, even though I was still bleary eyed! So this was how Thursday was.

6 am
  • The children wake up with their Papa, brush and wash. Mama lingers in bed trying to get some more sleep but this does not happen, so she makes a start on her emails and messages.
6.15 am
  • Mr Curious goes on to do his exercises and silent sitting in mindful prayer.
  • Miss Delightful goes down to chat with Papa
6.30 am
  • Mr Curious goes down for his breakfast- a hot bowl of oatmeal.
  • Miss Delightful refuses to eat and asks to watch cbeebies.

7 am
  • After washing and changing Mama comes down, feeds Miss Delightful her oatmeal ( which has to be heated, as Miss Delightful becomes disdainful at the realisation that it is now cold!
  • Mama eats and starts to clean up.

7.30 am
  • Mr Curious who has been dawdling all this while decides to go up (he loves to read under the duvet) and starts his assigned reading.
  • I start to arrange Miss Delightful's work table (we use a Montessori inspired approach for her)
  • Miss Delightful goes to get changed and I can hear the clamour of rambunctious playing and instantly  knows that Mr Curious has lost the focus of his task, again! I leave them to it for a few minutes before calling for Miss Delightful to come down.
9 am
  • Mr Curious comes down to do his written narration.
  • Miss Delightful is now sitting at her small table and colouring something she has drawn.
10 am
  • Mr Curious decides to illustrate his written narration (he has recently grown fond of drawing).
  • Miss Delightful, absorbed in her work, painstakingly tracing dotted letters. She has moved to the dinning table to 'do like' her brother.

I hear a commotion while I am putting away some dried laundry. I do not rush down no one calls for me! When I do come down however, I see Miss Delightful crouching in a corner and Mr Curious avoiding my gaze. I still have not noticed  anything unusual. Mr Curious finally decides to tell me that Miss Delightful has dropped the laptop on the floor! She starts to cry uncontrollably but I soon notice the expressions on Mr Curious' face and instantly realise who the culprit is. When confronted, he does admit that it is indeed, him! we have a LONG conversation about taking responsibility for our actions!

  • He thereafter amuses himself with his keyboard, trying to make up a tune and dancing frivolously all the while. Miss Delightful joins him and they are now both squealing (singing) loudly.

11 am

  • Mr Curious remembers that he has to do maths. Today he is dividing 3 digit numbers by a single digit number. He lingers painfully at the work, with lots of day dreaming breaks and takes over an hour, for an exercise he can do in 10 minutes, had I urged him with some stern looks and a raised voice.( but I successfully restrains myself  and I am consequently pleased with my effort).

  • Miss Delightful wants to attempt a new puzzle on her own. She labours on for about 15 minutes unaided, nevertheless she grinds to a halt, as she `is not using the picture provided to guide her progress. Her impatient nature manifests itself and she starts to stamp her feet and throws some pieces about. My offer of help is sharply refused, and she proceeds to whimper and turns a deaf ear when I mention the picture on the box. After another 15 minutes though, the puzzle is completed and she is shouting, " hip! hip! hooray!"

  • Mr Curious then goes on to make a paper compass for Miss Delightful.

12.30 pm
  • They start helping me in preparing lunch. Mr Curious stirred the onions and tomato, frying in the pan and Miss Delightful whisked the eggs.
  • We are having scrambled eggs with bread but Miss Delightful wants rice with hers. Mr Curious is always a clown at the dinner table. Meal times are one of the most stressful parts of our days, as I try to keep calm and bring his attention back to his food. He soon overturns his glass of water while 'flapping his wings like an eagle'. When I cannot take the stress anymore, I send him to finish his food sitting on the stairs.

1.30 pm
  • They both put on their coats and wellies to go out to play. It rains intermittently but they choose to stay out. I am delightfully surprised, as the same Mr Curious would have refused to walk anywhere in a light rain a year ago! They play on their swing and in the sand pit, and come in to wash their hands a few times having dug into the tiny amount of soil in the flower beds! I hope that their Papa does not notice!

3 pm
  • They come in grumbling (especially Mr Curious) of being frozen and after a change they need a hot drink. So hot chocolates it is! 

3.15 pm
  • Mr Curious  is composing a different tune on his piano this time and needs feedback on how it sounds, to which I respond ''sounds beautiful'' and Miss Delightful is dancing a pirouette.

3.30 pm

  •  Mr Curious often takes on the task of 'teaching' Miss Delightful and as Miss Delightful wants to read from her songbird book, he is helping her when needed. She has not read for two weeks and is very eager to show her skills!

3.45 pm
  • She soon becomes bored and starts to hit and pinch his arm, asking for kisses and cuddles and tickles him.

 4.10 pm
  • Mr Curious make a start on his Piano practice and Miss Delightful, all of a sudden starts to jump up and down frantically, screaming and crying ( she is tired but never naps!). So I try to keep my calm (luckily I am not lacking patience at this very moment) and I take her to the sofa. With a tight hug, cuddles and kisses, she soon calms down and asks me to sing from her lullaby book. After an hour of singing and playing with Mama, she is her own self again and jumps from the sofa announcing '' I am going to ride my tricycle now! I will give you more cuddles later!!''

5.15 pm
  • Mr Curious settles down with a book that has been on his mind since this morning ( he had taken care to put it on the dinning table earlier that day) but Miss Delightful pulls him out (literally) and demands that he comes to play as he has worked too much already! He gives in to her request and they are soon pretending to be rabbits.
  • I start to cook dinner.
  • Miss delightful and Mr Curious are both playing shop. She wants to be the shopkeeper and does not want to alternate between the roles '' the ladies at the shop stays the shopkeeper! they do not become the customer, do they? '' Fortunately, Mr Curious agrees with her reasoning and there are not too many hurdles in the hours that ensure.

6.30 pm
  • They both sit down to eat. Dinner time goes smoothly compared to lunch, as Mr Curious does not require to further entertain himself and his sister.

7.30 pm
  • I give Miss Delightful and Mr Curious their shower and Miss Delightful wants me to read a bed time story (we do not have a bed time story as a daily routine).
  • Papa comes home from work and comes in to give them a good night kiss.
 8 pm  
  • Miss Delightful is in deep sleep and Mr Curious is finally able to read his book, with his bed light on (they share a room ).
  • Mama and Papa eat their dinner, in an unusually quiet house!

9.15 pm
  • Papa goes up to check on Mr Curious and he is sleeping soundly with his book on his face!
  • Mama takes a long  uninterrupted shower! and settles down to check  Mr Curious maths and written work. 
  • I then read until 11pm and thereafter tries to settle down for the night.
This was our homeschooling day on Thursday.

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