Thursday, May 6, 2010

A typical day?

I've been asked by a few people now what our typical day looks like - the truth is there is no real typical day for Adventure-man who fits into the routine of the two older girls.

The plan is that we wake up somewhere between 7.30 - 8am and find our way to breakfast. During this time, if I've had a reasonable amount of sleep, I'll start singing the verses that we are learning together with Adventure-man. My two girls have their separate memory work which they attend to later in the morning but they learn too as they sing along.

After breakfast, we all get changed and ready. The girls have their usual chores of making their beds and emptying out their laundry baskets. We meet for family devotions on the sofa sometime between 8.30 and 9am (closer to 8.30 if  I am on their case reminding them of the time and more like 9am if I decide to take the relaxed approach).

During that time, we worship along to our favourite worship CDs or sing worship songs together (or do "boogie worship" when requested by Adventure-man or the girls - this consists of energetic dancing, jumping, waving of flags or shaking a variety of toddler noisemakers!). Some mornings, we take the more contemplative approach and just "soak" in the Lord's presence as we play the CDs. They will then record in their journals verses, thoughts and anything they feel the Lord is saying to them at the time.

Over the past year we have been using Character Building For Families Vol 1. I really like it because it is short, involves no preparation and there is no written work. Each day you look at bible verses around a character value like Obedience, Servanthood, Gratitude or Contentment and discuss a variety of questions and it always leads on to how to apply what we have learnt. Each Character study lasts about two weeks.

During Lent in the run up to Easter this year, we followed a different set of bible readings and devotions - The Lenten Tree: Devotions for Children and Adults by Dean Lambert Smith

I liked this very much because it had readings and devotional thoughts for both adults and kids and it also had various ideas of hands-on activities that you could do to make the Lenten period more meaningful. I'll definitely use it again next year.

With our Year 1 Tapestry of Grace History studies we had the opportunity to read through huge chunks of the bible from Genesis to Malachi (sometimes using the bible and at other times using Catherine Vos' Child's Story Bible for the more obscure parts of scripture or for when we needed a "child-friendly" telling of events). Now, this year, I am looking for something they can interact with actively and have just purchased  The Bible Study Guide For All Ages and so far they quite like having material to interact with as we read from the bible. 

After reading the bible and discussing the passages, we end with prayer. With devotions done, the girls go off and do their memory work. We have a particular system for this which I will write a more detailed post about soon. During this time, Adventure-man is free to join us in much as he wants to and if he gets a little too boisterous, the trains come out. We often will finish our devotions with a round of kids praise songs just for him.

While the girls are reviewing their memory work, I play with Adventure-man. I'll spend some time on the Calendar with him and we'll play with the activities I have set up for him the night before. This is what his shelf looks like in his room with different activities laid out.

I have to admit that his letter related activities probably only get rotated twice a week on his shelves at the moment and the rest of the week we'll do free play, drawing, crafts, tracing, using scissors and other activities like that. As I am now actively trying to include him more in our homeschool day, I will have to be a bit more organised about this.

The longer we homeschool, the more flexible I am becoming and I feel less and less bound by our schedule. This is a HUGE change for me as a Type A Scheduler! I am becoming as concerned about the quality of their learning experience as I am the quantity we cover in a day. However, if I was to come up with a general  picture of what goes on, this would be it:

Memory work (either personal review or recite to mum)
Break (outdoor) and snack (often I'll read a poem to them or we'll do a picture study while they snack)
Language Arts
Piano Practice/Typing
Scheduled Independent reading
tapestry of Grace work which includes History/Literature/Geography/ or we may do Science/Art/ Music Appreciation - one of these in some form
Playdate or scheduled activities (this term: Sewing, Skating, Musical Theatre, Ballet)

On any given day, this will change but it is what I have in mind to achieve during the day. One morning a week they have Mandarin and Piano lessons. Adventure-Man's afternoons will usually consist of a struggle between  myself and him to get an early afternoon nap in and if he doesn't sleep, then as far as possible I try and direct him to independent play while I teach the girls. 

Of course, the beauty of homeschooling is that you can switch things around according to their interests and your time. Being freed from the need to tick off everything on my list has led me into some wonderful avenues of learning with the girls. As usual, I am learning as much as they are. 

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