January 3, 2013

One Day, My Day as a Home-schooling Mom

One of the questions I get most often is "What do you do all day?" or "What is your day like?" And so, here is one day.
[Addendum: I thought it would be helpful to know that when I originally wrote this article my son was in 2nd grade.]

One chilly January weekday
I wake up, (turn the heater up), and walk about the house. I straighten the couch, pick up crumbs I missed the night before, make my bed, put the dishes away, so on and so forth. Then I do some stretching exercises and try meditating. I'm not sure if I have the hang of this yet [meditating] but I'm determined to try since it is suppose to help relieve stress. My son wakes up, we sit on the couch and he tells me about his dreams and we discuss the idea of Santa having a second workshop at the South Pole for all the kids on the other half of the planet.

I go shower and clean up and he works on building his K'Nex Space Station. Now I make breakfast; we eat. He tells me how much he wants a hamburger and after some discussion I tell him we can go out for lunch to get a hamburger, but he needs to eat breakfast to sustain him until then. Agreement reach. He finishes his food and clears the table. While I wash the dishes, he washes up and gets dressed.

Now, we are ready to begin our school day. I don't have a strict time to start but I do try to keep it around the same time everyday. We are required to put in a total of four hours each day (technically 3 hours 50 minutes) however, we usually put in more.

Hour One: We start with math, calendar, coins and time.

Hour Two: Phonics and grammar sessions start the hour which is followed by our Thematic Unit (right now we are studying nutrition); I begin by reading to him aloud.

Lunch break is usually 30 to 45 minutes. However, today we are going out to lunch so it will take more time. While we are out I will also run errands. Here is an example of how the schedule needs to be flexible. I would have preferred to finish our schoolwork first and then run errands but two trips out the door are wasteful so we made the best of our burger run.

Hour Three: We continue our unit studies, discuss the topic of the day (proteins and amino acids), and begin writing and creating pages. Then he reads to me and we work on vocabulary and spelling words.

Hour Four: We finish up today's topic and then we do our physical education part of the day. Today is practicing throwing and catching a beanbag.

We venture outside and decided to visit our 400-year-old oak tree that is our towns big controversy. The city wants to move it but conservationists say it will die and want the city to simple go around it. By the way this counts for social studies. We talked to the tree huggers, made a banner and learned about oaks.

It is starting to get dark so we head back inside and I start dinner. He washes up and winds down by building some more and watching a little TV. After dinner, I wash the dishes and then try to get him get ready for bed. This can sometimes take a long time, so I usually try to start early. Tonight, we play Mancala, a game with marbles. Then he's off on his own building (he's constantly building something) and I vegetate for a moment then look over my lesson plans for the next day, week, and month. Do I need anything, am I forgetting something.

Now, I have a little computer time, then read, watch TV, draw, or try to have an adult conversation. Then crawl into bed.

In between everything I make snacks, write a bit, check email, take out the trash, etc.

It is important to note that each day is different and as such schedules are just a formality. For example, one day we go to art class, which is in the middle of our regular school session. One day we go to the park and jog around the track and then play kick ball. The weather determines the time we go. And yet another day we meet with kids at the park. In addition, an hour of work may take longer than just "an hour" due to interruptions and snack breaks. Furthermore, there are the regular household *ugh* responsibilities like cleaning and grocery shopping that need to be accounted for and those unexpected goodies like the toilet overflowing.

I must admit it is a pretty full day but it is also very rewarding.