Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day of School

No, not our first day. But most of the public school kids around here went back to school today. I lost count of how many "first day" pictures I saw on Facebook today. And how many comments I read about quiet houses - some said sadly, some said happily.

I wouldn't mind a quiet house, and a whole day for myself. Being an extreme introvert, I really crave quiet time by myself.... But I wouldn't trade homeschooling even for a whole school year of quiet days. We've been at it for 2 1/2 years now, and I've seen the immeasurable benefits of it. For all of us. Restructuring of priorities, amazingly increased self-esteem and a boundless curiosity about the world for my oldest, intellectual leaps and bounds for both girls, a growing desire to help out around the house for my little boy, the opportunity to notice how creative and skillful a builder and "maker" my son is turning out to be, an obviously sincere interest in others shown by all my children to people they meet of all ages and stations in life, a closeness between all the siblings that will never break, a growing depth to our love and thankfulness for and amazement of God, and a vision of how intertwined God is with the whole universe - not just something added on at the end of the day or on Wednesday nights or Sundays.

Nope, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Of course, there are negatives as well, and days that I threaten them with sending them to "big" school. Childish arguments, temper tantrums, stubbornness, not listening to directions, not listening to anything I say, slamming doors, whining (oh, the whining!), a lack of personal free time for me, the challenge of scheduling appointments when I have to find a babysitter first. But still, I wouldn't trade it.

I thought I'd give a run down of our day today, for comparison, perhaps? Probably a fairly typical day, though we're (I'm) still getting used to how to schedule things with 2 full-time students instead of 1 - trying to prod my oldest into doing a bit more of her independent work independently, instead of sitting there watching me teach her sister.

So, I don't know what time we started this morning. Breakfast is email reading time, so sometimes it takes me a while to get going. Maybe around 8:30 or 9:00?

  • Read 1st grader a Bible story while she colors
  • Study 3rd grade Bible lesson with oldest daughter
  • Start up a 1st grade history lesson video
  • Teach 3rd grade English, spelling, math, and world history (learning about England in 900 AD today)
  • Tell 3rd grader to finish reading chapter book, and do reading comprehension worksheet, handwriting practice, vocabulary practice on computer, logic puzzles on computer, math fact review on computer, and complete a review on bird facts learned in her science book (all of which should take about an hour total)
  • Teach 1st grade math, logic, and half of the reading lesson
  • Read 1st grade read-alouds (with 3rd grader listening in, who has done exactly 1 of the tasks I gave her earlier) (interspersed with worry about why my 4-year-old is being so quiet, until he comes to listen in, holding a complex Lego model of some sort of vehicle)
  • Take a break for the kids to watch the newest episode of "Paw Patrol"
  • Lunch
  • Ask my 3rd grader questions about the chapter book she finished and then tell her to finish the other "independent" work she should have already been doing
  • Finish the 1st grade reading lesson
  • Teach my 3rd grader a piano lesson
  • Tell my 3rd grader, again, to finish her "independent" work
  • Let the 1st grader and 4-year-old watch "Paw Patrol" again while I exercise in the TV room (it's raining today, and if it weren't, it would be too hot to play outside during the afternoon anyway)
  • Let all 3 kids play with the (very loud) rhythm instruments while I take a quick shower
  • Take away the (very loud) rhythm instruments when I come out
  • Let the 1st grader and 4-year-old play on the piano while I sew some
  • Read-aloud for my 3rd grader (and 4-year-old who wants to listen in)
  • And done for the day! Play time! Legos! Dinner! More play time! (unfortunately, still raining outside...) Is it bedtime yet?

That's basically it, not counting a few chores, bathroom breaks, checking-on-the-4-year-old breaks.... We switch out different subjects on some days, like geography, art, exercise, health, history of the horse instead of world history, etc. I admit I haven't been doing too much with the 4-year-old lately - he will be starting preschool next week, 3 days a week. I think he'll get a lot out of being with other boys for a while, and I'm not as good with entertaining teaching preschoolers as I am with slightly older ones. And the girls will be starting ballet lessons in a few weeks. And they all will be starting Team Kid on Wednesday nights in a few weeks (missions, physical activity, teamwork, music, etc.). But we get done with most of the main subjects by around lunchtime, and tidy up the loose ends throughout the afternoon and evening, whenever we feel like it. (I have checklists - I'd never remember everything without them.) And then we take breaks some days for field trips - hopefully one tomorrow morning, to the airport.

Nope, I wouldn't trade homeschooling for anything.

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