The view from Katydid's rebuilt "hut"
I've wanted to do a "day at our house" post for a while now, but never seemed to have the opportunity, or I thought, wait till we get a routine and things are normal again. Well, I am now admitting that our new "normal" is not exactly what I hoped it would be. On the other hand, it's probably adequate, and certainly could be a lot worse. My biggest challenge is -- as always -- keeping the little boys from injuring each other, themselves, or the house. I didn't know why I thought that would change just because we moved a thousand miles.
So this was our "normal" day, such as it was. If you are a new homeschooler (or an old one), I hope this will encourage you that other people's kids run outside in their pajamas first thing in the morning, and throw pencils at each other, and sometimes husbands get phone calls from wives who are trying to eliminate the title of chief zookeeper from the long list of jobs they perform, but in the midst of all of this stuff, there's a little stargazing and some art, too.
Our morning was pretty typical. I wish I could say it wasn't -- it was a little more intense than usual, but nothing beyond the pale of what has gone before. I didn't manage to get up before the little boys, which got the day off to a bad start. Then, in the first 45 minutes of the day, there was Lego throwing, fighting and quarreling, poking the baby's eyes, a whole bunch of discipline, and the aforementioned call to the husband, at which point the words "I quit" and "preschool" may have been uttered. Or shouted. Or something. The boys were banished to their room. Then they were banished outside because they were destroying their room. And the blue lightsaber was removed from its owner's possession. And Gareth was asked to go outside to keep an eye on the boys while I helped Katydid do her math (long division, which began in a Developmental Math book and then switched to Saxon 6/5 because it wasn't explained well enough). Then I took a shower.
A fourteen year old's idea of "keeping an eye" on his brothers is different than mine, let me just say.
So after that was sorted out, we prayed and started chores. It was 10 AM. ( I have no idea how it took 3 hours for me to eat breakfast and take a shower. I nursed the baby a few times, too, I guess.) The little boys somehow had their clothes changed and got their teeth brushed, in spite of Pip's attempt to flood the bathroom by filling up the sink. After chores, everyone got situated with some work.
- Gareth read the Boy Scout merit badge booklet for Automotive Maintenance.
- Katydid went outside with the camera. She might also have worked on her Tropical Birds notebook , since she often does work on it in the mornings.
- Pip and Pop both wanted to work in their math books (Modern Curricula Press Math K) . I had wanted to give Farmerboy a reading lesson, but Pop needed help with the page he wanted to do on clocks. I asked Farmerboy to get out his math book instead (Seton Math 2). He got to work doing some double-digit subtraction, but my working with Pop distracted him so much that I had to promise to buy him some headphones (to block out the noise). Pip and Pop both did two or three pages on time and graphs and practiced writing some numbers. (Their fine motor skills lag behind their brain skills and the heavy emphasis on writing in the MCP book is something we're working around.)
Then Pip and Chipmunk started throwing crayons at each other and were banished to the backyard again. I had Katydid show Farmerboy how to use the Flashmaster to practice math facts and brought out the metal (mine are plastic) insets for Pop to help his fine motor skills. Katydid said, "I love these things," and started on her own inset, and so I left the three of them at the table, drawing, and went outside with Pip and Chipmunk and nursed the baby and reviewed some phonics with Pip. When Farmerboy and Pop were done drawing, they came out and showed me their pictures (they drew paleontologists after finishing up the insets), and I gave Farmerboy a short reading lesson in Phonics Pathways and showed Pop how to use the Flashmaster.
And Daddy came home for lunch, mostly for moral support.
Our lunch lasts from 12ish to about 1:30. The kids usually ride their scooters and mess around out front on the driveway. Today they drew with sidewalk chalk. Gareth drew moas, which he learned about from his current science/geography read, The Future Eaters, and terror cranes, which I think he learned about by osmosis.
(We have an interesting driveway.)
(I also spent some time wondering if it would count as a narration.)
The twins began to act up again, which was how I knew it was quiet time. At around 1:30, I call everyone in to clean up lunch and then I read to everyone 7 and under. Farmerboy's "school" books which I've been reading at this time include Aesop's Fables for Children and Minn of the Mississippi , which he narrates. Or at least, which I am attempting to have him narrate. Narration is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. Today, however, we just read from the stack of library books: Let's Count it Out, Jess Bear! for Chipmunk; Stars, Stars, Stars for the other boys; Mystery Vine: A Pumpkin Surprise because I felt like we ought to be reading some kind of seasonal book. I'm not sure if the boys enjoyed this one too much or not, but the projects in the back were somewhat interesting to them. We may be growing a sweet potato vine soon.
Pip had been informing me for a while that he was VERY TIRED, so I informed him that it would be best if he would take a nap on my bed and sent him off with a stack of castle books. He surprised me by actually going to sleep. Chipmunk fought his nap tooth and nail for about an hour before he finally succumbed, and the baby (I can't call him Leo, so maybe I will call him "Tank" instead? "Future NFL Linebacker" perhaps?) fussed for a while, too, but finally he also went to sleep and I moved on to helping Gareth with algebra (Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra, which we're using with Fred's Home Companion) and Latin (First Form Latin), both of which have been nudging me in a little over my head. My problem with algebra is that the Fred books really make you think, which is good, but which I was not taught how to do, and my problem with Latin is that I haven't been keeping up with the kids, so they're now ahead of me. But with the help of the workbook answer key and the textbook we are able to come to some understanding of the diagramming in lesson XI. While he was waiting on me to put the little ones down, he read The Future Eaters, but we still have to have a little discussion about time spent and amount of work accomplished. He therefore pulls out The Grammar of Poetry, which he is enjoying much more than I thought he would, completes a lesson on puns, and calls it a day at about 4:30.
Meanwhile, Katydid works on a grammar lesson from Our Mother Tongue, reads Sun Slower, Sun Faster (an historical novel of Church history), Greek Myths, by Olivia Coolidge, and works on Editor in Chief, which she is not assigned, but which she enjoys doing anyway. I'm not sure if she did Latin or not while I was busy with the little ones, but usually this is time for Latin.
Around 3:30, I call Farmerboy down from listening to Harry Potter on audio for the 478th time so he can do his copywork. He's using Copybook 1 from Memoria Press, because it's easier for me to have it all laid out.
At 4:00 it's computer time and I make dinner. Chicken Cacciatore tonight, with spaghetti squash (which 5 of 6 kids think is "okay".)
After dinner (about 5:45/6:00 ish tonight, which is a bit early for us), Andy takes Gareth outside to go through his Boy Scout Automotive Maintenance merit badge book with him. Katydid and Farmerboy tag along, and the little boys ride scooters and bikes and pretend to shoot lasers. It gets dark and we look at the moon and identify Venus and count airplanes. Then it's inside for chores and pajamas and Andy reading Mattimeo at bedtime and me nursing the Future NFL Linebacker to sleep and it all begins again in the morning.