Age: 6 & 9
My February monthly summary is sitting in draft, because we’re finally back on track homeschooling-wise and I had so many things to document. Since who knows when they’ll get published, I wanted to do a short post so I can at least document my happiness that things are going (mostly) well. It’s taken me 3 years, but I finally figured out what daily routine works for me.
I would fill this with pics, except I only remembered to take one.
Our homeschool day is supposed to be 9am-12pm for Astroboy and 9am-2pm for Thumper. On this day, the children started their work day at around 9:40 after getting up between 7:30-8am. We worked till 3pm, accounting for random breaks, chores, snacks and outside lessons. I tend to go with their flow when it comes to meals and rest. Usually they need a break after about 1-1.5 hours of work. They always get cranky or start not paying attention (as in I have to say something 2-3 times).
7:30am I wake up before Astroboy for once and quickly pop some Trader Joe’s berry scones in the oven.
8:00am The kids get up. I’m busy cutting flashcards and reading email and try to ignore them while they get ready for the day and eat breakfast.
9:40am The kids finally start looking at their weekly workplan. I must have been busy trying to get their weekly word plan printed before this and nagging them to start school every 10 minutes. Hence the time ran away from me. But we’re good once we start school.
Thumper chooses violin as her first work. This was my suggestion when she started violin. I felt that music would help her settle down, focus, and 收心. Astroboy wants to play the multiplication card game that he’s been into since last week. I play a few rounds of 3 and 4 with him then yell at Thumper to come downstairs to play her practice set for me while I continue playing card games with Astroboy.
One of the hardest things for me is always how to teach both kids at the same time.
10:10am Thumper finishes violin practice. Our agreement before I agreed to lessons was that she had to practice herself without me forcing her, thus I don’t dictate how long she practices. She starts on Explode the Code. We’re on the last book now. I continue to play the card game with Astroboy.
10:35am Thumper finished ETC and decides to take a break. She asks to listen to D’aulaires Greek Mythology while she folds her laundry. Each kid has to fold laundry daily. I can’t thank Hotelier Mama enough for that idea of having the kids do chores while on break. It keeps them moving and yet helps with focus.
11:10am Finished reading Magic School Bus book in Chinese to Astroboy. The only “problem” with letting Thumper listen to audio is that she can just do that all day while she folds her laundry ever so slowly. Astroboy looks for a snack.
11:25am We have swimming at 12pm so Astroboy’s snack break segways into lunch. Thumper chooses to write her 5 out of 10 Chinese characters she needs to learn to write each week.
11:45am Swimming for Astroboy. Thumper eats lunch and works on finishing her fraction, decimal, geometry worksheet review I had given her over a month ago. I thought it would take her a week. It’s taken 6 weeks. I do love the worksheets though. It gives some depth to whatever we’ve covered conceptually.
For example, for decimal, I gave her several Montessori presentations on concept of decimal place values and the relationship between decimals and fractions. The worksheets have several pages of word problems on these concepts, questions I wouldn’t have come up with on my own to make sure (and be able to see) that she understood the concept.
1:10pm Astroboy takes a shower after swimming while Thumper continues working on math.
1:20pm Cajole Thumper into finishing the last 4 problem of the math worksheet sets. She was brain tired after working so long on it. We get ready for our violin lesson.
1:45pm Leave for violin. On the way to class, Thumper reads The Whipping Boy 挨鞭童 in Chinese for her Chinese read-aloud work.
2:00pm Violin lesson for Thumper while Astroboy watches Magic School Bus DVD with headphones. With Astroboy being still too young, homeschooling means you have to take the young one everywhere with you.
2:40pm Mondays are our longest day home. I take advantage by asking Thumper to finish her last chosen work for the day, which is a page in her handwriting workbook. Astroboy re-reads Sagebooks set 3.
3:00pm The kids are ready to revolt. I talk to a friend who’s thinking about homeschooling while we walk to Safeway for some exercise and snacks.
Whew and we’re done. We were going to go to a playground but it was too too hot. Instead, the kids came home and pretty much kept eating snacks till it was time to take a shower. They’re required to shower before dinner and then help set the table.
Over dinner Sunday, the kids and I came up with a challenge: for Astroboy to run 3k and Thumper to run 5k. They are excited to start. After dinner, we walked to our local high school and circled twice around the track and then walked back, for a total of 1.5 miles probably.
It’s our form of exercise when the weather gets warm.
8:30pm Off to bed the kids go.
This was a long day school-wise. I never quite know how people are able to finish school in an hour or two. Usually 3 hours isn’t enough because any subject can take them 30 minutes to an hour to do if it gets complicated. I don’t dictate how much they do for any work they choose. I would hope one day they’re interested enough in whatever they’re studying to want to do it all day. Then there’s all that snacking and morning exercise, or laundry folding. That all takes time.
Lest you think every day is like this, it’s typically what our Mondays and Tuesdays look like, on a “good” day. We often go out for playdates after 1 or 2 pm Wednesday and Thursdays and Friday we leave it for co-ops and hiking.
I have found that I need a day or two usually of staying home all day to recoup from weekends and social activities. This semester it’s really worked out that Monday is the day for this, as I tend to let myself go on the weekends like to spend Mondays planning and cleaning anyway. Having that one long day of work calms my anxiety about not enough time spent homeschooling (which I know is illogical) and allows us to have only 4 3 or 4-hour work days rest of the week.