Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Day in the Life 2016 (9, 7, 5, 3, & 11m)

           Last time I shared the curriculum and resources we are using this year, and so far things are going great! We are having a blast continuing on our study of American History and have finally gotten to the "Little House time period" so I'm just loving our read aloud times even more each day. There is always something so peaceful and lovely about reading about Laura's life, Ma's simple routines, and the entire Ingalls family's adventures. It is hard to say no to the "Just one more chapter, pleeeeease?" requests.

          Our three day a week schedule  for formal book work is still working great and really makes our week a joyful process. With 5 kiddos in our home ages 9 and under, including a nursling, having a simplified, gentle, and combined schedule is a must! Our goal is to inspire a love for God and a life long love for learning, so showing our kids that learning doesn't just happen at a set time, with set books, on certain days is a priority. I'd even go as far to say that most discipleship happens at unexpected and inconvenient times. ;)  So we try to keep margin and free time readily available, so that we are available for to listen, learn, and grow right alongside our kiddos.

         For those of you who might be curious about how our schedule looks like in real time, here is a picture of what a week at the Howard House might look like (if God has taken mercy on me) during an average week:

Days start around 10am, sometimes 9:30am
Formal bookwork school days: 3
Field trip/errands/swim lesson days: 1
Handicraft/lifeskills/habit days: 1

Monday: Monday is usually our biggest day of school during our week. I like to try and accomplish as much as we can this first day of the week because it really sets the tone for the rest of the week. My husband also works Sunday night at 7pm until 11a on Monday, so we try to get a lot of work knocked out of the way before he gets home. We usually have Manner's Tea Time after lunch today as well once the littles lay down for quiet time.

Tuesday: This is usually our second formal learning day. Tuesday evenings the boys have Trail Life USA with Tom, so they work on lifeskills and handicrafts this day too. (If there is a field trip that falls on this day or another "formal" day during the week, we either flip flop days or break the work up into two really short days either before or after the outing.)

Wednesday: Hubs works this day 3pm to Thursday morning at 7am, so we try to spend the morning hanging out with daddy, doing laundry, working on some projects, doing some baking, cleaning, or other habit training. So this is usually our official Handicraft/lifeskill/habit day. :) This week we have built wooden model boats and completed some quilling as well.

Thursday: This is usually our third formal book work day. Things do change based on each week's events.

Friday: This is our errand/field trip/library/swim lesson day. It is also our family pizza movie night, so after we are out and about most of the day, we crash in front of the TV and eat yummy pizza that evening. A great finish to the week!

*** Here is approximately what our three formal days look like:

*Bible(30 mins):
  • Read from Taylors (1 day), or Read from Bible (1 day), or Character lesson (1 day)
  • Verse memorization (3 days)
  • Sing hymn (3 days)
*Copywork/Handwriting(5 mins):
  • Either writing out our Bible verse, a passage from history reading, or from Reason's Handwriting.
  • 5yo works with me on basics and I read aloud to her from nature reader and Bible story book.
  • 7yo completes math lesson(15) on computer. Reads to me(5)
        • Nature Reader - Monday
        • Character reading - Tuesday
        • Independent topic - Thursday
  • 9yo works on grammar on his own
  • Read aloud a chapter from 2 chapter books
  • Read aloud a picture book about topic
  • Kiddos narrate back and we discuss
  • 5yo works on cutting and pasting, read about community helpers and catechism
  • 7yo works on phonics on his own
  • 9yo completes math lesson(15) on computer. Reads to me.(5)
        • Nature Reader -Monday
        • Character reading - Tuesday
        • Independent topic - Thursday
*Extras(20 mins):
  • Sign language(1 day), OR
  • Art(1day), OR
  • Geography(1 day)
*Passive subjects:
  • Classical Music - Once a quarter, I read aloud a short biography of a classical composer and then we will listen to that composer's music throughout the quarter while doing other work. I will passively mention their name or the name of a piece music as we are going about our day.
  • Art History - Once a quarter, I will read aloud a short biography of a classical artist and show some pictures of their work. We will study it and talk about the piece. I will display a few pieces of their work and the kids look at the pictures at their leisure.

As you can see I've given approximate times next to each subject, this can fluctuate greatly. Somedays, Bible discussion can go on for up to an hour if it is something we really need to work on or if the kiddos have more questions. Because our set plans are short, it allows us to linger longer or delve deeper as interests demand. Some days, we have character issues that need to be worked on exclusively and books get put aside as we focus our attention on Eternal goals.

We have free afternoons, so that work can be continued if needed, much needed resting can happen, and/or everyone can work on a project that interests them. This may include sewing, needlepoint, race track drawing, lego building, painting, baking, reading, clay model making, quilling, bike racing, running, guinea pig photography, or so many other possibilities. :)  There is also plenty of time for cooking, cleaning, laundry, home maintenance, and other important but often overlooked courses of study. My ultimate goal is to train myself out of my job; not just to lighten my load, but to prepare well rounded children to be responsible adults that can care and provide for their families!

I hope this give you a basic idea of how our days flow. Does it always look like this? No. Do we always get everything checked off on the "right" day? No. But by Friday at noon, we try to have everything "formal" for the week wrapped up, so that we can continue to learn by spending time together as a family. This teaches our kiddos that in life there are deadlines that have to be met, however; we truly believe that we may make our plans; but God ultimately directs our steps, so if a sick neighbor needs some cards to cheer them up, a Christian organization needs a hot meal made and served to underprivileged kids, or a family needs prayers and help in their home due to a crisis; we are ready, available, and free to be the hands and feet of Jesus, just as He planned. ;)

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