Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Day In Our Homeschool Life

Our first two weeks of school have been hectic and scheduled fuller than I'd like to see them.  This really isn't a school problem, but more about catching up life from the events of the summer.  Hopefully, we soon will be able to settle our schedule to something more resembling our previous life.

Last week,on one of our more "normal" days, I managed to document our entire day for the purpose of this post.  This is, by no means, how every day has gone.  I'd love it if everyday was like this.  It is close to our ideal day.

Our almost normal school day:

7:30 am - My alarm goes off and I feel somewhat exhausted still. A migraine is niggling in the back of my head.  I reset the alarm for 7:55 am because in my sleepy mind another 25 minutes is definitely going to fix all that is wrong.

7:55 am - My alarm goes off, again.  I pick up my phone and check email as a way to make my body understand it will be getting out of the bed this time.

8:00 am - Wake Amber up. She is sleepy still, but that is an ongoing theme lately. We believe she is in a growth spurt.  She did sleep 11 hours the night before.

8:05 am - Amber goes down for a breakfast of muffins while I shower.  Amber should also be making her bed, tidying her room and playing with the kitty that has patiently been waiting for one of us to awaken.

8:30 am - I'm out of shower and Amber is finished with her morning items.  Time for her shower while I finish my morning routine.

9:00 am - Unbelievably, we are starting school at the designated time on our schedule.  I'm not sure how it happened.  We start the day with Religion, usually.  Some days we are not having an agreeable morning and I don't feel much like giving Amber religious instruction.  On those days Religion waits until right before lunch or right after lunch.  This day, we complete the discussion portion of the lesson, assign new memory work, and add entries to the prayer journal before our morning prayers.

9:30 am - Still on track with time, but we need to call Amber's Grandpa (er.. Fred's dad).  It is his birthday and we need to wish him a Happy Birthday before he and Grandma are busy for the day.

9:35 am - We start the math lesson.  Even though Amber mostly skipped Saxon 6/5, the first lessons in 7/6 are still a review of skills she already knows. There is very little teacher instruction on this.  I simply review the topic with her and she rolls her eyes because it is very basic.  She is given her assignment and works on completing it.

9:40 am - Amber is working on her math assignment so I have a little time to do "my stuff".  I finalize our plans for the field trip to the Missouri History Museum the following day. This really involves checking the website for hours, and directions (I get so turned around in Forest Park).  I call the museum to get a few details about the Civil War exhibit.

10:00 am - Amber still hasn't finished math, but is close.  I pay the bills for the week and make a list of appointments that need to be scheduled.  During our rough summer I did not have time for my own appointments, so it is time I got in to my array of doctors for checkups.  Sigh.

10:15 am - Amber finishes math assignment and turns it into the basket.   She is ready for the next subject, which is English.  We discuss the lesson for the day, do the in-class examples and she is given her grammar assignment.  I know from experience this will take 5-10 minutes.   While she works I make an online appointment for my blood test and schedule the followup with my doctor.

10:40 am - I try to get Amber to take a quick break, as recommended by her occupational therapist (for sensory processing disorder).  She is resistant.  She wants to get going on the next subject so that she has a longer break at lunch.  We have a small discussion about her stress management, but she is still resistant.

10:50 am - We finally start Spelling lesson.  Not much to discuss today.  Did the main discussion Monday with the pre-test.  A little clarification on the Schwa, and then she goes to her spelling assignment.

11:00 am - While Amber is working on spelling, I schedule my opthamologist appointment, and two more doctor appointments.  Fun life I live.

Top (L-R): Working on Religion.  My book is to the left. I just stood up to take pic.
English assignment -She loves this subject.
Bottom (L-R): Math assignment, with kitty helper
Handwriting assignment. Practice those C's
11:15 am - Amber is ready for Handwriting and I'm still on hold with the last doctor.  She plays with Biscotti (the kitty) for a minute or two after getting out her handwriting book.  She has her own schedule that we print each week, so she knows what the assignment is but will wait for me in case there are changes.

11:20 am - Handwriting lesson - we are really working at making Amber's handwriting more fluid, easier to read and easier to write.  Lowercase B's have been such a problem for Amber, and considering she has one in her name it was a very prominent problem.  Thankfully, the new type of lowercase B in the BJU handwriting has solved that problem entirely.  

Today is the letter C, which has been such a difficulty for Amber, even when printing.  She can't get the idea that it needs to start at the 1 o'clock position, and has always started them at 12 o'clock then ends at the 6 o'clock position.  This lesson is particularly important for Amber and we spend a lot of time practicing on the board and paper before the assignment.

We also got sidetracked with other letters and different letter types.  Amber thinks the capital L's in BJU handwriting look weird until I demonstrate that is how I've always written.  I demonstrate with Amber's middle name (that begins with an L).  My L's are declared "pretty", while Amber also displays her awe that I can write nicely.  Ha.  Perhaps I should demonstrate that more often.

11:45 am - Back on track Amber starts her handwriting assignment for the day.
12:00 pm - Break time.  Amber plays with the kitty for a few minutes while we discuss our afternoon schedule. We make lunch together and then eat.  We generally like to just relax and eat during lunch. We talk or once in a while watch a little TV.  We aren't dedicated enough to have read aloud time or anything else school related during our lunch.  It's just the two of us, so we normally talk and have silly conversations.

12:30 pm  -  I'm finished with lunch but Amber is still eating.  I empty the dishwasher so there is room for lunch dishes. Amber gets on to me for "doing her job" Strictly speaking this is still my job but Amber took the initiative and has emptied it most of the time recently. 

12:40 pm -  Time to run a short errand. Amber collects her Latin workbook to complete the day's assignment in the car.  In May, my mom had me purchase some new pants for my dad while I was out shopping.  Dad never wore the pants and they were still in the guest bedroom, with their tags on.  I now needed to return them for a refund and had been dawdling about doing this.  It was a 35 minute round trip errand.  In and out. No lingering in the store today.  I called my mom on the return trip home to let her know it was completed and check on her.  My sister usually takes the morning Mommy Check. :-)

Latin in the car.  She thinks it is funny that I'm taking her picture all day long.
1:15 pm - Home for some drinks because I forgot to take one with me. It was hot outside and I'm always thirsty (diabetes is such a fun disease).   Might as well check email, Facebook, and see if the mailman came yet.  I think of a few things that need to be done and add that to my to-do list.

1:30 pm - Gather science books & supplies for lab / activity (earthquake proof building design).  We move to the kitchen for this subject today after a brief discussion of the lesson and scientific method, again.  Amber fills out part of the experiment form, draws her designs for the structures she is building and then starts to build.
Second earthquake proof "building"
Constructing first "building"
Amber with finished first building

2:30 pm- We cleanup from science and head back upstairs for our "book club" discussion of the assigned portion of Tom Sawyer.  Amber is very playful and wants to goof off for a little while and so hides from the camera.   She's having trouble focusing after the science activity.  This is an informal book club style discussion, so I'm not going to force the issue.

Being silly.  Hiding from the camera during
Tom Sawyer book discussion.
3:00 pm - Amber starts her assigned household job for Tuesdays - dusting the house.  The actual job for Tuesday is to dust downstairs, but we plan to be gone most of Wednesday on our field trip, so Amber will dust upstairs too.  I change and get ready to go outside and mow our yard.  I'm still doing these types of jobs because Fred doesn't have the energy after working all day.  Maybe next year he can take back the yard jobs.  Or I'll hire someone...

3:45 pm - Amber calls me on my cell phone (for the 3rd time) to tell me she finished dusting and would like to play on the computer.  This is allowed.  Her other calls were to check on me. She would hear the mower stop, but couldn't find me in the yard.  According to Amber, she was doing "Dad's job" and making sure I was okay.  How sweet is she?

5:15 pm - I'm finished mowing the yard, finally.  No edging, just mowing today. For living in a suburban area we have a fairly large yard. The front yard is just average.  The backyard is large and flat with a lot of open grassy space that needs to be mowed.   I shower again while Amber practices piano.

5:45 pm - Amber is finished practicing piano and I am done with the shower.  I collapse and check email / Facebook.

6:15 pm - Fred calls to tell me he is on his way home from work and checks on dinner plans.  He doesn't want my planned meal of french toast.  We decide to meet at Outback for dinner, and this is fine with me.  I'm still drained from mowing.
Bad quality photo from the iPhone front facing camera.
Amber is pretending to be sad, me looking pathetic after
mowing the yard and a quick shower.

7:30 pm - We are all home from dinner and play a little bit of 3 square outside before it gets too dark and the bugs come out.

8:00 pm - We put on a Civil War DVD to calm down a little before bedtime.  Amber watches and makes comments along the way.  I am working on a huge cross stitch project that is taking me forever given that I only work in half hour increments.

8:30 pm - Amber is still watching the DVD with Fred.  I call my mom to check on her and finalize timing for the next day.  She is going on the field trip with us.

9:00 pm - Time to start Amber's bedtime routine.  She plays with the remaining gerbil, Sunflower, and does the nightly food and water fill before getting herself ready for bed.

9:30 pm - Amber to bed. She is a little whiny and grumpy.  We aren't sure why, but hope a good night's sleep will help.

This is my normal time to go workout.  It doesn't  happen because of lawn mowing.  That was a good enough workout.  I opt to catch up on my multitude of shows on the DVR and work more on the cross stitch.  Zipping through commercials I manage to finish a partially watched episode and two additional ones of Warehouse 13.  I am now caught up. 

11:30 pm - Bedtime for me.  It's pretty late, but I have some serious insomnia at times and generally avoid it by being falling down tired when I go to bed.  Beats laying awake all night.

If everyday was like this one we would be in good shape, unfortunately, they are not.  So, while this was a really productive day and I'd love for them to all be like this, they are quite often not even close.

In two weeks dance will resume for Amber making our days even more tight.  She is taking 5 dance classes and 1 private dance lesson.  This is in addition to weekly chimes practice, weekly piano lessons and weekly voice lessons.  She is also a Junior in Girl Scouts with twice a month meetings on a yet undetermined day. We have got to get our act together soon!

I hope you have enjoyed the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop as much as I have. This was our first year to participate and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.  I have found so many great ideas from the other homeschooling families that participated this year.  Thanks to everyone who shared each week!

Not Back to School Blog Hop


  1. Hello. I am in MO too! You must live near St. Louis or in St. Louis? I live in Troy, MO.

    Our first couple of weeks were rough too. Getting back into it after summer break is hard for us. I also started full swing with my K and trying to get my 5/6th grader to be more independent...he is not liking it :-)

    Our extras all start in more free evenings for us.

    1. Closer than you think, Dardenne Prairie ;-)

      I hope your school year goes well too. Those extras are so wonderful, but also so tiring at times.

  2. Christy, your day looks great, even the rough patches! You are so lucky that Amber will let you take her photo - my daughter has developed her mother's hatred of being photgraphed lately and I either have to sneak them or take partial profiles that are mostly hair.

    1. Yes, but this was one of the two best days we have had so far this school year.

      Amber is quite willing to have her picture taken, if I don't mind goofy smiles and such. You should see how many pictures I take to get 2 decent ones ;-)

  3. My boy doesn't like to take breaks either and just wants to plow straight through, so I know your challenge there. :D