Sunday, August 25, 2013

6th Grade Snapshot: A Day in Our Homeschool Life

It's time for the annual Day-In-The-Life post, where we pretend that every day goes just like this one. ;-)  Our family has so many medical, dental & orthodontic appointments that it's hard to define a standard school week for us.  We are often catching up from a day that fell behind because of an appointment or family commitment.

For the post this year, I've chosen to use an actual average day.  Not one of our worst days, but not one of the best either.

7:45 am - I wake up and wish I hadn't.  Starting the day out with a headache, but I need to get up anyway.  It's a small migraine, which means there's nothing I can take for it (I take preventative meds).  It also means I'm going to be short tempered today.  I check the weather, email and Facebook on my phone before getting out of bed just to be sure I have a handle on the day before I get going.

8:30 am - Amber is finally awake, but it's going slow.  She's been very sleepy in the mornings for the past few months since she has been sick with digestive problems.  She sleeps 11-13 hours, but is still bone tired in the morning. Now that her new medication is working, we hope she gets some reserves back and can awake earlier (and happier) in the morning.

9:15 am - Amber is ready for school, but no breakfast. She still can't eat right away in the mornings; it makes her feel sick.  Sigh. We are already behind on our school schedule, so Religion lessons are pushed to the end of the day.  It seems to be working better for us in the afternoon anyway.

Amber takes her first math test of the year.  Normally, she would have lesson discussion time, then work on her assignment, but as today is a test she just goes right to it. I let the kittens out of their "sleeping" room, and fill downstairs food & water bowls while trying to convince our 2 year old Maine Coon mix to play nicely with the kittens today.

9:45 am - Amber has completed the math test and turned it in.  She is finished before our scheduled time for math to end, so now she has free time until the next subject's scheduled time.  Unless we are extremely short on time, we have found it works best to not rush the subjects together and let Amber have a few minutes to herself if she finishes early.

10:00-10:15 am - This is actually a scheduled break time, because Amber find it hard to switch gears after math.  Since Amber finished math early today, she has an extra long break time.

I use this extra long time to finish curling my hair and grade her math test.  Amber goes downstairs to get her morning drink that she finally feels up to drinking and plays with the cats. 

10:15 am - Grammar.  We go over the lesson together and work the in-class samples.  We are still reviewing complex sentences with subordinate conjunctions which was covered late last year.  Amber then completes her assignment.  I vacuum the upstairs of the house and tidy the kittens' room.

10:35 am - Amber has finished her grammar assignment ahead of the scheduled time, but opts to go right to the spelling test instead of taking a break.   Spelling word test and dictation test are easily completed as it is the first of the year.

10:50 am - Small break until Writing class.  Amber plays with the cats again. I get the glorious job of scooping all three litter boxes.  Who said being a stay-at-home mom wasn't glamorous?

(TOP-L) Math test (and letting hair dry a bit first)
(TOP-R) Grammar (and she's managed to get her hair pulled up)
(BOTTOM-L) Spelling test with a sleeping kitty in her lap
(BOTTOM-R) Writing with a cuddly kitten, now awake

11:00 am - Writing lesson.  We use Writing With Skill and Amber is outlining a passage in the book today. This curriculum puts a lot of responsibility on the student, but I do provide guidance. Amber explains what she believes the assignment to be and I verify.  Amber goes to work with no questions today.

During this time, I grade anything that has been missed from the previous day and this morning, and continue to herd cats.  Our big boy needs to be less dominant and insecure in our affection.

I watch out our back windows as a bobcat grades the yard behind us for sod and pray that my hedge of Boxwoods survives.  After living here for seven years, the lot behind us finally has a house.  I think I liked it better as a weed filled empty lot.

11:20 am - Writing is finished.   We have a scheduled lunch / rest time from 11:30 am - 1:00pm.  If Amber runs too far behind she loses some of that rest time.  She also uses some of that time on busy dance days to practice her flute or piano. Today is one such day.

Amber starts playing feather-on-a-string with all three cats.  I stare at the dirt flying out back and think about running an errand or going out to lunch, but that means putting the kittens in their room and they haven't had enough time out of their room yet today.

11:40 am - Amber begins her flute practice.  I start the sprinkler on the yard and talk to the surveyor who's working in the yard behind us. He was looking askance at my hedge. Turns out they were about to mark the other property line in my yard.  I assist in finding the existing markers, and they are apologetic.  Disaster averted, but I was correct in thinking my hedge was in danger from that bobcat.

12:10 pm - Amber and I make lunch together & eat.  I review our dinner plans in Plan to Eat.  Our lunches are fairly simple and consistent.  Amber likes spreads (peanut butter, almond butter, Nutella) on homemade Sorghum-Teff Thins (Gluten-free version of Wheat Thins).  I eat cheese and crackers (same ones).  We both have various fruits and possibly gluten-free chips / chex mix.

(TOP-L) Flute practice
(TOP-R) Standard lunch (Amber takes a medication in apple juice and so has two drinks at lunch)
(BOTTOM-L) Mid-day break.  Amber is re-reading a favorite book, with our cuddliest cat.
(BOTTOM-R) Our oldest & largest cat, being king of the lunch table.

1:00 pm - Break time is over.  Amber begins her history reading; she has three chapters today. She is studying the ancients this year and is currently reading about Sumer.  She takes notes on her reading, writes a narration on one Sumer topic, and discusses with me what she has read.

I call the lawn care company because we have weeds and I pay to not have weeds. I go out and switch the water, again, then write my next blog post.

2:00 pm - Amber takes a quick stretch, but she doesn't have a break time.  Amber begins her Latin lesson. She is finishing the work for chapter one in Primer B, and she will take the quiz and do the translation work tomorrow.

This is yet another lesson at her desk.  Honestly, she doesn't sit there all day, every day.  This day just seems to be a lot of sitting at the desk. 

2:30 pm - Latin completed, time for Biology.  Amber does the day's reading and takes notes.  We gather the crystal growing experiment from the basement and check on the progress.  Amber finishes the experiment report for the crystals.

While Amber worked on her Biology reading, I looked for more TV shows / miniseries for Amber and me to watch together.  Amber loves to watch Jane Austen / historial movies while we knit / crochet / cross stitch.  We've recently gone through two versions of Emma, two versions of Pride & Prejudice, one version of Sense and Sensibility, all of the Robin Hood TV series, and started the Merlin TV series (I've seen it, Amber hasn't).  In a list of "things you might like", I find the North and South miniseries (from the BBC, not the John Jakes) and add it to our watchlist.

(TOP-L) Latin Lesson.  Again at her desk. 
(TOP-R) Biology reading.  Not pictured is History... which she did at her desk too.  She wasn't feeling like relocating anywhere today.
(BOTTOM-L) Crystal growth)
(BOTTOM-R) Finishing her experiment writeup

3:00 pm - Literature time.  Amber is reading the Hobbit as her starter book for the year.  She's already read the entire Lord of the Rings series, but she never read the Hobbit.  We discuss the 3 chapters since our last discussion using the Memoria Press study guides.  We do not use every feature of the guides, but I do like the vocabulary portions as well as the discussion questions.

Today, it is apparent that Amber raced through her reading and wasn't paying careful attention to the details.  I'm not entirely pleased and Amber stomps off to retrieve her Religion books.  This is not a good sign.  Remember that headache?  Well, I'm less inclined to be understanding during one of those and Amber was less inclined to be considerate of my headache. Words may have been uttered that were a bit sarcastic (by us both).

3:30 pm - Religion time. This should normally be in the mornings, first thing, but we are having a hard time making that happen.  So far we've only had morning religion once, and pushed it to last subject of the day otherwise.  I may need to alter our schedule to reflect this more natural rhythm.  Amber is very grumpy and unprepared for the memory work that was due today.  Again, I am not inclined to be understanding and she is just upset that I found fault with her unpreparedness.

We close our school day with prayer for understanding and patience.

4:00 pm - We had planned to leave early for dance class and stop by Red Robin to have a fun snack of french fries together.  We have not been able to have french fries since we went gluten-free in May.  Amber and I are both too sensitive to cross contamination to eat fries at most restaurants.  However, we recently found out that our Red Robin has a dedicated french fry fryer and their fries are gluten free.

Unfortunately, Amber's attitude at the end of the day, her lack of preparation, and most importantly her mouthy disrespect caused the loss of this special outing.  My headache in no way had anything to do with this.  (Do you believe that?)

Amber gets ready for dance classes, we situate the kittens in their room (they can't be left out in the house with our other cat if nobody is home), and get our drinks.

4:15 pm - We leave for dance early so that there is time for me to pick up the Red Robin fries as to-go.  Neither of us had a pre-dance snack and dinner is very late on this night.  So, we take the fries with us in the car.  Not the fun outing that was planned, but at least we got fries.  I might have realized that my headache contributed to the late afternoon difficulty.  I also desperately needed the fries, since I ate a lighter lunch than usual anticipating french fries.  (Got to count those points).

We arrive at dance and Amber participates in her ballet, pointe technique, and contemporary classes.  I sit on my rear-end and chat with other moms for hours.

(TOP-L) Watching the bobcat work the yard behind us. No open windows for us that day.
(TOP-R) Literature discussion time - look a new location in the house
(BOTTOM-L) Dance class (pointe technique)
(BOTTOM-R) The kittens sitting between us as we watch tv and do our crafts.

7:30 pm - Finally home.  Amber gets to see her dad for the first time today.  We are just having sandwiches for dinner, but oddly enough Amber and I aren't very hungry.  Red Robin makes HUGE to-go containers of fries.

8:15 pm - Amber and I watch Robin Hood (we didn't finish until that evening). Amber knits cat blankets for a local humane society while I choose to cross stitch this particular evening instead of crochet blankets.

9:15 pm - Amber begins her bedtime routine and then heads to bed.  We have a brief discussion of anything that is weighing on her mind.  It is a procedure recommended last year by her therapist.  It has worked wonders for her anxiety. 

9:40 pm - Now is when I get to do my workout for the day.  I head down to the basement where we keep the equipment.  I take my iPad every night so I can read, watch movies / tv shows, answer email, or write a blog post while I workout.  I'm all about multitasking.

10:45 pm - Workout done.  For my cool down I get to give big boy cat his medicine, fill all the cat food & water bowls, scoop all the litter boxes, and put the kittens in their room.  I tidy up around the house (I'm quite OCD about tidiness), answer some email, make an update to the dance studio website that was sent to me via text during my workout, and check on any last minute needs for school tomorrow.

11:50 pm - My bedtime, finally.

And that's it, a pretty average day.  Not the best, not the worst, but a blessing to us nonetheless.

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  1. I like the picture of the play structure and the house. For some reason in looks like they are both miniatures. I guess it is the angle and perspective.

    Philip with his ADD medication frequently doesn't actually go to sleep until after midnight. Bedtime is 9pm. He has been getting up at 6am. My alarm doesn't go off until 6:30.

    1. I took the picture from the upstairs loft window, with an iPhone. The playset is not right up next to the house either, so you're right and it got caught in a weird angle.

      The joke in the neighborhood is that the new builder (our old one went out of business) is building miniature houses. They are considerably smaller than the ones the original builder put into the subdivision.