A day with a 4th grader, a 1st grader and a 3 1/2 yr old

5:00– My alarm goes off.

5:45- I get up. I’m still bad about hitting the snooze button, which luckily doesn’t seem to bother H. too much. I prefer to wake up slowly. Sometime in the middle of the night H. went in to sleep with Ruth who had woken up so this morning I don’t feel too guilty. I shower, get dressed, dry my hair (while reading Animal Farm), and eat breakfast (peanut butter toast and a banana) while reading my daily devotions. I’m currently doing a one-year Bible reading plan and reading one essay of God in the Dock a day.

6:45– I leave to go to the hospital to see a newborn.

7:30– I come home. Unusually, none of the kids are awake, perhaps because of a later than usual bedtime last night after a family birthday party. H. and I read the paper. I check email.

7:45– Ruth is awake and crawls into my lap to snuggle.

8:00– John is awake. David is still in bed but Ruth goes in to find him and wake him up. He’s her buddy these days and she always wants to be with him. I tell her to leave him alone. She begins to cry. I carry her into the kitchen. David shortly follows but now Ruth is just mad and refused to be comforted. I ask everyone what they want for breakfast and she says “poopy”. She then finds this so funny that her bad mood is over.

I serve breakfast, cereal for David and Ruth, toast for John. A pear and an orange for everyone to share. The boys each do their own daily devotions. John is reading through the Bible using the same plan as me. David is reading in the NIV “reader” version devotional Bible. I do a short devotion with Ruth and David. We review our current memory work, Psalm 51, which our church is having all the Sunday School kids learn.

During this time H. has unloaded the dishwasher and reloaded it with all the dishes that didn’t fit after last night’s party. He’s also stripped the beds, put clean sheets on Ruth’s bed and started laundry. We put the bottom sheets on the boys’ beds for them and leave the rest for them to do.

8:45– Everyone has dressed, brushed teeth and finished putting their bedding on their beds. David, Ruth and I go out to fill the bird feeder. David is working on a science fair experiment involving different kinds of bird seed so he gets to pick the birdseed we use today. John is working on a science fair project looking at light refraction in different liquids. We haven’t yet figured out how to measure the refraction so I tell him to spend some time now with a laser pointer and a glass of water and see if he can figure it out. David and Ruth are drawing pictures.

H. kisses everyone good-bye and leaves for work. Before he left he also swept and Swiffered the floors in the main part of the house.

9:00– John and I discuss his light experiment. We come up with a solution that we think will work but we need H. to help build a stand for the laser pointer. I ask John to do some of his assigned reading (Wind in the Willows). He asks if he can have a few minutes to “bask in the sun and think.” Sure, if homeschooling can’t allow that, we have a problem. David and Ruth are playing in their rooms. David is building something with Legos, Ruth is doing something with her “babies” and singing “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells, Hey!” over and over again.

9:30– I call David in to do his reading assignment from The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. He is flying through these lessons these days so most days we do 2-3 lessons. He still prefers for me to type the lesson on the computer so I do even though it takes a bit of extra time. He likes me to make each line a different color so I do that too most days. After he does his reading, I do a little reading lesson with Ruth. I’ve recently started to very slowly use OPGTR with her and we’re working on c-v-c words. She’s young but she’s been chomping at the bit to do school and has been obsessed for awhile with letters and sounds so I figured she was ready.

David and I then go and read a chapter of Pirates at Noon (a Magic Treehouse book). We use this for reading practice and each read a page at a time. We usually do this snuggled on the bed. We finish Pirates today and he’s excited and finds the next book in the series on the shelf to be ready for Monday.

David then does a spelling test and then we do a narration and copywork lesson together from Writing With Ease. We work at the kitchen table so we can also keep an eye on the birdfeeder and count birds for his experiment. While he is doing the copywork, Ruth and I go down to switch the laundry. When I come back up I check David’s copywork and see why it’s taking John so long to finish the reading assignment. Turns out he’s read 60 more pages than I asked him to. That’s fine, but it explains why it was taking so long.

10:30– I tell David to go and take a break. He and Ruth go to play together. John and I work on a dictation assignment from WWE. He hates dictation and we’ve been skipping it this year but I’ve decided it might not be a bad thing to add it back a bit, but to do it less often and in a less strict way. He does well and spells everything but one word right ( a huge improvement and reassuring since we’ve also abandoned formal spelling this year). I then give him a vocabulary test from Caesar’s English.

11:00-Everyone is getting restless. It’s a beautiful day so we decide to go for a walk. We each have a Valentine’s Day cookie to sustain us before we go.

12:00– We return home having played with sticks and mud, re-routed water in ditches, marveled at a yard full of tiny purple crocuses and added to our rock collection.

I have John start on some Math. David immediately begins washing the rocks he brought home.  I switch the laundry again.

12:30– I pop some popcorn and we snuggle up on the couch for a movie lunch. We watch part of one episode of Mythbusters but then I decide it might not be the best choice for David and Ruth. We then watch an episode of Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego?. 

1:30– I tell David to practice piano and John to do a page of Latin. David wants us to stay downstairs with him so we bring Latin vocabulary cards downstairs and go through them together.

I switch laundry one last time.

2:00– I give David a page of Logic Safari to do and tell him to start on geography questions next. John and I go into my bedroom to read some from Paragraph Town and a chapter of Story of the World, Volume 4. Ruth comes in and asks me to make her a dress from her blanket.

2:30– John begins working on his history outline and David and I go over his logic page and do some geography together. Ruth is lying in the pile of laundry on my bed counting loudly to herself. We aren’t sure if she is playing hide and seek with her pinky bear or just counting.

David and I look up the state birds, trees and flowers on the computer for the two states we are studying this week. He is doing a year long project on these and making posters of all the birds, flowers and trees.  After that he is done for the day with formal school and starts cutting things out of paper. Ruth tries to “help” which greatly annoys him. John and I do a code-breaking activity from the SOTW Activity Guide. I then have him do the map for the chapter. I haven’t been doing much of the mapping or activities this year but this chapter is on the beginning of WWI and I want to spend a little more time on it.

3:15– I give John the choice of being done for the day but having a little more work next week. He takes it. I’m trying to give him more independence on decisions like that this year. He’s usually pretty good about following through and doing the work when he needs to. Everyone works together to clean up the flotsam from the day. John and Ruth go down together to get the last load of laundry. David beings working on cleaning the kids’ bathroom. I clean my own bathroom and start folding laundry. John and David finish their bathroom. David and Ruth do a little light dusting.

3:45– I send everyone outside to play. I do a little email and start working on putting away all our books from the day. As I do this I begin school planning for next week.

4:30– They all come back in. John practices piano. I finish next week’s school planning. When John is done with piano I tell everyone they can have a bit of screen time. They choose to play on the computer downstairs.

5:15– I fold the four loads of laundry we did today.

5:45– I tell everyone to come upstairs. The boys put away their newly folded laundry and pick up their room a bit. I head into the kitchen to assemble a meal of leftovers.

6:00– H. is home. We have dinner (quiche, lasagna, beef fajitas, cheese quesadillas and sauteed veggies in various combinations).

6:45– We have leftover cake from last night for dessert and play some games. Mastermind, Swish and Qwirkle. The game of Qwirkle ends at an exciting point when Ruth throws the box top into the pieces. We count the score at that point and John wins by one point which he is very excited about.

8:00– Pajamas and brushing teeth. I read a portion of a chapter of Charlotte’s Web to Ruth and then kiss her goodnight. H. comes in with several picture books to read to her.

I head to the boys room. I read Sword Mountain to David while John listens. Then I switch beds and read The Two Towers to John while David reads on his own from a Geronimo Stilton book. David falls asleep while I’m reading to John. Normally after I leave I tell John he can stay up a bit and read on his own if he’d like but he has a Scout overnight event tomorrow and a basketball game so I suggest he might want to turn the light out right away.

9:00– I sit down at the computer to do various things: email, online banking and a little blogging.

10:30– I head to bed where I’ll read a bit before falling asleep.

All the usual disclaimers apply. This is about as typical as a day gets but still no day is exactly the same. Because of my work schedule and our weekly co-op we have two very full days of school, two lighter days and one day off every week. So it’s more fair to say this was a typical Friday than a typical day. I think an advantage of homeschooling is that it allows us to live a life that has a nice rhythm and routine but allows for lots of flexibility in the details. The most unusual thing about this particular day was that I didn’t read as much as usual to the kids, especially to Ruth.

The last time I did this was about a year and a half ago. It’s interesting to me to see the similarities and the differences and how everyone has grown.

5 thoughts on “A day with a 4th grader, a 1st grader and a 3 1/2 yr old

  1. There’s a lot I admire about the way you’re doing school… giving the kids a say in decisions, reading different books to them, going the extra mile to be sure there’s some give and take. Thanks for this post!

    I always feel guilty after I post what we do, yet like Amy I SO enjoy reading others’ posts like this. Weird.

  2. Pingback: Still seeking the middle. | Supratentorial

  3. Pingback: A Day with a 7th grader, 4th grader and 1st grader | Supratentorial

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