3 February 2006

A day in the life of ...

We have often been asked, "So, what do you do at home all day?" as a way of trying to work out how we teach the children and survive all day together.
Firstly, our aim is to share our night time meal together. As I tend to work at clients up to two or three hours away, dinner time is often around 7:00 to 7:30pm. Accordingly we have settled into a routine of 9:00pm bed times for all. This means we don't get up at the crack of dawn.

We start the day with breakfast and cleaning rooms.
Then all the children gather at the table and do the morning's maths quiz. This takes about 15 minutes.
All then do their own maths. Lana sits at the table on hand to assist in any questions they have.
We use Saxon Maths which is a good design for homeschoolers. Near every question has a number in brackets which links back to the relevant lesson. That way if you don't know how the problem is solved, you can quickly find the relevant lesson to reacquaint yourself with the right technique. Lana goes through the maths lessons with Peter and James whilst the older ones are mostly self directed.
Reading/English/History is the next lesson. The younger children read to Lana and the older children go to their assigned books. Currently Ariel (Year 9) is reading Shakespeare, Martyrs of the Coliseum and Christ the King Lord of History. Eric (Year 7) is reading The Longest Day by Christopher Ryan and Christ and the Americas and McGuffey's Readers. James and Peter are reading McGuffey's readers, English for Young Catholics and readers from the Faith and Freedom series of books, both from Seton Homeschool.

the older children work on other subjects for science and so on.
While all this is going on, the little ones have some paper and colour-in or do crafts. Clare (4) enjoys doing her "schoolwork" - some alphabet related activities.

A week in the school life of James (Click for a closer look)
I have created a weekly planner to make our preparation and tracking so much easier. We enter in the details for each book the child will be using and link them to a subject for each child. We then decide how much is needed to complete the book for the year (divide by 32 or 40 weeks) and then set up each week so the work is spread out. Each child then has their year's plan in a display folder. As they finish each bit they can colour in the box or tick/check the area. If they are ahead or behind in a subject, as we know where we are at, this can be addressed without panic.
I created this in Filemaker Pro so that once a subject or book is entered, it can be easily copied to another student. Lana was able to prepare this year's curriculum for four children in an evening. The first time to setup takes a little longer as you input the original data.
If the children do their work without too much mucking around they are done by lunch time and have a free afternoon. And there is no homework.
This "schedule" is pretty flexible, and we have built in slack for events that happen such as accidents, sickness, travel, babies, building a house, living in another country, bush fires, hurricanes and so on.

Update: It is worth knowing that schoolwork is more than just school stuff. Experiencing society and enjoying the company of other families is even more important:
A Saturday at the show
Sunday Socialisation

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