Thursday, October 8, 2009

Strange School Day

I don't follow a specific routine from day to day. While there are times that I think having a routine might be better, there are positives to having a more flexible schedule. One main advantage is that we can easily rearrange subjects if one of the younger kids need my attention. Say, for example, I was planning on teaching a math lesson but Madelynn just started crying? No problem; pull out your grammar and penmanship, kids! Or perhaps I want to schedule a field trip or play date. No problem again; we'll do some work when I get back and catch up on the rest tomorrow or on the weekend. This flexibility has worked very well for us ever since I began my filing system which keeps me from falling behind. In fact, we usually finish most of our curricula well before summer.

Flexibility also means that I'm never quite sure what subjects we're get to each day. I begin the day mentally thinking about where we are in each subject and combine that with how the littles are cooperating. If Madelynn is insisting on nursing when we begin, I'll start the kids with independent subjects. If Madelynn is happy and/or zonked in the swing, I'll start with teacher intensive subjects. As we go through the day, I'll continually consider what I want to do next based on where my attention needs to be. At some point (usually around 3pm), I call it a day regardless of what was, or was not, accomplished. The next day, I'll consider our accomplishments from the previous days. Subjects that have been neglected for a day or two might get priority to ensure that we generally stay on top of each subject. Occasionally, I'll have the kids do some work in the evenings or weekends, but usually I limit that to fun, hands-on projects, activities, experiments, or field trips.

All of this means that we occasionally have a day that feels really odd in a school sense. Today was one of those days. I had several non-core subjects that I felt we were lagging in. Normally, these aren't my focus, but today I decided to play catch up. This is how it went:

We started the day with Bible. Sam, my routine-oriented child, is helping me to remember to do this first.

Then we moved on to home ec. We read a little tid-bit in our curriculum about yeast and I described the steps usually taken to make bread by hand. However, I usually use the bread machine to make my dough so I sent Mika to help Sam load up the machine. Later, when the machine beeped, we shaped our dough into sculptures and baked it.

From there, Mika did math while Sam and I discussed editing of his writing assignment. While he typed up his final draft, Mika and I discussed her editing. Mika then took a short break while Sam and I went over missed math problems from Epsilon (he completed all 30+ tests and now we are going back over missed problems).

We had a long break where we ate lunch while watching old Popeye cartoons. I spent time nursing Madelynn and getting dinner started. Mika worked her way through a tutorial on a photo editing program. Sam played online for part of the time and played with Madelynn for part of the time.

Finally, we got back to school work again. I had the kids work on a logic problem and their penmanship while I nursed Madelynn again. (They finished those before Madelynn was done so Mika went back to teaching herself to edit photos and Sam hit the computer to do some creative writing on his own.) We are hoping to get a drawing lesson in before dinner.

Sam is skipping taekwondo today in favor of the family attending a play in Olympia. We'll be seeing Charlotte's Web by Olympia Family Theater. Their plays are usually such a treat. The play fulfills one of our fine arts learning goals for the year: exposure to live theater. The kids will probably do some independent reading at bedtime.

Now for the missing subjects. Neither of them feel that they need any more practice on this week's spelling words. Given that they only missed one word each on their first practice, I believe them. Sam has finished his grammar text. Next week, he'll begin the next phase of grammar by reading Sentence Island. While this is considered writing by Michael Clay Thompson, it's more grammar than writing. Mika is done with what I had planned for grammar this week. I'm saving poetry and vocabulary studies until after we finish our primary grammar texts. We completed our literary analysis plan for this week. Science is done until we start our next chapter on Monday, and we've finished a week's worth of history already.

So, we've had a strange day and I feel quite comfortable taking tomorrow morning off for a play date at the park.

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Twisted Cinderella said...

I understand those kind of days.

The Four Week Vegan said...

The beauty of homeschooling. We never have s set schedule of subjects. I leave all the school work for the day on the dining room table - some is independent and other requires the teacher. I let son do what he wants in any order. Some days the teacher doesn't get involved until after lunch and others she is the first one.