Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Homeschooling: What we are doing today

I've been meaning to add a post about a typical day of homeschooling. Well, since I've had that thought, we've had no typical days. So I thought I'd post exactly what we are doing today.

I try to get up early and get dressed and breakfast started before the kids wake up. Today, I was the last person pulled from the sheets. (Kicking and screaming, I might add.) So I wandered out to the kitchen and made omelettes with mushrooms, onions and spinach and cheese for John and myself. Plain eggs for Hannah. A slice of bacon for each of us. We had 4 oz of apple juice and the kids each had an orange. After breakfast, John was still hungry so he had an apple... he may have also had a pear. He's quite the fruit hound.

John needs to wash his sheets daily and that's part of his morning routine along with taking his medicine. So he completed his routine and fed the triops growing on my kitchen counter. I guess they are a science experiment of sorts. We cleared the table and cleaned up a little, but not much because my heart just wasn't into it.  My heart was into Facebook.

School is "supposed" to start at 8. Today it was 8:45. But only you guys know that. (Wink).

I pulled the footstool close to the couch alongside the whiteboard easel that I "got for Hannah". John sat facing me on the couch and Hannah stood between us as we held hands thanking the Lord for the freedom to learn at home and asking Him to open our hearts and minds to what he wanted us to learn today. First we discussed and wrote the date on the board.  We've been working on spelling the days of the week and the months.  I have a bible story book I usually teach from first thing in the morning. 

Today's lesson was about Ezra and King Artexerxes sending him back to Judah to replenish the temple. I drew stick figures to go with the story. My stick figures are horrible but John insists it is his favorite part of the entire school day. Go figure.

 Hannah was mostly disappointed we weren't studying "Keen Esther" anymore. But since there was still a king involved, she didn't throw a tantrum. I drew small figures representing the discouraged Jews and Hannah was most excited about the "sad, little babies". Hannah either stands to the side while I teach Bible or in my lap on the footstool. Today she did both.

I moved the easel back to its normal position in front of the windows. Hannah kept the wipe-off markers and continued to draw smiley faces and H's on the board while John and I got started on his other subjects. John didn't want to do math first this morning. He wanted to read. OK, I didn't complain.

We negotiated the penny value of several books of his choosing. Throughout the week, I offer pennies as incentives for various activities. On Friday, his pennies can be converted to an equal number of minutes of video game time. He chose to read a Level 3, Scholastic Reader: The Snowball War. We cuddled on the couch as I read it to him first and then he had his turn. Halfway through, his throat got all scratchy so he took a break to get some water and clear his throat. (I love the freedom of taking breaks when necessary and changing the order of subjects when desired.)

John then decided he wanted to read another book about Star Wars. All in All, he chose to read for over an hour. It really cut into time I usually allot for other things. But he doesn't choose to go on a reading binge very often so we went with it. 

During our reading on the couch, Hannah climbed up beside me and watched a couple of you tube videos on the laptop and did some puzzles and lined up some babydolls in front of the white board and taught them about "Keen Esther". She brought myriad toys and books and puzzles out into the living room and my house is now a complete wreck.  

We stopped for a few minutes to give John a break after all that reading and moved laundry from the washer to the dryer and let Hannah play a couple of online toddler games. I read him a chapter from our most recent Hardy Boys book. Then I handed the laptop over to John and he worked on mathscoreHe does so much more on the computer than he has ever been willing to do on paper.

I stayed on the couch beside John and walked him through some of his more difficult problems. He already knows how to do them but I have to wean him from my assistance slowly or he goes into panic mode and refuses to try even simple things. Today was a good day because I could walk away a couple of times and he continued working alone. Once I had to take Hannah to the potty and once I got Hannah some scissors because she wanted to cut paper and add to the already mounting chaos of my living room. But scissors are good developmentally for her and they keep her entertained and quietly engaged.  

Hannah played with her toy piano and stripped down until she was wearing only a shirt.  Then she brought me one of my  baby carriers so she could wear her Barbie.  

He worked for quite a while and had a few minutes of near panic as I had him review some simple addition problems. He lost a video game ticket and earned it back. He came quite close to writhing on the floor but ended up doing more than I originally requested. That frequently happens. He will whine and complain and even cry because I asked him to do 20-30 problems and he'll end up doing a hundred and saying how easy it was. That's pretty frustrating for me because I absolutely KNOW he can do them but he forgets that he can.

At noon, I decided we'd have some baked potatoes with lunch and asked John to go get some washed so we could put them in the microwave. I opened and started this post when he left. I asked what was taking so long and discovered he was slicing the potatoes into wedges (carefully, he said).  I thought it was a good idea and he was demonstrating good control so I allowed him to continue and suggested he preheat the oven and get out a pan. He seasoned the potatoes and put them into the pan and into the oven. They've been baking for a while and I just realized there was no oil or anything on the potatoes so I told him to add some. He's doing an amazing job! :D

I'm justing getting back to writing from lunch. John's potatoes were fantastic! I added a little coconut oil to the potatoes because he was uncomfortable getting that close to the heat. He wanted bubbly cheese so I pulled out some potatoes for Hannah and smothered the rest in cheese and put them back in. We had cheesy roasted potatoes and salad for lunch. Don't forget the dried fruit we ate waiting on the potatoes to cook.

I don't know how much more we'll get done on academics today. We are required four hours of instruction and at this point he's really close to that. So once again, we'll blow the doors off of the four hour standard. He'll do some creative writing (spelling is incorporated into this activity) this afternoon and we'll play go-fish with some state/capital flashcards. I'd like to get to Spanish again today but we might not. And that's okay.

Since it's nice outside we'll go to the park after the school kids are there. And I'll probably get him to work on his latch hook project as well. Tonight he has dance team practice at church. I feel like a bum. But after writing all this, I'm feeling like we may have accomplished more than I realized.


Carissa said...

I love it! Thanks for sharing your morning with us.

MamaHolly said...

Good news! After reading this last night Theo said he'd never complain about why the house wasn't clean again! LOL

MamaHolly said...

Thanks for reading and posting Carissa. I wish I could share more of my days with you without you having to read them.