A Day in the Life

A few weeks ago I revealed my plans for school this year.  I’ve been asked how I implement my plans, so here you go.

The girls each have a binder that they use as their “home-keeping” notebook.  They are similar to mine (though mine is actually two binders and ridiculously thick).

I put these dividers in the binders and made the first tab say “Schedule”.  I especially like THESE dividers because they have pockets.  Don’t buy them anywhere online, the cheapest I have found them is Walmart.  The second divider for Lucy is “crafts”, where she designed the quilt she wants to make and she can keep other craft ideas she has.  The second divider for Emma is just drawing paper for her to draw whenever the mood strikes her.

I typed up a daily schedule for each girl.  Monday-Friday, each day different.  I’ll give you a peak at Lucy’s (8 years old).  I include their morning chores and stuff to remind her what to do and to give them consistency (I don’t include night routines though maybe I should).  I include a bunch of “others” for chores or other school work that might cross my mind.  She doesn’t need much encouragement to read, but having the “book” there keeps her from wandering around aimlessly.  She has to finish everything from “Make Bed” to “Math” before she can do anything else (I include math because it’s something she will put off until the very last second, so I like her to get it done early.).  She or I will fill in whatever lesson it is that she covers that day.  I also adjust the schedule as needed.

Keep in mind, this is a GUIDE.  I don’t think we have EVER checked off everything in a day.  I think we’ve gotten close a time or two, but sometimes practicing piano or picture study just doesn’t make it in (and sometimes the lesson of the week).  But it’s really nice to have the guide and goal.  And I don’t make up “others” just to keep her busy.  If I don’t have anything for her to do, then we don’t worry about the “others”.

Monday:

  • 0 Make Bed
  • 0 Tidy Room
  • 0 Get Dressed
  • 0 Gather Dirty Laundry From All Of Upstairs
  • 0 Brush Teeth/Brush Hair/Wash Face
  • 0 Read Scriptures _____________________________________________________
  • 0 Math________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Latin________________________________________________________________
  • 0 All About Spelling____________________________________________________
  • 0 Lesson of the Week__________________________________________________
  • 0 Put School Stuff Away
  • 0 Practice Piano
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Exercise______________________________________________________________
  • 0 Book_________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Picture Study_________________________________________________________

Tuesday:

  • 0 Make Bed
  • 0 Tidy Room
  • 0 Get Dressed
  • 0 Gather Dirty Laundry From All Of Upstairs
  • 0 Brush Teeth
  • 0 Read Scriptures _____________________________________________________
  • 0 Math________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Handwriting_________________________________________________________
  • 0 1st Language Lessons________________________________________________
  • 0 Blue Black Speller____________________________________________________
  • 0 Lesson of the Week__________________________________________________
  • 0 Put School Stuff Away
  • 0 Practice Piano
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Exercise______________________________________________________________
  • 0 Book_________________________________________________________________

Wednesday :

  • 0 Make Bed
  • 0 Tidy Room
  • 0 Get Dressed
  • 0 Gather Dirty Laundry From All Of Upstairs
  • 0 Brush Teeth
  • 0 Read Scriptures _____________________________________________________
  • 0 Math________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Discover the Scriptures_______________________________________________
  • 0 All About Spelling____________________________________________________
  • 0 Lesson of the Week__________________________________________________
  • 0 Put School Stuff Away
  • 0 Practice Piano
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Exercise______________________________________________________________
  • 0 Book_________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Music Study___________________________________________________________

Thursday :

  • 0 Make Bed
  • 0 Tidy Room
  • 0 Get Dressed
  • 0 Gather Dirty Laundry From All Of Upstairs
  • 0 Brush Teeth
  • 0 Read Scriptures _____________________________________________________
  • 0 Math________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Poetry_______________________________________________________________
  • 0 Spelling List__________________________________________________________
  • 0 Lesson of the Week__________________________________________________
  • 0 Put School Stuff Away
  • 0 Practice Piano
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Exercise______________________________________________________________
  • 0 Book________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Music Study___________________________________________________________

Friday :

  • 0 Make Bed
  • 0 Tidy Room
  • 0 Get Dressed
  • 0 Gather Dirty Laundry From All Of Upstairs
  • 0 Brush Teeth
  • 0 Life Skills________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Life Skills________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Life Skills________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Life Skills________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Put School Stuff Away
  • 0 Practice Piano
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Other________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Exercise______________________________________________________________
  • 0 Book_________________________________________________________________
  • 0 Picture Study_________________________________________________________

I save Friday for Life Skills, crafts and other fun stuff.  For example, today I started teaching Lucy how to use the sewing machine.  She is making her first quilt.  “Mom, I thought sewing on the sewing machine would be fun, but it’s actually really scary!”  I had to sufficiently terrify her of the needle before I would let her near it.

I try to alternate heavy days with lighter days so that neither of us burn out as well as longer lessons that I have to give her with shorter lessons.  She can do about half of it on her own without any problems.  But the grammar and lesson of the week are lessons that I give.  During grammar (spelling, 1st language lessons) I will have Emma play with Spencer and Jack while I give Lucy her lesson.  Then Lucy will play while I teach Emma.

As far as the Lesson of the Week, this is my favorite part.  I will alternate the other subjects.  Currently I alternate Science, American History, US Geography, Math (fun math stuff), Art (using Confessions of a Homeschooler’s art schedule), Literature (currently using Shakespeare Can Be Fun), World History, World Geography, and Life Skills (in addition to the laid back Fridays).

Each subject has it’s own schedule and order that I want to follow.  With exception of the histories, I use pre-planned schedules usually found in the table of contents of whatever curriculum I am using.    I will spend however much time is necessary to cover the subject.

For example.  Last week our lesson of the week was Science and we were studying Joints and Muscles.  We covered it for four days last week and when Monday rolled around I asked Lucy if she wanted to continue with it or move on to US History.  She chose US History, so this week we studied the Pilgrims.  We didn’t finish all about the Pilgrims, so it will roll over to next week as well.  Next we will do US geography.  It will probably only take a day or two to cover one state.  So when we are done with that, we will quickly move on to the next subject.  So “lesson of the week” is probably a misleading phrase.  It’s more like “lesson at a time”.

Now a little bit about my education.  Educating myself is one of the biggest reasons why I homeschool, which is why I try to use curriculum that is fairly straight forward and doesn’t require me to stand over their shoulders the whole day.  So I often find quiet moments where Jack is sleeping, Spencer is playing quietly with a rare toy and Emma and Lucy are working on their school work by themselves.  During the day I will grab a book for me on whatever lesson of the week we are working on and read.  Last week I read about muscles in our anatomy text.  This week I read as much as I could from A Patriots History of the United States.  To be fair, I don’t ALWAYS read from adult books.  A lot of the books we have are written for children, but are just as informative and educational for adults who never learned it in school to begin with (or forgot).  When we move on to another subject, I will put in my bookmark and pick it up again when we come back to it.  When we do math, I spend that time re-learning what I have forgotten since college.  My goal is to one day be able to be as good at math as Matt… though that might be a pipe dream :)

After lunch, when school is over and the kids have been banished to quiet time, I allow myself to read whatever other book I am working on at the moment.  I just finished Atlas Shrugged and am now working on Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.  Having this schedule for me serves three purposes.

First; it keeps me ahead of my kids so that I know what I’m talking about when I teach them.  Second; it gives me a semblance of order to my reading.  I have three bookcases bursting with books that I want to read and things that I want to learn about.  I usually have about four or five books going at the same time.  This gives me a concrete way to finish them by assigning each to a specific spot or time. Third; sometimes I just don’t want to wait until we get to WW2 in our history lessons to read about Bonhoeffer.  And I don’t want to wait until then to read about FDR either (which is next on my list).  I like to hop around, this gives me the opportunity to do so.

In addition to the books I have mentioned, I also keep a short (and currently somewhat boring) book that I nevertheless really want to read in the bathroom.  I read it in short snippets.  If it ever gets to the point where I can’t put it down, it’s short enough that I can interrupt my current reading schedule without throwing me off.  Propaganda is currently in the basket on my bathroom floor.  I also keep a book by my bedside table.  I read so many books about politics these days that I find that if I read them before bed, I’m frustrated and can’t sleep.  This is where I currently have American History Stories.  These are old children stories that are beautifully written.  They are written with the poetic and antiquated manner of speaking that was lost long ago.  Think Jane Austin.  In general, the night table keeps soothing, happy books that calm me down from the day.

I have found this format for school to work very well for our family.

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    3 Comments Add yours

    1. Heather B says:

      Aaaaccckkk!!!! Amber and I just read this post and I don’t even know how to comment what’s going on in my head! I am SO impressed!!!!! Every paragraph could have been on my blog, seriously, except that it took me years and YEARS to get to the point you’re at, and you’re already there!!! I even use the same binder dividers, and buy them at Walmart :) I am so proud of you to have found the balance between an incredible “plan” of classically approached and excitingly fun “curriculum” with the imperative flexibility of moving to the particular subjects, and at the pace, that the interests dictate. WELL DONE!!!! The only difference I read was that having more than one book going at a time would drive me crazy :) I can only handle doing my own math & science (to stay ahead), my quick planning reading for the family’s “lesson at a time” (I like how you called it that, by the way) and only ONE of my own books to read at once. I like your approach of books at every station in the house, I just don’t think I could do it. But WOW. You are SO far ahead of where I was at your stage in the game, and my kids are STILL some of the most incredibly good and bright people I’ve ever seen. Your kids are going to be AMAZING! Seriously, even Amber, as she was reading this with me said things like ‘Wow, she’s got it already! She’s already figured out the balance!’ WELL DONE, little Sister. Very well done.

      Like

      1. Courtney says:

        Well thanks. I blush :)

        Like

    2. Trista Bytheway says:

      Is there any way you can email me these schedules you have for your girls? I could recreate my own, I know, but I’m a tad lazy! ;)

      Like

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