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True story: Yesterday was a day full of challenges (and failures!) for me as a home educating parent. I found myself
yelling raising my voice not a few times at our kids, and I have no excuse for my “bad behavior.” 🙁 Thank God for His grace, forgiveness, healing — and for my kids’ patience and forgiveness as well! (End of confession. Back to regular programming!)
On homeschool routines
Now, before I go to our homeschooling activities for yesterday, allow me to share our routine with you. It has deviated a bit from the typical homeschool day I posted about months ago. Actually, for the past few months, our routine has been something like this:
9-9.30am: Kids wake up / Say good morning and goodbye to their Papa / Morning bathroom “ritual” (Sometimes their Papa gets to join us for morning prayers. Prior to the kids waking up, I’m already up — usually by 4 or 5 am — to finish whatever work I need to get done.)
9.30-9.45am: I try to round them up for our morning prayers (Am I the only one who hears these phrases often?:”Wait, Mama, I’m still building something!”, “Wait, Mama, I’m still playing!”, etc. I’m praying that one day, soon, this will change! 😛 But our kids are young, and even us adults need prodding sometimes to pray, right? So, yeah, I’ll be patient and wait!)
9.45-10am: Morning prayers and a Bible story/passage
10.30-11.45am: Free play time as Mama does chores (laundry/preps lunch/etc.) I used to let the kids help me with chores but I have found it easier to just let them babysit/play with their little sister while I get everything done. Sometimes, if the toddler is especially frisky, I let all the kids watch a short video during this time, too. (Yep, you can go ahead and judge me now, if you want! 😉 A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do!)
12.30-1.30pm: Clean-up time/Free play time/Reading time
1.30-4pm: “Formal” learning time — with LOTS of breaks in between (including Mama putting down the toddler for a nap)!
For Tim, this consists of the 4R’s daily (Religion, Reading, Writing, Math) plus other subjects once or twice a week. Sometimes, Tim does his handwriting practice in the morning, plus his Math and Grammar lessons “so I can already build stuff!” he says. At least the kid knows his priorities, right? 😉
For Rysse, “formal” learning time these days usually means doing a page or two in her Brain Quest workbook, and practicing reading CVC words using our Hop on Pop book. She joins in when Tim does his Religion lessons, more to listen than anything else.
4-6pm: Free play/reading/DVD time/Mama checks email, does work-related tasks if needed, prepares dinner. On school days, only the following titles/series/types of DVDs are allowed: Cherub Wings, Bernie Bear, Max Lucado’s Hermie and Friends and Punchinello series, saint videos bought from St. Paul’s and The Chronicles of Narnia of course! I make exceptions but very rarely.)
6-7.30pm: Dinner/Clean-up/Time with Papa
7.30-9.30pm: Bedtime “ritual”: Bath, brush teeth, quiet playtime (sometimes this actually happens! 😉 ), night prayers, read aloud time
The reality is, the kids usually fall asleep by 10pm, and things don’t really go the same way every day.
Actually, when we officially re-started a new homeschool year, I wanted to incorporate other things in our routine, like daily Mass (online, for now, because it’s so hard to go in person with all 3 kids), praying the Angelus and the Divine Mercy/3 o’clock prayer, etc. but new habits are hard to form (and old habits are hard to break!). Let’s see how it goes.
So, anyway, what’s the point of my sharing our routine?
I just want to encourage you — especially if you’re a homeschooler like me — to stick to the routine that works for you! No two homeschools are exactly the same, just as no two families are exactly the same.
If doing formal academics in the morning works for your family, go for it.
If you prefer that your kids do worksheets in the evening, just before going to bed, go for it.
Do whatever works for your family.
Adding a bit to our routine
So anyway, back to what we did yesterday. Basically, it was the same routine as I described earlier, but with a few additions. I have yet to go through all the materials that Kolbe sent, so we’re still using the books we’d been using before we enrolled.
To emphasize the importance of praying for others (and to insert a bit of Geography practice), I asked the kids to spin our globe before our morning prayer, and place one of their fingers on a certain place. They got Sudan and Venezuela, so we included those countries in our prayer. 😉 (I took this opportunity to talk a bit about Saint Therese of Lisieux again, and how she is the patron of the missions.)
Later on in the day, Tim practiced writing the cursive letters Ii in his Brain Quest book, did a few pages in his Grammar book, and practiced adding and subtracting 3-digit numbers.
Rysse, on the other hand, practiced reading again. She didn’t want to practice writing when I asked her to, so I let her be. And then she TOTALLY surprised me in the evening when she asked if she could “make cards” for her friends, whom we will be seeing today during our bird-watching activity in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi.
She wrote most of the words on her cards by herself, though I had to spell most of them out, of course. Still, she did a great job, don’t you think? (Considering that I had NEVER taught her how to write/form letters!) 😉
Which brings me to the last part of this post:
On “slow,” unhurried learning
I need to remind myself that even if our children seem to not be “doing anything” or learning formally, they are learning. They are growing, they are observing, they are absorbing, they are connecting. Even at play, they learn. This is something I need to remember every.single.day! Plus, I think I should print out these posts on slow learning here, here and here (my fave!), so I can refer to them when needed!
On slow blogging
In relation to slow learning, and because I read Martine’s post on blogging, slogging and keeping on, I’m starting to rethink (yet again!) my plan to do a daily log of our homeschool adventures. I think I’ll give it a shot for this month, and then let’s see what God has to say about it. (What do you think?) Like I said before, I have my own reasons for slow blogging. And those reasons have not changed. 🙂 So, like I said, let’s see, shall we?
All right, now it’s off to getting the kids’ things ready for their first bird-watching adventure! 🙂 God bless you all and have a great weekend ahead!
Did anything in this post resonate with you? Do let me know your thoughts — I’d love to “talk” with you in the comments!