Friday, October 24, 2008

A Day in the life of homeschool in Spring.. and fish saliva

It's funny the reaction I get when I tell people that we do our school at home. There's still the odd person who gives me a strange look, or asks me if it's legal (!), but the most common reaction is along the lines of "Wow. That's amazing. I could never do that!" I fell acutely uncomfortable being put in the 'supermum' category, as I'm certainly not! So, let me tell you what the average day looks like for us. Actually, 'average' is a bit misleading. Perhaps I should say 'ideal', as this is what happens about half the time. We swing between going-out-and-having-activities-and-doing-pretty-much-nothing-at-home days (which results in cranky children at 5 o'clock) and having these 'ideal' days (resulting in children busy with their own thing at 5 o'clock and not pestering me at all - you can draw your own conclusions from that). And keep in mind this is for a girl who is about year/grade 1 level.

We start the day with the usual breakfast and sprinkling of chores.

We then sit together and do some bible reading and the children give me their thoughts on that. They generally want to act it out.

Then we try to do something a bit interactive - at the moment we're learning a poem about an emu, so we'll practice that together for a while. It can often lead into discussion about other things. Or we might read a book together (generally the same book all week, and use it to lead into discussion about other things).

The the oldest chicken sits down and does a page of English, then Maths, then maybe some drawing or science, or some topic we're interested in. It doesn't take a great deal of time, but we try and take any new concepts and keep using them during the day. Say, for instance, she just learnt about similies in English - then we keep using the word constantly during the day.

Then the rest of the day is play, reading, anything that catches our interest. I'm available, but not directing their play much at all. They also have a 'rest time' after lunch which is an hour of playing by themselves in their room. I generally do a bit of sewing or reading or something nice during this time. (Littlest chicken is fairly new to the 'rest time' idea, so she generally only lasts about 1/2 an hour before she starts making a racket/mischief).

So there you go. Hopefully the supermum hat has well and truly been discarded. I find that this sprinkling of routine in the morning, with a bit of sunshine, does wonders. It does look a bit glossy and simple when I look over it, but I guess you have to throw in the usual discipline issues and life with 2 other little ones. I think the biggest lesson I've learnt over the last year has been to relax and not 'push' a topic when there's obviously no interest in it, or if there's a resistance to learning the topic at that time. Then I just wait until their interest has naturally revived in that area or I've been able to capture it another way. Later I'll ask my sister to give you a run down on her average day (3 boys) for a different perspective...

Oh, the the fish saliva thing - well my oldest chicken stumped me the other night (at about 9pm - she seems to save her most curly questions for then) by asking me if fish have saliva! Not something I've ever particularly thought about before. That's one of those things I really appreciate having the internet for - to answer strange questions! The answer is no, by the way. Mucus glands, but no saliva. Just in case your 6 year old asks you one day.

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