If you’re visiting from the Simple Homeschool Day-in-the-Life link-up, welcome! I’m Kate, a math educator and homeschool mom, and my goal is to encourage and equip homeschool parents to teach math with confidence. Thanks for stopping by!
Today’s a big day for me—it’s publication day for my first book from Well-Trained Mind Press!—so I’m also doing a give-away of my book, Preschool Math at Home. If you’d like to enter the give-away, click on over to enter.
Like most of my homeschool days, this Tuesday was a mix of joy and frustration: snuggly read-aloud time on the couch and a grumpy melt-down, focused academic time and distracting interruptions, begging for more Roald Dahl and begging for more video games. As you read it, I hope you’re encouraged to know that you’re not the only one whose homeschool days get interrupted or whose kids would rather play Wii than do their math.
5:50 I stumble out of bed for coffee and a few minutes of prayer before sitting down at the computer. I love having an hour of uninterrupted quiet each morning to write—although it’s not so uninterrupted today. Henry, my almost-nine-year-old, wakes up just a few minutes after me. Hmm, this could make for a tired and grumpy boy today.
6:45 Shower and breakfast. My husband Greg has had an urgent project at work come up, so he’s out the door a little earlier than usual.
7:30 My five-and-half-year-old Elizabeth gets up. Do the dishes, start the laundry, make the grocery list.
8:00 My early shower and Henry’s early wake-up means we’re ahead of schedule! He and I play a game of chess while Elizabeth gets dressed.
8:30 General contractor and drywall guy arrive to work on our bathroom remodeling project. Clouds of dust and the roar of a vacuum start coming from upstairs. We’ve managed to homeschool through this house project, but today could be a challenge.
8:45 Morning Meeting on the couch, my favorite part of our homeschool day. Today, we read and sing part of our church’s Lenten liturgy and continue working on memorizing a Longfellow poem.
Then, read-aloud time. On deck today: a chapter from Exodus, the story of Europa and Cadmus in D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, and a quick Charlotte Mason-style picture study.
Last, we read the next section on fractions in Henry’s Beast Academy math text book. Elizabeth loves the characters and jokes in Beast so much that she insists on listening along, even though most of it goes right over her head.
9:45 Language Arts time. The kids move to their individual tables in our school room/office. Henry gets started with his CLE Language Arts, and I work with Elizabeth on her CLE Learning to Read lesson.
Once Elizabeth’s lesson is done, I walk Henry through his writing assignment from Writing and Rhetoric: Fable. I just moved him to W&R, and so far, so good. He had gotten into the habit of throwing a fit every time I asked him to write more than a sentence, so we needed a complete reset for writing.
Uh oh, lots of yawning from Henry. Drat that early wake-up. This does not bode well for the rest of the morning.
10:15 Well, we’re not ahead of schedule any more. Usually I try to be done with language arts by 10. It’s not too cold today, so we take our mid-morning walk around the block.
10:30 Quick snack, turn over the laundry, then time for math.
Henry gets started on the first few pages of his new chapter on fractions while I play “Rows and Columns” from RightStart with Elizabeth.
I check over Henry’s work, and then we flip back to the last couple pages from the previous chapter. (Beast Academy chapters’ usually begin with very simple work and end with extremely difficult problems. To vary the difficulty, I usually have him start the easy pages from the next chapter while finishing up the tough challenge problems from the previous chapter.)
Today, we talk through a couple of the problems, but then he gets stuck on the last one: What’s the smallest nonzero number that has both 16 and 28 as factors? After he works on it a bit, I read him the hint from the back. Usually he relishes difficult problems, but he’s just too tired today and starts having a melt-down. Time to stop math and save this problem for a fresh start tomorrow.
11:00 Latin. Henry’s Getting Started with Latin lessons usually go swimmingly, but not today. The lesson introduces a brand-new grammar concept—indirect objects—and he’s still worked up about math. I try to push through a few sentences, but it is clearly not the time for a new challenge right now. So much for Latin for today.
11:05 Our general contractor knocks on the schoolroom door to see if I can talk to the shower door guy. I tell the kids they can take a break, head upstairs to talk about the shower door, and promptly start sneezing from all the drywall dust.
11:20 Shower doors figured out. More sneezing.
Usually we do “Together Time” after math and Latin. My kids love doing some of their schoolwork together, so I combine them for either history or science during this block.
But we need to have lunch soon, and both kids are happily reading on the couch. I’m not going to mess with that—we’ll squeeze in history this afternoon. I fold some laundry and start making lunch.
12:00 Quesadillas and applesauce for lunch, while we listen to Matilda on CD. Such a great narrator! The kids beg to listen to more, but it’s time for piano lessons.
12:45 I drop the kids at piano lessons and then go to the grocery. Their back-to-back lessons take an hour and fifteen minutes, so I have time to go to the grocery all by myself and even get the groceries put away before picking them up. After 8 years of having children with me at the grocery store, this feels like nothing short of miraculous.
Today, I even have time for a cup of tea and some Wendell Kimbrough before picking up the kids. Piano lessons are the best.
2:15 Home from piano. Kids have rest time in their rooms while I work on my Big Project.
3:00 Snack, then history lesson. We hardly ever do lessons in the afternoon, so the kids are annoyed to have to schoolwork so late in the day. But they love “Together Time,” so they simmer down quickly.
Today, we read a short biography of Shakespeare in The Story of the World and then read the beginning of a retelling of Julius Caesar. The kids are completely fascinated by the fortune-teller and the Ides of March and can’t wait to hear more. We’ll read the rest of the story over the next few days and then watch a video of the play next week.
3:30From high culture to video games: The kids and I play Wii together. Henry’s still amazed that I can play Super Mario Bros. Little does he know how much time I wasted on it in my youth…
4:00 Hooray, it’s friend time! A dear friend stops over for a quick visit while her daughter has piano lessons a couple blocks away. Yet another reason to be grateful for piano lessons!
4:30 Still sneezing like crazy. The kids and I do a quick pick-up of all the papers, toys, and books that have accumulated in the living spaces over the course of the day, and I do a quick vacuum to try to reduce the dust levels. It doesn’t help much.
5:00 I squeeze in a little writing while I the kids watch TV.
5:30 Greg calls to say that he’s running a little late. Sounds like he’s had a long day. I make dinner and listen to NPR to catch a little of the day’s news.
6:00 Greg’s home! We eat dinner as a family, then read a Lenten devotion and a chapter from Farmer Boy. My kids have been pretty bored by Farmer Boy, but they perk up for this chapter: Almanzo throws the blacking brush at Eliza and wrecks the parlor wallpaper. I think we’ll need to choose something more exciting for our next family read-aloud, though.
6:45 We all clean up the kitchen together. I’m still sneezing my head off, so I make one more attempt to clean up the drywall dust. The kids take showers and head to bed.
8:00 Greg and I collapse on the couch with a glass of wine, catch up on each other’s days, and watch an episode of Downton Abbey.
9:30 Off to bed….still sneezing.