A Day in the Life Deschooling

Even though we are just starting out on our homeschool journey and even though our routine is anything but routine, I thought I'd play along with Simple Homeschool's  A Day in the Life.

So, a day in the life of a new to homeschooling, still deschooling gently, totally unorganized mama and her 4 amazing students. This is all new and fluid and actually changes from day to day, but I'll give you what I strive for, what, in my mind, would be a perfect day. Keep in mind, it rarely goes just like this, but we usually get either the start or end of the day down. We also have library day once a week and our extra curricular activities that mix up the schedule a bit.

We wake around 8 (or 9 or whenever), have breakfast, shower, dress.

Then we try to do something fun, preferably outside. I am really much, much better off, if I can get outside for a few minutes in the morning. We also try use this time to do something physical, the boy needs physical first thing in the morning. Lately that has meant shoveling and skating on our little ice rink or sliding down the hill on our snowboards. There are times we don't get to this until after lunch, but we make a real effort to get outside every day.

My oldest has decided she'd like to use this time to study nature, take pictures, look for small things to bring indoors, and she plans to start a nature journal to chronicle it. This is something I know will catch on with the other kids as well, she really is an amazing little leader and I love giving her the space to share her ideas with her siblings in her own way. I'm sure she'll have them all categorizing plant and animal species in no time.
Next we come inside and attempt some focused work. This is a fairly new addition to our routine, but seems to be just the amount of structure we were all craving. Lately the girls have been into math workbooks. We don't use an official curriculum yet, we're thinking Math-U-See maybe? But for now we refer to Home Learning Year by Year and use the workbooks you find at grocery or teacher stores.

I spend most of my energy during this time playing games with my son like Yahtzee or making him think his worksheets are games by using poker chips as counters to illustrate the problems. This is working for now and helping ease his anxieties about written math. (He's a bit of a perfectionist and gets frustrated with numbers not looking the way they should) Some days he's not in the mood and chooses other activities like working in his dinosaur book, lots of practice with letters and size comparisons and dino games mixed with dino facts, so fun.

We work for about an hour then break for a snack and some free time. We have lunch around 12:00 and then I try to get the kids focused on a project, one is knitting slippers, one's sewing a quilt and the boy is planning to build a catapult (yikes), or we'll work on a group art project or something having to do with whatever history topic we're studying. We finished up knights and medieval times (inspired by the boy's interest in knights and the girls' in princesses) just before the holidays. Now we've started reading Percy Jackson and there seems to be a strong desire to learn some Greek Mythology.

Sometime between 1:00 and 3:00 I start reading from whatever chapter book we've chosen, currently Percy Jackson as I mentioned, and this doubles as rest time for the 3yr old. She doesn't usually sleep, but she does lay quietly by us and just relaxes or plays quietly with her babies, tucking them in and changing their diapers. This is by far my favorite time of the day. I've never been big on the stories at bed time. Getting the kids in bed, for me, has always taken an amount of energy that is just non existent at that hour. I find myself anxious to finish and rushed when I read to them at night. Having story time earlier gives me the opportunity to really enjoy it, without wishing I was visiting with the hubs or worrying the kids wont be asleep at a decent hour. And if we feel like reading an extra chapter, a must when reading our current novel, we have the time. Read aloud time can last anywhere from 20min to an hour or more depending on our mood and schedule.

Reading time for the kids right now is not defined. My oldest prefers to read in bed at night, unless she's knitting and occasionally, like today, she'll find herself so engrossed in a book that she spends the entire day reading. She devours multiple books a week so I feel no need to require a specific reading time. We attempt to keep track of most of what she reads with a book journal where she writes the books and rates them, then has the option to write a few sentences or review if she feels inspired.

My second is still working out some issues created by the school environment and her reading. We have re-established a love for books, and have decided that for the time being, requiring her to read aloud to me is doing more harm than good. Instead she is currently reading Ella Enchanted on her own, while I read it on my own, then we have casual book discussions throughout the day. A nice way to reconnect and keep tabs on her reading skills without her feeling like it's an evaluation.

The boy is working on learning the basics through games and reading Bob books when he wants. We just borrowed Hooked on Phonics from the library and he really likes the characters and colorful pages and the fact that he can listen to the tape on his own. We'll see if the interest lasts, in the past he hasn't liked these formal programs for very long, but he does have a desire to learn to read.

They all read picture or science books independently, as the mood strikes, throughout the day. And both the older girls, and I, spend part of most days reading to their little brother and sister.

Around 4 or 5 or lately 6 we start dinner and everyone has a pre and post dinner chore, even the 3 year old. Daddy is usually home by dinnertime.

After dinner we go straight into clean up and bedtime routine, which in our house is short. Teeth, jammies, tucks and some cuddles when needed. If dinner is earlier, or on weekends, we might have time for a quick card game before bed.

Then my hubby and I have some time to ourselves to watch a movie, pick up the days clutter, finish dinner clean up, work on our own projects or head to bed early.

There are lots of other things the kids do on their own, when I'm not looking ;). Like writing songs and stories (a daily treat around here) drawing pictures. They have access to most art supplies so when the inspiration strikes they're off. And any work they, or I, deem important gets tossed into a file folder to be, hopefully, added to a yearbook later. Most of the day is spent doing whatever they want, and a lot of what they want ends up being really educational.

We are very relaxed with our schooling right now, I feel like we are just beginning to emerge from our deschooling. Like a routine is starting to form and expectations (mine and the kids) are becoming clearer. There have been signs that everyone is ready for a little more structure, but I'm so grateful we were able to spend the first part of this year truly deschooling and testing the unschooling waters. I know we will continue to have a somewhat relaxed, real world experience, style to our learning, but we need to work on our daily rhythms. We need just a little more predictability to our days and weeks. We all want to work on scheduling our time so we can accomplish the things we want to, in a reasonable amount of time, so that's what we plan to focus on for now.

Thank you Jamie, for this opportunity to share with other homeschoolers our experiences.

1 comment:

  1. Came to your blog from Simple Homeschool.

    Sounds like a great day. I'm loving reading about how everyone homeschools. It's so encouraging to know there is no right way to it. I have a Kindergartener, 4 yo, almost 2 yo and one on the way so our days tend to not be too school focused as well. Thanks for sharing!