“Fly on the wall” day

15 Nov

In Australia, today is the beginning of “Home Education Week” so I thought I’d do my bit to promote Homeschooling by giving you a week jammed packed with posts…well I’ll try anyway.

And since my readers seem to enjoy a good “fly on the wall” post, I’ll start with one of those.

A gloss and glamour day it was not but we did get a fair bit done today which is good as it’ll balance out the rest of the week if we fall short.

School started late…as always.  The morning is so much nicer by 9 don’t you think.  We do.  *Cheeky grins all round*  As I made breakfast my little men sleepily rattled off their skip counting in 6s, months of the year, Latin vocabulary, Bible verses, and continents and oceans.  It sounds like a lot but honestly it takes 5 to 10 minutes tops.  10 when little men want to drag it out and torture me.


No, breakfast is nothing flash at all.  Cereal for one boy, fruit for another and toast for me.  We are creatures of habit!

Over breakfast we discussed how many days were in each month of the year.  I showed them the “knuckles trick” to remember them.  You know – the knuckles equal 31 days and the valley between is 30 days and you recite the months starting at the first knuckle.  (Obviously it doesn’t work for February.)  Then I introduced the good old poem to remember them.  But over the weekend I found a better one than the one I had to learn at school. This one actually rhymes!

“30 days has September

April, June and November

All the rest have 31…no wait

February has 28!

Except in Leap years – that’s the time

When February has 29.”

This led to a discussion about Leap years and me trotting back and forth to the internet to answer their questions.  And in case you were wondering the last leap year was in 2008 and the next will be in 2012.   The boys then worked out how many days in each of the months that our family has birthdays (and in my mind I threw out the worksheet I had planned to use to test this knowledge.)

We also orally drilled through our number facts.  One little man went quickly and the other tested his Mummy’s resolve to do this task in a timely manner and without attitude.  (A nifty little trick I’ve been using to test their testiness is to send them to their room to “leave their attitude behind”.  They walk straight there and straight back.  If a hint of attitude remains, I send them right back.  One of two things happens…they either become exhausted from going in and out a million times and comply, or they get the giggles on the millionth trip and forget they had a bad attitude.  It works for us.)


My washing machine beeped at me then so each boy set to work doing their dailies book.  As I didn’t have as much washing to hang as they had number work I got a chance to potter around doing a little housework…mopped the bathroom floor, put away yesterday’s folded clothes, and swept the floors.  One little man finished quickly and the other had to endure a chat with me about me being the guide and only him being able to do the learning.  You know how it goes.   Don’t fall into the delusion that school is easy for everyone else but you.  Everyone has their moments and days.


We eventually got to our reading.  First we read a Berenstain Bears book which the boys had requested.  In the book the Bears go on a trip to Mt Grizzmore, which of course led us to a discussion about Mt Rushmore.  The boys hadn’t heard of it before so of course we headed back to the internet to check out a picture and find answers to the boys’ questions about how they made it.  (Oh so you see there is a little unschooling in my day.)


Next stop in our day was Bible reading.  We read two chapters of our current bible – one which I LOVE mind you.  Catherine Vos’ “The Child’s Story Bible”.  It’s really good.  One of the best children’s versions we’ve used.

We also read two stories from a little compilations of stories called, “Crayonbox Collection” by Romaine Stauffer.  These are absolutely delightful little stories that build character.

We also read a chapter of our Mt Everest book which included a discussion about sea level and boiling point at different altitudes.  While I read, the boys made a mess on the mat…one boy was drawing and cutting, another was playing with letter bricks and later both were making shapes with Magformers.


We also started a new novel today, “Calico Captive”.  I had only planned to read one chapter but wouldn’t you know it…they left us hanging and desperate to know what was going to happen next.  Chapter two was full of drama and both boys abandoned their activities and climbed up on the chair with me…the single armchair!   This story ended with a discussion about the contrasting Indian characters in this story and our last (“The Sign of the Beaver”).


Did we do any bookwork?  Yes we did.  Hold your horses.  🙂  I’m getting to it.

We made a notebook page on log cabins so the boys could visualise what they would look like inside and out as we read aloud.


We also did a new Latin lesson.   We’re using Songschool Latin but I make up notebook pages instead of using the activities within the book.  Today the boys matched the new Latin vocabulary with the English translations.  They also had to match pictures to their new Latin vocabulary.  I sat and helped the boys with the cutting out as they worked.   We did this with the companion cd set to “repeat” on the song that contained our new vocabulary.


The time by this point…don’t gasp out loud too much… was 2ish!  Nothing new for us though.

While I whipped up Vegemite sandwiches for everyone (nothing flash for lunch either), each boy did their copywork sentence…with the promise that once it was done and done well they could have their lunch break.


The eldest little man was going to start work on his IEW paragraph after lunch but, in his efforts to avoid writing, he entered negotiations with me, “Can I do my Powerpoint Presentation INSTEAD of writing?”  Insert here:  a sweet little look from blue eyes and a slightly tilted to one side head (with unbrushed hair).   He had been asking all morning to be allowed to do this AND it was an activity that he hadn’t wanted to do the day before so I jumped at the chance for him to make a start.  It’s a time sensitive activity so technically it was a higher priority task anyway.  And he was so eager to start he worked on it during his lunch break.


Me?  I checked email during my break.  It’s my way of seeing what’s happening in the outside world.  Oh and I bought in the washing and hung the next load.  On a hot day like today it was dry within the hour.

I worked with Ethan for a while on his Powerpoint presentation.  He is making a Geography quiz presentation and I have specific requirements that I want him to include.  But making what’s in my head realise itself on his presentation is a challenge for us both.   I don’t have the technical skills so Ethan has to spend his time explaining to me, in simple enough words for me to understand, what is possible and what is not.  Hehehehe.

Once Ethan had been given his directions I left him to the technical stuff  and went and listened to Brayden read aloud two readers.   He also completed 4 pages of Explode the Code with me at his side.


We had a Science lesson planned for today too but, as Ethan was working so nicely and Brayden was off happily playing by himself, I decided to leave it for another day.  Just because it’s written in my plan book, doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone.  A Mumma has to be flexible and sensitive to the needs of her children and the flow of the day.

And what did my house look like at the end of this day…a mess!  And as I type this, it’s only been half cleaned up.  Oh well.  Such is life.  Plenty of time tomorrow to rectify it.  I guarantee someone will ask me for something and I’ll have plenty of leverage when I say, “If you pick up the mess on the mat, you may certainly have/do x, y or z”.   Ah,  the many tools of a Mum.


So that was our day.  A big one but not a lot of writing….which makes it the perfect day in the eyes of one of my little men.  Could be the biggest day we have this week so it’s all downhill from here.  🙂

Oh yes, I left out our lock down procedure today.  Yes, even in the homeschool we have those.  The predator…an uninvited hornet!!  The boys scampered for their bedroom and shut the door while I dashed for the sliding doors and opened them wide to let the beastie out.    Drama, drama!  Hehehehe.

The highs and lows, successes and messes…I hope you enjoyed them all on this first day of “Home Education Week”.


Posted by on November 15, 2010 in Homeschooling Days


4 responses to ““Fly on the wall” day

  1. Rebecca

    November 16, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Great post! Thanks for the peek into your homeschool 🙂

  2. Bernadette

    March 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Tracey,
    With your copywork, do you have software to make it up, or have you made a template up to get the words neatly on the lines?

    That’s what i’ve done and it is extremly frustrating and annoying to use, which obviously means it tends to be left out in busy weeks 😦

    I’m SOOO hoping there is a program i can buy !!

    In copywork misery 😉

  3. Tracey

    March 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I used School Fonts

    It’s fonts that work in Word and such. There are lines that work with it (as you type the lines appear) however…to make my life more difficult…I make my own lines so they are the proper red and blue like you might find in an exercise book.

    I made up one page of lines that fit with the font size I like to use and then copy and paste becomes my friend.

    I sit down during the term break and prepare a stack….or at least that’s my idealistic plan that sometimes happens and I wished I’d done term. It’s best if I have them all printed and waiting in a folder too. Once again…the ideal plan, not always reality.

    In the past I have made copywork booklets so the boys just had to turn the page and run with it. That was nice.

  4. Bernadette

    March 9, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Yep darn it that’s what i’ve been doing. I guess i’ll have to go back and tweak my page so it’s not so frustrating. there is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing going on between word and paint at my house. And then i have to do it all over again two more times for the other two ‘schoolies’ It’s soooo disapointing to think i’ve accomplished heaps and then realise it won’t last them the month 😦

    Funny thing – over here in WA they don’t use blue and red lines – all blue! was going mental asking every teacher store and newsagent i could find for yr 1 red and blue line books – they all thought i was mental! i eventually discovered i need to know the line size – it seems it may not even be standard from school to school?? They just looked at me blankly when i asked for yr1 and yr4 exercise books!?!?

    Care package from my mum next year i think – too confusing i think. they don’t know where to start or finish?



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