Our School Day Today

18 Oct

You haven’t been a fly on the wall of our homeschool for a while so I’ll invite you in to spend today with us.

I got up nice and early – 8.30am is early in my world – and pottered around doing morning routines before waking my men at 9 (they rarely fall asleep before 10 or 11pm although they are always in bed with their lights out).

The boys had to make their beds, get dressed and tidy their room before leaving it…well that’s the plan and yet I still have to call them back into their rooms more than once.

As I put away the dishes and made breakfast (Vegemite toast, strawberries and milk if you were wondering) for everyone I ran through our memory repertoire with my little men.  Before sitting down to eat we had reviewed our previous Latin vocabulary and verbs, the books of the Bible, our Bible verses and Ten Commandments.

Over breakfast the boys continued with their memory work skip counting in 3s, 4s, 6s and 7s, revising the parts of speech grammar definitions, their poems, the names of all of the 2D and 3D shapes (easy and hard), various measurement conversions (time, length, weight), addition facts, all of the countries in Europe, their Days in Each Month poem and today I pulled out our continent, oceans and lines chart and had the boys review it as well.  They were a little rusty so it’ll stay in our daily review section for a while.   Brayden also chanted through his blends poster and Ethan reviewed his problem spelling list.

As Brayden likes to forge ahead quickly in his memory work he insisted that we add some new books of the Bible to their current repertoire so I suggested that we listen to the Books of the Bible song I found on youtube.  Of course this led to us watching several other versions before I could get us back on track for the day.

After dishes, teeth brushing and mail box checking (three new books – whoohoo – “Amish Proverbs“, “That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week” and “Don Quixote“) I made myself comfortable on the couch while the boys spread out on the mat.  Brayden was lining up dominoes and Ethan was slowly riding his gyrocar up and down the room while they listened to me read (Little Men rarely sit still.  They need to move to learn.)

First we read from the Bible.  We have moved on from Children’s Bibles to the “real” thing so we read and discuss.  We also read a chapter of “Herein Is Love: Genesis“.  This is a brilliant book…based on what we’ve read of it so far.  Today we read about how humans are not animals and the author showed us how our creation was more special than the animals.  He ‘spoke’ the rest of creation into existence but He ‘formed’ us, breathed life into us and made us in His image.  His connection with us was special.  We had a huge discussion about this.  Did I mention how much we’re enjoying this book?

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Next up we did another lesson from Rod and Staff Grammar.  We do this orally.  Today we read about paragraphs and topic sentences.

We also added two chapters’ worth of new Latin vocabulary to our repertoire.  Usually we complete our notebooking pages when we introduce the new vocabulary but this time I wanted to switch things around and complete the bookwork once the vocabulary was a little more familiar.  All we did today was listen to the songs and repeat the new vocabulary.  We are currently learning the parts of the body.

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We then read two chapters of “Castaway Convict” which I heard about at Aussie Pumpkin Patch.  The boys are really getting into this story.  They soooo love their read alouds.  We always have several on the go at any one time and yet the boys somehow manage to keep all of the details straight in their head.
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By this point in the day I figured we should start some work.  Reading isn’t work to us.  My boys will sit and listen all day if I let them but at some point they have to learn to do Math and how to read and write.  So I set them up with their Math for the day.  Each had 60 multiplication facts to answer, their Dailies to complete and a Singapore Math exercise to do.  Brayden took his bundle of work off to a desk in the play room and Ethan snuggled up on the couch.  I played ping pong between the two for a while but once they were on task I set to work emptying the fish tank of the smelly dead and dying moths.

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Somehow this Math dragged out for a length of time that is too embarrassing to share.  It didn’t help that boys kept coming to see what I was doing with the moths and tank and offering to help (interesting how they rarely offer to help when there isn’t work they are avoiding…hmmmm.)

Oh boy.  I just remembered that Ethan was supposed to finish his Singapore Math after school for punishment.  In the end I set a reasonable time limit and he spent so much time arguing over it that the time lapsed and…well I forgot the punishment.   Oh well.  We’ll start fresh tomorrow.

Over lunch the boys watched an episode of “Backyard Science” which they love, while I listened to an audio (well half of) by the Boyers, “Proverbs – God’s Character Curriculum” and drooled over the latest Light and Life book catalogue that came in the mail the other day.

After lunch we started with Language.  I made a pile of each boys’ work and sent them off with bits and pieces.  I gave Brayden independent work (6 pages of Primary Phonics work pages and handwriting) so I could work with Ethan first.
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I watched Ethan as he completed his handwriting.  He is learning cursive using Bible verses I printed in Qld Cursive for him.
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He then orally completed his daily spelling quiz from Sequential Spelling.  Following this he was ready to head off and work independently on an IEW task.  He is working on Unit 4 which is report writing.  Today I wanted him to highlight the repeated and reflected words in each topic and clincher sentence in three separate sources about ants.  He then had to make a list of the topics that the sources covered.  Tomorrow he’ll select one of these topics and write a draft paragraph about it.  I was so impressed with how well Ethan did this task without assistance.
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While Ethan was off working hard, it was Brayden’s turn to work with me.  Homeschooling more than one is a juggling act of your time.  After I checked the work Brayden had completed and helped him with the questions he needed assistance with, we sat at the dining room table together and he did his first dictation using sentences from The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading (thanks for the great idea Susan).  We started with a nice simple one.  He breezed through it.
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Finally Brayden sat with me on the couch and read lists of words starting with blends from “The Webster Speller” and then a simple reader of his choice from our Reading A-Z collection.  Of course when given free reign he often picks the easiest one on offer but that’s okay.  Eventually he’ll pick more challenging titles.  Ordinarily we read at least two readers but the day was getting away from us and motivation was waning.

Once all of our Language lessons were completed we snuggled on the couch to read a little more.  We read several segments from Exploring Creation with Zoology 3.  We read about DNA and genes and more about canines.  Before we finished the chapter (which was the plan) our interest faded and Daddy came home so we abandoned ship for the day.
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Strangely enough they were still keen to do the promised drawing lesson so everyone collected their resources and pulled up a chair at the computer.  Okay well there was a melt down from one little man as Daddy was using the chair that he usually uses during drawing classes – actually I think he was tired and needed to finish up for the day but he really wanted to do the lesson.   Once he gathered himself together he was right.  We each draw a monster in a trash can and a bubble burping dragon.  We love Mark Kistler’s online drawing subscription.
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So that was our school day.  We finished much later than we normally do (after 4pm) but that’s what happens when you decide to clean a fish tank in the middle of the day and your students can’t concentrate on their Math.

While I packed up the art resources little men disappeared in various directions.  One boy put his nose back in his library book and took notes on HTML.  Later he watched a dvd about HTML.  The other little man headed to the play room and pulled out various Fisher Price Little People toys (yes he still enjoys them occasionally) and included his Star Wars figurine collection in the game and later asked to watch a dvd.  (Ordinarily they’d play outside but the weather was miserable.)  Meanwhile I dragged out the Wii Fit board for some exercise, swept the house, finished cleaning the fish tank, set it to dry and then made homemade pizza for tea.

After tea little men were herded into showers and then Daddy took over the night time routine and read to them from their novel “The Odyssey“.  Ethan then read a a chapter from his current “Will Solvit” book while Brayden browsed through his own basket of picture books in his bed.  Add in a million excuses to be out of their bedrooms and you’ll have a pretty good picture of our evening.

Currently it’s almost midnight so I best head off before you start peeking into my tomorrow as well.  Hope you enjoyed your day with us.  Come again to visit.


Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Homeschooling Days


7 responses to “Our School Day Today

  1. April

    October 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I love your ‘fly on the wall’ posts. You gave me some more memory work ideas 🙂 How quickly have you moved Ethan through IEW? My son has been working on Unit 3 with the 6 dress-ups for some time now and I feel he isn’t progressing. He still requires assistance with his story sequence notes and sometimes his paragraphs don’t flow due to him trying to fit the dress-ups in. Any tips?

  2. Tracey

    October 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Unit 3 is a hard one, for boys especially. Creative writing isn’t their natural bent. We worked on unit 3 for two terms and have only just moved onto unit 4. If you need some light at the end of the tunnel, this unit is much easier.

    When we moved on from unit 3 I wouldn’t say Ethan was ‘competent’ but he was getting better at it. Hey, I was only just getting the hang of the story sequence. The dvds say not to get hung up on any one unit, to set a time you are going to work on it and then move on as you’ll come back to it when they mature a little with the next cycle of units.

    I also took a few short cuts with unit 3. Ethan breezes through adding dress ups but his outline was his weakness so I got him to outline a pile of stories that I didn’t intend for him to write up. If we had to go through the whole writing process for each he wouldn’t have got as much practise at outlining. This gave him some invaluable practise.

    I also don’t fret too much over awkward expressions. I get Ethan to read his drafts aloud as he can usually hear where it doesn’t sound right. If he can’t fix it himself I will just model a better expression and let him change it. We have to be careful that our school upbringing doesn’t become a stumbling block where we think we can’t just tell them what to write. How else will they learn.

    Another thing I do which I thought was normal but have been told it’s not (trust me to be not normal) is to make the dress up process a separate step from the draft. So Ethan outlines first, then writes the draft, then edits it as we type it up and THEN he add the dress ups. This way he can focus on each step individually without trying to combine all of the skills at once. Occasionally he will automatically include a dress up in his draft and it thrills him to pieces as it means he has one less to add. One day he’ll be able to do it all together but for now we do it separately.

    I would suggest that you move onto the next unit at the first sign of frustration with writing. Don’t let yourself and your learner get bogged down. If you’ve been at it for a while then maybe time is the best cure. Set it aside for now and come back to it once everyone has a few more skills under their belt. Well that’s what I plan to do anyway.

    Hope this helps.

  3. April

    October 18, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I’d often thought it would be easier to add the dress-ups in at the end. We’ll be doing that tomorrow… Also the idea of completing several outlines for practise and not actually writing the story summary is great! We’ll start that next week… I think I also need to watch the DVD’s again for a refresher. Thanks for the excellent tips, I should have asked earlier 🙂

  4. Tracey

    October 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I often rewatch the dvds. I forget stuff and need the refresher course. So as soon as I feel a slump coming on I insert the disk for a pick me up. Mr Pudewa also grabs me by the scruff of the neck and sets me back on the right path.

  5. April

    October 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I thought I’d let you know that we tried adding the dress-ups in at the end. Yay, it worked! No fuss at all… He wrote two great paragraphs and commented how much easier the new way was. Thanks 😉

  6. Lisa

    December 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Don Quixote …. How did you go with that one? 🙂

  7. Tracey

    December 18, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Easy…it was a children’s version. Heheheh.


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