Friday, August 1, 2008

A Good, Productive Homeschooling Day OR Wow! Sometimes this really DOES work!!

The day started early for me, which is how all of the really good days begin. 

I read in Hebrews a bit, checked my e-mail, and then woke up my youngest son, H, who wanted to get up early and look around at the on-line Scout Shop.  While he was waking I went and got honest-to-goodness dressed!  I got H set up at the computer and then figured that since he’s up I might as well wake up his older brother, J, too.  I started the never-ending-vortex blessed chore of laundry for the day, and then made up a new school schedule for the baby girl, only daughter R, by which time her radar had gone off and she, too, was awake for the day.

Breakfast, consisting of  incredibly not healthy left-over pizza, was finished by 8:15 am and our school day was started.  They all automatically started on their math without me even saying anything, so I let them have at it!  Who am I to interrupt the flow?  Well, I did interrupt to show the boys the new style assignment sheet that I made for R and asked if they would like one.  J said sure but H said that he’d rather have the old kind.  Yep.  He’s my traditionalist!  We’re all happily sitting at the table, busily engaged in our own endeavors – me especially happy because they are working without me asking =-O and because I get to do assignment sheets!!  If I had to pick a very favorite part of homeschooling, it would hands down be planning!  I could spend days mapping out the whole year, and even if only half of it ever came to fruition, I’d still be good.

While assigning, I notice that H hasn’t been assigned any specific reading (he’s just had free reading for the last month) and so I give him the next Pathways Reader — with the bad news that since I don’t have the workbook for this, he’ll just have to settle for reading the book alone without any workbook pages.  Visibly ecstatic, delighted, Trying his hardest to control his emotions, he tells me "That’s all right, Mom."  (I really don’t have the workbook but I was also having a little bit of summertime pity on this younger son who does not enjoy workbooks – not all workbooks, mind you, just the ones that ask him really hard questions like "What do YOU think?")  He quickly finishes his math and settles on the couch almost gleefully to enjoy his new workbook-free reader. 

By  the time I finish with the assignment sheets, they are done with their math and reading, respectively, so we gather on the couch for our time together.  We read Proverbs 31, sung Saviour Like a Shepherd (chosen by R) and A Mighty Fortress (chosen by J), then they each played their favorite song that they’re currently practicing on the piano.  Afterwards, we had a discussion about what schoolwork will be brought along when we vacation at the beach in October.  If you’re interested, J will bring Biology, Math, and the books he is reading for US History and History of Classical Music;  H will bring Math, Science and his reading; R said right off "Math!" followed by her piano books, which they all will take since the house we are renting has a piano.  We’ll also bring the books that she and I are reading and projects we’re working on as part of Training Our Daughters To Be Keepers At Home.

Now that that’s all settled, for the time being anyhow, Onward Ho!  H sits down to do his science and J settles in to start a biography on J.S.Bach.  I’m on the laptop at the table deciding if I should purchase the workbooks H will need now, or wait a few weeks, and then trying to guage how quickly R will finish Beta (Math) and will need the student books for Gamma.  Meanwhile, R is next to me and has done the Before stuff in her workbook and is now reading the story.  When she’s finished reading, we go through the questions together and she is delighted to be able to tell me all the things that happened in the story.  By the way, I decided that I can wait on all the curriculum — but I really do need to get busy and order Biology for J so that he’s ready to go when the class starts in September.  During this time, J and I also have a discussion of his next, last (sob!) four years of school and the pace he wants to set for himself as far as his math and science books go.  (These are really good to have every now and then because they get him motivated to focus and see his goal.)

11:45 am means an early lunch for us.  They have 45 minutes before we sit down to read again.
After lunch, we settle on the couch again, this time to read our Eastern Hemisphere history/social studies together.  Two chapters of Born in the Year of Courage, then we watch a DVD on Japanese history.  Because of a discussion we get into, we re-watch part of yesterday’s DVD about the Samurai Swords and how they are made in order to verify a point.   R takes her turn of practicing the piano, H heads to the bedroom to do Spanish, and J sits down to write in his journal.  I crochet while R practices, and fold laundry, offering tips and a soothing voice when needed. 

The day goes by and soon it’s time for dinner.  R and I put on our aprons and head to the kitchen.  I’ve already started some Foccacia bread, on the dough cycle in the bread machine, so she starts cooking the onions and sausage while I go to the pantry for the rest of our ingredients.  She unloads  the dishwasher while I cut tomatoes into our sauce and start the water for the pasta.  Simmer, boil, stir, test, grate cheese, drain, mix, bake, and bake again.  Dinner is on the table and is delicious.  Husband says it is the best batch of Foccacia we’ve had yet!  I always use the same recipe, so maybe his tastebuds were just really hungry for it!

Dinner is all cleaned up - the boys pitched in and helped R, who is currently on dinner duty.  We decide to go for a walk.  Even Husband comes!  On the way back, J gathers some newspapers from the recycling bins that have been set out for our pick-up tomorrow.  He shreds them for worm bedding.  Yes, he’s a Vermiculturist!  After doing a last load of laundry for the day, I settle on the couch to crochet some more.  R settles in next to me and builds with the Klutz Castle cards.  J & H are busy at the table sorting the papers, then shredding them in preparation for his worms.

The call for "Bed!" is made, finally.  Everyone cleans up what they were doing, including me, and the house looks great and ready for a new day tomorrow!

Now I have to add one thing: neither of the boys practiced the piano today, which means they will each have to put $1.50 into our Evangelizing Can tomorrow.   Since Daddy works hard and pays for their lessons, it is their responsibility to practice.  If they don’t then they have to pay for the time they missed.  Also, our can used to just be for mad money, but now we’ve all agreed that we’re going to use the money we collect in it to buy tracts to hand out to people, to share with those in need, and to help support national pastors through Gospel Link.

Everyone went to bed happily, after a full day of work and plans and purpose.

What more can I ask?

He hath done all things well.  Mark 7:37

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