Written by Simple Homeschool contributor Heidi Scovel of Mt. Hope Chronicles.
The beautiful days of quiet rhythms. The hush of early morning productivity. The year in, year out steady march of progress. Do you wistfully wonder how to transform your home into this wonder-land of peace and earnest learning?
You won’t learn how from me.
We have spent the past year in survival mode. Pregnancy (which I’m afraid I didn’t handle gracefully), a newborn, illnesses, and a husband whose work routine changed drastically challenged my notions of what a homeschool day ‘should’ look like. Add in three young, extroverted, physical boys, and quiet anything was all but impossible.
After a period of letting go of expectations and riding the waves of life, we are using the freshness of a new year to move into a season of more focused academics.
We spend Monday mornings at our Classical Conversations group, and the rest of our week we spend learning at home. As our rhythm has yet to find a steady beat, I’ll share a specific day rather than a general routine.
The boys enjoy rising early. Their mother does not. I like sleep. I NEED my sleep. Boys, baby, and I all roll out of bed sometime after 7am. I shower and then check my email while the boys watch a science video.
Some mornings we have a hot breakfast, but this isn’t one of those mornings. It is self-serve yogurt, toast, or granola bars. I eat a piece of left-over apple pie. Because I’m the mom and I can.
I put in a load of laundry, the nine-year-old empties the dishwasher, and everyone gets ready for our day.
I feed baby and put her down for a morning nap.
The boys get started with math worksheets and handwriting notebooks at the kitchen table. The four-year-old joins us as long as his interest and attention span allows. I do some dishes and laundry in between helping the boys. The nine-year-old has trouble focusing, so I tell him he’ll have to come back to his work later.
We move to the living room couch. Short lessons covering multiple subjects keep the boys’ attentions focused as much as possible, though there is always a great deal of noise and acrobatics.
Grammar, Latin, geography songs, Bible memory songs, Bible reading, singing The Star-Spangled Banner, spelling (phonogram cards), reading about Haydn and William Blake, poetry memorization, and playing hymns on the piano are all on the line-up in no particular order.
The four-year-old is in and out of the room. He doesn’t quite have the interest and stamina (I’m using that term very loosely) of his big brothers, but he is a team player and doesn’t enjoy being on his own.
Baby wakes up. The younger boys make a fort in their bedroom while the nine-year-old finishes up handwriting and math at the kitchen table. He is still distracted, so I send him down our very long driveway to bring up the garbage can, hoping the fresh air and exercise does him some good.
We have lunch.
The boys read assigned pages in the history encyclopedia, then we begin reviewing our Classical Conversations memory work.
Baby wakes up early. I put her back to sleep and put in a Spanish lesson DVD for the boys.
Baby wakes up again, and I give in. The nine-year-old begins more assigned reading while the six-year-old practices on the piano. I pour myself a large Dr. Pepper and hope the caffeine kicks in quickly.
We have a snack. I feed baby again, and put her down for a nap again.
The nine-year-old continues to read. (I take this moment to be thankful for a boy who loves to read.) The younger boys help me make banana bread in the kitchen. I don’t bake anything without these two helpers.
Daddy takes the six-year-old to piano lessons. (I take this moment to be thankful for my husband’s lighter work schedule.) The other boys play while I clean up the kitchen, work on laundry, and begin dinner preparations, then sneak in some computer time while baby continues to sleep.
Daddy and the six-year-old arrive back home. The boys all head to the office with Daddy for some computer time. I finish preparing dinner.
I manage to quickly eat dinner with the family before baby wakes up and needs to be fed. My husband works on kitchen clean-up.
Daddy plays a short (incomplete) game of Monopoly with the boys while I give baby a bath.
The game gets put away, the younger boys watch TV while the oldest showers, and I finish cleaning up the kitchen.
I read aloud a chapter of Little Britches, then turn on a story CD for the boys as they crawl in bed. I feed baby and put her to bed.
I putter around the house and spend some time on the computer before reminding myself that getting to bed at a decent hour will help me be more cheerful when awakened in the middle of the night.
As my day fades into the past and I begin rest for the new day tomorrow, I am full of gratitude for this season of life and learning with four young children.
Are any of you beginning a season of more focused academics after a period of laid-back schooling? How have you worked into a new routine?