Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane
Monday, February 3rd
Welcome to The 1601, our home. The cast of characters within these walls (pictured above) include my husband and myself, our two kids, our friend Debra, and another (precious!) housemate who’s in drug rehab and preparing to go to jail. We range in age from 4-60.
We’re church-planters. I travel on weekends to speak at women’s events. On the day this posts we’re doing our homestudy in the adoption process. I call our education approach “Classical Unschooling.” So, there’s nothing very “normal” about any of this, but we’d love for you to join us in this hodgepodge adventure we call homeschool.
Of course, on the day Lacey Meyers follows us around with her camera we are all bathed and looking rather fresh and peppy, whereas we usually don sweatpants and my hair’s in a tangled bun. So imagine all of this a little messier and you’ll have a more accurate portrayal. Deal? Here we go…
Way-too-early AM – My morning ritual: Stand at my beloved kitchen sink and drink my mason jar of lemon-water, then pour a hot cup of coffee and head back upstairs. Now is my sacred alone-hour for prayer and Bible reading.
5-something-ish — Begin writing. Jeff is out running. The house is still quiet.
7:00 — I close the laptop and unplug from the outside world. At some point my two littles have wandered, sleepy-eyed, into my bed. They were quiet until about 10 minutes ago. Heidi protests, “Dutch, stop breathing on me!” We all get dressed, make our beds, and tidy our rooms. Dutch reads The Action Bible before heading downstairs.
7:30 — I begin making breakfast. People pop in and out of the
train station kitchen, as we all scurry to our places for the day. Dutch peppers me with history trivia as I stir oatmeal and chop veggies for lentil soup.
8:00 — We say The Lord’s Prayer together and dive into breakfast around our kitchen counter. Dutch reads this encyclopedia while he eats and Heidi looks at this one. After breakfast I continue to chop veggies (I think I’m always chopping veggies) and tidy the kitchen. Jeff takes Dutch outside for some fierce fencing with foam swords. Heidi draws pictures of our family (above).
9:00 — Dutch bursts in from outside announcing his victory over Daddy. I congratulate him and send him upstairs to wash up for Learning Time. This typically runs from 9am-12pm. We begin with reading and exploring topics together. Each child picks one to begin.
Today Dutch chooses to study Ancient Empires. Again. He’s fanatical about ancient empires. I offer to read to him, but today he opts to read to me. I’m terrible at history, so the truth is I have taught him nothing. I put Kingfisher and Usborne encyclopedias on the Amazon wish list, generous grandparents do their part, and Dutch does the rest. The stack next to his bed is two feet high right now.
After this Dutch asks if he can make maps of all the ancient empires. Ummm… Yes! So he sets to work on studying up in preparation for mapmaking.
This one he read until the cover fell off. He carries it with him everywhere he goes.
Now I give more attention to Heidi (almost 5). We’re working through Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons.
Teaching her to read is about a zillion times easier than it was Dutch. Every kid is different.
Around 10 we have a snack and Dutch (reluctantly) heads to his desk for math and spelling. Spelling and handwriting is a struggle for Dutch so we’re trying Handwriting Without Tears next. He isn’t fond of worksheets so I keep this time brief: 15-30 minutes.
After reading, Heidi works on a kindergarten workbook. (Not because I make her, but because she loves doing workbooks. Boys and girls are sooooo different!)
We also do a bit of Classical Conversations memory work and dance and sing to the Timeline Song. We LOVE the Timeline Song. In the past we did Letter Lessons. Some days we have other activities: Tue: Bible Study, Wed: Daddy’s day off, Thur: Visit Oma & Papa (the folks who homeschooled me!).
12:00 — Lunch together. After lunch we clean up and head outside (sometimes we walk to the library or to the local produce stand for groceries). Today Heidi is making mud meals, mixing up delicious earthy concoctions.
Dutch explains, “I’m making mud bricks so I can dry them and build the Pyramid of Giza.” (The ancient empire deal shows up everywhere.) Then he inevitably wants to play World War I. He’s built bunkers in the backyard out of bricks and sticks, so we crouch low behind them and launch chestnuts at each other. It’s fierce.
Afterwards he wants to dig the Nile river and make a virtual world out of our yard. He explains where all the different continents are, based on where the sun rises and sets. His imagination is sort of crazy.
2:00 — Quiet reading time. They protest. I lure them inside with the promise of hot cocoa. We curl up on our beds for reading.
I bring them a little snack in a baggie or bowl to nibble while they read.
My only rule is that everyone must be quiet on their beds. Even me. Mama needs this too! Today I’m reading Quiet. Many days I have to enforce the quiet rule with Heidi, who chatters incessantly, but today everyone’s content on their beds.
3:00 — Quiet play time. Kiddos play (somewhat) quietly: Legos, puzzles, stickers, coloring. Today Dutch continues reading and Heidi makes her own stickers. This is my time to work. I reply to emails, respond to blog comments, and do admin for upcoming retreats.
4:00 — “Mommy, can you play with us?!” Laptop closed! We’ve had 2 hours of quiet and these kids are ready for some action! Today they want to play Olympics, so we each choose which country we represent and take turns competing in bizarre events like twirly-contortions and long-jump off the couch. At 4:30 we have a house-meeting and prayer time with Debra while the kids play Legos.
5:00 — Dinner prep and dinner. This is Daddy time. Wrestling, wild play, and mayhem ensue. I escape to the quiet of the kitchen.
As everyone returns home the kitchen is a whirlwind of activity. Sometimes we dine together, sometimes we don’t. We all mostly eat according to The Plan so we share and it works out.
6:00 — Family time or evening activities. Monday nights are house-meetings, Tuesdays we have people over for dinner, Wednesdays and Thursdays are family nights, and weekends vary based on speaking events and church and social activities.
7:30 — Bedtime. Bedtime routine is bath and jammies, then Jeff reads Lord of The Rings to Dutch while I read storybooks to Heidi. Tonight it’s this book. We snuggle them under their blankets, briefly pray, and bless them saying, The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and give you peace. Then the kids read in bed (and inevitably ask for more snuggles about 500 times) until they fall asleep.
Not-much-later-than-that — Jeff and I collapse into bed gloriously exhausted. Life is good.
Goodnight. Thanks so much for visiting us today.
Do your kids have one special interest right now that keeps them busy?