Lusi’s Homeschool Day in the Life (with an 11- and 13- year old) ~
Written by Lusi Austin from That Homeschool Life
It still seems quite surreal that I am only homeschooling 2 children! For years, there were five kiddos around our table. Now there are only 2 each day.
Our days are still quite different around here depending on mine/my son’s chronic illnesses. We aim for rhythm here rather than a time-based routine. This is what continues to work best for us in this season.
This year, I decided to do our Day in the Life post on our very first day back for the calendar year. Of course, it’s a bit of a novelty to get new stationery. Still, I thought it would still be fun to share this day anyway.
Starting off the day
Our first official day of the year starts a few hours before midnight the night before. I always set out the new stationery for the year. It’s a thing that we do to mark the beginning of the learning year and I always make a little card and write a little blessing in for each child.
The next morning, the kids get excited to wake up early and come to see the new items. This sets a tone of excitement for the day and the year ahead. We take time for them to look at the items.
Over breakfast, the kids read their choice of books. I put on a load of washing and tend to the dehydrating grapes-raisins. They’ll be on all day.
The kiddos do their own chores. The eldest vacuums and the youngest one feeds the animals. To kick off our year, we continue on with our devotional and commit the year ahead to God in prayer.
Lusi’s Homeschool Day in the Life (with an 11- and 13- year old)
Getting into the day
We head to the whiteboard and do our first ‘Planning Monday Morning’ for the year. The kiddos each get to choose things they would like to learn or do in the coming week. I also get to share what I would like them to do too.
After writing up their lists, we discuss any changes that need to be made for example, things added to the list or things that might need to be postponed.
While they’re still feeling fresh and focussed, we knock over our read alouds. We learn about Sir Ernest Shackleton from our History’s Greatest Men and Women book. We read another chapter of Annie and we finish off with learning about the Battle of Stamford in Our Island Story.
Whilst reading the chapter on the Battle of Stamford, there is a poem that is included. We discuss the meaning of the old phrases. We talk about what ‘ne’er’ means and the rhyming pattern that is present in the stanzas.
Zeeki (age 11) recalls easily that ‘foe’ means enemy. Both kiddos know that ‘mail coats’ is referring to chain mail armour.
During the historical read alouds, Zeeki writes down significant dates in our Book of Centuries timeline book. We have been using this since 2009 and still like it. And during the Annie read aloud, he draws Dog Man, which he had been reading over breakfast.
The gift of time and space for our kiddos to develop and enjoy their interests remains one of the absolute highlights of homeschooling for me. Today is no exception to that.
I have my parents, mother in law and sister in law staying so while they are there with the kids, I take the opportunity to go and have my blood taken and also visit the optometrist to get some new glasses. Usually I do this with the kids in tow, but today I decided to take the chance to go alone.
While I am gone, Zippi (13 years old) selects images that she will use on her mood board or in her textiles journal that she is keeping.
Our 19 year old son comes home on his work lunch break to say goodbye to his Nan and Aunty. It’s so lovely having family visiting us. My eldest 3 all work full time now (and two live out of the home).
Times are so different to when those little bodies were all squished together on the lounge listening to our read alouds or watching movies!
Later in the day
Zippi made some gluten-free cupcakes to take to her first youth council meeting. She interviewed to join the youth council late last year and was so thrilled to have been accepted. The youth council run meetings to an agenda with minutes and represent the voice of the local youth to our local government body and organize events, attend workshops and represent the youth in conference settings.
My 18 year old is also still on the youth council and had decided to take his sis on a little drive through for a celebratory sundae to mark her first meeting. We have often marked big things like first experiences, theater outings (or other things we like to process) over an ice-cream or pizza treat. I was so touched to see my son wanted to continue this on and that he took a photo of them!
The fortnightly shopping had to be done so we did the trip to Aldi. Later that night, hubby did the runs to Coles and Woolworths. Poor Zeeki was so tired that he could barely stand up by the end of it (fatigue is his biggest struggles with auto immune disease). So grateful they have a bench seat that he could sit on while Zip and I packed the bags.
Everyone is at our place for dinner tonight because my parents are in town. Over dinner, I ask the kiddos if they can recall 3 interesting facts each about Sir Ernest and the Battle of Stamford. It’s a casual chat as we eat, but I can tell they have absorbed the information well and enjoy the chance for narration.
My eldest is turning 21 tomorrow. We always take a selfie with the birthday person the night before their birthday. It’s another little family tradition of ours.
We see off my parents who are staying at a motel in town. My eldest two go back to their homes after dinner. We end the day with a chapter of Chronicles of Narnia for our two youngest.
It was a very full day but a lovely one all the same. It was also very different to how my day has begun today. I’m sharing this for transparency so that you can see how different days can be (even within a week!)
And in contrast…
This morning I woke up to find mouse droppings all over my kitchen benches. I have had to clean everything and sanitize the sink. One of my children left something oily soaking too last night and that has made the sponge and everything else very greasy.
I went to the indoor clothesline to take a shirt off to wear today, but realized there was a bad odor coming from the clothing! I now have to rewash all of that load before I can put on the next.
I’ve just finished applying for a theater grant. I’m a playwright and have a big work being performed next year. So there is paperwork strewn across my back table which I MUST sort out today!
There are oranges that are going bad so I will dehydrate some today.
I also MUST clean out the fridge.
So far this morning, I’ve managed to send a voicemail message to a dear friend overseas, drink my morning coffee and plan a lesson on polygons for my kids. Sigh. Some days are like diamonds and other days (like today) feel a little more on the rough side 😉
So whether you are having a diamond of a day or a rougher one, know that we all have each (and lots in between too!)
Sending my love your way from Australia! ~ Lusi x
My, how the days have changed:
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