When people hear that we homeschool, we usually get one of three reactions. The first is, “What the heck is wrong with you? Are you sane?” Next comes,”Oh my Gosh! How do you possibly teach four kids at different levels?” And finally, “Oh, you’re home. You must not be busy. Can you watch my kid while I do such and such?” You can imagine the answer to the third choice. While there are families that successfully homeschool far larger broods than ours, here’s how we manage the madness.
Is teaching 4 kids of different ages easy? No. Is it impossible? No again. It’s challenging and a ton of fun. There is seriously never a dull moment in our house. What exactly goes on? A whole lot. There’s a lot of planning and prep-work, patience and perseverance involved.
For your viewing pleasure, here’s an average school day in our modest châteaux. While I recorded our day in pictures largely for our records, there’s a lot you can learn from how other families conduct their school day. Welcome to today:
8:00-8:30- All kids are playing and watching cartoons, eating breakfast and causing mayhem and destruction.
8:30-9:30- Story Circle (All 4 kids involved). We introduced this week’s topic, space, and discussed astronomy, the solar system, the sun, planets, small bodies like comets, the Milky Way, etc. We recited “Starlight, Starbright,” “Hey Diddle, Diddle,” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and read lots of space-themed books. To end story time, we played a space travel game. One kid got to be the sun, and the others were planets orbiting the sun. We also pretended to be astronauts traveling through the solar system and remarked on the various planets and stars we saw, reinforcing the information we just read about. Fun!
9:30-10:00- Bella: Morning nap!
Derek: Colored pictures of the sun and a rocket, then colored the moon and stars. He insisted we hang up his amazing art right away. He played in the playroom after this.
Alex and Ethan: Both children colored and practiced reading a book called “Our Solar System.” They also listened to Classical Conversations Memory Work Week 7 in the background. This week’s memory work includes: History (Hinduism), Latin (Noun endings 3rd declension), Geography (Indus River), Science (How do animals reproduce), Grammer (Prepositions in-ne), and Math (13 times 13 table). Ethan is very, very good at memorizing his skip counting facts!
10:00-10:30- Derek: Practiced tracing “I am Derek” and played color matching game with mom
Alex: “French for Kids” Unit 6– En Voyage. She reviewed previous vocabulary, learned how to say things she does and does not like to do, and practiced counting up to 20 in French.
Ethan: Writing/ tracing practice. His practice words this week are space, planets, sun, stars, moon, astronaut, and galaxy.
10:30-11:00- Bella: Up from nap time! She joined in the fun, dancing to nursery rhymes. She surprised me by clapping when I sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands” for her. Hooray! She also cuddled while I read to her and Derek. Bella spent time playing in the playroom and being held as well.
Alex: She practiced the same space vocabulary words as Ethan, but wrote hers in cursive. Her cursive is improving daily and she can read cursive now! Woohoo! She also re-wrote a paragraph about the solar system, capitalizing proper nouns and adding punctuation. Next, she completed Horizon’s Phonics and Reading Lesson 48, a review of all contractions. To end this time period, miss Alex enjoyed some solitary reading in the living room. This, of course, turned into read-to-the-pesky-three-year-old-brother-time.
Ethan: He watched the Hooked on Phonics First Grade Unit 1 Intro, followed by Lesson One (-ch, -sh words). He then practiced reading the same words in his booklet. He also read a story called “Chad and Liz Set Up Shop.” Next, he tackled his Spectrum Reading K curriculum and practiced letter recognition and writing.
Derek: Derek enjoyed some reading time with mom and later with Alex. He also enjoyed being quizzed on his letter names and sounds. Derek spent a lot of time playing too.
11:00-12:00- Math Hour!
Alex: Alex chose to do math on www.Time4Learning.com today and learned all about addition and subtraction strategies. She completed several lessons, including a quiz. Next, she finished Lessons 82 (shapes) and 83 (counting by 200′s) from her Horizon’s text.
Ethan: Brainquest Kindergarten kept Ethan busy with worksheets on money counting and telling time. These are new concepts for him and require a lot of coaching. We’re getting there! We practiced naming coins and correctly labeling their value, as well as counting by 1′s, 5′s, and 10′s. After this, Ethan enjoyed some solitary reading time and some puzzles.
Derek: Derek worked on his Brainquest Preschool book, tracing the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 and circling corresponding groups of objects. We practiced counting to 20 together. Last, Derek enjoyed some puzzles.
Bella: Bella enjoyed some play time and puzzles. She loves puzzles!
12:00-12:30- Walk and outside play time. Time to enjoy some Florida sun and take advantage of the playground!
1:00-2:00- Derek, Bella, and Ethan went upstairs to take rests. Yeah!
Alex: Free time on the computer and Ipad (she played a variety of geography, space, and French vocab games). After being denied her request to bring the Ipad in her room for “privacy,” she played with her toys. Ah peace.
2:00-2:30- Derek, Bella, and Ethan are still resting.
Alex: Completed social studies unit, “Families Live in Neighborhoods” while I continued to clean up the day’s messes.
2:30-3:30- Bella gets up from nap time and needs some lovin.’
Alex constructed a model of the solar system out of construction paper and cardboard. It turned out pretty awesome!
Our school day is officially over! Woot woot! Does this mean it’s time for some rest? Unfortunately, no. There’s still more fun to be had. There are games to play and books to read, messes to clean and neighborhood kids to play with at the park. Ethan also had Social Skills Therapy. Whew! This was one busy, fun, productive, and crazy day. On to tomorrow!