Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Our first day of school

I've been trying to post these all week, but my camera disappeared on me and then mysteriously turned up in the diaper bag last night.

Here's how our days seem to be unfolding this year.

I get up at 6 and brew coffee and have my prayer time. I *love* this time of the day, that's the only reason I would get up so early. I find I start the day in a foul mood if I don't beat the kids out of bed. Some mornings it doesn't work. This particular morning both Jack and Tess joined me almost immediately, and some time later so did Kain. But I try, and most mornings it works. Don't be impressed that I get up early when I don't have to. I have become a morning person in my old age. By 5pm my brain is mush and I am useless for anything. At 7, I put out hot cocoa and breakfast and wake up anyone still asleep (often Kain, almost always Maria). We eat and get dressed and do a few chores.

We start school at 8:30. I work with Kain for an hour starting with math because it takes the longest. Maria entertains Jack for half an hour and then works on her schoolwork independently. After Kain's hour, I "do school" with Jack for an hour. Mostly this means playtime. I usually choose the first activity, maybe a new learning activity or puzzle he can't do on his own, something like that. We do that for as long as his attention holds and then we just play whatever he wants for a bit. Then we finish up with reading some picture books. Tess usually wants to nurse at some point during all of this. Around 10, I give a morning snack to anyone interested and Maria works for 30 minutes on either typing, music, or art. Jack plays on his own while I finish up school with Kain. Once math is done it moves pretty quickly. Then I work with Maria for an hour, starting with Latin because that's what usually takes the longest. Kain is assigned to keep Jack entertained for half an hour during this time, and then he works on his independent schoolwork. Usually this is a math worksheet and either a music worksheet or map skills. At noon, Maria returns to her independent work, Kain and Jack play whatever, and I get lunch together and do a few chores.

At 12:30 we have lunch and then at 1pm we have an hour of reading and rest time. That's when I usually have my computer time, if Tess will cooperate. After rest time, I sit and read with Kain for science or history and a chapter out of our current read aloud. Jack plays or colors and listens. Maria finishes up any schoolwork. At 2:30 we have tea time. Sometimes this actually involves tea. :) Mostly it means a goodie of some kind and a read aloud to do with the liturgical year or some other kind of devotional book. On our first day of school, we read Juanita and the Angels. After tea time, we are supposed to all go outside for an hour, though I've been wimping out on this because of the extreme hotness. Today we watched The Waterhorse instead.

Then our school day is officially over. As you can see, though, there're a lot of breaks. Kain probably spends 2-3 hours with actual schoolwork, and Maria 3-4 hours. At this point, I work on chores, my to-do list, getting dinner together, etc. I like to leave plenty of time for that because Tess will interrupt and often Jack will too. Kain and Maria pick up their "zones", pick up their bedrooms, and then have a couple hours of freetime. We have dinner at 6, then baths for little people (Maria now showers in the morning), stories (this time of their choosing, unlike the reading during the day that I usually pick), prayers, and bedtime at 8. Maria stays up until 9 or so and I often do a read aloud with her after the boys are in bed. Right now we are still working our way through the Narnia series. I stay up until 10 or so, finishing up some things if I have the energy, maybe watching a movie with John or having some computer time if I don't.

I do make up a paper schedule for the day, but of course this is just an "ideal" to shoot for. The first day actually came pretty close. The second day was much harder...Kain was in one of his moods and I fought tooth and nail with him all day long. Today has been better. I try not to fall apart when things don't go according to plan, because they often don't.

Ok, now for those first day pics...

I always get a few fun things for the school year and set them up on the table the night before our first day. Everyone got new puzzles this year, and a Mille Borne game for us all. They always get new placemats from Rainbow Resource Center too. Some years we have done art supplies, or new backpacks and lunchbags to take to co-op days.

Our whiteboard.

School books for this year. Up on the very top is a cd player, a bunch of music, and my paper files for the current school year. The top shelf is mine, the second is Maria's, then Kain's, the Math U See blocks and a few workbook-y type things for Jack for when he wants to "do school", and the bottom shelf has a set of World Books recently given to us by a sweet homeschooling friend who's youngest student has outgrown them.

Some people want to know what Jack does while we are doing school...he has his own work to do too. I set up a couple of shelves with Montessori type activities,

And when he tires of that he just generally brings out every toy he can find and trashes them room.

A cute pic of Kain and Tess. Tess just gets toted around with me when she's not sleeping,,,and sometimes when she is. We have a portacrib next to the school table with her playgym in it, but that'll only buy me 10 minutes or so.

Kain's new obsession, Pokemon coloring pages. He made himself a book of them while listening to this week's music appreciation. Pokemon and Tchaikovsky...what a combo.

Maria at lunch. The first day was tiring. Our brain's were fried by this point.

ABC brownies. Monday was also Jack's name day, so we needed a special dessert for tea time to celebrate. Brownies are his absolute favorite.

Pizza for dinner, also for Jack's name day.

Our August altar. It's a Marian one, obviously, August being the month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and a few feast days as well.

There's no pics of them doing actual schoolwork because our school table is in front of a window and the lighting came out all weird. Anyway, that's a peek into school around here. I'll do a day in the life post again soon I think.

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