Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂 I know I usually post about free resources on Fridays but I wasn’t able to write this earlier so I’m doing it now because I want to link up to Simple Homeschool, one of my favorite homeschool sites. Every year, Jamie and her team write about a day in their homeschool for their Annual Homeschool Day in the Life Series. I only started reading their posts diligently last year and this year’s series did not disappoint.
Every year, too, Jamie invites other homeschoolers to write about their homeschool day in the life and link up to Simple Homeschool. So I thought I’d share about one of our homeschool days, not just for the link-up but also to answer one of the most common questions people ask when they find out I’m a homeschooling, work-at-home mom of three with no yaya/helper (something which is not so common here in the Philippines but is developing into a “trend” of sorts). Here’s where I tell you about how I don’t “do it all.” 😉 (Warning: This is going to be a very long post!)
But… before that… please take note that not every day in our homeschool is the same. I don’t know about other homeschoolers here in the Philippines but that’s how it is with us.
There are days where no “formal lessons” are done. (Usually these coincide with
weeks days when I have deadlines for work.) There are days when I suddenly announce field trips, like what I did during this week. Of course, there are also days when I want to “throw in the towel” and send the kids off to a good Catholic progressive preschool (ha, ha!). Other days, like during last week, I let the kids go to their grandparents’ place, so “unschooling/non-schooling” actually happens then. Still, I’d like to believe that our kids learn all the time.
Now that I’ve said that, here’s a look at how our day went yesterday, February 13:
5:00 I wake up, almost like clockwork. I don’t usually set an alarm but somehow I find myself waking up around this time, usually to go to the bathroom; other times to nurse the baby. Almost always though, it’s so I can start my day before the kids wake up. I pray, reflect on the readings for the day, and try to get some writing/editing/blogging done. I also check my email and respond to the urgent ones, and mark the important-but-not-so-urgent ones for replying to later.
6:00 The alarm for the two older kids’ medicine time goes off so I go downstairs to get their antibiotics (for their tonsilitis). Sometimes I bring a load of laundry with me so I can put it in the washing machine outside before going back up (this usually happens on laundry days, which I have recently designated to be Monday, Wednesday and Friday ;)). That way, the clothes will be ready for line-drying when the kids and I go downstairs together. Sometimes the kids help me hang the clothes; sometimes they don’t. But I always invite them to help me out. 😉
I go back upstairs and Anthony wakes up. We give the kids their medicine and the three of them go back to sleep. I go back to work.
6:30 The baby stirs and wants to nurse so I let her. I love how breastfeeding helps nurture our bond! Sometimes I wish I was still breastfeeding her Kuya (older brother) and Ate (older sister). I continue to work while she nurses in bed (somehow, I’ve mastered the “art” of typing while nursing while in a sidelying position). I also check Facebook for messages that need replying to (OK, you got me, I check my notifications too!).
8:30 Anthony gets up and goes about his morning ritual. We are blessed that his (and my former) office is just a short tricycle/jeepney ride away from our apartment, so he’s not usually rushing to get to work. The kids love it when he’s there to lead our morning prayers before he goes to the office! 🙂 I continue doing what needs to be done; yesterday it was editing articles for a new client.
9:00 Tim (our 7-year-old) wakes up. I smile good morning and sign I love you to him, as I’m nursing the baby (again!) and can’t hug him. He signs I love you back and lays on the bed he and his Papa share, daydreaming. Some days, (not very often yet but I’m hoping this will change in the future), he’ll pick up a book from the
mountain pile of books in our room and flip through it. (Today is not one of those days.) Anne wakes up soon after and I close my laptop to play with her and Tim.
I go downstairs to wash Anne’s diaper area and bring our blankets, too, to be washed. Might as well take advantage of the sunny day, right? 🙂 We go back upstairs and Anne plays with her Kuya. I love how her face lights up when she sees her older siblings!
9:30 Rysse (our 4-year-old) wakes up. Yes, my kids wake up “late” — later than other kids usually do, I suppose? Anthony and I don’t like waking the kids up early and lately they’ve been waking up between 9:00 and 10:00. Last month and the months prior to it, wake-up time was usually between 8:00 and 9:00. I don’t know how long this “phase” will last, if it is one, but we’ll just go with the flow. (One of the blessings of homeschooling — no cranky, sleep-deprived children!)
Anthony is still home at this time because he has to have his passport renewed so he’ll be going to the office after he gets that done. We say our morning prayers together and then he leaves.
10:00 The kids and I go downstairs and have breakfast (brunch!). Usually, they all play together in the living area (technically it’s not a room, ha, ha!) while I prepare whatever they want to eat. On most days, it’s cereal and fruit (we’re trying to change this though). Today, Tim wants rice and the tinola left over from yesterday. Rysse decides on a banana and yoghurt. I usually ask the kids to choose one of our Maestro Classics CDs so we can listen to it while having breakfast/brunch.
Today, Tim chooses The Soldier’s Tale. Before I gather them all for breakfast, I hang the blankets that I’d earlier put in the washing machine.
10:30 We’re done with breakfast and I clean up. Usually, Tim does the breakfast dishes but sometimes I do them while he and Rysse watch their baby sister. Tim starts listening to audio stories from Storynory, one of their favorite sites.
10:45 A few months ago, this would have been the time when we would start “Lesson Time” (which I will call “Learning Time” from now on, after being inspired by Kari’s homeschool day in the life).
However, as seasons change, so do our routines at times. Right now, what works for us is to have Learning Time in the afternoon. This leaves the rest of the morning for hanging the laundry, doing a bit (a teeny, tiny bit!) of sweeping, and preparing lunch (on days when there are no leftovers from the previous night). Whenever we cook (my ever-loving-and-supportive husband and I take turns), we try to do so in large batches so we can freeze or refrigerate food for another meal/day. I didn’t need to cook yesterday as the tinola we had from Wednesday was enough for lunch and dinner again yesterday.
I check my email and Facebook again for any urgent messages. The kids play. I read from one of our I Wonder Why books — Tim says he wants to be “someone who helps and studies animals” when he grows up, so we talk about the different classes of animals. I ask him to read some parts to me and his sisters. (Well, Rysse anyway. Anne wants to nurse again.)
11:30 The kids ask if they can watch Octonauts (“just one episode, please?”). One episode usually lasts 15-20 minutes on YouTube, so I let them. I don’t usually let them watch anything in the morning but today is one of those days when I make an exception. Meanwhile, I remember that the blankets are in the washing machine so I go hang them outside, leaving Anne with her siblings.
11:45 Tim wants to eat lunch already. (He is almost always hungry, my growing boy!) But Anne has fallen asleep while nursing so I am “trapped” (and I say that in a good way) for the next hour or so. I usually let her sleep in my lap so as not to wake her up. I let the other two kids play.
12:30 Anne wakes up. So I get lunch ready and we start eating. On some days, lunch is at 12:00; others 12:30. Rarely, it’s between 1:00 to 1:30, usually on the days when breakfast is really, really late. 😉
Today, I decide to try reading aloud to the kids again during our meal. I started doing this a while back but stopped. I want to try again and hopefully be more consistent this time. I choose The Children’s Book of Heroes today and the kids LOVE it! We go through two stories until they are done eating.
1:30 We are done eating (yes, it takes us this long sometimes! I have a child who prefers eating leisurely and I’ve been trying very hard not to
snap say, “Hurry up and finish your food” these days). I wash the dishes and take in the laundry. Tim sees the blankets and starts “building” a “house” for himself and his siblings. They end up having so.much.fun. And decide that we will have “ Lesson Learning Time” in their “house.”
2:00 It’s “quiet/play time” for us now. This means the kids can do whatever they want but not make too much noise. So they make up different scenarios in their “house.” We play “ice cream vendor” — I am the ice cream vendor and they are my customers. We use Rysse’s Christmas gift, an ice cream scoop stacking set (similar to this one) and they pay me with pieces of Kre-O and Lego.
3:00 We begin “Learning Time.” We open with a prayer and our homeschool’s “theme song.” (We sometimes sing the National Anthem too.) We talk about what day and date it is and then I read from one of our children’s Bibles, usually this one.
I try to align the Bible stories with our theme for the day or week. This week is all about God creating us for a special purpose, in connection to The Lego Movie, which the kids watched with their dad earlier in the week, and about love, too, because of Valentine’s Day. Then we proceed to more “formal academics”.
Currently, Tim is enrolled with Kolbe Academy and is doing First Grade work. A lot of people ask me why we chose Kolbe and I usually refer them to my old homeschooling blog for my answer. I need to come up with a separate updated post for that actually! We don’t use all of the books recommended by Kolbe (another separate blog post topic!). Sometimes I let Tim do Second Grade work using Brain Quest.
I ask Rysse if she wants us to “learn her letters” with me via Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons but she politely declines (ha, ha!). She wants to build her own “room” in their house so I let her. Ever since I read about pursuing a “slow education” earlier this week, I’ve decided to slow down and let the kids learn at their own pace. Especially Rysse.
4:00 Tim is halfway through his lessons when Rysse comes up to me and says, “Look, Mama! I wrote 1!” I look and see that she indeed has written the numeral 1 on her writing pad. “Cool!” I say and high-five her. Tim is figuring out how to do subtraction using regrouping mentally while Rysse and I are talking.
4:30 I’m reading aloud from Tim’s Religion book (because he asked me to; usually he’s the one who reads from it) when Rysse announces, “Mama, I’m going to do my letters on your computer, OK?” Then she proceeds to type out each letter of the alphabet with Dr. Seuss’s ABC Book as her guide. Tim helps her with one or two letters. She ends up going all the way to letter p before deciding she’s had enough.
“What is the baby doing all this time?” you may ask. Either she’s nursing or playing on the floor or climbing up on the sofa. She’s always with us during Learning Time. (Well, she’s usually with me wherever I go, for that matter, in my SaYa or ring sling.)
5:00 Tim declares it’s “break time” and he and Rysse get their own snacks (peanuts and cranberry with mixed fruits juice). We finish up by 5:30 and I ask if they want to play outside with their soccer/hockey set but they say no because then they’d have to tear down their “house” and they plan to “sleep in it tonight with Papa.” OK, I say. I let them play and check my email again. Baby Anne nurses and falls asleep.
6:00 The kids excitedly announce that their Papa is home. He comes in through the door and Anne wakes up. He’s only home for a little while because he has to give a talk about managing Catholic events to a group of youth volunteers. The kids make him promise to sleep with them in their “house” and he agrees. After a quick dinner, he leaves. I heat up some water for the kids’ bath and prepare their food for dinner.
6:30 We eat together at the table, with the baby in my lap. We chat about whatever we want and the kids can’t help but be excited for their “camp-out” with their Papa in their “house.” Dinner, like lunch, is usually a
long, drawn-out leisurely affair. I remind myself to relish each moment, because they will not be little forever.
7:00 Tim says he’s still hungry but the rice is already finished, so Mama has to cook some more. He and Rysse watch Anne while I wash the rice pot and cook rice. On most nights, Anthony washes the dishes but since he’s not home yet, I choose to wash whatever dirty dishes there are in the sink too, so as to save time later on. I remove the water heater from the bucket in the bathroom as well.
7:15 The rice is cooked! Tim continues his meal while the little girls play in their “house.” I keep the leftovers once Tim announces that he’s full and finish cleaning up. Rysse needs to go to the bathroom so I say since she’s there, I’ll give her a bath. I used to let her do this on her own but she still has to master washing her hair properly. (It’s also a lot quicker this way, ha, ha!) Tim watches Anne while I bathe Rysse. Then he takes a bath on his own.
8:00 Rysse announces that she wants a snack. I get her some bread and hand her the jar of cheese spread and she accidentally drops it. The jar shatters. I keep myself from shouting but I think I raised my voice a bit so I muster up a weary smile and say, “It’s OK, I’ll clean it up.” So I do and she has her snack and all is well again. Tim eats some peanuts (again!).
The two older kids then brush their teeth, I give Anne a quick bath (confession and proof that I don’t “do it all”: She is not bathed every day! Just like Blessie‘s baby when she was younger. 😉 That’s one of the things you do to survive without a yaya/helper! Oh wait, is it just me?!) While putting on Anne’s clothes upstairs, I hear the kids squeal for joy because their Papa is home (and they can finally sleep in their “house”!). I sigh in relief. 😉
8:30 I leave Anne with her Papa and siblings and take a (much-needed) bath; my “alone-time” for the day! After getting dressed, I finally keep the clean clothes that I had folded weeks ago (promise, it was just two weeks ago! ;)) Then I go downstairs to chat with Anthony about his day, his talk and my day, including developments with work.
9:00 We try to settle the kids down by this time so that they’re asleep by 9:30 at the latest. We always say our night prayers together and read at least one book before going to sleep. More often though, the earliest time they sleep is 10:00 p.m. Tonight is a bit later because (a) they need to take their medicine at 10, and (b) they’re too excited about sleeping in their “house.”
10:15 The kids announce that they have changed their minds (we expected this) and want to sleep upstairs in our room. We read a bedtime story from Mustard, the children’s magazine I’m editor-in-chief of. Rysse wants me to read one of her Barbie storybooks to her too (yes, we have some “fluff”/”twaddle” books!). She falls asleep soon after. Anne also falls asleep while nursing. Tim asks me to read from Richard III, which we got from The Learning Basket. We don’t finish it because he’s already sleepy.
10:30 Finally, all the kids are asleep! I usually fall asleep soon after, unless Anthony and I want to do something together, like watch a DVD or, well, you know. 😉 I used to wake up again to work/blog but now I just wake up early in the morning to do so.
Well, that’s it. Like I said, not every day is the same. Also, every day I try oh so very hard to be consistent. To be patient. To be kind. There are sibling squabbles in between our daily activities, too, which I try to have them resolve on their own. There are bad days — very bad days even, when I am cranky and lose my temper and say and do things that I regret. Of course, there are also good days. And I thank God for each and every one of them. Imperfect as we are, and as far off as we are in our goal of seeking the Kingdom, I’m glad to have my little Kingdom-Seekers around. They remind me that God is not finished with me yet, and that I need more of Him and His grace in my life.
Now, it’s YOUR turn.
Are you a homeschooler, especially a Filipino one? Do you want to share about YOUR homeschool day in the life? Link up to Simple Homeschool here if you want to — the link-up will be open for the next two weeks!
If you won’t be able to link up to Simple Homeschool, I invite you to add your posts here. 🙂 Though you can still add them here AND at Simple Homeschool too, if you like! I’d love to read what other homeschoolers’ days are, especially in the Philippine setting! If you DON’T have a blog, you can always share about your day in the comments!
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