Category Archives: Day in the Life

Home education; planning and organisation

This term I’ve set out to make sure the children have all their work planned and set out for them in two-week stints. This means they should always be fully prepped two weeks ahead so that no matter what happens they can simply get out their work and get on with it. There are some bits and pieces that don’t lend themselves completely to this – such as anything Montessori that I have to teach or some other bits that require help , but I am thinking that even then some of it should be easy enough for someone else to take over should it be necessary.

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They each have a file with a timetable, dividers by day for two weeks and all the instructions and worksheets set out for the right day.

Ronan’s file has most of the “share” worksheets for when they are working together on something.

The timetable is set out showing subject areas for each day and what they must complete each day. I don’t set down a time

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for this as it will vary depending on the length and difficulty of whatever they are doing. The only “rule” is that it must be done.

Ronan has really taken to this system and uses it well. Avila tends to forget to look at her timetable so can miss things out if I don’t remind her. But she’s getting there.

P1000097They each have a Learning Box in which workbooks, spare notes and reading books are kept. You can see that we also cram in the library books so they don’t go missing in the house vortex spaces.

Extra curricula is kept on the bookshelves in the order in which we use them (more or less) I’m not obsessional enough to have them all coded but I hope I’m obsessional enough that anyone could walk in and not get completely lost with what we are up to.

It really has saved time. Things like having the pens in their learning boxes so they aren’t constantly off looking for things is a great help and being able to just put my hand to whatever book we need straight away is much less stressful that having to hunt around for it.

Some of you might be thinking this is an awful lot of work. Well, yes and no. It’s pretty time consuming when I’m getting it all planned but as it rolls out I only need to plan one week ahead to keep two weeks ahead if you see what I mean and while that’s time consuming up front it saves a lot of time later. It’s still flexible enough I think – so far.

I’ve also decided to try and cut back the sheer volume of paper we still seem to get P1000093through. Heleyna in particular is using a whiteboard more often (the modern version of a slate or wax tablet). I am long past that awful phase of thinking that unless the children produced a mountain of worksheets that they weren’t learning.

I’ve lost the Greek pronounciation CD mind….. well, nothing’s perfect.

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Home Education: Term Begins, Day One fully survived!

Term started 9 am sharp this morning. The children had already been up breakfasted, done the dishwasher and played.

I had new folders and workbooks all laid out neatly and thought I’d done well. Avila pointed out the lack of music set up so I did that and Heleyna sat down to her lesson asking bemusedly¬†where the keyboard was!

Ahem. Keyboard duly installed. It is much easier to learn to play one when you actually have one in front of you apparently.

The new folders went down well and I had hoped we would finish everything by half-two today. We finished at twenty-five past two!

They tidied up pretty quickly and I finished off.

So, first day fully survived. Whether the rest of the week will go as smoothly remains to be seen ūüôā

I’m returning to a more literature based approach for now. I’ll see how that works out.

End of term. Little garden party for the children.

Iona and her friends organised a garden party at her friend’s house. They have one every Summer and then a dinner party here in the Winter for Christmas and the Christmas tide birthdays.

Well, little Miss Heleyna was somewhat put out that these events went on and she was not invited to them. “Aha!” she cried, “When I’m a grown up girl I will have a garden party and not invite you!”

TRADITIONAL-SCHOOL-MILK-BOTTLE-CRATE-MILKSHAKE_1Feeling a touch chagrined on behalf of her youngest sister, and being in possession of some very neat mini milk bottles and some left over paper straws Iona decided that an end of term garden party for the children was in order.

So today the washing line was hung with bunting and the garden table loaded with finger sandwiches, crisps, homemade sausage rolls and many other goodies. There was pink milk and chocolate milk with proper paper straws.

All followed up with ice cream.

A lovely day.

I’ve looked at the photos but I wont upload them as I haven’t talked to the other mums about permission. Must do that.

Home education a couple of days in the life.

Yesterday, I got up did morning prayer, cleaned the kitchen ans set out the work for the little group.

Josh was wandering around emptying the bins ready for tonight. He was off to work after that. Alex was already at work.

Another family arrived and we had a cuppa. Then we called all the children together and did some history. We are following the syllabus for RC connecting with History using the Ancient Civilisations Pocket Book making book and Kalei’s Bible timeline pictures.

The children in the lesson range from age 4 to 9 and there’s a toddler too. For Ronan and Avila this is revision rather than work that stretches them.

Jenny (Josh’s girlfriend) of the Little Green Dress¬†came and taught a Spanish lesson. We got lunch ready and then after lunch there was a bit more Spanish and then time to play. Ronan got the others together and made tortillas.

Jenny left and then the other family left. Alex came home and his girlfriend arrived.

I started the dinner and got most of it cooked and sorted so I could collapse in a chair for a while. Then everyone laid the table.

Al arrived home from work and I served dinner.

Children watched a bit of Narnia, the Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe then got ready for bed.

Al took them up to bed and then there was relative silence for a while. I did some knitting and reading.

Compline and bed.

Today: Got up, morning prayer, cleaned kitchen. I ought to have made a jug of squash and left it on the table with cups for the children to help themselves to during the day – but I forgot.

Avila helped Heleyna get her breakfast while I set up the lessons for the day including the keyboard and broken computer for their music lessons (I plug the broken computer into the TV so they can actually see the music).

Lessons start and I have Heleyna (age 5) for one to one time while the other two work independently. This is easier since I bought them learning boxes which have everything they need. We use a pretty similar set up each week so they know what is expected of them.

After Heleyna’s¬†work was done she sat next to me to do some worksheet stuff while I had one to one time with Avila. We do RE together and she reads to me. Then she and Ronan did a science¬†experiment together while Heleyna watched.

Ronan got lunch for him and his sisters. I grab a lunch and get stuff put away and the next lessons out. With Ronan I do RE, he reads the Fr Brown Reader and we discuss the answers to the questions before he writes them out. Then he read to me.

There was a break while I sorted out something for Heleyna¬†and then it was time for Latin (Primer A) and a bit of history. Heleyna¬†had two little word worksheets for Linney’s¬†Latin to do which included drawing a nauta¬†(sailor) and an astronauta (astronaut) Actually that second word isn’t in the book but we like it. She did very well.

Lesson times were over and the girls went to play. Ronan came to help me prepare dinner. He loves cooking and grabs any opportunity to do so.

Having my 4 o’clock flop time now. It’s bizarre but around this time most days I just can’t move around any more. So I don’t. I am supposed to be writing up the Greek and Latin for next week, but I’m blogging instead.

The boys are at work and Iona is cleaning her room. The children are playing and all is quiet(ish).

Who knows what will happen next…

After lunch it was one to one time with Ronan while the girls played.

Home Education; A Day in the life

A typical Tuesday.

It’s about 7:20am and I am drinking coffee and going the careful stretches that will unlock my body so I can get out of bed and put the weight on my feet.¬† This varies from, almost immediately to half an hour, but at last I can walk around.

I come downstairs and clean the kitchen, sort out any washing left from the day before and set out the children’s work for the day, including the keyboard.

Morning prayer with rest of coffee.

Sort out breakfast and drinks for Heleyna. The other two usually sort themselves out.

Music lessons begin. One child at a time sits with the keyboard in front of the TV where my very broken laptop is plugged in. It still works for these lessons though. We are using the Adventus Piano software with the monthly subscription.

Start Heleyna’s lessons with her. We usually start with Funnix¬†(which I got free but I think¬†you have to pay now)¬†and then More.Starfall ¬†(subscription) or Starfall¬†(Free). I’ve printed up the workbooks and reading books from the download centre.

The other two finish music lessons and start independant work, which includes Language Arts and Maths (MUS and Life of Fred) Ronan was really pleased with himself for finishing MUS Beta today. He starts Gamma on Thursday. Once I finished the first lessons with Heleyna they can come and ask for help.

I hear Ronan Read and we work on his Religion 3 together and the Ignatius story.

Then back to Heleyna for her Visual Perseptual Skills and Early Literacy .

Avila comes for her Faith and Life lesson Jesus Our Life (She is working above grade on this) She then reads to me.

The shopping arrives and then Ronan spends some time making the adult sized skeleton we are working on.

Then it’s time for Map Work together.

Ronan goes to start putting the lunch together and I have a moment to watch the DVD lesson 13 for Song School Greek, so I can get the words right! (for once!)

The children have lunch and I do some sorting and tidying and make a lovely cuppa. I clean the kitchen and grab some lunch.

Set up for next lessons. The children come and sing some songs in Song School Greek and then it’s out with the teddy counters¬†and inhalers to do a visual history lesson with Our Catholic Legacy. (Today Seretide¬†was Henry II and Qvar¬†was Thomas a Becket. The other inhalers were¬†Lords while the bears were jurers, criminals and¬† common folk.)

Finally lessons are over and we all get a bit of a break. I start plans for the next day. Then there’s some housework to do.

The girls get themselves ready for ballet, while I¬†ensure¬†we have all we beed¬†in the ballet bag.¬†and then we leave for the lessons. One of the boys gets my powerchair out through the not so wide front door and I’m ready to roll.

Iona cooks on a Tuesday as I take the girls.

We get back and Al returns from work. We eat together as a family – which is very important. Then there’s story time or quiet time or a DVD and then it’s bedtime for the younger three. Daddy says prayers with them and Roni is allowed reading time in bed.

Then it’s time with the biggies and a bit of reading before bed. And that’s a day in the life of us lot.

Home Education during sickness – doing it but slowly.

As I can’t get about very well right now, it’s important the children get “aired” in some way even without me. They have spent a lot of time in and out of the garden making ice blocks and playing while keeping and eye on the temperature to see just how cold it has to get before their ice blocks freeze right the way through.

My voice comes and goes but I managed to read to them for a little while. I think I am going to need to find some other method of getting some of the usual read alouds done for the time being Рor shelve them until I can talk and breathe properly.

I am sorting out the workbooks so that on the whole the children can work as independently as possible and that I only need to do a bit of listening and explaining here and there. I manage this with them all working in the same room and having the workboxes set up and ready to roll in the morning.

Ronan is helping with the lifting and carrying that needs doing which means I am still managing to be set up for the learning day by half nine.

Despite some faffing¬†about, and both Ronan and Avila interrupting their work to help Heleyna a couple of times when I couldn’t – everything we set out to do today was done.

The three older ones are doing more of the taking and fetching for beavers and cubs and tomorrow for ballet.

I did manage to cook the tea starting the process at lunch time and getting a bit at a time done so that it was all ready by tea time.

Other housework is falling behind but I am hoping to catch up on some of it once the steroids and antibiotics kick in properly (although this time around they are taking their own sweet time over it).

Some of the jobs I would usually just do, the smaller ones are beginning to take on. For example they can easily put their own breakfast bowls and plates in the dishwasher themselves.  I am reminding them more about tidying up their own things, rather than me doing it for them.

The older ones are taking on more stuff too, so that hopefully things can run fairly smoothly for a while yet.

I am trying to get some of the work set up in advance so that they are still covered no matter what happens. This is where I think just allowing them to write straight into the workbooks and be done with it might be my best course of action, instead of having the notebooks to write into.

I am still undecided on this as workbook work is more expensive anyway – but then, its more important the education continues… We’ll see how that goes.

I really do think a lot of this is down to how much is expected of the children. If they are expected to get on with work, they tend to do so. It helps enormously that I am not having to make enormous changes to their and my routine to get this done.

Looking around at other Home educating and homeschooling families who have gone through long-term sickness it seems there’s a lot of adjustment and outside support to be had. Having older children who are well versed in taking care of themselves and their own learning has come up a few times, meaning things that might otherwise not have been manageable are manageable.

I’ll write more of this as we go through it. I hope the ideas and methods I use will help anyone else in this situation.

Pumpkins and saints. Strange combination, but we don’t mind.

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We had a quiet little Halloween/All Saints/All Souls/Pumpkin get together yesterday. The children made little sweets and then carved pumpkins or made paper lanterns. Then they chose someone they loved who had died recently and wrote a little prayer for them.

We took the prayers with us to Mass this morning and left them at the foot of the altar.

They carved the pumpkins into silly faces and Heleyna, although she had made a paper lantern, carved a face into a pepper as well. It glows rather nicely with a tea light inside it.

Back to some “formal” learning today and they will do a little tomorrow morning before everyone arrives.¬† I want Thursday to be a head down and getting on with it day.

Friday’s have been our little group History and Art days but that looks set to change. So this Friday will be for Heleyna and her friends to do some joint work in science, maths and Sign Language. Then I’ll sort out with K how she can get here with her children around all the meetings and appointments that come with fostering.

All change. We can easily shift and rearrange. It’s one of those little home ed advantages that we don’t tend to notice very often.