A Day in the Life….

I am currently in the trenches of the February home school blahs, which I seem to get each year.  I thought I had avoided them this year on account of the huge enthusiasm I was feeling towards the changes in our home school.  But no, it seems I am as susceptible as ever and am getting the urge to hibernate for a few weeks until March pokes its head around the corner.  It hasn’t helped that the UK is entrenched in some of the worse weather ever seen, and whilst we are safe and dry in our homes we know of people who have checked into a hotel for the next 9 months due to their bungalow being flooded out.  It’s all rather horrible.

A smile to brighten anyone's day!
A smile to brighten anyone’s day!

Anyway, I was reading Hwee’s blog and she had done a day in the life post and was using it to compare to their school days of last year.  I thought this was a great idea and maybe it would be just the thing to help enthuse and energize me for the next couple of weeks.  It wasn’t, but I’m sure it will be fun to look back on next February.

So here goes.

My day really starts the night before, when I prepare the children’s porridge in the crock pot.  Gary turns it on in the morning just before he goes to work and the children wake up to a warm breakfast sans their mother.  That would be because I am usually still in bed.  I used to get up with Gary, have coffee and start my day.  I thought it was a good wifey thing to do, and it was always nice to start the day with Gary.  The problem lay with the fact that I have always had insomnia, really bad insomnia.  I am rarely asleep before Gary gets up for work at 4.30 am, which meant rising with him, at times, led to little or no sleep.  It wasn’t until he gently pointed out the futility of getting up when often the morning time is the only sleep I get, and anyway he would prefer a well rested wife over a (slightly) grumpy one, that I acquiesced and stayed in bed.  Since then I sleep at least 3 hours if not more a night.  This means I must have everything prepared the night before, especially breakfast for the children as T12 wakes up starving every morning at 7.  I am usually up and about by 8, and the children are generally very good these days about allowing me that extra hour!  I am often woken up by C11 singing at the top of her voice.  She has just started singing lessons so I see a lot of singing in our future:

C11 singing as she comes out of the bathroom.
C11 singing as she comes out of the bathroom.

After breakfast we all get down to the business of chores.  Now I can’t say that we all enthusiastically and joyfully go about our house work each day (I’m not sure I do anything enthusiastically or joyfully at that time of the morning, but that’s a whole different story!), however the children have been doing chores since they were three and they know they have to be done and so do them (usually without too much complaint).

L11 washing up in 'her' room
L11 washing up in ‘her’ room

We take a room each (the little ones partner up with someone) and tidy, wash, hoover and mop everything.

B2 helping T12 by filling up the cats water
B2 helping T12 by filling up the cats water

It stays lovely and clean for about three and a half minutes, leaving me to wonder why we bother…

My room. Clean, but for how long?
My room. Clean, but for how long?

Obviously all this work makes for some hungry children, after all they ate over an hour beforehand and one can’t possibly go longer than 60 minutes without food.  The nagging usually begins before chores are finished, with them all trying to out do themselves in the hunger stakes.  I get an inordinate amount of hugs and kisses around this time, presumably because they think I will fold under the love and give in to their pleas.  I don’t and I won’t.  I had to giggle this morning though when, wanting to try out a new tactic, my son came up to me and informed me he was lacking in at least 1500 kilojoules of energy and could I please be a good mummy and do something about it?  Eh?  It took me a while to figure out exactly what he was talking about (well, it was before 9 and I was still trying to wake up and make sense of the world around me, whilst doing my own chores in a sleepy haze.  Trying to decipher my son’s ramblings was a lost cause!).  Anyway T12 finally gave up all hope of me making him a snack and enlisted the help of his little sister and made some toast for the hungry minions and, with a coffee in hand, I joined them for our morning meeting.

T12 and B2 making toast and peanut butter
T12 and B2 making toast and peanut butter

Our morning meeting has taken many guises over the years, but has been a permanent fixture in our day since we first started home schooling.  We eat, we chat, we read the bible, we chat, I read aloud and we chat.  Not a huge amount of work gets done and we do an enormous amount of talking, but I always find it a lovely relaxing time of the day.

Morning meeting
Morning meeting

It is during our morning meeting we line up our schedules for the day and discuss what we will be doing, where I will be needed at what time and who needs help with what.

Lots of chat
Lots of chat
and light hearted banter
and light-hearted banter

I am currently reading a fun book on King John aloud to the children with the purpose of teaching them how to look at evidence critically and not make assumptions.  If I am very lucky one of my girls brushes my hair.  I love having my hair brushed and almost nod off mid sentence (not really – but it is very relaxing!)

Our book which is leading us through the rein of King John
Our book which is leading us through the reign of King John

Once we’re all set up and we all know what we are doing we move onto the first activity – maths.  This lasts about 1 hour depending what we are all doing.  It is during this time I do a bit of reading with A5 and some preschool stuff with both younger ones.

C11 does Saxon at the table
C11 does Saxon at the table
T12 does his Saxon maths in his room listening to music
T12 does his Saxon maths in his room listening to music

The little ones play whilst I do maths with L11:

Playing with the farm
Playing with the farm
A5 reading from All About Reading
A5 reading from All About Reading

After maths things are a bit more flexible.  Sometimes the children have lessons, other times we do a bit of project work.  Today is project work day.

Before much is accomplished the girls spotted a rainbow and we all grabbed our cameras to take a picture:

L11 taking her picture
L11 taking her picture
Isn't it beautiful? Not so keen on the dark side
Isn’t it beautiful? Not so keen on the dark sky

Back inside to work on our individual projects – C11 is currently hand sewing a chemise for her peasant girl (in preparation for her medieval fashion show presentation):

Sewing the neck line.
Sewing the neck line.
Not bad for a first attempt at pattern making and then sewing! Well done C11!
Not bad for a first attempt at pattern making and then sewing!
Well done C11!

L11 is preparing some parchment paper, drawing outlines for a meringue swan, which will be one of her subtleties for her feast:

Here L11 is copying around the stencil she designed the day before. She has to do this 24 times!
Here L11 is copying around the stencil she designed the day before. She has to do this 24 times!
Her plan is to pipe meringue onto the stencil shapes on the parchment paper and bake slowly in the oven. The swans will be put together using whipped cream as the filling which will hold together the swans wings and neck
Her plan is to pipe meringue onto the stencil shapes on the parchment paper and bake slowly in the oven. The swans will be put together using whipped cream as the filling which will hold together the swans wings and neck

T12 sorts through our dressing up choosing outfits he thinks might be helpful for his upcoming play on the War of the Roses:

Play costumes galore
Play costumes galore

It is a quick activity so he plays with the younger two on our trampoline whilst I prepare lunch:

Burning off some energy for lunch
Burning off some energy for lunch
A quick hug before coming in out of the cold
A quick hug before coming in out of the cold

The girls work on a King John paragraph I asked them to do about whether they thought he was a good leader or not.  L11 also puts in some time to her present for B2’s birthday next week, a Mr Men decorated number three:

C11 writing her paragraph
C11 writing her paragraph
L11 creating her sister's birthday present
L11 creating her sister’s birthday present

We have a quick lunch:

Baked potatoes, cheese and salad vegetables
Baked potatoes, cheese and salad vegetables

And the girls clear up, whilst I settle B2 for a nap and T12 finishes off his paragraph on King John (which he then emails to me to check).

More washing up...
More washing up…
Typing his paragraph
Typing his paragraph

We then have a quiet time of sorts.  It used to be a very strict quiet time, when the children read for an hour, but we can’t financially keep up with their reading appetites and have no books to offer them until April.  Quiet time has, out of necessity, become more about finding a quiet activity to do, rather than only reading.  T12 chooses to do some of his Physics homework with me helping when required, whilst L11 and C11 quickly tidy their room.  A5 opts to play with her Mr Men stuff in my room.

T12 working at his physics
T12 working at his physics

At about 2pm everyone, including me, is allowed 2 hours of screen time, to use however they want.  The girls settle down for a relaxing afternoon watching Nim’s Island, whilst T12 chooses to do a bit more project work, writing up a play which he has roped his sisters into for his presentation on the War of the Roses and then watches some Minecraft Videos on you tube (Minecraft is his latest passion!).  A5 loves being on the tablet and does some electronic drawing before tackling some addition on a game.  I am currently writing this post!

Watching Nim's Island
Watching Nim’s Island

Midway through Gary returns home from work to a hot bath, cup of tea and a chat with his wife (we lock the bathroom door and chat whilst he is in the bath – I was forbidden from taking any photos!).  I offer snacks all round (pop corn today) which are gratefully received, and post this blog before turning off the computer until everyone is in bed later on.

We always eat dinner around 4pm because Gary has lunch at 10am, which today will be sausages, baked potatoes and vegetables.  It will be a quick dinner as it is Dynamite day!  Dynamite is a youth club, held at the church down our lane, for 7-11 year olds.  The girls generally go as the youth, T12 is a junior leader, whilst Gary teaches drumming sessions.  I will be staying home, bathing the littles and popping them into bed after a long snuggle with each of them on our ancient rocking chair.

A fairly productive, yet relaxing day.  Just how I like it!

  Homegrown Learners  dayinthelife2