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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

homeschooling amidst chaos

So. Life is different these days. Dada is holding down two jobs. His schedule is always changing. And I'm actually working, sort of. So, maybe I haven't said much about why we are here, aside from no winter and fresh pineapple. HA. There is an organization here that runs a non-profit university to train people from all over the world in all kinds of amazing things. School of Midwifery for midwives going to work in the developing world. School of Seamanship for those working on mercy ships, going to help in natural disasters or bring health care to places like Papua New Guinea. So. I'm helping to start a new school, to help teach skills in advocacy, law and government.

In any case. It means meetings. And phone calls. And skype sessions. And mama at the computer. Which is all....different...for our family.

And I'm loving it. Truly.

But holy moly. Life is chaotic. And yes. We are contemplating other school options next year. But for now. Homeschooling it is. Shoving it into the random corners of the day.

Something like this.

 come to me my children, let me teach you wise and wonderful things...hehehe

8am. Coffee. No. Mama is drinking coffee. Dont speak.

Okay, last slurp. Now you may speak.

Little man is reading on the couch, in his pajamas, wrapped in a blanket (because, you know, 72 degrees is COLD)

It is 9am.

Did you eat yet?

What? Ummmm... (nose in book)


legos. an ever present part of our homeschool day.

a newly discovered fascination with the game risk. kinda relates to geography...right????

He eats. Girls of course have eaten hours ago, at the crack of dawn, cinnamon toast is their norm these days.

Mama sipping coffee sits at "the homeschool table" in her adopted chair.

Let Us Begin.

Usually we do a Bible story, and a chapter of a book we are reading. We just finished Mary Poppins. Then we dive right in to grammar or copy work of some kind or maybe a lit story and reading comprehension questions for little man. Here. Read this story. Answer the questions. Neat sentences and proper punctuation. Here you. Little girl. Sit down. Alphaphonics. Let's go.

If they sit by me for more than one minute I grab a book off the table and get things started right then and there.

Then math. I have been lazy about math curricula over the past few years. Practicing adding and subtracting with math games and gems and stories about gnomes and etc. Up until a week ago I was making up math problem sheets every morning for little man with division, stacked addition, multiplication and adding simple fractions. Good enough. But it was getting to be a lot. So I finally caved and got them both math books. We chose Life of Fred for little miss. I like the story format. Little Green will sit and listen with us. Then there are a few questions at the end of the chapter. We also supplement with math worksheets from one of those big generic workbooks from Costco. For little man we got "Hard Math for Elementary Grades". Straightforward lessons with trucks and tips to using math in real life and learning shortcuts for mental math. He likes it so far. 

That takes care of the basics. I also just go Little Green a wonderful book introducing the alphabet chapter by chapter. Its with the "Tiptoes Lightly" characters, by Reg Down. She has been starting to read with Alphaphonics already but this book reinforces the letters, the sounds they make, etc. She does this and then plays in the corner (making a MESS ALL OVER the LIVING ROOM, but. Okay.)


I decided the easiest thing these days was to have themes each day. History is Monday and Tuesday. Little man is working his way through an audio book (free on Loyal Books!) called "This Country of Ours" on early American history. Little miss gets a reading of a history story from "Baldwin's Fifty Famous Stories Retold" (available here for free!) and then she does an oral narration of the story (it's amazing how good she has gotten at this, and really it helps comprehension and memory skills for later schooling!).

Wednesday we do geography. We just started "Home Geography" with little miss (here, for free) which includes copywork to do and some projects. I have little man study maps in his big Costco book and then play "Stack the States" on the iPad. Later in the afternoon he usually will watch "How the States Got Their Names" (available online).

Somewhere in here Little Green starts whining about a craft. So we do a craft. Today we made a pig from a plastic bottle. Two days ago a bird from styro foam balls. All from a a giant container of craft supplies we got them for Christmas. Glue. Paint. Glitter. EVERYWHERE.

I try to play some music for Green or maybe get some alphabet cards out but inevitably she whines and I let her watch Daniel Tiger on my phone. (Like now, so I can do a blog post. HA)

Thursday and Friday we do science. This has involved unit studies the past few years. We've done volcanoes and now we are doing the ocean so far this year. We get out a lot of books from the library, watch relevant Netflix documentaries, and read something together (I'm doing the Burgess book about the sea right now). Little man, being older, has started doing reports. Little miss too, a few lines and a picture of a sea animal, etc. Then we end the unit study (after a month or two) with a "report day" with daddy as the audience and some kind of experiment. With volcanoes we made a giant exploding volcano.

Good grief. I am exhausted reading that. HA HA.

I'm thinking we might scale back for a few weeks as baby-go time gets closer. Although, the rhythm of it all really helps us give structure to our days and weeks, so maybe I'll just keep it all going as long as I can. Plus I get to spend the morning sitting in the mama chair. Sitting is good right now. Standing makes me feel like the BABY IS ABOUT TO FALL OUT. No, seriously.

So I sit.

And then I get up to make lunch. Smoothie for me. Back to my chair. Kids reading and doing iPad things. Something. Fairly soon I am going to lay down.

That is my day. Well, today anyway. Yesterday was crazy meeting day with dada holding down the fort and doing (some of) the above routine.

Anybody have any tips for homeschooling in a chaotic time of life? Do you let go of subjects? Or keep at the routine?

In any case. I'd love to hear how other busy moms handle life. Meanwhile dishes and dinner prep and sweeping the floor are out the window. Maybe later today....after my nap....HA.
the messy homeschool table. awaiting another day...


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