Since I'm technically only homeschooling a kindergartner (with the added bonus of toddler twins along for the ride), our days of school are a true split between intentional learning and a lot of play. I posted a day in the life with only photos last fall and the process of sharing what our days honest-to-goodness look like was a good reflection exercise. We don't get out enough, for starters. No worries. Going out in public is on my master project list. ;)
Jamie Martin from Simple Homeschooling is hosting a link-up of homeschooling day in the life posts this week. You can bet I'll be looking through that list for other mamas with twins. <wipes brow>.
Let's dive in:
Monday, February 29th
5:30 My alarm goes off. Paul leaves to go work out. I set my timer and read for at least 20 minutes. I typically journal and read for close to an hour. I move to the kitchen and start breakfast at 6:30.
7:30 By now, everyone has had breakfast and is dressed. We set the Time Timer for 30 minutes for all the boys to play together. When it goes off, it's our "morning time." The other cue that really sets the visual that school is about to start is that I move our school basket from one table in our sunroom to our dining room table.
8:00 Our morning time starts with calendar, prayers, intentions & memory work every day. Then we move to one or two of our items on our loop schedule which currently includes saint study, art history, science, history, Aesop's fables, & Life of Fred. [I change the loop schedule as needed.]
I'm working to protect margin within our morning time. Even though it's time to get a good bulk of our work done, I let Thomas crack the occasional joke, ask questions, and have chats with me (he calls them little conversations and asks for them at bedtime too).
When we finish our morning time work together, we move to independent work. Today, Thomas chose to do his reading lesson first. We use The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and it's been an incredibly rewarding resource.
At this point, we've been studying anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. It's time for a break.
9:00 - 11:00 Thomas has three "independent" school tasks he completes every morning: reading lesson, handwriting, and math. In between these tasks I set the Time Timer for breaks to play. I dedicate one of these breaks to focus completely on Alistair & Emerick (our 2.5 year old twins). Since they have a speech delay, I'm really focused on talking with them, listening to what they say, and practicing sounds, signs, and encouraging those things that are significantly easier for me to hear when I'm solely dedicated to just sitting with them.
Today, we worked on this letter puzzle and practiced our letters and the sounds they make. I've been really grateful this past week because I'm finally hearing some serious progress.
Here's real life captured below. Thomas has stripped off his clothes. Too hot from some game Alistair and he were playing in their room. I'm in the middle of laundry. He's focusing on his handwriting.
When he comes back to the table each time, I'm close by cleaning or working on my own critical tasks. So I'm readily available to check his work and answer questions. The Time Timer is my lifeline right now. No. Coffee first. Then Time Timer.
11:00 - 12:00 Lunch / Even more play time for the boys.
* And let me just clarify that I'm very routine but not strict on timing. This timeline is pretty accurate, but seeing it so crisp on a blog post is pretty deceiving. I'm more of a we do this, then this momma than anything else.
12:30 - 1:00 We read picture books together. I'm a big believer in good quality picture books. We keep our library card maxed out. Thomas either goes to a corner of the room to read or joins in the fun with us of looking at a new book and listening along.
1:00 - 1:30 Staggered naps for the twins begin. After we found out last year that the twins have hemophilia, nap time became a safety concern. I've been staggering their naps ever since and I love it! Thomas and I get special one-on-one time with either Alistair or Emerick (we switch every day) before nap time and if we're lucky (like today), after nap time too with whomever went down first.
1:30 - 2:00 And now for one of my very favorite parts of my day--our chapter book read aloud time! At least thirty minutes--always. We wouldn't ever miss this time together. Today we finished Charlotte's Web. Thomas was in a chair next to me, all snuggled up in a big comfy blanket. Afterward, I encouraged him to get some extra rest (tuckered out no doubt from the weekend). He fell asleep right away.
If he wouldn't have fallen asleep, we would have done an additional activity during nap time, but that's okay. Sometimes, even 6 year olds need extra sleep and fun hands-on activities can wait for another day.
** Paul leaves for his flight to Cleveland. He travels often & it's fairly routine for us.
3:00 Thomas woke up as I was answering emails and reading. I didn't need anymore time to myself, so I grabbed a poetry book and read to him as he was waking up.
3:30 - 4:30 All the boys are up. We get our shoes on and head outside to work & play. We pick up sticks and trash, water some super pathetic looking plants, and park toys next to the house. It was a beautiful day and I am so grateful for it!
4:30 - 6:00 Clean-up time. Simple dinner of fried chicken and roasted carrots. Some t.v. time for the kids. YouTube videos for me while I clean. One last stretch before we're done!
6:00 - 7:00 More puzzles. Even more books. Kissing on littles. Fresh diapers, clean teeth, and hugs and kisses. Prayers. Look, you can tell I feel rough by end of day. I'm not even writing any of this in complete sentences.
And there you have it. Today was pretty calm. The sunshine was lovely. It has taken lots of trial & error this 1st year to find our groove homeschooling with three boys swarming at all times, but definitely have found that sweet spot in our balance of work and play. Capturing today helped me to see all there is to be grateful for in this season. Our days are full of togetherness, simplicity, books, snuggles, and wild little boys playing capture the castle and burn down the village. Kidding. No. Not kidding. :)