Thursday, November 3, 2011

Comparisons and rhythm

I've had some questions lately about our rhythm and where I'm getting my ideas for school.

Let me start by reminding anyone who is reading this that we do NOT do it all.

Our day is NOT perfect.

My days are NOT free from tears, whether they be my almost 9 year old daughter's, my other child's or MINE.

My days are NOT free from chaos ~ two dogs that drive me crazy most of the time and make it impossible to keep my house clean, three kittens that do the same, paychecks that continue to get smaller, bills that cannot be paid, stress and more stress and my constant feelings of failure.

Please do not look at a post on my site and think that I have it all together.

Because I do not.


Each day is a new day.

And, each day I NEED a new day ... to make up for the one before it.

I am only starting to feel like we are getting into a groove.  But, we still don't have any math because I don't have any and I have no way of buying what I want/need. So, while our homeschool may be gaining some ground and moving in the direction of success, it is by no means perfect.

And, I'm utterly distracted. ALL . THE . TIME .

I truly want to be a PRESENT parent, but I fail miserably at that ... daily.

I am distracted because I am always planning (the upcoming school year, the next twelve school years, next week's school, you name it) ahead (in my head) and thus cannot just BE in the moment.

I am distracted because I am stressed about money.

I am distracted by animals and clutter and dust and dirt and hair and loud and hyper children who bicker.

So, if your house feels chaotic and you look here and think for even a second "Why can't I get it together like HER?", stop yourself. Because, ironically I am looking at your blog thinking the same exact thing! :)

Well, now that I got all of that off of my chest, let me answer a couple of questions.

Our rhythm?

The basic daily rhythm looks like this:
  • Morning Routine (dress, make bed, breakfast, teeth, animals, etc.)
  • Chores (we're working on this ~ honestly THEY do theirs more often than I do)
  • School
  • Snack & Recess (tends to stretch FOREVER)
  • School
  • Lunch
  • Quiet Time
  • Play Outside
  • Dinner
  • PJs, Teeth, Read Aloud
  • Bed
That's the GENERAL rhythm around here.

Sometimes we find it hard to start again after recess. But, honestly that is MY fault, not theirs. They are out there having fun and I get distracted and don't feel like doing school anymore. I'm working on that.

I don't plan too much in a day.

I purposely don't plan to have more than about 2 to 2 1/2 hours worth of school because MOMMY doesn't want to do it after lunch. The idea is to start about 9:30, snack around 10:30 or so and then school some more from 11:00 or 11:30 to 12:00 or 12:30.

Our Weekly Rhythm looks like this:
  • Monday ~ Home ... School
  • Tuesday ~ Home ... School
  • Wednesday ~ School in a.m., library and Handwork group in afternoon
  • Thursday ~ NO SCHOOL ... Homeschool Group
  • Friday ~ Home ... School
  • Saturday ~ Clean
  • Sunday ~ Family Time ... Football
I only schedule four days of school work. EVER.

One thing we've recently started and is working VERY well is that we have a Science Lesson on Sunday with Daddy. I'm ashamed to admit that my straight-A getting self has the hardest time wrapping my brain around moon and earth and sun and rotation and seasons and all of that stuff. I have "book smarts" but get all mixed up with some very common sense stuff. So, when I looked at my third grade science stuff and saw that the first lessons were about the earth's revolution and the moon and all that stuff that I barely understand myself, I asked my husband if he would like to teach this stuff on Sundays. He said he'd love to. And, he's done a lovely job so far. I even understand it now! Good Job, Daddy!

So, he teaches the concept on the weekend (girls don't even realize it is school) and then I have the Hippie make an entry into her Science Lesson Book on Monday (draw what she learned and write a sentence or two about what she learned). This is working well for us.

Well, I could write forever about school. So many more thoughts running around in my head. But, I must go have dinner with my family. If you are a fellow home-educating Momma and have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask! I love making new blogging buddies!

Many blessings on YOUR journey. May we all learn to stop comparing ourselves to others. Boy is that one we struggle with constantly! 

Love and Light


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Your daily rhythm is similar to ours, except a little flipped. :) We have our morning routine, chores (start laundry, start dinner, dust floors, dogs), snack, errands & library & Sesame Street for my little boys, read-aloud with lunch, naps for boys (hooray) and while I'm putting the boys down the girls have 30 minutes of quiet time with book basket. During naps the girls and I have lessons for 2-ish hours, sometimes a little longer, but not by much. Then outside playtime for 2 hours with all the kids while I finish laundry and get dinner on the table, then baths, stories, and bedtime. I am so excited to incorporate Little Acorns now too. Thank you again! Love its loveliness. :) What math are you looking to buy? My husband is also the science guy around here. Happy me. Thanks for sharing such a helpful post! (Sorry ~ had to edit some terrible typos. lol)

  3. Glad I could help, Erin! I have looked at LAL forever but never committed just b/c of money. But, I always thought it would be a nice way to keep track of seasons and festivals and provide me with the baking and craft ideas when I wasn't so inspired on my own. Plus, I loved that you can buy them once and use a few things this year, keep it in a binder and next year in the same month, you could use some of the other ideas you didn't get to ... keep using it forever that way.

    As far as math, we have NOTHING ... UGH. I think my younger one would like the one from Queen (she LOVES her Delightful Reading lessons and that math just looks similar). My older one ... I've pondered Math Mammoth forever and I think that would really satisfy ME, but not sure it would be any fun and not sure if she'd understand it. Then, I spent some time looking at MUS the other day and it appears that between the video and the blocks in her hand, maybe that would explain things well for her, but not require too much from me. I don't know. She loves the Life of Fred, but I feel like she needs more ... it's fun to read, but then only 5 silly questions I ask her orally.

    Of course, I have NO MONEY at the moment and NONE in sight. I'm trying to sell some items I'm not using, but no one is biting. Praying ....

    How do you like Math Mammoth? Do you just set a timer and let her go or assign 2 pages a day or what? Do you actually DO lessons with her or does she do it on her own? Did you buy the download and just make your own binder?

    Love and light

  4. (Part 1 of 3: it's too wordy for just 1!)


    Okay. I meant to get a post up in response to your questions but haven't done that yet and I'm leaving town tomorrow so I decided just to comment here on your most recent post right *now* while I'm thinking of it.

    First, your most recent question, about what Year we started with:

    We began with Year 1- when our oldest was 6, I think- but we are currently doing Year 3. (We switched to Mystery of History at some point so we got a little off but now we're back, just a year "behind", now, I think.)

    Another thing: We do history *all together*, which is not how Ambleside has it set up: they recommend each child being in their own year, but I felt like that was impractical with so many kids *and* I love doing history together! The rest of the kids just do whatever year my oldest is on, but at their own level.

    (to be continued...)

  5. (Part 2 of 3)

    Okay, this year for school:

    Bible: The Child's Story Bible (Vos) The other one I like is Hurlbut's, but because I have more younger kids than older, we are doing Vos b/c of the shorter entries.

    Memory work: Verses from the Clarkson's 24 Family Ways book, states and capitals.

    History: Year 3 selections from Ambleside, so: Trial and Triumph, Our Island Story, This Country of Ours and Child's History of the World.

    Literature: I've assigned them books to read on their own from Year 3 Ambleside Selections for my daughter (9) and some of those but also some from earlier Ambleside years for my son (8; 2nd-grade).

    Copywork: Verses or quotes I select.

    English: We use Rod and Staff, (my 9-year old is actually still finishing their 3rd grade book, even though she's in 4th) and my 8-year old is in their 2nd grade book) and I do most of this orally with the kids, twice a week per child.

    Math: Ella (9) does Rod and Staff and Isaac (8) does Math-U-See. (They learn differently and this works for us.)

    We do Composer Study and read through some of Opal Wheeler's composer biographies (that we've found at thrift stores or used book stores) and I usually either check a CD of that composer out at the library or purchase one or find some music on Pandora.

    We do Picture Study and I pre-select artists at the beginning of the year and we "study" those.

    (You can find more on Composer and Picture Study by clicking on those links on my sidebar categories, if you're interested.)

    Dictation: I do once a week with my daughter (9), and just choose a selection from a book we're/she's reading (either history or literature or one of our read-alouds).

    Narration: The kids will often narrate to their daddy at lunch or in the evenings. We don't do any formal, written narrations at this point.

    Read-alouds: I read from a book to my older three (9, 8, and 6) each day and my husband goes through another book in the evenings (Ella and I usually do knitting or some such handwork during this time each evening.)

    (to be continued...)

  6. (Part 3 of 3)

    Hm. Is that all? I hope I'm not missing anything! OH! Nature Study: my husband does this once a week with the kids on his day off, and he plans it out and organizes it all. (I either join along as "student" or take a break during that time :))

    I think that's it. I hope that helps!

    OH! British History: You know, I didn't give this much thought when we began, but somewhere long the way I read this comment from an Ambleside organizer and it made sense to me: (Plus, I'm fascinated by any and all history and it's one of our favorite subjects so we like learning it! I think history fuels such great conversation about all sorts of things- (all of our study of British kings/queens has often had us talking about what it takes to be a good leader and what this or that person should have done differently, or what qualities they had which led to peace or whatever it may be...)

    Okay. Hope I didn't forget anything! (Sorry for the LOOOOONG comment here on your blog!) I hope to come back some day soon and read some of your posts, here. And please- feel free to ask me any questions. I will answer as soon as I'm able. :)

    Blessings to you and your cute family!


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