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Thursday, January 13, 2005

"A Day in the Life..."

I was asked to contribute to this regular feature in our homeschool group's monthly newsletter, and because I have so many books sitting on my bedside table begging to be read, I'm delivering this canned post for your reading pleasure. G'night!


In the morning, after returning home from dropping the littlest one off at preschool, out fly the books. Both girls eagerly jump into their grammar, and when they finish they beg and plead, in a happy, friendly sort of way, to be the first to do math with Mom. They are ever so cheerful and stay on task right up until noon, when they prepare themselves a healthy meal. We all sit down and I read aloud the next few chapters in our history study, the girls eagerly devouring the story as well as their lunch. Deep discussions of events and ideas excite the girls so much they can’t wait to begin their additional reading assignments, but they reluctantly wait until after our last subject, their favorite, Latin. Latin is such stimulating fun I can hardly get the girls to put the books down when it’s time to pick up their sister from school.

Yeah, right. Though, if you factor in the moaning, groaning, foot stomping, and occasionally elevated voices, mine included, it begins to resemble reality.

We have been using Rod & Staff’s Building Christian English Series 4 and 7 for our grammar and writing lessons, a thorough and challenging series that has taught me more than all my years in school did. The kids hate it, so it must be good. I begin with whichever child has found her books first, a chore even though their location never changes, do the oral review, teach the lesson, and get her started on the written portion. Repeat with remaining sister.

I catch the first sister wandering over toward the computer, realize she must be finished, and check her work. She tells me she forgot to feed her pet, so she is allowed a brief break for animal duty. Second sister is now finished and checked, and because she refuses to eat breakfast, she is hungry, and drifts off for a snack.

After I have rounded them up again, the same routine is followed for math. Math is Saxon 5/4 and 8/7. They don’t mind it too terribly.

First sister, apparently finished, is enjoying a sandwich, an ice cream sandwich. Second sister must be persuaded to finish her work before she gets one too. She must then be reassured that there will still be one left in spite of her voracious sister. A real lunch is suggested. Outside they go for a few zippy loops around on the scooters, fueled by their sugar high.

Back inside, we go over questions from Beautiful Feet’s Early American and World History Guide for Junior High for the previous day’s reading, and I begin the next section aloud in Abraham Lincoln’s World. There are several intermissions while I answer history related questions; order the hedgehog to be put away; explain that your behind should be on the seat of the chair, not your head; remind them that discussing the previous day’s swim lesson, while it is a past event, does not count as history; and state for the record, once again, that the video camera be put down, filming a historical drama and creating period cat costumes are purely extracurricular pursuits.

After reiterating all the reasons Latin is relevant and why we will continue learning a language that no one speaks, I get the nine year old working on her lesson in Latina Christiana I, while the twelve year old completes her next lesson in Traditional Logic. When the elder sister is finished, she works on the next few exercises in Henle’s First Year Latin.

At some point in the day, I try to check and reply to emails and update my blog. Sometimes I even shower! Housework is left for the fairies, but last I heard, the union was involved in some sort of labor dispute and they haven’t been showing up lately.

By now, it’s time to get their little sister. If this is a Tuesday or Thursday, we go straight from school to swimming lessons. Each girl dutifully drags along her additional reading, Across Five Aprils for the older and On the Banks of Plum Creek for the younger, which keeps them occupied, and hopefully quiet, during car trips so that I can catch up on the day’s events on NPR.

After dinner, some hodgepodge from the fridge or more often a take-out brought home by Dad, we snuggle into my bed for a read-aloud, a work of literature relating to the historical time period under study, currently The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and, after all wiggling has ceased, enjoy a lovely evening.

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