Monday 15 February 2016

A Day in the Life of a Classical CM Homeschooler

About ten years ago I wrote out a day, much like I've done here, and besides having an extra five children in the mix back then, the general routine we have now still looks very similar. Our two eldest are married and we have five children still at home. Three of those still at home have graduated and are working/studying and now I'm just teaching the two youngest, Moozle and Benj, who are in Years 5 and 11. We use the Ambleside Online curriculum and adapt it when required to suit our Aussie context.

6.30am - I get up. Nougat, Zana have already left for work. Hoggy leaves home at different times depending on whether it's a study day or a work day.
I'm inconsistent with my waking times but if I get up early enough I go out for some exercise but first on the agenda is:
A cup of tea, read my Bible and a section of Augustine's Confessions. This morning I wrote in my Commonplace book which I'd neglected lately.  
While I was out I listened to a Circe podcast by Andrew Kern & Wes Callihan - 'A Perpetual Feast,' and I highly recommend a listen. There are a few in the series.

7am - Benj has his alarm set to get up at this time so he gets up and takes his time over a shower & breakfast...

8am - I get home & hang out the washing that was in the machine overnight and put on another load. I realise Moozle is still in bed so go and wake her. She is not an early riser...
Dad is also up but doesn't have to rush off this morning so I make him some bacon & eggs (rare!)

9am - this has always been our 'official' start for lessons but some of their independent work (eg music practice, maths - for the older ones, or copywork) may get done before then.

Me - hang out the washing; put on another load

Moozle  - maths (with me), copy work, poetry
Benj - Bible, maths

Moozle - Read Abraham Lincoln's World - gives me an oral narration afterwards

I hang out another load of washing

Moozle - I send her off to make bed, and brush hair her hair, which she forgot to do earlier, then she does her cello practice

10am cello lesson - one hour

Benj  - dictation; we look over his essay from the previous day and he prints it out

I start making dinner

Benj - science reading & science notebook

I finish listening to A Perpetual Feast podcast & clean up kitchen

Moozle - read chapter of River Rivals; oral narration; dictation

Benj - piano practice & exam prep. This takes up a lot of time at the moment.

Moozle - I read History of Australia aloud while she traced a map & then oral narration
Map work
French - Classical Academic Press; write vocabulary in notebook

12.30 - lunch
Listen to folksongs, French songs, composer (Rachmaninov)
We have about an hour where we all read; I check emails, finish off dinner preparation


Devotions - this is our time together and we've always referred to it as 'devotions,' because that's what we do first. We've been reading through 2 Kings, taking turns reading aloud. Then we do Bible memory - working on new portions and revising old, finishing with a prayer time where everyone prays.
Today we worked on a couple of newish verses:

Matthew 5  - the Beatitudes
Isaiah 43: 1-7

And reviewed some others:

 Ps 139
Colossians 1:15-20
Colossians 2: 6-12
I Thessalonians 5: 16-24

Plutarch - we're reading through Plutarch's Life of Demetrius. Benj will do a written narration about this tomorrow but Moozle will do hers today.

 M's drawing practice

That's the end of our formal 'lesson time' for today. Later in the afternoon we drive Benj to work and Moozle and I come home for a short spell, pick up her cello, and head off to orchestra recital.

We have a semi-organised schedule for what we do each day during our together time but if we miss something it just gets done the next day. Basically it looks like this:

Monday - Shakespeare

Tuesday - Read aloud

Wednesday - Plutarch

Thursday - Nature Study & nature notebooks

Friday - Read aloud, Picture Study, catch up time for anything else we may have missed or that I'd like to get done.

Most days I also read a poem aloud & from time to time we review those we've learnt. Handicrafts or drawing are sometimes done during read alouds. Some of my children have been happy just to listen, others needed something to do with their hands or they got distracted.

For the past two years, now that I don't have as many children to teach, we've had extra out of the home activities in the afternoons. All seven of our children play an instrument and took lessons over many years. We've mostly managed to have teachers come to our home during the school day for lessons which was wonderful when I had babies & toddlers but also now with the extra running around we do. This is what the week's extras include:

Monday - Benj swims

Tuesday - Moozle has Highland dance lessons; Benj and Hoggy have band practice.

Wednesday - Benj works at a bakery for a few hours in the late afternoon/early evening; Moozle has a cello lesson in the morning and a two hour orchestra recital in the late afternoon. I stay there with her and get some reading, writing or sewing done.

Thursday - both Moozle & Benj swim. An outdoor pool, all year round. I read, write, or sew.

Friday - Benj has a piano lesson in the morning; dance lesson in the afternoon for Moozle if she has a competition coming up; three of the boys are involved the youth group band and two of them are leaders so they all head off to set up and practice around 5pm.

Saturday - morning jobs around the house & yard, car-washing; Benj teaches piano at our place - he's only just started doing this & is teaching an 8 year old boy from our church. Moozle entertains his little sister while he's having his lesson.

Lunchtime reading:

Moozle - Stars of Fortune by Cynthia Harnett (1956). A very good author of children's historical fiction, Cynthia Harnett writes about Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen of England, when she was imprisoned at Woodstock and her sister Mary Tudor sat upon the throne. The story unfolds through the eyes of young Francis Washington of Sulgrave Manor, which still stands. America's first President, George Washington, is descended from the Washingtons in this story.

Benj - The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson (1963) A very moving and inspiring story written by the man who ministered to the gangs in New York and started Teen Challenge ministries.  Raw in places and I'd recommend a pre-read but it is a most wonderful story! It's scheduled as a free read in Ambleside Online Year 11.

Me - Most Secret by Nevil Shute. This book was written during WW2 and was censored until 1945. Set partly in England & Brittany in France, Shute does his usual interesting character development and presents the war from a unique vantage point. There's an overview of the book here.

I'm linking this post up with Alison @ Learning Mama for A Day in the Life of a Classical Homeschooler.


DeliveringGrace said...

I always like to read about other people's days. Next year, I will be down to two home educated students although the eldest student currently is quite independent in his work.
Have you any suggestions for books about Australia for a home education book club for children aged 8 to 12? Thank you!

Lindsay said...

Thank you for your comment on my homeschool drop-out blog! I love your blog and am so impressed at how much you accomplish in a day...very inspiring! Have a great day!

Alison said...

I've been hunting for a piano teacher that would come to our house for lessons -- it sure would make life easier around here! Thanks for sharing your day!

Heather said...

It's always encouraging to read about other families schedules.

Celeste said...

This was lots of fun to read. And your children are wonderful artists!

Unknown said...

I just LOVE these types of posts! Thanks, Carol! :) I hope to do one of these types of posts soon!

Carol said...

I'm away from home so this is off the top of my head: Storm Boy by Colin Thiele - he's written heaps of books and this one is one of the most well known; The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell:
The Switherby Pilgrims by Eleanor Spence:
These are all in print and would be OK for that age group. I could recommend a few others that are great read alouds with minor editing but I presume you're looking for books to be read individually??

Carol said...

Thanks Lindsay. I enjoyed reading your post.

Carol said...

Will look forward to that, Amy.

Carol said...

Thanks for organising the link up, Alison!

Amy Maze said...

Thanks for sharing a look into your day! I really enjoy listening to the CiRCE podcasts as well. I listened to one of the Perpetual Feast talks the other day, and last night I listened to one of the Mason Jar ones. Thanks again!

Melissa said...

Thanks for sharing your day Carol! I love to peek into other homeschool lives :)

I also love that you posted your day using Charlotte Mason and AO on A Day in the Life of a Classical Educator link up. I believe CM was a classical educator. Do you have any posts specifically related to this topic? I'm speaking at my local homeschool group mom's meeting in a couple of weeks and this is one of the points I aim to present.

Thanks Again,

Belinda Letchford said...

Thanks for sharing your day - and for linking up with the Australian Mums encouraging Mums blog hop. Your post has reminded me to share the story of the Cross and the Switchblade with my kids - it was one of the stories that impacted my youth. I have the DVD to show my kids. Have a great week.

Michelle M said...

Great to read. I liked it when we got the piano teacher to our house also. It's great to hear how your day works. Good to hear you manage to make some time for your own pleasures in podcasts, reading and sewing.

Frangipani Bloomfields said...

Thanks you for joining in with the Encouraging Aussie Mum's blog hop. I love discovering new blogs.
I have added you to my list of 170+ Australian Homeschool blogs:

I look forward to seeing more of you during the blog hop :-)

Carol said...

I don't have any posts specific to this, Melissa. It's been something I've been thinkng about for a long time but there were some obstacles I kept hitting. I was confident about using CM but her ideas didn't always seem to line up with what I'd read about classical education. The Circe Institute has been so helpful in giving me clarity with this. I have a couple of links at the top of my blog under Classical Christian Ed - I love the one by Cindy Rollins. That hit the nail on the head for me when I read it & she expressed what I felt but couldn't articulate. I'm currently reading 'Consider This' by Karen Glass which explores this topic so I'll write about that when I've finished it.

Carol said...

Thanks for co-hosting the link up, Belinda. My son just finished the follow up book, Run, Baby Run which he also really enjoyed.

Carol said...

Thank you!!

Melissa said...

Thanks for sending me to your Classical Christian Ed links Carol. It was super helpful!!

I started Consider This when it first was published, but life happened. I plan to get back at it this summer.

Thanks Again,

gretchenjoanna said...

There is a serenity that comes through your writing about your very full days, that is very heartening -- just to read about children who are growing up with time, in a peaceful home, to grow up sane in this crazy world. Thank you for all your hard work and perseverance!

Carol said...

Thanks for your very kind encouraging words, Gretchenjoanna.

DeliveringGrace said...

Thank you. This is really useful. Yes, the children read them individually so I'm a bit stricter than if I were going to read aloud and edit as I go!