Our homeschool year is winding down. We always do this about May/June. I run out of steam. The Great Outdoors invites the children out to explore before it gets too hot in Houston to go outdoors. So, here’s a play-by-play of our school day today:
Starting last night: We watched the video, Building Big: Dams with David Macaulay, that I got from Blockbuster. Last night’s viewing was the second time we watched it because Engineer Husband wanted to watch it, too. This time two of the urchins decided to build a dam, but it was too late last night. So Engineer Dad got out the sand and the rocks and left them for the urchins to build their dam.
9:00 AM: Karate Kid (10) and Betsy-Bee are ready to build their dam. They go outside and begin to play dam-building while Z-Baby (5) watches. After it’s built we take pictures and flood it a few more times.
10:00 AM: Everybody’s finally awake now. Computer Guru Son leaves for college to take his government final. The urchins are grazing on breakfast (bagels, cream cheese, and/or cereal) and doing their morning jobs. Karate Kid is reading the book I gave him yesterday, The Puzzling World of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin. The book is an ARC that Mr. Berlin kindly had sent to me to review. I’ve read part of it, but I figured a ten year old boy’s opinion would be useful. Karate Kid says it’s sort of like The Westing Game, and it’s a great book, and he wishes there were more books about the same character. Brown Bear Daughter (12) is doing her writing practice on the computer. She’s taking a writing class at The Potter’s School, an online resource for middle school and high school classes, and she’s supposed to write for thirty minutes a day. By the way, I recommend the classes at The Potter’s School, if you can afford them. Most of them that we’ve used have been quite good and helpful. While everyone is grazing, working and reading, I read two books to Z-baby that she requested: The Magic School Bus: Wet all Over, a Book About the Water Cycle and Richard Scarry’s Great Big Mystery Book.
10:30 AM I finally get all the urchins (except Computer Guru Son) together for Bible reading and devotional time. We read from Matthew 6, then read about a missionary to the Philippines who was held prisoner by the Japanese during WW II and later became a missionary to Japan in The One Year Book of Christian History. We sing a hymn, Tell Me the Story of Jesus. The older urchins say that I led it too slowly. I’ll have to remember to pick up the tempo. I remind the urchins to complete their morning jobs, which should have been done long ago, and to start on their math.
11:00 AM: I’m ready to help Betsy-Bee and Z-Baby with their math, but Betsy-Bee says she wants to help Z-Baby with her math. They go outside to the picnic table to
do math look at the dam. Then they come inside to start the math pages in Z-Baby’s workbook. Karate Kid is back to reading Winston Breen and laughing out loud. I don’t have the heart to tear him away for math, so I decide to leave him alone and let the math wait until later. I find Brown Bear Daughter back on the computer browsing a forum, and I remind her that she’s supposed to be doing her Saxon math lesson. She complies sheepishly.
11:30: I thought she complied, but I catch her back on the computer again. She says she’s chatting with someone while she does her math. I tell Brown Bear Daughter to “move away from the computer.” (Does anyone else have this problem, a 12 year old who’s computer-dependent? If so, or if not, what do you do to limit computer use? Or do you?) Brown Bear Daughter goes to the living room couch to do her math lesson. Dancer Daughter is practicing her piano pieces for recital.
12:00 noon: I start lunch, pasta salad with tuna. I should have made it earlier and refrigerated it, but I didn’t think. I also put some pinto beans on to cook for supper. Computer Guru Son gets back from his test and says he thinks it went pretty well. He has one more final to go on Thursday to finish the semester. Betsy-Bee and Z-Baby finished Z-Baby’s math, but Betsy-Bee hasn’t started hers. I tell her to get her book and do math.
12:30 PM: Lunch is just as informal as breakfast was. I put the pasta salad in the freezer to cool and tell the urchins to get some as soon as they’ve finished something significant school-wise. I help Betsy-Bee get started on her math. Using the Cuisenaire rods, she’s doing some simple division problems in her Miquon math workbook.
1:00 PM: Betsy-Bee is still working on her math in between distractions. Brown Bear Daughter is still working on her math, too. I have a long discussion with Computer Guru Son about when he should purchase a car. He wants to buy the car now with a thousand dollar down payment, and I think he should wait until he gets another job before he gets the car. Delayed gratification is major lesson that should be required for graduation.
1:30 PM Dancer Daughter and Organizer Daughter leave to go to the church for their drama class. Their class is working on a musical play called Malcolm, based on a story by George MacDonald, that will be presented in less than three weeks, and they’re hitting the time crunch. I’m still trying to get Betsy-Bee to finish her math. Z-Baby and I do a couple of pages in her phonics workbook, Go for the Code. I tell Karate Kid, who has finished the Winston Breen book to go do his math lesson. He wants to write a report on The Puzzling Adventures of Winston Breen instead.
2:00 PM Brown Bear Daughter finished her math, and now she’s reading another ARC, First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover by Mitali Perkins. BB Daughter says it’s a good book, but she doesn’t think I’ll like it because the mom in the story says, “Crap.” I tell her not to make that word a part of her daily vocabulary and think to myself that I probably will like it.
2:30 PM Computer Guru Son wants me to come see a picture on his computer of the car he wants to buy. Z-Baby wants me to write some words in her alphabet book for her to copy and illustrate. I write: “map, tap, lap, cap, nap.” She tries to read the words as I write them and as she copies them, but she’s really just reading my lips and memorizing for the most part.
3:00 PM I look at the car. After Computer Guru Son threw in all kinds of sweeteners, including a promise to redesign the blog and cleanup the backyard, I’m about convinced, but he still has to get his dad’s approval. Brown Bear Daughter and I take a look at Sameera Righton’s blog, SparrowBlog. We learn that Barak Obama now has secret service protection and that presidential candidates’ kids sometimes get to fly in private jets.
3:30 PM The younger urchins are watching Maya and Miguel. I don’t like this show for some reason that I can’t exactly articulate, but the urchins like it. Karate Kid needs to get ready for swim team practice which starts at 4:00.
4:00 PM I take Karate Kid to swim team. The rest of the day will be mostly filled with me playing taxi driver. Betsy-Bee has dance tonight. Brown Bear Daughter has swim team practice later. And Dancer Daughter has an appointment to get an MRI on her knees—the reason she’s not really Dancer Daughter anymore
See you later.
8:00 PM: I did all the taxi-driving and came home to find supper on the table thanks to my wonderful Engineer Husband. After supper, we made a quick, impromptu trip to the library so that the urchins could get some library books. Karate Kid never did get his math done, but he did write a paragraph about the book he read. Dams and puzzles today, math tomorrow.