Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A New Rhythm to Our Days

A quick confession, I recently considered preschool for Benton.  Seriously considered it.  I wondered if he need a place of his own and if the social situation could help him improve his speech.  So, I visited the local Waldorf school and thought it was lovely.  Everything they said to sell me on the program, I could believe in.  By the time I got in my car I was thinking about enrolling both Benton and Oliver and felt terrible about it.  I fundamentally believe kids do not need preschool, so why was I suddenly feeling like our home was not enough for my kids?

After that visit, I came home and talked with Dan and I felt inspired to do better.  By better, I mean that I felt like I was just treading water this past year.  There was so much to do, as we settled into this house. Dan and I talked about what we had imagined as homeschooling parents, and why I thought we were not there yet.  Between moving in and back out for a remodel, and back in again, plus having a nursing child,  it was very difficult to stick to any sort of schedule, but we've moved on from all that now.  I don't know how many times this year I tried to pencil out a schedule.  I could never figure it out.  There was just too much going on.  That is how I came up with Read, Create, Play.  I just had to keep it simple.

Well, now that things feel a little more predictable in our house and our daily life, I was able to sit down and come up with a schedule.  It is a little for the kids and a whole lot for me.  There is so much to do as the mom, I have a hard time devoting my full attention to my kids.  I mean there is always laundry to do, dishes to deal with, cleaning and then there is all the stuff I feel like I am constantly trying to put away.

Anyway,  in case you are curious, here is a pretty honest schedule.  It is not exactly what I typed up, but when we get there, I'll share that one.  :) 

8:30 am - wake up, kids pick 1/2 hour show to watch while I check my email and then start breakfast (coffee first)
9:00 am - hot breakfast, usually we have eggs and toast or oatmeal
9:30 am - kitchen cleanup and sometimes a 2nd cup of coffee

One morning we read some books about vegetable gardens.  Oliver and Benton made a list of the vegetables they want in their garden this year.  As a former teacher, I loved how this activity came about naturally and with so much more meaning than what I would have done in the classroom.

10:00 am - Focused Learning time - this when I want to give my kids my full attention and really be a resource for them.  We head down to our playroom and read books, play games, do some art, whatever.  Sometime a question will come up so we've look for more info or videos on the internet.  Sometimes they do their own thing without me, but we always start with reading aloud.  I pick some books related to a theme for the week and they pick books too.  Lately, Ollie reads a few books to me, which I am really enjoying.  If they are busy playing without me, I might start some laundry or tidy up the playroom.

Noon -  They are usually ready to do something different at this point and lately, they go outside while I make lunch.

I wrote out a schedule for the rest of the day, but really, it is still fairly fluid.

1:00 pm - might head out for our a.l.l. activity, meet friends or to the library.  If we stay home, the kids are usually outside or playing on their own.

2:30 pm - Quiet hour - Linnea takes her nap, the boys get 1 hour of computer time and this is my quiet hour too.  :)  I am usually on the computer, sometimes I watch a little tv while I fold laundry.  There are lots of things I should be doing, but I need a little down time too.

3:30 pm - Oliver and Benton usually work with playdough, draw or write in their journals.  I am usually moving around tidying up around them or checking and responding to emails, making plans for a.l.l. or blogging.  Ideally, I would journal with them.  Hmm, need to put that on my to-do list.

4:00 pm -  Right now they are big fans of Wild Kratts on PBS, so they watch that at 4pm and I try to remember to turn the tv off after it is over.  I am always trying to clean up my house, but it is never really clean, because there is so much to do and I am easily distracted.

They might go back outside and Linnea and I will go out for a bit, but then I head in to start figuring out what to feed them when they come in hungry.  Linnea pretty much hangs out with me.

6pm - dinner and Dan is done with work and we all settle into our evening routine of family time and eventually getting ready for bed.

I love this warmer weather because the boys are outside so much.  Maybe this coming winter will be a little easier on them than their first winter here. Anyway, it is not too exciting and, as any mother knows, there a ton of things that don't fit into any schedule, but I know it is kind of nice to see what other home learning families are doing. 

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