Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Day in the Life: Homeschooling with a 13, 9, 4, and 1 year old

I have been following these posts and enjoying a glimpse into what it really means to homeschool. It's relieving that most don't look like the polished books and pamphlets but more life real life. When an opportunity came up to share my own, I decided to jump at the chance.

It may not be #7QT but I am linking up with Kelly anyway because I know she's cool with that!

Here is a day in our life, of course it is not according to plan but, it works anyway!

It's 4AM, Lovie Lu is up to nurse yet again. At 14 months old, her night time nursing has only decreased slightly since we was an infant. I enjoy the snuggles but I am tired and this new love for waking up to nurse at 4 AM is wearing me out. I know that by the time I get her settled again and start to drift back to sleep, my alarm will go off. Still I try to cherish the moments because she is growing so quickly and try not to think about the long day ahead.

As predicted, I am barely asleep and the 5:15 alarm goes off. I attempt to stretch a bit to wake my fuzzy head and sleepy body but this starts to disturb the little miss, so I continue on with my morning routine.

I say a decade of the rosary, almost silently, but know that God can hear. It's my little time to focus. I take a deep breath and reach over for my tablet that I stash next to my bed. I had been actually getting up at 5:15 and working in our classroom, but Lovie Lu soon caught onto me and has devised ways to keep me from getting up. If I don't start working by 6 AM, there is no hope it getting the rest of the day done, so my tablet with her cuddled in the crook of one arm is how I get the first part of my work done.

I am making progress despite only having one hand to type and copy links for my social media work, when she demands more of my attention. In a classic Lovie Lu move, she drapes herself fully across my chest and falls to sleep as I pat her back with one hand and scour the Feedly feed for more articles to share. Its about 6:20AM and the light is filtering through the windows as I hear the high school bus roll by.

I make a mental note that both World Book Day and Read Across America day are this week, have to plan something special for my preschoolers at co-op on Wednesday!

7:06 AM and I am still trapped but almost done with what I can do on my tablet. Little Man starts crying and Hubby gets up to see what the problem is. He gets him settled back down then gets himself up for the day. At 7:20, the nursing begins again. She has woken up crying, realizing that she is no long fully attached to me. I nurse her down and finally can slip out.

I quickly get dressed, fill out the kids work notebooks with today's assignments, get together a plan for breakfast and grab a handful of sunflower seeds. I pour a shot of apple cider vinegar into my water glass and top with some cayenne, ginger, and turmeric. It's my drink to get me going. Everyone is up now except for the baby. I entrust Cowgirl to making up the breakfast cookies and head downstairs to finish working.

On my way down, I start a load of cloth diapers in the washing machine. I get down to the classroom/playroom, which of course is a mess although the kids "cleaned" it last night. I sigh and move on, I can't do it all. I'll have a talk with them later.

Two minutes later, Little Man arrives to hang out. I love him but want to get my stuff done, thankfully he goes back up with Hubby who brings me some tea. I can finally work with two hands. Better getting moving before the next interruption--it's 8:15. Yikes, I still have a lot to do!

It's 8:49 and Little Man is back telling me endless stories. I don't want to miss them but have to get my work done, especially since I have 3 deadlines to meet today and I am still wrapping up social media. It's a constant balancing act.

At 8:53, I finally log out of social media and try out Little Man's "night vision goggles" (broken sunglasses). I head onto deadline number 1. There is a flurry of activity in the kitchen above me then I hear everyone walking to their various work stations for independent work--I hope.

Today is Hubby's day "off." Since we both work our own businesses that term is very relative. We had a meeting of the minds and calendars last night. He has been out of the house working his business for the past 5 days. He promised me the morning to let me catch up on my own work. I have until lunch at noon.

I keep working. Cowgirl shows up at 9:06 looking for one of her textbooks. She offers to bring me a breakfast cookie--I eagerly say yes and remember that I haven't really eaten yet. At least I know the kids are working.

It's 9:27, Buddy joins me downstairs. He tells me that Lovie Lu is up. My time is ticking--let the games begin! Little Man is not far behind. Buddy gets him set up on "school work." Buddy had taken up the challenge of being Little Man's tutor. He's doing a pretty good job. I need to make sure that Buddy doesn't get lost in teaching and forget about his own work though. I hear Lovie Lu singing in the kitchen.

By 9:52, Buddy has brought a crying Lovie Lu downstairs. She happily plays with her dollhouse and the boys keep up their school work. This may be a very good day!

I finish up my work for the morning, and then do a quick math lesson with Buddy. I leave him to do his homework and pick up the baby. Little Man is building a marble run as I leave to go upstairs to change Lovie Lu's diaper and get her dressed for the day.

I suddenly realize I have no wipes and a very poopy diaper. I can overhear Little Man having a very animated discussion with himself in the living room. I call to him to bring me a new pack of wipes, his response, "How do you know I am here?"

Cowgirl overhears my plea for help and gets me the wipes. I get the baby all dressed and then touch base with Cowgirl. Her one book is still missing (I do have systems for books and school supplies but they only work when the kids actually use them.) I head off on a frantic mission to find the lost book. I can't find it and realize that it is getting later.

Today I have the very rare treat of sneaking out for a little bit to get some work done. I've been juggling working/homeschooling/caring for the kids simultaneously for weeks. I have a deadline I have to meet and Hubby is available so I gather my laptop, notes, and jacket to head out the door.

On my way through the kitchen, I straighten up the counters and clear off the table. Hubby takes the little ones downstairs to get them interested in a few toys before he begins morning read alouds at 11. He first goes over Algebra with Cowgirl. It's 10:35, I have to be back by noon for lunch. If I don't leave soon, it just won't happen and the last time I had any time without kids was in October when I volunteered at the book sale.

I work amidst the hum of a local diner. I could have gone to the the library but the prospect of an egg over easy and gluten free toast is too appealing....until my laptop battery dies and there is no outlet to use. (Better be more prepared next time!)

I take out my trusty notebook and pen to write up my article for today's deadline.  It's almost noon, so soon, but the break has done me good and I got a lot done. When I arrive back home, the two youngest are playing in the living room while the older kids are busy working at their desks. I nurse the baby then take her for a diaper change.

We sit down for a quick lunch of leftover rice, collard greens, beans, and ham. I catch up with the kids and then get up to wash the dishes from the morning and the lunch dishes as they trickle in. At 1PM, we all get on our shoes and jackets to head up to adoration. Hubby sits down and starts his work.

Our parish has added extra hours for Lent and it is a tradition of ours to spend some time each week at adoration for Lent. I wish I could do it more often but I tell myself at least we get there a handful of times each year.

It's a 20 minute drive to church. The kids bring along a bit of their unfinished work, I also have them each narrate what they each read for the day. Little Man plays on the flash pad to keep from falling asleep and Lovie Lu takes her first nap of the day. We spend as much time as we can in church praying and the little ones are as quiet as an be expected. We get back to the car a little before 2PM.  On the way home, we drop Cowgirl for her weekly sewing lesson.

On the way back, the carschooling is over and the boys chatter in the back seat. As we wind through the wildlife refuge near our house to get home, they are entranced by the vernal ponds, waterfalls, and streams. It's a February thaw and I am trying hard not to get my heart set on spring being here because I know there is still plenty of winter to get through. We get home at 2:30.

The boys want to play basketball and I can't blame them after being cooped up so much the past few months. Buddy will go out in any weather, but my summer baby, Little Man, just can't handle the cold and it has been a cold winter. I tell them they can play for awhile but Buddy still has some work to complete. I sit down to check emails and address a few work related items. I consider calling them back in, but it really is just too nice out. I grab my bowl and scissors instead and head to the garden with Lovie Lu. I had set up low tunnels in the Fall and am dying to know what survived and if there are any fresh veggies I can use for dinner.

As Lovie Lu gets her first taste of "running' around the back yard, I discover that there is a nice stand of rainbow chard (one of my favorite vegetables). I cut a bowlful and snip off some lemon thyme, too. I'm pleased that despite the super cold winter, a few small head of lettuce survived, along with four Brussels sprout plants. My garlic is coming up...I again remind myself that it isn't spring yet!

After heading inside with my bounty, I check in with Hubby who is still working. I open the back door and keep an eye on the kids, Buddy is carrying Lovie Lu around to show her all the amazing "creature adventures" our big yard holds. I get a bit of typing done on the article I hand wrote. It's now almost 4PM, the boys show up with the mail and I tell them it is time to come in.

Little Man heads downstairs for his requisite daily dose of Wild Kratts and I put Lovie Lu in her seat for a snack. Buddy and I begin researching the Kratt brothers, ironically, for his 4H presentation. He has never done this big of a research project (a 5-7 minute presentation) and it is slow going teaching him how. We research and he writes up notes. About a half hour later, Little Man appears to practice his knife skills on a rice cake and have a snack. Lovie Lu wants down and toddles into the living room to continue playing with her Green Toys bouquet set. Buddy and I wrap up a note taking session around 5 PM.

I scour the pantry for dinner ideas, chiding myself that I didn't complete the weekly meal plan yet. I sit down to get a bit more work done and then head out the door at 5:30 to pick up Cowgirl from her sewing. She is working on a 19th century dress for her little sister for an upcoming living history day. I can't wait to see how it turns out. She finished her own dress last week and it is beautiful.

At 5:56, I pull up the drive to my friend's house who is a retired seamstress and now gives lessons. The dress is mostly done, I can't wait to see Lovie Lu in it. We chat a couple minutes then head back home. At 6:30, I walk through the door and start pulling dinner together. Cowgirl has swapped her regular chores for cooking dinner. Once I have her set on what we are making, I start to straighten up but Lovie Lu is losing it and wants to nurse for the sixth time today. I sit on the sofa and continue to talk Cowgirl through cooking. Buddy finishes his chores and gets his basketball uniform ready.

Little Man starts to melt down and Hubby picks him up. Lovie Lu is falling asleep. The quick nurse has turned into a deep nap after a day of hard playing and fresh air. Little Man collapses asleep on Hubby's shoulder. Buddy is practicing guitar in his room. We are now both sitting in the living room with sleeping little ones, it's the first time either of us has stopped all day. I tell Cowgirl she is going to have to make the chard as well, and start giving her directions.

At 7:26, dinner is finally ready. Hubby puts Little Man in his bed snoring. Cowgirl and Buddy set the table. We say Grace (with me praying from the living room) and they sit down to eat. It's only 9 minutes until the guys need to leave for basketball practice and Lovie Lu is nursing again.

She is finally done, as I get to the table, the guys leave. The girls and I continue with dinner. After dinner, the girls go to play in the living room, I put on congee in the slow cooker. I start washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen, but Lovie Lu is getting restless and I know my time is short. I decide to focus on putting away the food and leave the last couple of dishes for the morning, along with the soaking fry pan.

I get myself changed for bed, pick out clothes for tomorrow, change the baby into pajamas and head to the bathroom to brush my teeth, toddler on my hip. Hubby already had his wardrobe laid out in there and I add mine. It's nearly 9PM and Little Man wakes up and has a meltdown because he is all out of sorts. I am trying to figure out what his problem is but he is just whining and not really saying anything. Lovie Lu, who was settling down and nursing is now fully awake. As I cradle a writhing preschooler, she goes to play with her flowers, again.

I finally convince him to lie down in my bed until Hubby gets back--I will not miss these late night practices. Lovie Lu is not interested in bed now thanks to a very late nap and too much excitement. I remember the article I have to finish and wish I had charged my laptop so I didn't have to write it up twice. I decide to knock it out while everyone is distracted. That lasts about 2.5 seconds. Little Man realized that he didn't eat dinner and is looking for a snack. He asks for a carrot which I wash and give to him. He cuts it into bite sized pieces and starts snacking.

A few minutes later, Hubby comes home with Buddy from practice. We begin the task of getting everyone ready for bed and in their rooms. Soon, it is 9:45 and Hubby begins making the rounds to pray with each child and tuck them in. Lovie Lu is fighting between wanting to sleep and wanting to be by the other kids, she squirms and flips all over my bed.

Hubby shows up in our room about 10PM, we read through the daily readings and do our prayers together. Lovie Lu still isn't settled down and I am out of steam. We decide to watch a quick episode of a favorite show on my tablet. I set the alarm and fall asleep around 11 PM, before the show is over.

Thanks for stopping by and reading through this. It was so much fun to actually chronicle a typical, but unusual at the same time, day in our homeschool journey.

What is a day like at your homeschool?