Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Day in the Life

I can't remember when I last did a post like this, but I feel like doing another, and since this is my blog, I will.

I won't blog Monday, though. Monday started at 3 a.m. with Dot stuck under the Duchess' bed and ended at 8:30 p.m. after the beans finally cooked enough to eat. With several intervening crises to liven up the middle.

No, let's stick with today, which wasn't amazing, but pretty good.

I got up sometime 6:30ish and went for a walk. I explored woods in backs of places I probably shouldn't have been and discovered another shortcut through parts of the neighborhood I didn't know were connected. And I managed to sneak out without waking any kids up, which is a major achievement for me.

When I got back, DOB got up and started getting ready for work, the kids got up and I doled out the M&Ms awarded for staying in bed the evening before. (Shameless, but it works.) And some leftover breakfast from the day before, so that Dash wouldn't dissolve completely before the rest of breakfast was ready. Then I fixed breakfast to go for DOB and breakfast to stay for the rest of us.

After breakfast we went through a random and harried process of getting clothes on, starting laundry, clearing the table (I hope at some point they will just *do* this without four minutes of lamentation over having to do it at all, followed by four minutes of lamentation because someone else cleared *their* dishes first) and doing the dishes.

We started school a little before nine. First we have singing time, which at times is randomly-leaping-around-the-kitchen time, but which is meant to cover a variety of memory work. Then I give the twins a lesson (consisting of air-writing "a" and "b" and then looking at pictures of birds--I'm not much on fancy preschool stuff) while the older two do free reading, except today Deux spent most of this time sulking that I never do fun things with just the big kids. He seems to have a bad case of preschool envy, a common complaint of first graders.

Next we do a writing lesson--today we focus on spelling words with "ing" for the big kids. The twins focus on making interesting marks all over their papers and then folding them up like accordions.

Then the Duchess reads some more of "Aladdin and his Magic Lamp" to me while Deux reads some of Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig to the twins. This goes well. Reading they like.

Next on the agenda is me reading aloud a chapter of the Burgess Bird Book, a book that tells the basic features and habits of many common birds in a story form. First, though, we have to settle whose crayons are whose, a process of several minutes. We manage to read and discuss the chapter to some extent, plus look at the bird and listen to its song online.

By now it is about ten, time to get ready to go on our nature walk. The Duchess herds everyone out to the car while I assemble one of my signature picnic lunches: unpeeled hardboiled eggs, a bag of chips, and carrot sticks. And the diaper bag, whose absence we sorely regretted on Tuesday, and any other day I decide we really are totally past all that.

We go to nature preserve in a wetlands, and I promptly get two mosquito bites. I dread the future as I have forgotten any kind of repellent, but those turn out to be the only ones of the whole trip. We meet up with some friends and everyone is eager to go explore. I brought the notebooks along for sketching, but no one is interested except Dash, who draws a rose hip you would recognize if you knew he was drawing rose hips. And the Duchess, who wants to record the important event of playing with friends. Mostly, though, we just wander on the trails and test the fuzz on cattails and caterpillars.

We get home about two in the afternoon and after some meandering about I sit down to read to the twins. They both want to pick a poem from A Child's Garden of Verses; they both want to pick a book. I suddenly realize I have had it. I tell them I'll read Dot's poem and Dash's book (Blueberries for Sal), and then I put them hastily to bed, Dot in our room listening to a Little House book on CD, Dash in the kids' room listening to Winnie the Pooh on CD. The big kids start an elaborate game involving a lot of paper dolls and magazine scraps. I do some stretches because my TMJ is acting up, surf on the computer for awhile, then write up our school activities in my notebook.

When I feel up to it, I let Deux have a turn playing Ninjatown on the Nintendo DS while Duchess reserves some books on her brand-new personal library card. I remember that this is supposed to be Clean The Bathroom day on the housekeeping schedule, and decide to do it because I did already take all the towels out to wash them, so it would be a pity to waste it. When Deux's turn is up, Duchess takes a turn and Deux and I sit down to read a story and do some advance play with the twins' next activity. I hope this helps with the preschool envy. Then they go back to playing and I continue on my fruitless quest to get an A on every single level of Ninjatown. And I reserve a bunch of library books for myself. Work has been slow for the past couple weeks, which is actually kind of nice to give me time to get into a good school routine. So I can just be lazy in the afternoons.

Somehow it gets to be awfully close to five o'clock. I put potatoes in the oven to cook and wake up Dash, who is in the just-about-done-with-naps stage where they fall asleep too late and wake up cranky as a bear. Dot is already up the instant her second CD is over--she never sleeps anymore. We take the garbage out to the road and get the mail. The kids fold the laundry--Deux instructs Dash in how to fold towels. I think the big kids have figured out that the faster they teach the twins to do housework, the more they can get out of. Suits me, as I hate teaching how to do housework.

I try to shoo everyone outside to play, but they mostly wander in and out, brandishing sticks. I make broccoli-cheese sauce for the potatoes and carrot salad. Duchess sets the table. I call DOB, but he has two projects to wind up, so we go ahead and eat without him, listening to some Mozart while we are at it.

Everyone wanders off and is playing quietly after supper. I meander around, doing dishes, putting bread in the machine for the morning, and sitting down at the computer. (Having a computer in the kitchen is a feature, not a bug--otherwise I tend to not sit down when I need to and wear myself out.)

Suddenly I realize that it's past bedtime and the quiet of earlier in the evening has departed. I try to get everyone to brush their teeth and settle down. Deux and Dash get into a fight over matchbox cars, and the Dot slams Deux's head with the bathroom door. Poor Deux is not having a very good day.

DOB arrives home, very hungry and tired. We have prayer and then put everyone to bed, which doesn't go so well because all the children have gone through tired to hyper and all the adults have gotten to tired and stayed there. Nonetheless, it happens. Duchess, Deux and Dash settle down in the kids' room listening to The Book of Three (which I sincerely hope is not too scary for them--if they have nightmares about undead warriors it's all my fault--but they've never been prone to nightmares, not since Deux was a toddler and told me one morning, "An alligator came into my room last night, but I ate it.") Dot goes down on her mattress in our room and listens to By the Shores of Silver Lake. (After she falls asleep and all the cds are over we'll drag her back in with the other kids.)

DOB sits down to eat and read files. I sit down to write this. Pretty soon we should go to bed. Maybe we'll play a card game first. We'll definitely have dessert first. We finished the final season of Lost last week and haven't felt like watching anything since.


mandiana said...

Love reading about others' homeschool days! We've added your blog to

If you'd like for us to add a description, or you have a banner or button you would like for us to use, just let us know!

Wendy said...

II recognize so much of your days. It's strange that my days aren't like that anymore. Everything is just different - and almost all easier- with older kids around.

On the other hand, I realized we are doing high school, middle school, elementary and preschool this year. Thinking about it makes me panic, but just doing it is fun!