Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A typical school day

Julia recommended that I do a blog post on what our typical school day looks like.  Finally, I decided to do this yesterday -- even though it ended up being anything but typical!

8:00 -- Usually when I get up in the mornings and come into the living room, I find Julia reading. Yesterday, she was starting Starship Troopers. She's heard her dad and brothers talk about this book for so many years, she finally asked if she could read it. She's still in her jammies at this point, and so am I.
Before 8:30, I remind Julia to have breakfast.  This is usually toast or yogurt.  She gets it herself.
School starts promptly at 8:30.  Seriously.  I'm not one of those moms who dilly-dallies around for 3 hours in the morning, trying to organize myself, and later asking where the time's gone.  Granted, I now only have 1 child to homeschool full-time, but it was this way when I did 4.  Julia starts with her Bible and Westminster Shorter Catechism memory work.  Each week she memorizes one catechism Q/A, and about 3-4 verses. She recites each Friday morning, and gets a grade for each one. She likes to do memorization in the living room, on the floor. Adam obligingly built a fire.
9:00 -- Spelling and Grammar. She does one page of "Easy Grammar" each day, and gets a grade each Friday on those 5 pages, missing one point off of 100 for each error. She's using a 7th grade Christian Liberty spelling book, which is nicely challenging.  She has a spelling test each Friday on 20 words.  Yesterday she asked what "trajectory" meant.
10:00 -- Math.  Right now, until she's caught up in her book, Julia is doing math twice daily, with Adam.  He is quite a task-master, much better than I.  That's because math really matters to him. He grades her homework every day, and she gets a daily grade.  Yesterday she turned in an assignment on which she would have gotten a 96, if he'd only counted off for incorrect math work.  But she also failed to label her answers correctly.  She got a 64.  She's becoming much more careful and diligent.  Adam is all about accuracy.
11:00 -- (or sometimes a little early)  Anna and I study British literature.  Often I can tell Julia is listening in, because she can hardly help herself.  She loves literature. This is supposed to be her reading hour, and she does plenty of reading.  Yesterday she finished reading a history book, William the Conqueror. Anyway, Anna and I are covering Milton's Paradise Lost, Books 1 and 9. Anna turned in a lengthy study sheet on Book 1 for a grade. And because Julia finished her book, today she began writing a 1-page summary of the book.  She does this on each book she reads. As you see, Anna and I like to sit on the couch as we study our literature.
Yesterday, we ended up having company for lunch.  (It was SO much fun to see Carolyn, her baby girl Tessa, and their foreign exchange student, Hong.  We loved having them for lunch, and Adam made something yummy.)  So, that cut our morning work short just a tad.  But after lunch and a little visiting with company, Julia returned to her second hour of math work.  She usually does this at 1:00, back at the dining room table.  We do have a "school table," but it's finally become more of a "junk table," and I'm mighty tired of that!  Today, we are clearing it off, and admitting to ourselves that we don't actually ever do school work there.  If Julia works at the dining room table, that ensures that she will clear her stuff away and tidy up on a DAILY basis.  Novel idea, I know ....

2:00 -- Julia works on either history or science.  Yesterday, Anna and I took off to the grocery store, so Adam supervised her work. Her history text is basically the Usborne History Encyclopedia.  She outlines each page.  We're only using the Medieval section of the book.  She has many other books on historical subjects that she completes also.  Recently she read David Macaulay's Cathedral and completed a 3-page study sheet on it. I grade her outlines.  I do not give her history tests, because she loves the material and retains it on her own. She needs little supervision after lunch.

The science textbook is a 7th grade Abeka.  She completes the questions and takes chapter tests, both for grades. She alternates between science and history each day, and we should have plenty of time to finish both curricula by the end of the year.

She's always done by 3:00, usually by 2:30.  She'll keep plowing through during the day, so she can be outside to play with Sandy.

So, that's our typical school day.  Not too rigorous on me, although I do need to catch up on my grading every now and then. The girls are willing learners. Anna has said that she wishes she could have gotten the education that Julia is getting now -- a Classical education, administered one-on-one at home, with lots of motivation, lots of interest, lots of fun. And no ugly middle school girls to bully her.  Sigh.  Well, we weren't perfect, but at least I can say we learned from the mistakes we did make, and we're trying to do a better job this time around!

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