Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Day of Homeschooling

7:00 - I get up when Adam brings Beau to say good morning. I feed the puppy, have devotions, get breakfast and generally wake up my non-morning-person self.
8:05 - We wake up Julia and tell her to get going.
8:25 - I tell Julia to get some breakfast because school starts in 5 minutes.
8:30 - School starts with us reading Job 1. I review briefly why we're reading the book of Job in conjunction with our study of ancient history, and place Job in the timeline of Biblical books.
We discuss various aspects of the reading as we go along. I read half the chapter aloud, and she reads the second half aloud. We each have a copy of the text.
8:45 - We start biology. I show her her reading for the day, 4 pages from the textbook. I show her which terms she must learn (memorize) and what she should write in her science notes. After she's done reading and writing I give her a brief oral quiz on the day's material and quiz her also on yesterday's terms to reinforce retention for the end-of-chapter quiz later.
Julia reads Ancient Egypt
9:30 - 5 minute break for Julia to play outside with Beau.
9:40 - I holler outside that her break is over. We start literature. I give her an oral quiz on characters from Homer's Odyssey. No grade, just assessing how she's doing. I focus on names that she had difficulty remembering yesterday. Then we read Book 2 of the Odyssey, alternating sections to read aloud. As we read, I break occasionally to review characters' traits, plot connections, history, background, and break to look online at photos of amphora and tie in to the Sunday school lesson from Exodus about fragrant oils. As we read we hold Beau and pass him back and forth until he's too wiggly, and Julia puts him in his kennel. He naps. I'm happy that our reading of the Odyssey is progressing as I wanted, one book per day. At this rate, we'll finish both of Homer's epics in the first 50 days of school. This is only possible because both texts are already familiar to Julia; she studied them in 5th grade, last time we did ancient literature. This is the beauty of the Classical Ed. system.
10:35 -- short break
10:40 - We begin math with Khan Academy online. Julia dislikes Math, so we try to keep it light, fun. She works some problems converting mixed numbers and improper fractions. Her Khan page is set for her skill level. Mine, however, is actually Adam's Khan home page, so I find myself working algebra problems at a difficult level. I haven't studied math since high school. The goal here is for Julia and me to learn together, and thus decrease her stress level. The Khan teachers/website, plus Adam (when we need him) are our back-up and support. I'm having trouble navigating their website. Anyway, Julia and I mastered a practice session on ordered pairs and graphing them and understanding how they work with simple equations with x and y. You math people can tell immediately that I'm not one. I sometimes ask Adam questions like, "When you multiply two negative numbers, what happens?" or "Which one is the x axis and which one is the y axis?" Because I really don't remember those things. However, she ends our math session upbeat and not crying or angry, so this is success.
11:40 - Math is over. Julia takes a break with Beau and has lunch. This relieves her math-stressed brain. Adam has a big salad. Julia and I eat yummy maple sausages from the market, plus baby quiche from a friend. I have tomato slices too. Julia plays with the dogs while the food cooks. I light our "mulled cider" autumn candle. That, with the maple sausage smell, is very nice in the house. I crochet.
Julia studies with a friend.
12:40 - Julia begins her history reading. She starts by reading 2 pages in her Timetables of History, highlighting all entries about ancient Egypt. She notes also the mentions of Israel and Moses in the historical record. She moves on to 8 pages of reading in her Ancient Egypt book, her main text on this subject. Then she reads about ancient civilizations in her Usborne History Encyclopedia. She loved viewing a NOVA website yesterday that had excellent 3-D virtual tours of sites from ancient Egypt -- one from atop a pyramid. She'll view more of that today. It's somewhat interactive. In a classroom of 25 kids, it's unlikely Julia would get much chance to play with the video, choose virtual tours, explore down tunnels. If each child in a class gets a chance to do it for even 5 minutes, it takes over two hours! In homeschooling, she can participate and interact with such sites to her heart's content.
1:45 - She spent a good bit of time touring Egypt. At one point I heard her say softly, "I'm so happy." She loves the zoom-in option to see close-ups of Egyptian art on the walls of the temples, and the hieroglyphics. I encourage her to do her own versions of Egyptian art also. At last she says it's time for vocabulary.
1:50 - Julia's studying Vocabulary from Classical Roots, so although she's not doing a foreign language this year, I'm tricking her into reviewing many Latin words in this workbook. She finishes learning vocabulary in chapter 1 today.
2:05 - School's over. Vocabulary was easy. I quiz her briefly on the words. Tomorrow she does exercises, which will reinforce the words and meanings. Julia plays with dogs after school :)


  1. That was great, MK! I enjoyed reading about your day!! Keep up the good work, my friend! xxx Jeannie Lassez

  2. Thanks, Jeannie! At dinner this evening Julia asked about studying a foreign language next year, and I agreed to teach her French - haha! I thought you'd enjoy knowing that :)

  3. Sounds like a busy, interesting day. I really admire anyone who homeschools in such an organized way. Good luck with the algebra. Karen K.

  4. Wonderful - this was inspirational!! With 2 of mine starting 2nd grade and kindergarten, I hope that we still have them at home when they are older :) Maybe I'll be emailing you questions. Actually, I do have one: have you ever used Tapestry of Grace?

  5. Hi Sarah - in answer to your question, I have only heard of Tapestry of Grace, but have no experience with it. From looking online, it seems they follow the same structure as other classical models, using the grammar, logic, and rhetoric stages, although they tweak it a little for slow early learners. I'm assuming their focus is on primary sources and not a lot of other "stuff" that they want to sell. It seems they want the classical model to be available at home to every mom, even if she has no training or education herself in all the info she wants her kids to have -- amazing! Many h.s. parents I know desire this, to give their kids the education they never got.

    The big difference in Tapestry and in what I do is COST. I really only have Susan Bauer's book, The Well-Trained Mind. I've never bought all her other materials for teaching history or writing. I use that one book as a guide to buying other books we need, always used and usually online at rock-bottom prices. I teach Julia each year on under $100/year or less. We have laptops, I invest more in science, but literature and history are very cheap b/c I don't buy supplemental materials there -- the primary books are adequate and easy to find. I hope that helps. Tapestry seems to be at least a couple hundred dollars for each level, each year.

  6. And you both still have a whole afternoon to go off and do, or just stay home and be. I like this day!


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