A Day in the Life of Della, Homeschool Mama of Two
Hi! I’m Della from @beauty_of_play. My husband and I have two children, twelve chickens, and a newly acquired hound dog. We moved last year from a very small house where we had no room to a much larger one with 25 acres this year. I finally have room for all our books (can there even be enough?) and a dedicated homeschool space. Yay!
Our children are ages 7 and 14, and we’ve been homeschooling from the beginning. That’s a gap in years and presents some challenges. I’ll try to talk about some solutions that have worked for us. I’ve really had to up my game through middle school, and when the youngest started first grade last year, whew!
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We are eclectic homeschoolers, but pull from Charlotte Mason and the Waldorf philosophies a lot. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.
Starting Our Mornings Together
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Good morning friends. Della, here. I woke first in our house, which is a rare moment, but I am savoring the peace and quiet. It was a chilly 63 degrees, so I started the fire and poured a cup of coffee (with lots of coconut cream.)We are in North Florida, but it still gets a little cold sometimes. Our lows will be in the 30’s tonight.
Usually my day begins with a cup of coffee and just the hope of a bit of quiet. The kids enjoy letting the chickens out each day, so they take turns doing that. My husband works at home, and I am completely spoiled with a wonderful breakfast. Sometimes we eat all together, but often the kids eat before us. My oldest puts away dishes from the night before, and my youngest puts away the silverware. Then the youngest and I curl up with a few books to read together, while my oldest starts his work. He is managing most of his time this year, so he decides when he gets things done, as long as they are done by the assigned times.
Special One-on-One Time
There is 6 years between my two and though we’ve been able to do some school together occasionally (nature study a few years back) they are oddly enough territorial about their school time with me, so we usually split it up. I alternate between them. They are also on very different levels as well, so this works best.
There is no time schedule,but definitely a rhythm.
I read with my youngest in the morning.
Then do some Latin with my oldest.
We all take a break, a walk, or on Monday and Tuesday volunteer checking a local nursery on their off day.
I school with my youngest again.
After lunch the oldest and I follow up with anything else we do together.
Independent Learning for Our Oldest
For my oldest this year things are a little different, and we are just now both getting the hang of our routine. He wanted more control of what he did when last year, so I gave him the full week of what was due each Monday and some autonomy in what he studies. But there were some things that we figured out really needed to be done everyday for retention like math and Latin, and then I had difficulty knowing what he was doing and learning.
But we finally figured out a rhythm that works for both of us. I still give him the week’s assignments, but we have a checklist at the bottom of every day for things that have to be done everyday and any subject we’re going over that day, so he knows when assignments are due. We also went back to narration and notebooking, that allows for him to have retention of the material that he’s reading and for me to be able to check for comprehension, understanding, and retention. That system is working out really well for us. Live video in the stories with more detail.
Scheduling with Flexibility
For elementary school I like to have a little more flexibility, so rather than writing out what I’m going to do day-to-day I just take notes on where I want to go in the different areas that we’re studying. That way when the day comes, we can choose more with what we’ll work that day. I do have a general rhythm. We do History and art on Monday and Wednesdays and Science and Language arts on Tuesday and Fridays and some math and Spanish everyday. But that’s just a framework to facilitate things getting done and if we feel like it we mix it up, especially if we are really into something specific they were working on. And of course there are those days when nothing that we productive happens, or something else really grabs are interest and we go with that instead. Live video in the stories with more detail.
The youngest had been studying ancient civilizations and astronomy. We alternate those each day right now with some math and Spanish every day. We alternate art and language arts too, but they often get blended into what we are already doing. I love Waldorf math. Last year we did a quality of numbers study. I did a guest blog that you can find the link for on my blog. (Link in the @beautyofplay profile) We also pull from Gattengo math and right start.
For our art were using the book Painting and Drawing in Waldorf schools classes 1 to 8. This is another thing that I just love about Waldorf, their exploration of color throughout the first grades. So here we’re doing a color wheel so that I could talk to her about some of the terminology. The wet on wet watercolors that Waldorf uses goes through a certain series, and in this book it talks about rules of play, which are really just a way of saying parameters for the water coloring that they’re doing. Waldorf focuses a lot on contrast, not just black and white but also complementary colors, cool versus warm colors, and size differences. We’re going to move into more of that, and I wanted to have the language to use to describe some of the this to give her some choices in the painting that we do. This kind of color wheel is probably not something that would be done in Waldorf School. More likely they would do something more experiential rather than as technical as this one was. Today we talked about primary secondary and tertiary colors as well as the intermediate colors. Later when we start deciding what we’re going to paint, I’ll go into cool colors any warm colors.
Afternoon One-on-One Time with Our Oldest
The afternoon is one-on-one with my oldest. Here we are starting geometry. I’ll post his finished work on my page @beautyofplay If you are paying attention to our schedule, you can see we are off. We use it as a frame work, but it rarely is able to contain us.
We deviate from our schedule a lot of late. We were behind this week because we took Monday off to recover from our weekend.
And onto writing. We follow a brave writer format, though we have also used MCT and IEW. My oldest loves photography, and I’ve used that for writing. He keeps a blog that he writes. @imagesofbeauty21 (link in his profile) He’s also applying this year to display his art at our local food co-op. That application required a 500-word limited artist opening statement. That’s what we are working in today. I love opportunities like these. This is his photo. My favorite one at the moment.
And that’s it. That ends our school day for today. Thank you so much for following along. I was a little nervous. It feels very vulnerable to put oneself out there, but you all were gracious and kind. Thank you.
Thank you so much to Della for sharing their family’s day with us!
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