A Day in the Life of Homeschool Mama Gina
Here’s a look at the Day in the Life of Gina, homeschool mama to one delightful, asynchronous daughter who has an insatiable thirst for learning! At Learning Well, we understand that homeschooling doesn’t look the same for all of us. We understand it doesn’t have to either for us to learn and glean good things from each other. Each Wednesday, on our Instagram feed, we feature a new homeschool mama to take over the feed and show us what her day looks like.
Some of us homeschool for religious reasons and that inspires our homeschool days. Some of us homeschool from the road and never do school in the same place twice. We might have been homeschooling for years and years. Or we may have just begun our journeys. We understand that those details don’t really matter though. The common thread that binds us all together is our desires to educate our children differently.
We might all homeschool differently, but we can always look for ideas from each other that inspire, encourage and equip us in our own homeschool days. So, each week, we create blog posts for you to access later of each of those “days in the life”. We hope you keep coming back for more inspiration. Keep going, mama! These days at home are so worth it!
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Well, it’s been a WEEK, you guys! Homeschooling is trending!! ? Around here, we’re just trying to keep things as normal as we can and enjoy this extra time at home. So, to keep things regular in this space, we’ve got a great homeschool takeover tomorrow with Gina @oaxacaborn !
Gina is a homeschool mama of two that was also homeschooled herself. We hope you enjoy following along with Gina as she shares her #lwdayinthelife.
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I am not a morning person, but I’m stapled to a cheetah. In the event one finds onself stapled to a cheetah, as I am wont to find myself on a daily basis, it is preferential to be caffeinated. ::clinks mug:: My cheetah is named Aveline, and she’s nine. She loves to learn. No, let me try that again. She *needs* to be learning, all the time, always. Her thirst is incredible. When she was two, she routinely woke me up screeching “mo’ letters p’ease!” When she was five, eating nachos, she said gleefully through her crunching, “Tell me facts. Facts. Facts about anyfing you can fink — I just want facts.” She loves many things: mathematics and the digestive system and penguins and the Hobbit.
But she’s still very much nine. And in some ways, because of asynchronous development, she’s younger than nine. Delightful? Absolutely. Exhausting? Absolutely. Ready to come along for the ride? The coffee pot is ready.
Screen time in the morning! After breakfast, getting dressed, and a quick round of tidying — Aveline’s least favorite activity — she gets 15 minutes of desktop computer time.
There’s more screen time later, but this time is dedicated for reading a World Kids news short (current events!), and reading or writing email to close family members (typing skills! digital citizenship!) During this time, she might also print any PDFs I’ve sent her for today’s lessons.
We’re not tech-averse in this house. Technology works for us, not against us. What’s your screen stance?
Foreign Language Learning
Let’s talk foreign language learning! After some screen time for email and current events, working on translating some math terms for a Chinese vocabulary challenge, and completing an (English) grammar lesson, Aveline reads a few pages from Elephant and Piggie — in Chinese.
Learning a second language is a very high priority in our home. Even though I consider us classical homeschoolers, really we’re more classical-eclectic, because we make Chinese a much (much!) higher priority than Latin. Why Chinese? Why not! (In this case, it was Aveline’s choice. At three years old she always asked for me to replay the Chinese songs on the around-the-world playlist of children’s nursery rhymes.) Like thousands of kids in major cities across the US, Aveline spends a good chunk of her weekend at the local Chinese school, learning both language and culture.
Over the years, she’s competed in speech contests, performed traditional folk dances on stage, taken the Youth Chinese Test, and joined her yo-yo/diabolo club for public performances, as well. Of course, this semester is all different. ALL our extracurriculars have been shut down — music, field trips, all of it. But learning doesn’t stop during a pandemic. Aveline is dedicated to #readChineseeveryday. After all this social distancing is over, at least she’ll have gained some more Chinese vocabulary! Is foreign language a big deal in your home? Do you speak a second language? I am ashamed to say I’ve lost both my other languages (Spanish and Slovene) to the cobwebbed recesses of my brain!
Here’s the thing. When one is #stapledtoacheetah, one does not simply take time off. It’s not that easy. See, intense neurodiverse kids are *always on*. On, on on. Going, going, going. Buzz, buzz, buzz. They don’t switch off. In fact, taking time off — turning off the routine — actually makes things worse. When there’s no structure, no brain work, behavior suffers. Things fall apart. These kids will change the world, but in the meantime, we mamas need SO. MUCH. COFFEE. And maybe some appropriately socially-distanced hugs, too.
This pandemic isolation is not a weekend movie marathon for us. If anything, it’s an even more intense time of one-on-one learning, because all the outside classes which gave me a smidge of a break have been cancelled. Last month, I and my friend @marieskb (a wandering expat who doesn’t live in the same state, or even always the same country) started co-teaching a couple of subjects on Google Classroom, just for our girls. (That may end up being our single claim to fame: we moved school online before Covid-19.)
She teaches art and art history while giving math pointers too, and I’m tackling writing — the kids are revising their opinion essays this week.
But this kid here, she’s something else. I’ve been a writer and editor for years now, teaching this mini writing class to 8-10 year-olds, right? This kid pulls out her beloved copy of Rules for Writers — you know, the one she sleeps with sometimes, but *definitely NOT* assigned for this class — and starts asking me a whole litany of questions: “Are we using MLA or APA, mom? I really prefer MLA from the Modern Language Association..” Non-stop. Non-stop, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Pass the coffee!
Are you ready for my top homeschool tip?
Here it is.
Move over, poetry tea time. Make room for CHIP O’CLOCK. It’s a thing.
A simple, awesome, transformative thing.
In the middle of a math problem or a read aloud or during that last push to finish the work or while cleaning up the #floorschooling mess, yelling CHIP O’CLOCK is the answer.
Here’s to sitting on the floor, eating chips with your kids!
Delight Directed Learning
My daughter’s love language is one-on-one math time. (Lochlan has opinions about this, he just hasn’t yet learned to articulate them clearly.) Aveline delights in the curious intricacies of mathematical theory. She asks to learn about anomalies to the digestive processes inside the human body, and cares a lot about split infinitives. She’s in bed right now, reading a thesaurus, because she convinced me it counted as a her nightly allotted chapter book.
This is who she is, and her life’s mission is to find out as many facts about “everyfing” as she can.
Sometimes, delight-directed learning is intense and looks suspiciously…academic, prompting side-eyes from the reigning homeschool posse.
But do you know what? It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter what anyone *else* thinks about *your* quirky kiddo. As parents, we need to celebrate the exact child God has given. And we need to be diligent stewards of the incredibly unique individuals God has placed in our care, not burying their talents in the ground (to paraphrase Matthew 25).
My #lwdayinthelife is winding down, but if this resonated with you at all, won’t you keep joining in our crazy homeschool days over at @oaxacaborn?
Thank you so much to Gina for sharing your family’s day with us!
If you want to see more Day in the Life photos and videos, be sure to check out our Instagram profile. There are highlights of each takeover at the top.