(this is not a typical post for me; I wrote it as part of a series “a homeschool day in the life” for Simple Homeschool)
As with many homeschoolers, every day looks different so it’s hard to identify a “typical” day. The goal at this stage of preschool and kindergarten is primarily play, with a day that balances a good rhythm of metaphorically breathing in and out.
Today, kids had bible reading time on the couch with Daddy shortly after 7am and we were finished breakfast by 8am. We would typically get dressed, brush teeth and make beds before circle time, but today we just organically drifted into language lessons at the breakfast table. My son (age 5 1/2) has developed an interest in Chinese (written words in particular) so we started learning the Chinese words and characters for dog, kitten and turtle (why these words, you might wonder? primarily because we have also learned these words recently in Spanish and we already know them in French). My son practised copying the Chinese characters for each word, and also wrote out the English words (this activity qualifies in my books as practise writing and learning language). My daughter (3 1/2) got tired of this by 10am so I gave her a new workbook on numbers and she was delighted. My homeschool pedagogy initially leaned away from workbooks, especially for such a young child, but this girl thrives on them and loves to do them (so, Mom is chilling out and enjoying the freedom to go with the flow without getting caught up in theoretical mumbo jumbo).
When I declared a snack break at 10:30am my daughter was distraught that she hadn’t yet completed her entire workbook (between the lines, this equates to a driven perfectionistic tendency…something I am very minful of!). I pulled the plug anyway because I knew she was getting tired and hungry.
After snack, kids dressing and tooth brushing, the kids just naturally shifted into playtime. They played while I showered and attended to some household things. We had a Skype call with my parents, then lunch at 12:30pm, followed by a bit of quiet time. They always drift off into books or quiet individual play after lunch. By 1:30pm we were getting ready to head out for a skate at our local outdoor rink. We played some hockey (my son now gives me a fair run for my money!) and we cheered on my daughter as she proudly showed us how she has learned to skate backwards.
We got home at 3:30pm and kids headed straight into quiet individual play again (they really do need the rhythm of breathing in after letting out energy, whether physical or mental). I took the moment to sit down and write in a sun patch in the bedroom. My son noticed me writing and started asking questions about cursive letters versus printed letters. Another lesson opportunity. My daughter joined us in the sun patch and sat quietly chatting to her “babies” and dressing them and feeding them. Writing time was short but moment like this are precious.
I headed down for supper prep at 4:15pm, both kids in tow. The donned their chef hats and eagerly asked if they could cut some vegetables for me (yes, I allow my 3 and 5 year olds to use sharp knives with supervision and do they ever feel proud! The book “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee” liberated me!). This was followed by a quick tidying of the house, then more play interspersed with spontaneous math lessons. Finally supper and play time with Daddy, reading books and then bed by 8pm.
As I said, every day is different. Yesterday we had two extra children with us for the morning (this happens twice per week) so our morning was more structured with circle time starting at 9:30am, then play, crafts, and lunch. Our friends were gone by 1pm so after quiet story time the kids launched headlong into creating a Wallace and Gromit claymation using modelling clay and my daughter’s camera (a thrilling Christmas gift for this 3 year old photography nut). By suppertime we had three separate 12 second animations in “.wmv” format, narrated by my son. Talk about some proud and excited kids!
On Monday, we start our day at 8:30am helping tap trees at our local sugar bush (the only urban sugar bush in North America, right around the corner!).
One of the things that I love most about homeschooling is that it can be child-led in terms of focusing in on their unique interests and strengths, while still incorporating the important foundations like reading and math in the midst. There are learning opportunities crammed into every moment of living, not just for kids! The trick is to look for them, seize the moment, and ENJOY! Children are wired for learning and if we keep it fun we can all enjoy and learn together.