Here is a summary of a day in our life in early June 2009. I picked this day of the week so it would include doing homeschool lessons at home. On this day we have two standing appointments so we always do lessons in the morning, and I never schedule other appointments on this day as more than two appointments on one afternoon is a disaster if one thing goes wrong, traffic or whatever. I usually don't do errands on this day of the week; we do most of our shopping on the weekends and a large portion is done by my husband.
My husband kisses me goodbye before leaving for work. I was asleep but am aware of him, then go right back to sleep. I wake up to sunlight coming in my skylight and open windows, and the sound of crows outside is what really wakes me up. I roll over and see that it is 8:15 a.m. I don’t use an alarm unless we have an early morning appointment (generally only once a week). I get out of bed to get my morning cup of iced coffee.
Walking down the hall I see as usual, my 11.5 year old son is already awake. He starts the day by staying in bed and reading fiction, science or history. He likes to stay there, warm under the covers for over an hour silently reading to himself to get some of his homeschool lessons finished for the day. I say good morning to him and continue on downstairs.
My younger son, the longer-sleeper, is still sound asleep. I fetch my coffee and turn on my computer. Sitting at my computer I check my blog for comments, read email and Twitter while drinking my coffee. Since the kids are still occupied, I start a new blog post that if ever published, will be published on another day. I had already set a post to automatically publish at six this morning while I was still asleep. This allows me to have a blog post published without pressure of actually writing something on this day. The house is quiet (no music) to allow my younger son to sleep.
After a half hour or forty-five minutes my older son comes downstairs and gives me a big hug. He goes in to make himself a bowl of cereal and sits and eats it alone. We used to all eat together but that is not what we do now. While I continue to do stuff on the Internet or write a blog draft, he cleans up after himself and goes to shower, brush his teeth and get dressed. While that is happening my younger son wakes up and groggily comes downstairs in his pajamas. He greets me and gives me a hug before moving right on to making himself a bowl of cereal. Then he marches up to shower, brush his teeth and get dressed.
Now I’m getting breakfast for myself and my older son takes over my PC to do his homeschool math lesson with Teaching Textbooks. He loves the program. He does this for one hour so I am not on the computer for that time. I shower and get dressed, then find my younger son is busy at work at the kitchen table doing homeschool assignments.
My kids know the drill of what to do each day. They have it memorized and it is also in a little paper student assignment book. Younger son plugs away at penmanship, a logic workbook, and Singapore Math (which he hates at this point in time and complains about). He asks me a question about the math and I help him. I’m cleaning up the kitchen, emptying the clean dishes from the dishwasher and doing other kitchen tasks while my son is doing his work at the table. He then goes to sit on the living room couch to read science living books to himself. When my older son is finished with his math he goes on to penmanship, a logic workbook, and reads his science book in bed, taking the cat with him. I sit down and look over a bit of The Wall Street Journal (paper edition). We keep all the music and TV off during the day as both kids like it quiet when they do their homeschool lessons.
When both are done with what they’re doing I sit down with them to do history. I read aloud from Story of the World for about a half hour, we’re finally finishing up Volume Two. After this both kids sit to read living books about history to themselves.
The kids want the homeschooling to be over with for the day as they want to move on to playing their one hour a day of video games. This is why they get down to homeschooling lessons early in the morning and why they don’t dawdle over their lessons. I also trained them (yes I used that word) to sit down and do the work a la Charlotte Mason’s habits which I taught my older son at age six and that my younger son has seen happening since he was three years old.
When the kids finish up their lessons, they play video games. On this day one is playing a solo game while the other watches. They talk and laugh throughout. I make them pasta for lunch and serve it. I make myself a different lunch and eat it. The kids want to watch TV while they eat and I say no (as usual). Studies show that people eat mindlessly while watching TV or even reading while eating (gasp) and with recent dietary changes the Pediatrician is forcing upon my younger son, I am trying to help stop overeating and mindless eating. When done the kids bring their dishes to the sink and Ieave them there for now. I remind the kids to put a load of laundry in to wash. They go back to do more video games.
The guitar teacher arrives and my younger son has his private guitar lesson. Older son retreats to his room and works on a giant LEGO city he is making. He stops to read more of his fiction book which he reads for at least an hour before going to bed. He is hooked on this book and wants to see what happens to he reads more than he is assigned for homeschooling. During that lesson I’m cleaning up the kitchen dishes. I clean the fish aquarium filter. By doing tasks in the kitchen I can overhear and see a bit of what is going on with the lesson.
After the lesson my younger son and I get into the car to get to his speech therapy appointment in the next town over. I have recently begun letting my soon to be twelve year old stay home alone, this is one of the days. While he is home alone he is to play or read a book. I have parental controls on the TV so he can’t watch anything PG or above. This is important as our new U-Verse DVR system has a large catalog of pre-recorded videos for free viewing which includes (gasp) soft porn and mature rated series shown on HBO and Showtime. My son has his speech lesson and I hear he is close to graduating. I’m proud of his progress and would be happy to stop paying $50 every week for this service. We go right home. Older son is fine and shows a new thing designed made with LEGO. He feels proud he is able to stay home alone; he’s starting to want to grow up!
My kids decide to make some fresh squeezed orange juice by themselves. They work out who gets to do what and take turns. No bickering this time, hooray.
The kids continue to do laundry, drying it and folding it and putting in more loads. I let them watch a children’s TV show while they fold. They are done with their one hour of video games. They move on to do LEGO together and later play a game of Yu-Gi-Oh! I’m on my computer reading news articles on the Internet, reading my favorite blogs, reading emails and doing a last bit of Scout related volunteer work. I talk to my husband about dinner. He is making a new recipe that we had tried once already and liked, that he originally got via email from Weber Grills.
We do a trip to the public library to return some items and spend about twenty minutes there poking around for books and seeing what movies are in. This is when the public school busses are bringing kids home and I remark that the kids have been gone from home for almost eight hours! My kids can't fathom being at school all that time given all that they've done in their day so far. Some families are now at the library, the parents who picked up their elementary grade kids from the public school up the road are there together. The library is busier than usual due to this fact. I can see and hear some mothers talking to each other about school stuff or gossiping. Once again I feel "left out" of this community by my choice to homeschool. I am sure the other mothers see me with my kids and not recognizing my kids from the public school, assume they attend one of the many private schools in the area. Little do they know how exclusive and how private my kid's school really is!
At some point I go out to get the mail and wind up walking around the yard doing a short nature walk. I often take my camera as I never know what I'll see. This day I check on the new veggie garden which is doing terribly since it has been a very cold and wet May and June. I'm losing enthusiasm for gardening due to the plants barely even growing. The lettuce is ready for harvest and I harvested some for a salad tonight.
Husband gets home at about six in the evening and he sets to making dinner. He loves to cook and asks to continue making dinner. He watches cable news on the kitchen TV. The kids talk to him a bit and overhear some news, not always a good thing depending on the stories of the day. Recent questions have been “what is a prostitute” and “what is an affair” and “what does rape mean”. I have fought for years to get my husband to shield the kids from the news and for years I did win. However since the last Presidential election I’ve lost the battle and the news blares on here. I don’t complain much anymore because the condition is when he is cooking and cleaning up from dinner he watches the news. My alternative is to kick him out of the kitchen, me do that work and keep the TV off. I’m tired by this point in the day and am so happy he makes dinner. I snapped a couple of food photos thinking I may blog about them in the near future.
Vietnamese Shrimp Pops with Peanut Sauce (mostly pork)
Salad with red lettuce from our garden, rest of produce from Costco, with husband's homemade salad dressing.
Our evening routine is not always the same. On this night my husband wants to play a game of football on the Xbox360. My older son wants time alone (a thing he does lately, part of puberty I guess). Younger son joins my husband to watch the football game, discuss it, and laugh. I’m back on the computer reading about knitting and reading Twitter posts. I then go upstairs and get ready for bed. I knit while sitting in bed and watch something on the DVR that I want to watch, this time, a BookTV lecture and some of a stupid reality show. This is the time when I usually talk to my parents or friends, if anyone is home, I use that alone time to chat on the phone rather than spending much time in the daytime doing phone chat. As well my husband will often speak to a brother or his mother or someone in the evening.
Soon everyone is upstairs and the kids are getting ready for bed. We are all in the master bedroom and watch a show on TV together, discussing it. This night we watch a Gordon Ramsey cooking show “Kitchen Nightmares” and have a lot of laughs and have good conversations about good and bad business practices. On other nights we might watch a reality show like Survivor or The Amazing Race or it might be a cooking demonstration show like Good Eats. I see the kids have not put away their own clean laundry and it is all over my bedroom in piles sorted by type of clothing. I tell them to gather it up and put their clothes away. My husband and I gather our clean clothes piles off the floor and put them away.
The kids go to bed and do fiction reading which technically is an assignment for tomorrow’s homeschool but they choose to do it at night in bed. We tuck the kids in for the night and leave them to read alone. When they are done they shut their own light off and go to sleep. Meanwhile, my husband and I are watching something we want on TV, either a news talk show (stressful for me to heat at night but he likes it) and we discuss it, or we watch an entertaining TV series show on the DVR like “The US of Tara” or a TV series I’ve borrowed on DVD from the public library. I am still knitting while watching/listening to the TV. Husband then goes to sleep and I stay up to read in peace and quiet. I’m behind on reading books that I’ve received advance reading copies of and am trying to make a dent in my “to be read” pile. My older son usually goes to bed after us, lately staying up to midnight or even one in the morning reading his book.