Busy and blessed – homeschool, business, life, and all!
A Day in the Life of the Bader’s Homeschool
(Preschool, 1st and 3rd grades – 2013)
So, I’m a homeschool mama of three boys, ages 4, 6, and 8, that moonlights as a concert promoter. When people from either of my polar opposite worlds find out about the other co-existing life that I live the common response is, “How and why in the world would you want to do you do all that?!?!?”
It’s tempting to share a perfect day in our homeschool life but really since they’re few and far between I’ll just attempt to give a glimpse into the juggling act that fills our daily lives here in the Bader home.
I’m the first one out of bed and most school days steel cut oats get cooked in the rice cooker for breakfast. The quiet early morning is either time for me to work, if I’ve got a show going, or it’s my sweet time of fellowship with God.
The boys rule KP duty. Moose, as Ace (4) is affectionately known, rocks unloading the dishwasher. This chore usually has him in the kitchen alone before we sit down for meals and accomplishes the main goal of freeing him up to sit down at the table with me while Zane and Sage clean up the kitchen after breakfast.
Ace and I get a good 15-20 minutes alone together to go over his phonics / reading (My Father’s World Kindergarten), Math (Math In Focus – a Singapore Math program), and some really fun books from Critical Thinking Co.
When Zane (3rd grade) and Sage (1st grade) come in we do our spiritual reading all together. Then we go back and forth with balancing things they can do on their own with things that need personal attention for each boy. At this point Moose keeps himself busy with a variety of different things. We love My Father’s World (MFW) as the core curriculum. It is designed to be able to teach children grades 2-8 together in the core subjects. This year our focus is “Exploring Countries and Cultures” and it’s been really fun!
We do geography, science, art, history and handwriting practice – even though it’s dated – a couple of times a week. Math (Math in Focus), spelling (Spelling Power) and language arts (Primary Language Lessons – this is really a great program!) happen every day.
We’re good at the table for about an hour and a half to two hours then we break to get “yaw-yaws” out. (Whatever did we do before the trampoline!?!?!?) And, of course, the boys are starving already so there’s snack too. After our break we get back together to do hands on things like learning games, read aloud books on our weekly theme, or art. If I was a really brave I would throw in some science experiments at this time but after so many failed attempts I’ve lost my nerve and the experiments lay there as merely good ideas in my teacher’s manual.
If I’ve got a show I’m working on I go to work for a bit during our break. If I’m really busy I work through breakfast then break for school. Afterwards I’ll work for a couple of hours and the boys make lunch for us all. This grew from necessity and at first I felt really bad, but now I’ve changed my mind and think it’s good that they can help in a meaningful way like preparing meals.
MFW has everything scheduled out with daily lesson plans. I can sit down grab my teacher’s manual and go each morning. My main prep has to do with ordering a TON of books from the library to go along with the topics that we’re studying. MFW is a unit studies / Charlotte Mason-based program so we do LOTS of reading. Friday is our library day.
In addition to our “table time” the boys have a couple of other things that they do daily and are at the liberty to do whenever it fits in their day. 1) 20 minutes of reading – they actually set a timer and sit together to do this 2) Spanish on the computer (Rosetta Stone) 3) 1/2 hour of working on their business. This was a mutual goal that they set. If you’re interested you can check out what they’re working on here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BaderBoysAtoZ
We homeschool year round and I don’t keep any type of schedule for holiday breaks or even when I think we’ll wrap up a “school year”. We have to keep this kind of on-going schedule because, I have to be honest, there are days when I get really busy with work – I go to make a couple of calls before starting school, end up at my desk all day, and cooking dinner in my PJs.
Slight digression for a funny story, also involving PJs… There was one time, shortly after Sage, our second son, was born that I showed up for an important business meeting 15 minutes late. I didn’t realize until I was walking in the building that I was still in my jammies. That never would have happened to me before I had kids, no way, not the 15 minutes late part and certainly not the PJ factor. But you know what, we signed the contract anyway and no one said anything to me about being “under dressed” for the occasion.
It IS a lot to juggle but it’s a tremendous blessing that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. The messy real-life that fills our home is teaching them too. We never strive to create “school-at-home.” The three “R’s” are really basic and all of our kids are bound to master these skills. The far reaching blessing that is homeschooling lies beyond the basics – it unfolds as we encourage our children to fill their minds with exploration, to ask questions, and to dig deeper for themselves – because they care, because they want to, and because they can.
This sweet, special, time with our keiki is priceless. I continually remind myself not to get hung up on the specific “hows”, on finding the right programs, or measuring “results.” We homeschool for the big picture for the vision of launching our children into their lives with a joy-filled youth under their belts and a true hunger for lifelong learning.
If I find myself overwhelmed by either juggling too much or the monotony of running our home and school I remind myself that the true big picture is that this precious season in our lives together is but a blink in time.
We ditched Spelling Power for Logic of English which is a better fit for us: it’s spelling, grammar, and writing all together.
LOVE, love, love Life of Fred!! Critical thinking story based math that goes up to calculus. Hard to describe – just have a look.
We’re taking a break from MWF which we will to return to next year. Right now we are thoroughly enjoying reading the Chronicles of Narnia with accompanying study guides Roar! and Further Up, Further In as the basis for our unit study.
And, just to keep things really cranking, we’ve added an awesome relational marketing business into our mix now too.
Life is busy. Life is good!