“Are your boys in school?” Well, they’re learning, but so far it’s not “school”. As we work out our homeschooling philosophy and methodology, a more relaxed approach–dare I say it, an unschooling approach–is particularly attractive to me at this point with young children (4K and 2K + baby). This is both liberating and terrifying–it is so easy to be swayed by others’ recommendation of “the best” curriculum and to feel I “ought” to take a more school-ish approach, but as I see John and Anthony engaged and curious about their surroundings and in love with reading, I think we’ll stick with this for now.
<–I brought books home from the library and was mobbed by both big boys begging to read everything I brought home.
Simple Homeschool’s The Myth of the Uninvolved Unschooler made unschooling seem a lot more reasonable and doable–and it looked a lot like what we do, or at least what I’d like to do. Perhaps we may move to more formal schooling later, but for now our days are full! I am loving reading through Jaime’s day-in-the-life posts as I try and get us into a rhythm of our own. Here’s what Monday looked like at our house:
6:00 a.m. Baby wakes up. Groan and roll over.
6:30 a.m. Drag self upstairs to feed and change baby. Baby falls asleep nursing, I catch up on morning prayers and Facebook.
7:15 a.m. John comes in, baby re-wakes, boys play while I shower. Anthony is quiet in his room, we leave well enough alone.
8:00 a.m. Find Anthony reading and playing Legos, everyone tidies boys’ room. We read Winnie the Pooh An Arts & Crafts Day together.
8:30 a.m. Anthony goes outside to play Octonauts in the water table, John screws in some nuts and bolts and makes a book for me with stencils and stapler (the cover says “To Mama, Love John”), baby looks for interesting dirt and fuzz to eat, and I make pancakes.
8:45 a.m. Anthony is still playing, so John and baby eat pancakes and I chug coffee. Anthony comes in and I read Tomie dePaola’s The Parables of Jesus to the boys. Anthony insists I read The Three Little Tamales, so we read that too.
9:15 a.m. Both boys head outside to play. Baby and I fold some laundry.
10:15 a.m. John comes in and we read about fungi and bacteria and classify various types of living creatures. We talk about yeast and make connections with our yeast experiment and bread making.
10:50 a.m. John heads back outside with Anthony. Baby and I play and do more laundry, then eat an early lunch.
11:50 a.m. Boys come back in and change after playing in the dirt, then eat lunch while I read more Parables of Jesus. I put baby to sleep while they watch Octonauts and read. John loves his new bug robe and Anthony pretends a too-big camo hoodie is his “robe”.
12:20 p.m. The boys and I cuddle on the couch to read more Parables of Jesus, Hedgie Loves to Read, The Library Gingerbread Man, The Pirate Cruncher, and The Mitten. Then John watches a Magic School Bus episode while I bring Anthony up for his nap (and read him The Three Little Tamales and a Scooby Doo book).
12:50 p.m. John watches another Magic School Bus while I write this post.
1:20 p.m. John and I set up our fungus experiments and look for fungi outside. John gets the experimental fruit moist with a sponge, then wonders why the sponge floats and tries to make it sink (which he accomplishes by smushing it under the Gup A).
1:30 p.m. John asks to make chocolate chip muffins, so we make these delicious beauties. We use the sliding measuring spoon to go over fractions.
He eats some chocolate chips and tells me they are like eating a salad before dinner–a pre-snack appetizer. Riiiight.
2:15 p.m. I clean a bit and write a bit while John plays. He shows me his bug/Joker creation and we play a dice game (throwing foam dice up to see who gets a bigger number, then stopping after we both roll the same number twice).
3:30 p.m. John eats a muffin (or, as I realize when I get downstairs, 3 muffins) while I nurse baby and wake Anthony.
4:00 p.m. Snack time! Muffins for all as we talk about today’s saint (St. Louis, our parish’s patron). Somehow we end up talking/reading about St. Thomas Aquinas as well.
4:20 p.m. John makes some crazy guns that shoot up, down, and sideways. We head back to the couch to read more Parables of Jesus, Library Gingerbread Man, and Little Tamales.
4:40 p.m. Boys play ball together while I clean up the snack detritus and hang laundry out to dry.
5:00 p.m. John makes up stories about Senor Robo the evil scientist robot from his sticker book and tells me and Anthony all about the dastardly robot and his friends.
5:10 p.m. Anthony goes out to play. John tells me about the three little tamales he made from dinner napkins and toy rings and makes up a game involving a fishing pole, toy egg, and the tamales.
5:20 p.m. John realizes the fishing pole is magnetic and hunts around the house to see what is and is not magnetic. I suggest going outside to search for magnetic items and he follows Anthony out.
5:30 p.m. John calls me out to show me the magnetic scissors he found. Anthony uses the scissors to move Octonauts toys from the boat to the basket.
5:45 p.m. John calls me out to show me that the sun warmed up the water in Anthony’s boat, but that it hadn’t all evaporated yet. He then turns the water red with a washable marker and puts different things in the boat to see how they looked in colored water (the truck still looked dark orange but the silver spoon looked red).
Anthony brings some trucks over to wash in the water table.
5:55 p.m. I change baby and start thinking about dinner.
6:07 p.m. Dinner is on, I’m called out to see…I’m not sure what. John is fascinated by how an old piece of paper looks after it was covered in mud that dried out. Anthony makes me some “food” in the mud pit, then he plays with cars in the mud.
Dominic crawls out the open door and plays with some sidewalk chalk and practices standing unaided by the playhouse.
The boys dig and hoe the dirt and John explains to Anthony that roots are the part of the plant that go underground and suck up the nutrients and water to feed the plant. Anthony plays with the messy water table, pours water from a cup into his elephant watering can and waters some plants.
6:17 p.m. After the 10th time Dominic tries to eat the sidewalk chalk, we go in to check on dinner. The boys are still out playing with dirt and Play-Doh.
6:30 p.m. Two filthy boys come in for dinner. They eat while I read The Pirate Cruncher. John tells me his favorite part of the day was playing with the warm water. Anthony says he liked playing with the cool water. We all pretend race around the living room (John is himself, I am Mrs. Margaret–a friend who is running the road race series with me, and Anthony is Mrs. Margaret’s dad).
6:50 p.m. Tidy up downstairs, then bath time.
7:10 p.m. Husband gets home, bed time.
7:45 p.m. Baby fed, boys in bed.
7:47 p.m. One last question: “What can a protozoa do to a fungus?”
8:00 p.m. I sit down to dinner and beer before cleaning up the terrifying mess that is the kitchen/breakfast area, taking in the laundry, and relaxing with my husband.
It’s unusual to be home all day–we have Mother’s Day Out, two play dates and a preschool session with friends, and a MOPS meeting later this week, so it was relaxing to have a day together without any plans!