Saturday, May 09, 2020

Schooling at Home

Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 9

I was going to write this post a few weeks ago... but I had to get around to selecting and resizing the pictures I wanted to include (my 'spare time' is after the baby is done nursing for the last time and before I fall asleep where I'm sitting). That was a few weeks ago - now I have so many pictures, I'm going to have to do multiple posts if I want to include them all. Here's to not getting distracted too long between posts!

Life here has been very busy. We've been adapting to a new hybrid type of schooling - not quite public school, yet not quite homeschool either, and I think we've finally gotten a rhythm figured out. I love it, and I think most of my kids have found it mostly enjoyable. And I thought I'd give you a glimpse of what it's like here with two high-school students, 5 different grade elementary students a preschooler, and a now very mobile 8 month old!

Where to start....

(Shepherd on Duty - PC (G8))

Having all the kids home for school, means that I can afford to have a shepherd out with our sheep for a much larger part of the day. Once all the kids have 'checked in' online, I figure out what order they'll each have an hour of Shepherd Duty. It gives the shepherd a chance at some peace and quiet alone time, and it makes juggling 4 computers between 7 students a little easier. Usually, two shifts are completed before lunch and then 3 more are done before supper time.

We mostly work at the dining room table for the offline assignments and at any given time, there's probably two or three kids there where I can easily switch between them. When lunchtime rolls around, we pack everything up, stack it on the end tables in the living room and bring it back out again when class time resumes.

Cricket (preschool), Dolly (G9) and QB (Kindergarten). Then there's QB again, Ricka (G3) and Emma (G7) in the shadows.

Hard at work - In the house (Hal -G1), and out of doors - Butler (G5). QB doing a number sort while Ricka and Hal share a computer behind him.

Math Games


Beside the bookwork and online assignments, there's plenty we do that's not in groups at the table. Some of the favorites include:

Art Projects - Here's Butler's first assignment. ........................................... And PE - Trampoline Time.

Music - Butler on the Piano. Science - Scavenger Hunts outdoors.

And Cooking - which could be classified as Science I guess... Sir ordered a new wok, and some of the kids got to observe it's conditioning process. If I were my mom, I would have made them all write a report on the process... 'just saying!

QB making Sweet and Sour sauce... for Sweet 'n Sour Pork of course! Here, Butler was making Sausage for a Biscuits and Gravy breakfast.

As the wok was being cured - heat reactions. ........................... Trying it out for the first time.

Seasoned and Tried .............................. The Results - Homemade Chinese Food! It was better than take out.

After lunch, and before we get back to the actual 'lessons', I have the kids participate in a group 'class' that I call, Sportsmanship. At first I was met with protesting, and eye-rolling and there were a number of times when 'participation' was exacted it seemed, by tooth and nail, but over time, my persistence paid off, and 'Sportsmanship' is now a cherished part of our school days. For about an hour after lunch, I would supervise a group interaction activity that would require my children to display teamwork, kindness, patience, encouragement and teaching by example towards each other. It usually takes the form of a board game, card game, puzzle or even an Afternoon Tea. I do know, that sometimes you have to make an effort to take time out to play - to enjoy each other's company. Sometimes these occasions are less than peaceful, but practice makes perfect, and slowly we're all benefiting from the lessons we can glean during this little time together! Now the days that we don't actually fit 'Sportsmanship' into the schedule, the kids make sure I know it wasn't their decision! And that makes me happy.

Sportsmanship - Settlers of Catan. .......................... Sportsmanship - Ticket to Ride

Sportsmanship - Geography 3D puzzle. ......................... - Afternoon Tea and Cookies

And yes, there are moments where it seems all is against a smoothly operating schedule. Kids get up late, dawdle getting breakfast, baby decides she needs a 'mommy only all the time' day and wants to nurse four times before noon, assigned shepherds balk and protest the shift they're given and procrastinate getting out the door, bookworms disappear into invisible crevices around the house. Someone everyone wants a snack 10 minutes after we get started on their lessons, some kids take too long 'checking in' online to see if they have assignments or they get 'distracted' by a game on the computer, other kids 'don't have any' or 'don't know' if they have any assignments for the day (or week or in some cases). Some kid will take advantage of the chaos and just disappear and I'll find them outside somewhere in a tree or in the dirt. Lunch gets started late, takes too long, doesn't get cleaned up right away so we can get on with the day. Cricket gets into yet another mischievous adventure like toothpaste cocktails in the bathroom, sharpie murals on my bedroom wall, or letting the dogs out of the kennel without supervision. The phone will ring, the printer runs out of ink... and so on. But I wouldn't trade these days for anything - They are treasures in the chaos that is my life, and I'm so thankful and sometimes overwhelmed by the privilege of getting to see them firsthand!

Ricka's Reading Log - "I can't remember the books I read, because I read so many". And then there's Hal - Playing Hooky.

NOT doing school ........................And a Picnic Lunch

One of the assignments Butler has had each week, has been a themed 'nature walk' that he has to take and document with photos. The nice thing about that has been that I've been getting a pretty interesting picture collection. Although, there's not much to say about these pictures individually, I have enjoyed them and thought they might be worth sharing.

cherry blossoms..........more cherry blossoms ...................willow tree

Bricks and mortar ..................More bricks ................ fences

salmonberry .................Maple ....................Apple set up

tree bark ........................hay close-up

Then there's Little Miss Cricket. When she's not bringing me gifts or keeping Pixie entertained (which is VERY helpful), she's usually getting into all sorts of mischief. I have to make a mental note of her outfit first thing in the morning, and be sure to ask why particular clothing items have changed throughout the day. She wants so much to be involved in this new world of school, but there's only so much time I can spend with just her, and her attention span is only so long. When these limits have been reached, then she finds ways to keep herself busy whether it's washing the bathroom down with soggy bits of toilet paper, 'picking' my Rhubarb plant like we did together previously, 'washing' her shirt in the sheep's water trough or packing all her dollies and doll gear outside to the garden or play house where she forgets them until 15 minutes after I've tucked her into bed. Of course, by that time, she desperately needs them, and I have no idea where in the dark I'm going to find them. I love her independent and creative approach to life!

Proud gift-giver ..............................playmobil display

And that pretty much encapsulates our school days in general. Gradually we're figuring out routines, but we must be enjoying this adventure, because it most definitely does not seem like we've been doing this for more than 5 weeks already!

That's just how time seems to disappear though - one moment you're savoring early morning baby snuggles in a squeaky rocking chair and the next, you're staying up late trying to navigate important teenager chats at the kitchen counter. And it all happens in the blink of an eye!

Morning snuggles from a sleepy baby

1 comment:

  1. You are a wonderful mommy/teacher!! This was a lot of fun to read!I send all my love to everyone!!