Back to School #4: A Day and Week in Action

O-hayou Gozaimasu!

That’s pronounced ohiyo goyzaimas and it means Good Morning in Japanese… wanna know how my kiddos learned that?

Watching Anime with subtitles.

🙂

Welcome to Part 3 of my 5 Part Back to School series where we look at how a normal day and week work in our house.

Our Weekly Schedule

Our Weekly Schedule

Here is our formal schedule for our informal school week. Seems kind of counterproductive doesn’t it?
The thing is that, like I have mentioned before, we do best when we have a rhythm to our days. You will see times written in the schedule and honestly I ignore those times completely. They are there so that I can give my reviewer an idea of how things work, not so that our family becomes a slave to the almighty schedule. I say it like that not because I am judging people who need a schedule. Because some people really do need an itemized schedule to help keep them on track, there is nothing wrong with that. Some children have to know whats coming next and exactly what time that is going to happen, if your child fits that description than this will not work for you (but thanks for checking it out!). I word it so harshly because I am the kind of person that totally stresses out if I make a tight schedule and then can’t keep it. The truth is that I cannot keep up a strict schedule. I just can not.

In one of my other posts I call it Beautiful Chaos and that is exactly what it is. We have enough order to know whats happening next yet enough flexibility to go where the winds take us.

Here is how that looks:

My children have very slow and drawn out mornings.

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Sometimes that means a diaper hat

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Or winter wear in summer…

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Or an adorable ensemble!

They usually wake up on Monday morning (730ish) and get dressed, they know we will head to the grocery store at some point in that day.

Then they play or watch cartoons until we leave (usually closer to 10), with a quick breakfast thrown in (c. 8 am) because mommy is NOT a morning person.

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This could easily be Yoda, an alien, a fairy or a gnome…to start with

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Empty drink servers are also drums, building blocks and so much more

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Mirror Mirror is a favorite around here and a jumping point to all sorts of studies!

Their play is intense and intricate, often including complex story lines, character development, geography, science exploration, engineering experiments and multiple costume changes. I often include that when listing their language arts, science and social studies activities for the day.

They also know that we will probably set aside some time for copy work (hello language arts that only take about 10 minutes), read a book or two (again language arts), watch some movie (that’s why we call it Movie Monday) or cartoon that will end up leading to a discussion (which leads to reading more books) about a group of people, place or event in history (hello social studies). Then we will go to the grocery store were we will be comparing prices, rounding and adding (yep, you guessed it thats math). Once home, we will put away the groceries (more math with sorting) and make lunch (math, again, and health). Over lunch I might read a poem out loud, play some classical music (composer study/music) or show them a piece of art and tell them about the style (art, artist study). Ending the time with a clean up (more math with all that sorting).

That is our morning.

After lunch the younger two take a nap, sometimes the younger three, but all four will have a quiet time.

This mommy is an introvert and even though much of their play is with each other, they are still very intense and by 2:00 pm I am spent! Completely and utterly exhausted. If we do not have private quiet time than mommy gets snappy, my fuse is infentismal and I tend to yell, which none of us like. Because we live in a small apartment, we have to be creative with our quiet time arrangements. Usually Itty bitty takes a nap in the master bedroom, it is about an hour and a half to two hours of dedicated quiet. It’s lovely and because she is asleep the others have to be quiet as well. Curly Que looks at books in her room, on her bed…more than half the time she falls asleep too. Little Miss goes up to her brothers loft to read (look at books), do puzzles, color, draw or sleep. Two to three days a week she will fall asleep for about half an hour of that. Little Man reads or plays quietly on his DS in the living room with me, where I read, nap or write.

Everyone wakes up from this lull between 300-345ish and they are hungry. Which brings us to their favorite time of day, Tea Time. For Tea Time we use the fancy dish ware, set up the main table properly and enjoy a nice snack together. We talk about the stories they made up during quiet time, read poetry, work on Mad Libs together, try to stump each other with logic problems or tell jokes. Many of the jokes end with “on your face!” and lots of little giggles.

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After tea is free play. Anything goes all afternoon long until Daddy comes home and we have Dinner. I try to clean while they play throughout the day but that doesn’t always happen.

Pretty much everyday works out like this.

On Tuesdays our tea time is a little more structured around poetry (each child will choose one or two poems for mommy to read out loud) and we do any errands or appointments during the morning.

Wednesday is our dedicated Library day and we go to two different libraries. One has a great selection of older, living books and it is small enough that the Librarian knows who we are and what we are reading every time we visit (which is so cool!!). The other Library is a larger county library with a larger selection in general. Then in the evening we watch the Nature and NOVA shows as a family on our local PBS station.

Thursday is our Nature study / Science day. We spend almost all morning out in nature. We have nature journals that the children use to collect specimen (via gluing the specimen into the book or drawing it), a pocket microscope, colored pencils, a tape measure and unscheduled time to roam. If there is a science interest that requires research or experimentation we do it in the Afternoons.

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Can you tell they really like Thursdays?

Fridays are also one of their favorite days of the week. We call them free fridays. The only thing they do that even remotely looks like school is Free write Fridays. For 3 solid minutes the younger two draw, Little Miss draws according to a specific topic (we tried actually writing but she gets so frustrated and upset that we stopped that after 15 seconds, we also tried crayons so that she couldn’t erase and that was disastrous!) and Little Mister writes about a topic of his choosing (he needs a few minutes before we start to formulate his thoughts before the writing exercise begins, it may not be true free writing but its preparing them in its own way). Usually we have Piano lessons on Friday, sometimes we try to go to a local market, other days we go on field trips and some days we play in a playground all day long. It is free friday and every friday looks completely different! Our Free Fridays often turn into fun weekend trips too.

Cape Cod

Cape Cod

Cape Cod

Cape Cod

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Information Center in Philadelphia

Information Center in Philadelphia

Baltimore Aquarium

Baltimore Aquarium

Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia, PA

Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia, PA

Valley Forge, PA

Valley Forge, PA

Valley Forge, PA

Valley Forge, PA

Kinder Farm Park

Kinder Farm Park

Kinder Farm Park

Kinder Farm Park

Playground on Fort Meade, MD

Playground on Fort Meade, MD

Playground on Fort Meade, MD

Playground on Fort Meade, MD

National Cathedral, Washington DC

National Cathedral, Washington DC

Hayride to Strawberry Patch

Hayride to Strawberry Patch

Strawberry Picking, PA

Strawberry Picking, PA

Montpelier Mansion, Laurel MD

Montpelier Mansion, Laurel MD

Making and Canning fresh Strawberry Jam

Making and Canning fresh Strawberry Jam

So there you have it. A day and week in the life of US! We don’t take too much too seriously. We try to have fun in hands on ways.  While we have this overarching rhythm to our days, nothing is absolute. We have even been known to do a Movie Monday activity on Tuesday and a Tuesday tea on Thursday. Each day is an adventure awaiting discovery, even if that discovery is how much fun hiding under blankets on the couch can be!

Hope to see you all next time when I post How we record all of this so that it is legal in our State!

You can also go back to to Post 3, Post 2 or Post 1 by clicking on the Hyperlink.

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