Bekah is an Australian mum of three children aged 8, 6, and 5 months, whom she eclectically homeschools. This day is a Tuesday, the second day of their standard homeschool week.
I lay in bed pretending, no, attempting to stay asleep while the kids rummage around in the kitchen for breakfast.
The Monster, in his new Big Boy capacity, cooks eggs on toast for his breakfast. The Wench chooses to have the ever so nutritious and filling coco-pops instead. I continue “sleeping.”
The Minx awakens. She isn’t crying. I am still “asleep”. Then her Daddy decides to bring her to me where I sleep. Sigh. There is no staying asleep when little baby hands are scratching your face off, and whatever remains of your face after that is eaten by a slobbery baby mouth.
While Daddy does the good job and changes her nappy I go and turn on the kettle, brush my hair while it boils and all of that half-hearted mummy-prep that happens. I make the Minx a bottle, make myself a coffee and then sit down to give her the bottle, fending off her scratchy hands whilst attempting to drink my coffee.
I change her nappy, because every morning she likes each parent to do it at least once. Then begins a time of gooing and gahing and booing and administering tickles that garner no laugh because apparently she is stubborn.
The Minx goes down for a nap and we start our school work. First up is calendar work.
- Change the day and date on the wall.
- Check to see if the moon wheel needs changing (it doesn’t).
- Check the weather and record it in their folders.
- They fill in the date on their calendars, in their folders.
- They fill in the “How Many Days of School” chart, and mark the tally for the same count.
- They practice writing the date in numerous ways.
- Recite the alphabet, including the Auslan alphabet.
- Some counting and skip counting.
- Recite the days and months.
I give the kids their new larger exercise books for writing. Much excitement ensues. I fill in the first page with a column down the left side of the alphabet in lowercase. They do lines after the first three letters. They ask if we will do handwriting of numbers, I demonstrate how the numbers are written properly on the white board, and they copy them in their small exercise books.
The Minx awakens and plays on her playmat on the floor near us. I pull out some sight words worksheets. Just handwriting for today – simple, you would think. And it is for the Wench, who likes to work quickly. But then the Monster notices that she is working more quickly. I point out it is because he has been talking the whole time (oh yes, homeschooled kids do this too!) but he denies this and an argument ensues…….I am not actually saying anything in this argument, it is just the Monster, arguing against the imagined slights I am throwing at him, because he, “Hardly ever never even talks at all!”
Actually he never stops talking. He even sometimes talks in his sleep. But of course, that’s impossible and I must be lying, because he hardly ever never even talks at all!
The kids get themselves some fruit for morning tea and I give the now impatient Minx a bottle. I play with the Minx, and the kids make fun of her as well, which she enjoys.
Because she had a short nap the Minx barely lasts the hour awake and goes down for a nap easily.
The Monster continues doing his handwriting sight word sheet. The Wench and I begin some work on phonics, TH and CH this week. She reads the TH and CH words I write on the board and then she writes them in her writing book. She complains that some of the words also contain the silent E. How dare I mix in different graphemes that she has already learned!
The Monster finishes the sight word sheet….finally. He now sits and waits with all the patience of an 8 year old boy – none. He occasionally, quietly, “accidentally,” reads out one of the Wench’s words before she can do so. And so begin some fun arguments between them.
I write some words for the Monster to read, he wanted something different and I realised we hadn’t worked on words where the C sounds like an S. So we look at that, read some words, compare them all to each other and discover what they all have in common (that is, if the C is followed by an E, I or Y, it usually sounds like an S).
The Monster reads a small reader book. Reluctantly. With lots of groaning and complaining and “I can’t do this!”
The Minx awakens and plays on her playmat.
We review our work on maths facts families and do some worksheets on those. I think about putting in the hard work of making more separate maths sheets for the Monster who just isn’t getting into these ones the way the Wench is. We look at place value, different ways of doing addition and we discuss (and I demonstrate) how knowing how to add small numbers means you can add large numbers.
The kids make themselves some sandwiches for lunch and I give the Minx a bottle.
The kids go to their rooms for some alone time and I play quietly with the Minx.
The Minx goes down for a nap, I actually get to have some of the Quiet Time alone! Yay. But…
I start thinking, this just isn’t working. The Minx is a terrible napper, she is erratic and sometimes she is very clingy and will not play on the playmat for those precious 15 minutes. We generally have to have a break when she wakes up, which means we have less time for school work. The kids don’t mind so much, but they do get a bit annoyed because, as much as they complain, they actually hate not doing school work!
I am going to have to stop doing Quiet Time on school days until the Minx has a more predictable schedule.
Quiet Time is over and we begin our cooking lesson for the week. COOKIES! I read out the ingredients, the kids measure it all out. They do most of the work really. I separate the dough into smaller bowls and bring out some extra ingredients and tell them to add whatever they like to their own bowl.
The Wench somehow interprets this to mean she should eat her bowl of cookie dough. Dear Gods!
The Minx awakens and does not want to play on the playmat. So I attempt to continue the cooking with one arm. Nope. Not working. We take a break while I give her a bottle and then dump her on her Daddy. We go back to cooking.
The kids eat their cookies for afternoon tea.
The kids do their jobs-they take the rubbish out to the bins and take the bins out to the nature strip (bin night). They feed the bunny and clean the bunny cage.
The Minx goes down for her nap. I turn the TV on for some afternoon down time. I collapse on the couch as we watch some Adventure Time.
The rest of the day is basically just normal whatever stuff. The kids get up to mischief, fight, and there were a couple of tantrums. The Minx got worse with her naps. Seriously. 10 minutes is not a nap!
It wasn’t the best day – we did maths, English and cooking, and that’s it. I am still trying to navigate homeschooling with a catnapping baby.