A Day in the Life – 2010
Unfortunately I don’t have the time to “live blog” a whole day but I will give you the run down of a typical day in the Parnell household.
The alarm goes off at 5:30am. I get out of bed, turn the hall light on to signal to children that it is morning, and get into the shower, hoping to wake up a little more. Once I’m out of the shower I open the bedroom doors of any sleeping children and get dressed and pull the covers up on the bed. Then I head to the kitchen where I prepare Mark’s lunch and get breakfast things out. The normal breakfast in our house is baked porridge, which I make a huge batch of on the weekend and we eat that for usually 4 breakfasts a week.
Once Mark’s lunch and breakfast is prepared I head back up the hall to help Rhiannon get dressed and make her bed, and get Josiah dressed. They are all expected to be dressed, clean their rooms, make their beds and brush their hair before they come to breakfast. By the time we pray and start breakfast it is about 6:10am.
We eat breakfast and then at about 6:20am (it doesn’t take long to eat) Mark reads the Bible to us. At the moment we are slowly working through Proverbs. We then discuss the verses we’ve read. After that we pray again, usually for the children we sponsor through Compassion and Baptist World Aid. Then we say goodbye to Mark as he heads off at 6:30am. We finish up breakfast, clear the table and then begin on chores. This could start anywhere between 6:30 and 7am, usually around 6:45am. By this point Josiah needs a clean nappy and to be wiped down after breakfast. I ignore the food he has thrown on the floor ;-).
For Chores, each of our children (over the age of two) has a “job chart”. The job chart reminds them of their morning routine, and outlines their daily chores, Monday to Saturday. They have one job per year of age, split between the morning and afternoon. For example Zoe, who is seven, has four jobs in the morning and three in the afternoon. Typical tasks include: cleaning the toilet and the toilet room vanity, putting away the clean dishes, watering the plants, emptying bins and cleaning windows. Sundays we have a “Resting Day” so no one is expected to do any housework that day, except for providing food. I attempt to supervise chores, assist where necessary and supervise Josiah who is crawling and into everything. I usually put a load of washing on now, hang one up if there is a wet load waiting and check my email, Facebook etc on my iPod touch. Personally, I find the iPod a better use of my computer time as it is less distracting and all-consuming for me than the computer. Unfortunately, there are some computer tasks it can’t replace as yet (like spreadsheets, school planning in a complicated document, visiting Aussie HomeSchool etc). I try not to get too distracted with my online doings. Some days children stay on task and get their chores done quickly but usually at least one child is whingy and reluctant to complete tasks. Complaining about work gets you extra work and jobs poorly done have to be fixed or redone. Inspecting my children’s work is a habit I am still getting into, but it is necessary for training my children to be diligent.
Once the older two have completed their chores they begin their school work. I supervise and assist with school work, listen to children reading, listen to children whinging etc. I am also usually still trying to ensure the other child has completed their jobs properly. If I haven’t taken Rhiannon to the toilet yet there will be a puddle to clean up. Often I will be hanging washing while I child reads to me or I give them verbal questions to answer. I also need to put another load of washing in the machine because I need to do a minimum of two loads a day, and that’s not including washing sheets and towels.
At some point between 8am and 10am, Josiah will get whingy and need to go to bed. He is our best sleeper yet, so once I’ve changed his nappy, I put him into bed with a dummy and put a CD on (as white noise so the banging and shouting and general carrying on of the house don’t disturb him). Also amongst this the second child will finish their morning jobs and will begin school work.
School work currently consists of our Bible time at breakfast, addition practice, other maths work, a reader, an “other” which is currently further maths work for Reuben and more reading practice (The Beginner’s Bible) for Zoe. We do some more English – reading a chapter from a chapter book, retelling a story from a previous day, etc. Lastly we do our unit study. We’ve just finished up our unit on “In The Toybox” today. We learn about Science, History, Road Safety etc in this time slot. Our formal curriculum is fairly “light on” this year, since we had a baby to care for and sick children and the wedding of my brother (I helped prepare Mum and Dad’s house for the reception) etc. Next year our curriculum will be more intensive.
School work is usually all done for everyone by morning tea time (my children are in year one and kindergarten so it doesn’t take long). We usually have morning tea at 9:30, although that varies depending on whether I’ve thought far enough in advance to have something prepared. At least once a week I’m cooking or otherwise preparing morning tea from around 9am. Morning tea is usually a piece of fruit and “something else” like a carrot muffin, home made custard (from custard powder), yoghurt, scones or something similar.
After morning tea children are free to play. We used to start school later and allow them to play once chores were done but it was difficult to get them away from their play and back to working so we’ve changed the routine and feel it works better for us this way.
Sometimes, if morning tea is early (or late) children will watch Playschool and occasionally the ABC education programs afterwards. On a good week that would happen once. On a “bad week” it would happen 4-5 mornings a week.
Josiah usually wakes up sometime in here and needs morning tea and a clean nappy plus lots of cuddles etc.
From 10-11:30 I potter around, hanging washing, tidying up, changing nappies, weeding, doing other chores. Children play, sometimes well, sometimes not. At 11:30 it’s time to think about preparing some lunch ready for 12N.
I usually eat my lunch while chatting with Mark on MSN (either on the computer or the iPod) since he has his lunch break around then. Children have between 12N and 1pm to eat and play before rest time.
Rest time is from 1pm to 2:30pm although it is sometimes longer if children aren’t allowing each other/me to rest. They need to rest separately, but are allowed to play quietly, usually drawing, looking at books or playing with lego or duplo. With any luck, Josiah has his second sleep now. I like to read in rest time, listen to sermons, catch on on the internet world or crochet. On days where I have more energy I try to complete tasks that are difficult to do with children around – such as clean out the cupboard of serving platters etc. I also read my Bible if I haven’t had a chance before now. I usually have to get up to disobedient children at least twice although often more. I often have to change a soiled nappy too.
At 2:30 children pack up from rest time and have some play time until 3pm. I prepare afternoon tea ready for 3pm. I often get the washing in around now, although recently we’ve had afternoon storms so I have done that in our rest time. I try to do a bit of a tidy up around the house. 4pm is afternoon job time. Afternoon jobs include tidying up the areas they’ve been playing in. In theory they work on these all together but in reality I usually have to separate them to different messed up areas of the house to clean otherwise they get distracted playing or they fight. (Do anyone else’s children fight because someone else packed away the thing THEY wanted to pack away?). Other tasks include bringing the bins in (once a week), setting the table and helping me in the kitchen (usually with dinner preparation). I try to make sure the house is mostly tidy at this point.
5pm is “Kitchen time” which is when I start preparing dinner. I usually have a helper with this. The other children are often still completing their jobs because they’ve been procrastinating or they have earnt themselves extra work. Once they’ve completed their jobs they play quietly, with minimal mess. Sometimes they play on my iPod or computer. 6pm Mark arrives home.
6:10pm is dinner time, and we chat about our day. Then it’s time for children to get ready for bed, having baths (not every day), brushing teeth etc. I usually breastfeed Josiah now – it’s his only feed of the day now and it’s getting shorter and shorter (he is shortening it, not me). Children are generally in bed by 7pm. We pray with them and put a CD on for them as white noise. Once they are in bed I breathe a sigh of relief (I love my children but by the end of the day I’m usually tired). Then I sigh again as I see the mess in the kitchen. Most evenings I wash the dishes, wipe down the benches etc. Now Mark has finished Uni he comes into the kitchen with me and helps out a bit and we chat and catch up on the day etc. If he’s otherwise occupied I listen to music or sermons on my iPod.
Once the kitchen is done it is usually 8pm. On a good day I will have swept the dining room too but good days only happen about once a week! LOL! After that I will sit at the computer or read or crochet. Sometimes I’ll fold the washing (usually a few days to a week’s worth of clean washing). Sometimes Mark and I will watch something on the TV or a DVD. On Wednesday nights we watch Spicks and Specks but that’s not on a the moment. I should do some exercise in the evenings but I usually forget and the rest of the time am too busy or tired.
At 9pm Mark and I head towards bed. Sometimes we are in bed by 9:15, usually closer to 9:30 these days but rarely after 10pm. We chat, cuddle and pray before going to sleep.
I hope this gives you a little glimpse into the day of a home educating family, in honour of Home Education Week.