Thursday, September 18, 2014

~A Day in the Life~

Homeschool bloggers, at one time or another, write a day-in-the-life post, even though most days look nothing alike. I guess I should finally show what a day-in-the-life looks like around here, even though we, too, always change our days.

Current stats:

Aidyn: 8 years old, 3rd grade, and currently obsessed with Minecraft

Me: 8 months huge pregnant and really just trying to make it to 3:30pm every day (when the husband gets home and cooks dinner and FORCES me to rest)

Homeschool style: Mostly classical, eclectic, with a dash of FIAR

Homeschool philosophy: Set up a strong foundation (enjoyably!), literature-rich, get messy, facilitate learning, support a healthy relationship, and have fun (!)

What we're using (basically): Saxon Math, Brave Writer (Partnership Writing) and BWL (Poetry Teatime Tuesdays, Wednesday Afternoon Movies, Friday Freewrites and all the other stuff) Spelling Power, Story of the World: Volume One (ancient history), Adventures with Atoms and Molecules (chemistry), Song School Latin, Typing Pal Online, and mountains of books from the library.

Classes: Recorder (music) class (1x a week), character class (1x a month), Grade 3-6 science class (1x a week), Pre-engineering Lego class (1x a week), K-8 fun study hall club (biweekly).

Let's do this.

5am~ Rise and shine (for me). I usually get up between 4am and 5am because I'm crazy like that I'm a morning person. I enjoy a severely watered-down teacup of coffee (and dream of the non-pregnant day I will drink a jug of coffee) and traipse around in internetland. I check Facebook, email, secular homeschool forums, Pinterest (if the mood so strikes), and any random Goggle search prompted by a leftover wonder (how do you ease devastating mid-night leg cramps during pregnancy again?).

Sometimes I have a window for catching up on all my terrible shows, and other times I sit in the rocking chair and read a nice book in beautiful silence, or I might do some creative writing.

I need mornings to recharge and ground myself before a homeschool day.


Aidyn staggered downstairs early today and flopped on the couch. He had breakfast while we watched "Mythic Warriors: Theseus and the Minotaur." Then Aidyn watched a Muppet Babies episode of Greek myths while I took a shower.

Around 8:30, Aidyn dashed upstairs to play some Batman video game (modern mythic warriors, right? We'll go with that.)


We start math. I usually make a quick snack to share (today it was cinnamon and honey apple slices)


writes the date, answers some questions ("what date will it be in eight days?" "what day of the week is it?" "how many days in one week? two? three? four?" "what are the months of the year" etc.), makes three number sentences for the number-of-the-day, counts a random collection of money and records it, solves a problem-of-the-day, answer some clock questions, and counts by 5s, 10s, 100s, and odd and even numbers forward and backward.

Today's lesson reintroduced him to sums of ten. He drew two large circles on a piece of paper. I gave him ten counters, and he placed them in the circles in different combinations. I wrote out each combo on the chalkboard. Then I wrote out all eleven combinations and purposefully left one addend blank for him to solve.

He then did a 45-second timed addition sheet before doing his math page for the day.

10am~ Break

Aidyn ran around the house, playing with an Indiana Jones mini-gun, and had some kind of epic imaginary war.


Spelling Power!

I retested Aidyn on words he had previously misspelled and studied. He only missed one! Then we studied the one word (nice). With each missed word, I write it on the board, he reads it, we break it into parts (by syllable or sounds or some other pattern), he recites the letters in the word (twice), he spells it aloud with his eyes closed, he traces the word on the board, and then finally he respells the word without looking at it.

Then we moved on to our spelling activity (it changes every day). Today, we made a huge list of words that rhyme with "nice." I was expecting simple words, but he blurted out words like "slice," "thrice," and "vice" among others.

THEN, he had the best idea (totally on his own). He suggested I hide the word "nice" somewhere in the house for him to find, and if he finds it he gets a prize. So I took him up on the offer...

I made twenty "nice" decoys, words that rhymed/resembled "nice" and Aidyn's misspelling "nise" to throw him off. I hid the real "nice" on our globe over Nice, France.


We're using the Partnership Writing program through Brave Writer, and this month's writing project is Secret Codes. During this first week, we've been playing with picto-words. We had made a key of picto-words, and yesterday I wrote him a letter using our code words.

Today, Aidyn wrote a picto-coded letter to his grandma and, from what I heard, hid it somewhere in her room.


While he was occupied, I hid all my "nice" decoys through the living room and kitchen. Only one hidden slip of paper had the real word written on it. When I called him, he charged down the stairs and searched endlessly for the real "nice" card.

He eventually found it, and now I owe him a toy next time we go shopping. :)

Word games.

We played with a MagnePoem set to create some original poetry, just for fun.

Aidyn's poem. He insisted "sea" meant "to see." 

My poem.


Today we did chemistry experiment #3: do hot molecules move faster than cold molecules?
I posed the question, and while we debated it out, Aidyn wrote the question in his chemistry notebook. At first, he guessed that cold molecules would move faster because they're cold (he reenacted how his body shakes in cold weather).

He labeled one glass "hot" and another "cold" before I filled them up with hot and cold water, respectively. At the same time, he plopped one drop of red food dye in the hot water while I squirted one drop of blue dye in the cold water.

We watched the blue dye immediately sink to the bottom while the red dye spread all over pretty evenly. Aidyn concluded that the hot molecules spread faster than the cold. We talked about how if you're near a bakery, you can smell the warm deliciousness baking inside, and you can always smell a warm dinner coming out of the oven, but you never pass an ice cream shop and say, "Mmm, that ice cream smells delicious!" (unless they're baking waffle cones). And now we know it's because hot molecules travel and spread faster than cold molecules.

Afterward, we used a spoon to stir each glass. The hot water barely needed any stirring. We talked about how hot tea spreads in the cup more quickly than iced tea.

Aidyn recorded his findings and included illustrations in his chemistry notebook.


We both had chicken and cheese sandwiches before loading up in the car for his afternoon science class.


Aidyn attended a science class with 3rd-6th graders. From what he told me, they each received a packet of questions and needed to visit different science stations to answer the questions (on insects, ants, bees, and metamorphosis). Then they divided into teams and played a Jeopardy-style quiz game based on the questions.


On the way home, Aidyn read a book about piranhas (he's been interested in them lately), and the backseat was filled with "oooh"s and "ahhh"s.

We also listened to some good ole Harry Nilsson songs, particularly these three:

"Me and My Arrow"

"Are You Sleeping?"

"Think about Your Troubles"

2:30pm and onward~

Once we got home, I crashed on the rocking chair to recover. Aidyn zoomed upstairs and, from what I can only imagine, played in his room. Once 4:30 came around, Aidyn went outside, scooter in hand, to play with his neighborhood friends.


When the husband got home, he cooked dinner (salmon, rice and veggies). While he was cooking, I watched a Not-Back-to-School lecture online by Julie Bogart (creator of Brave Writer). The husband overheard most of the presentation, and I'd pause every once in a while to talk with him about it.

As per usual on Wednesday evenings, the husband and I watched "Face Off," a Syfy show about special effects makeup artists. Aidyn played outside with his friends and checked in every ten minutes or so. There's a gaggle of about three to seven kids out at a time, and they all ride bikes and scooters, play with oversized yoga balls, run around like crazy and get sweaty and dirty. Typical stuff.


Once it's dark-dark, Aidyn comes in from playing and does the back part of his math sheet from earlier (takes him about five to ten minutes). Because the husband gets up early for work and I get up early cuz I'm crazy like that, we both go to bed. Aidyn stayed up and watched "Goosebumps" on Netflix for a while before he fell asleep.

And that was our day!

I'm not sure I would say it was typical, except that we typically do different things every day. Most days we practice Latin, copywork, and dictation, but I followed Aidyn's interests this day to play his "spelling word hide-n-seek game." We also had an afternoon class; otherwise, we would have read a chapter from Story of the World.

But all in all, this is a normal day (in our current lives).

Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Our First Poetry Teatime {Brave Writer}

We enjoyed our first poetry teatime today.

I lit a candle, baked some sugar cookies (from a premade mix), and whipped up some orange hot chocolate.

Confession: The Real Reason I Homeschool

I homeschool because I'm lazy.

Random run-ins with family, friends, and acquaintances have led to questions like, "So are you still homeschooling? I could never do that" and "How do you have the patience for that?"

I hear stuff about public school. I went there. I remember. And I think the same thing: I could never do that. Why? Because I'm too lazy.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Easing In to the Brave Writer Lifestyle~ Enjoying Nature

I recently semi-ditched our English curriculum. Why?

As a writing tutor, writer, and lover of all things English myself, I felt like the clunky textbook too closely resembled something from school. It was dry, uninspiring, and way too methodical. Writing should be messy, experiential, and alive! Shouldn't it?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The First Three Weeks of Third Grade: What We've Been Up to

Knocking on wood, but these first three weeks of third grade have been amazing. We both transitioned into our new routine pretty effortlessly. Our first day of third grade went well; the Minecraft shultute, pancakes and gifts were a huge hit.