We are back in the swing of things with Classical Conversations, which means our schedule is now back up to full speed! I thought I’d start our recaps of this cycle by walking through the 5 phases of a typical day. For week 2 (and every week after) I’ll focus on a different area of study and what we have in place for it.
Phase 1: Early Morning (time varies)
The boys started each day with their daily Top 5. They make their beds, get dressed, brush teeth, etc. They read their bible and pray. They run laps and do some exercises and then they come in and help set the table and get breakfast together while someone empties the dishwasher from the night before. Once we sit down to eat, morning time begins. I give gentle reminders and encouragement wherever its needed.
We did the above every morning, except for community day. Then depending on the day, we added the following:
Once we finish with morning time the boys clear the dishes, wipe the table and head off to play until the new hour. I typically load the dishwasher and then sit and read my bible for a few minutes and then look over the day’s schedule.
Phase 2: Mid Morning Session (2 hours)
On the new hour we gather in the classroom for Math, Music and Latin. I am currently teaching three levels of Right Start Math so its the first thing we tackle every day! I know I gush about this program often but I am so thankful for it! It blends perfectly into our rhythm and has made math a fun and adventurous time of the day. I always begin by reading through the lesson with the older two. They usually explain what they have learned and then start working. While this is happening the #3 is practicing his violin while #4 is playing with math manipulatives. Once I am done with the older two, #4 gets a brief math lesson. Once #1 and #2 are done they leave to practice their violin and guitar while I teach #3 his math lesson. Once the older boys return they do their Latin drill, unless its Tuesday and then they get a full Latin lesson. While the older boys work on Latin the younger two play until the new hour.
Next I read from our history selections to the older three. #1 and #2 work on a written narration and #3 gives an oral narration. While the older two compose their narrations, #3 and I work on his spelling and then I listen to him read for 20 minutes. During this block of time #4 is working on his Homegrown Preschooler activities which I prepare in advance. This block of time with #4 took many years of consistent, intentional training to establish. It didn’t happen overnight. He can work/play with a tray, clean up after himself and fetch a new one. This is a GIFT folks. He is purposefully engaged and I am free to work with the other kids. I’m glad I listened to the older, wiser Mama that recommended we put the work in early.
Once everyone has finished the boys run off to play once more until lunch time.
Phase 3 Lit Lunch
Lunch is always simple. We almost always have a salad + whatever the boys know how to cook. We also love to rework leftovers from the night before. We eat together for a few minutes while the boys tell me stories or share favorite things they learned that morning. Once I am done eating I begin our lunchtime read alouds. We love to linger at the table so we are never in a rush to finish.
Current lunchtime reads:
Burgess Seashore Book
Classic Myths to Read Aloud
James Herriot Treasury
Beatrix Potter (one story per day)
Once we finish our reads the boys relax until the new hour while I start a new load of laundry or make notes about what I have observed that day or I tidy up or I scream into a pillow if its been a tough morning. This brief little reset is important for me. I spend time thinking and praying and evaluating. You’ve just read through the logistics of our morning schedule without my adding much about how it all pans out when you add in 5 different personalities and a host of various learning abilities. Between math and latin you must add in the occasional squabble and at the breakfast table you must imagine a rumple haired boy fighting to get past the grumps (or surrendering to them entirely). This is real life and its messy at times. Our rhythm keeps us moving forward, keeps us dancing, keeps our purpose and reminds us to keep taking the grace God offers us.
Phase 4: Early Afternoon Session
The older boys kick off this session with their Essentials work. They begin by copying charts, working on their spelling and vocabulary lists and working on their IEW assignment for the day. #3 and I scoot off to a corner to enjoy his study this year, Around the World with Picture Books Part 1. We read beautiful picture books together and he further extends the study with art or music. He is recording what he learns in a sweet little notebook. Once he is finished he is free to play while I have a brief K session with #4 followed by any therapy work he needs to do.
The older boys chime in here and there with questions or requests for help. Once I am finished with their younger brothers, I join them at the table and we diagram sentences together and then check completed work. We play a few rounds of Number Knockout or a Right Start Math game to close out. They then move on to their independent loop and I wrap up final work with #3.
Phase 5: Mid Afternoon Phase
The older boys now have 45 minutes of silent reading. The eldest is currently reading Father Brown and #2 is reading Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. This gives me time to read lots and lots and lots of picture books with #4 (#3 sometimes joins in too). Sometimes we prep for dinner or bake or do some handwork during this time. If its Friday, I use this time to help the littles with their presentations for community day. Once this silent reading time draws to a close we gather around the white board and write out our favorite ideas from the day, new things we learned, questions we have, etc. We try to find the common themes and we end with prayer or sometimes a song.
Then its time for afternoon story time, possibly the highlight of our day. The boys eat a snack and then do something with their hands while I read aloud or we listen to an audiobook together. This week #1 worked on illustrating his latest journal, #2 worked on his embroidery from Clementine Patterns, #3 worked on hanging upside down off the side of the couch and #4 snuggled the dog and played with Legos.
We do this every afternoon except Fridays which is reserved for Poetry Tea Time.
Finally we move on to Blessing Hour (never takes a whole hour these days). I have a list of chores broken up into four zones and each boy is assigned to a zone. We play music and bless the family by cleaning together. Its amazing how quickly the house is restored to rights when 5 people clean together rather than just one tired mama. Its done in no time at all! The house is cleaned and we can spend the last four or five hours of the day enjoying one another and relaxing. The boys run off to play and wait for Dad to come home and when he does they happily get lost in whatever he wants to do that evening. Music, farming projects, basketball games, etc.
Once this terrible suffocating heat subsides we will have more and more lessons outside or at the beach. How we are looking forward to it!