Monday, March 16, 2015

A Friday at Sceleratus Classical Academy

I had plans for this day; plans for this blog post. I was going to do what a fellow blogger did and take a picture on the hour, every hour of one day to give a snap shot of the day. But nothing this day went according to plan....which is actually pretty representative of almost every single day here.

Morning: I started this day off wrong by getting lost in a book the "night" before and not paying attention to the time; or having any respect for the morning. So I was really tired when I got woken up. Thankfully Builder Boy's favorite morning activity (not even joking) is to make me instant coffee in the morning. He and Early Bird also get their own breakfasts in the morning, which I'm pretty sure makes my mornings the easiest it gets without having staff. And it still takes me over an hour to be "functionally" (more than just taking care of the basic needs of the children) awake. I think our number one reason for homeschooling just may be not having to wake up before 9 am most mornings. So mornings are often pretty slow around here. And by slow I mean:

Builder Boy received a Laser Maze puzzle for Christmas. I told him that if he solved all the challenge cards that I would get him Khet 2.0 which was described as combining Lazer Maze and chess; both things that he loves. He did it, we bought it, and he's asking to play it with someone every day. Most days my 8 year old beats me. But once in a while, I manage to win.

Early Bird had gotten bored with regular speech, and was leaving the first part of words off as he spoke; just for fun. I figured since he was already doing the first part of Pig Latin, my not yet 6 year old might as well learn the rest. So we've been playing around with figuring out what their favorite words in Pig Latin are.

Lady Bug has turned out to be a developmental SPIKE, plateau, SPIKE, plateau learner. She is currently in a developmental leap ahead (SPIKE) and is obsessed with Signing Time. She learned 20 signs in two days, and keeps on going. Thanks to the Signing Time dvds being on a screen somewhere in the house for the past two weeks, the boys have been remembering the signs, too. So now often requests or statements around here are being done in signs instead of verbally. Whether the request is from 19 month old Lady Bug or her big brothers.

Builder Boy asked if he could be on the computer. I told him I would have him read something to me first before he did, right after I finished something. While I was finishing that something, he picked up a different book and actually read some of the words instead of just looking at pictures. It was an early reader book about Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares . I had bought the book hoping my math loving Builder Boy would be intrigued enough to actually read the words. It worked, and long after I was finished and ready to have him read the assigned book to me he was off making his own book about Franklin and Magic Squares with Early Bird who had read the book over his shoulder. So I quietly set aside the book I had planned, and enjoyed the boys' plans and enthusiasm. Which for Builder Boy lasted an hour, drawing and making his book.

Once Builder Boy was finished with his book he read from the one I had planned. It's a Braille version of Toad and Frog. I had mentioned to our local children's librarian (a former homeschooler who had graduated all three of her kids) that Builder Boy got distracted by pictures and seemed overwhelmed by too much text on a page. The Braille book was her suggestion. I think my kinetic learner enjoyed the tactile engagement of the bumps as he underlined each word with his finger.

After Builder Boy got on the computer I helped Early Bird do some math on Dreambox before he got to play games. Then they both played for an hour, Builder Boy creating elaborate test chambers on Portal 2 and "testing" me to see if I could complete them. That kid is a Glados wannabe, if you're familiar with the game.

While the boys were creatively occupied, Lady Bug who had been doing her own thing whether that was watching Signing Time or looking at books or playing with whatever she found around the house, got some one on one time. We read books, signed to each other, and interacted with the ABC wall.

Afternoon: Lunchtime, and then they went outside to play as usual. Lately I've been letting all three play out side in the safe, fenced back yard, only occasionally checking up on them. Builder Boy keeps Lady Bug safe and Lady Bug has fun running around and picking up balls and rocks and stuff like her big brothers. Only today of all days the boys left their common sense inside and thought it would be great fun to dump dirt all over their toddler sister; who let them. So instead of the spelling work I had planned for when they got back in I gave Lady Bug a bath (which didn't even get all the dirt out of her hair) while the boys stayed outside for much, much longer.

Once all the baths or showers were done (which was enough "punishment" for Early Bird who has sensory issues with getting his head wet) the boys played quietly in their room while listening to Story of the World on cd, and Lady Bug took her nap. The rest of the evening was the usual cooking, dinner, texture problems for Early Bird with the food, and bedtime.

I'll be honest and say that we have been struggling with getting what feels like "enough" learning done in a day. I don't think we do enough to legitimately call ourselves Classical homeschoolers any more. If it weren't for the fact that I still try to sit down and teach them specific things, we might even qualify as unschoolers right now. I feel like I'm letting them down. These past two years when I was sick with the pregnancy, and then dealing with PTSD fallout from family members has left me overwhelmed so much of the time. Then there is the "problem" of them being "ahead" in some subjects. As long as they are grade level or above, the pressure is off to work on the subject over another. So sometimes those "ahead" areas get ignored for a while. But then I deal with the guilt of not helping them achieve more in their strength areas. But because of the people that they are, because of the kinds of learners they are, and because of the way we handle media, they keep learning a lot whether I'm actively teaching or not. I know public school is not a good option for any of us right now, and I still feel like this is what we should be doing. I've heard and read frequently that it usually takes a family three to four years to find their homeshooling groove. I hope we find ours soon.

This post has been my contribution to the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, "A Day in the Life of a Gifted Homeschooler" Blog Hop.  Check them out for more looks at days in other, very varied households!

I did a similar "day in the life" post last year for Sandbox to Scorates. That day we were actually getting measurable amounts of school done, and stuff still went off plan. I'm sensing a pattern here....


  1. Love this. And we love Laser Maze. And I never respect the mornings, either :)

  2. "I was going to do what a fellow blogger did and take a picture on the hour, every hour of one day to give a snap shot of the day. But nothing this day went according to plan....which is actually pretty representative of almost every single day here." LOL. The photo every hour would be fun to do though as a group!

  3. You're still doing about three times more per day with your kids than I am. Call it a win babe. ;)

  4. I get how you are ready for your groove. For my part, hearing how your boys make their own breakfast, and seeing the picture of the kids in the yard and hearing how they, although maybe as you say "common sense left inside", have such moments of kindness to each other. I'm inspired.

  5. Oh, never feel guilty about not getting enough "learning" done. Sometimes the best learning doesn't come from typical school books. It comes from playing outside, or working on a self-initiated project or playing with pig latin. I think your day seemed perfectly productive and fun and full of joy!

  6. You're not alone when you say that things don't always go as planned. :) My eldest also likes to write and illustrate his own books. He said that he wants to be an author like me. ;)

  7. There is such a lot of learning of many different types going on with your family even when you feel as if nothing much is happening. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

  8. "But nothing this day went according to plan"....story of my life! I've just learned embrace it. Thank you for sharing your day :-)


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