We are on the tail end of our homeschool year which should officially end by June but will, most likely, take longer as we trudge on and finish our Tapestry of Grace (TOG 1: History of Redemption or Ancients) year plan. We began the 2013-14 school year last August and by this third week of May, all of my high schoolers’ online classes have concluded. At the date of this writing, the ages of the girls are 17, 15, 9 while the boys are 11 and 5.
I am first to wake up this hot (Philippine) summer day. After reading my Bible, I head downstairs to open the windows and get the laundry (soaked since last night) going. I note that as soon as it is done at 7:15 a.m., our cleaning lady would appear just in time to hang out the clothes. I hear the two boys awake while I store the clean dishes, so I start breakfast (French toast, chicken ham, and some leftover canned peaches). The rest of the family join us shortly. We eat (my husband discussing some spiritual insight or other with the older girls as they usually do at this time) and then we quickly clean up. I head upstairs to make sure our things are stowed away and give the cleaning lady instructions for this Friday’s work (she comes three times a week).
As the children get ready for school (usually math is the first subject they tackle), my husband settles down to continue writing his paper (he is also enrolled online and ends his courses in a couple of weeks). Oldest helps the 5-year-old bring down his train set before she heads to her room to review for her Math I SAT Subject Test on June 7. The youngest dumps out the train set on the tile kitchen floor and commences the building of his tracks in his usual way. Meanwhile, his siblings get to their work. Tenth-grader is scheduled to take her final exam for Advanced Comp (one of her TPS online classes) this morning. At the dining table (we try to get out of the cleaning lady’s way as she dusts, sweeps and mops upstairs), 15-year-old sets her timer (15 minutes prep and then 30 minutes to write) at 9am after her assigned proctor (myself) prays with her.
I get back to the kindergartener and orally drill him his math facts (so far, adding 0, adding 1, adding 2, doubles, and making 10s). He parrots back the sums while carefully crossing over the train tracks with wood pieces in his hands. His older brother is done with his Math-U-See Zeta worksheet and is sprawled on the floor along with the train tracks reading his Sonlight Science 5 book (Exploring the History of Medicine) while eating a bowl of Cornflakes (swimming in chocolate milk). His younger brother is envious and asks for cereals as well and that ends our math lesson. The boys are done with their snack and head outside to check on the frog egg sac (according to 11 yo’s research) they discovered on our water fountain. Eleven year old takes time to gather some of the tadpoles into a separate container so he could watch them more closely.
I head upstairs to check on 4th-grader and find her stretched on one of the beds while working on her Singapore Math 4A text (she just completed MUS Delta last week). She is re-doing some of the problems I have previously marked and we review her current trouble concepts of “factors” and “multiples” as well as adding and subtracting fractions. Back in the kitchen, I find 11th-grader checking her email. She finds out her SAT scores are out and that as she had prayed, she cracked the 2000 score. She has an orthodontic appointment at 11am and calls out to her dad who will take her to the clinic (she finds out later that in 2 visits, her braces will be off!)
It’s an hour or so before lunch and I start preparing meatballs while helping out 4th grader with her spelling words and then her Writing With Ease 4 dictation for the day (two sentences from “The Cat That Walked by Himself” by Rudyard Kipling). The dictation is quite a challenge for both of us as 10th-grader is long done with her final exam and is already on the piano (this child is done with Algebra 2, French 1, Adv Comp, and Chemistry save for the final exam), but we manage to get the dictation done. Sixth-grader is sitting beside 4th-grader across me on the kitchen island and writing up his science homework. He moves on to doing his grammar lessons (from Rod & Staff English 6) independently today (we’ve been doing these orally in the past few weeks and now he’s caught up and will likely finish the book on time). Little boy pays his older sister on the piano a visit.
Dad and oldest are back with some groceries, including my order of some Romaine lettuce. I quickly wash the lettuce and chill for awhile. We, then, have Caesar’s salad with my leftover dressing (from a few days back) as a side to our spaghetti and meatballs. We all sit down for lunch (well, some stand up for lack of space/bar stools). We are too lazy to mess up the dining table.
After cleaning up a bit, we all head upstairs and turn on the air-conditioning in one of the rooms. Dad continues to work on his paper in the sizzling study room (so he can concentrate). In the air-conditioned room, I read aloud our Unit 4 TOG book (Daily Life in the time of Jesus) to the three smaller kids (who are either on a desk or on the floor) while the two older ones are on the bed with me, both busy with their own readings. Beside me, oldest is working on her history text (The History of the Ancient World) with ear phones (she is gifted with the skill of reading while listening to 50s music) and her younger sister, lying next to her, is reading her Bible Survey texts (Holman Bible Atlas and What the Bible is All About) in preparation for our discussion the following day (we don’t get to this on Saturday though but on Monday morning). Both boys are drawing with coloured markers scattered on the table. Fourth-grader is doing her best to listen to me although the reading is a bit too difficult (the city of Jerusalem, the Temple, Hasmoneans, Levites, sacrifices…as we are beginning the study of the New Testament concurrent with our study of Rome).
Youngest shouts, “Mom, I wasn’t listening!” when I stop reading (as the read aloud was probably over his head and he wants me to start over). I tell him I’ll explain it to him in my own words some other time (perhaps during one of his Bible lessons that we skipped today). Eleventh grader is now typing up her related history assignment, 10th grader is still reading (she is gifted with the skill of concentration even in a room where I am reading aloud), sixth grader is coloring his “frog” drawing, 4th grader moves on to do her grammar and science reading, and kindergartener who finished his “bird” drawing is practicing his “c”s and “g”s in cursive (he does fine with “c” but when he does the “g”, I remind him, “uphill stroke, 2 o’clock, clockface, down to the basement, and make a backward basement loop).
It’s time for a break so the group votes for someone to fetch the cookies and milk downstairs. While everyone’s munching, I look over 6th and 4th graders’ math homework (everything else everyone is responsible to correct unless they are unsure of anything) as well as glance over the TOG Teacher Notes I’ve previously read for literature discussion with my older girls (10th-grader and I discussed her history readings yesterday).
Break time is over and the smaller ones are, sort of, free to do their own thing. Since it is the end of the week (on other days, there might be piano lessons or swim training), the older girls and I discuss their literature readings (Aristophanes’ comedy, The Frogs, to complement the tragedies we have studied prior, as we move on next week to read the Aeneid). We talk about the reason for the title (despite the one lone scene with croaking frogs in the play), the literary analysis modes of comedy and satire, Aristophanes’ worldview, the play’s topic and themes, and why Dionysus needed to bring a poet back from Hades to help Athens with their political and social problems at that time. Of course, as is our practice, we never fail to ask ourselves how all this measures up to Biblical standards and discuss the benefit we get from studying “Athenian literature” (literally here!).
Now everybody is free to do their own thing. It’s almost 5pm and I let the cleaning lady go for the day. I head the study where my husband is working and read some of his writing. We discuss some too.
Soon it is time for dinner but nobody is really hungry. Dad makes everyone a mango shake and the kids partake of more cereals and milk. The smaller ones go bathe themselves (as they head upstairs, I ask them to bring their pile of folded laundry) while the older ones clean up for the last time today. Nine-year-old and 5-year-old have time to look over a science book the younger one is interested in (he’s been wondering about animals lately…asking me while bathing with his rubber crocodile a few days back why it can live both in land and water). After everyone has showered and brushed (their teeth), we all congregate in the living room for our Friday night movie at around 8pm. When all is present and after dad re-arranges the sofas (careful not to rouse up 5-year-old who is heading off to dream land by then), the light is dimmed and one of us hits the play button and the movie we have been looking forward to watch (Book Thief) begins.