Sunday, March 23, 2014

Two Days in Our Week

So what does  a homeschooling day look like with middle and high school aged children? I tried to answer this, for my family at least,  by drafting a Day in the Life post on Monday but it didn't really give an accurate representation of what we do. So, I tried again on Wednesday but it wasn't representative either. But looking at two Days in our Life, plus a few other highlights from our week,does give a reasonable indication of what homeschooling  currently looks like in our home.

Monday was a very schooly day.

8- 9 am Up, breakfast and preparation for the day. Miss 13 and I check out the Eagle Cam. We haven't looked in for a couple of days and it is amazing how much the eaglet has grown. It's amazing what we've learnt from regular observations via this camera. We especially love watching the parents tenderly feeding their baby.

9-10 am. Mr 16 leaves for his Polytech computing course. Miss 13 asks me to run through some Latin and French flashcards with her then goes to her room to do a Latin lesson and a Maths lesson.

She works independently on both of these. I catch up on some blog reading, do some laundry and a few other chores.

10-11 am. Miss 13 moves onto science. I know that today's lesson (on cell division) is fairly technical so I read over the lesson with her and we take notes and draw diagrams as we go which helps her stay on top of some fairly challenging material.

Once that's done she wants a little down time so heads to her room to do some reading.

When she reappears she wants to get her history out of the road. She's not a huge fan of the programme we're doing this year but I feel it has much to recommend it so I'm asking her to stick with it for now. With the exception of Maths this is the only schooly thing we're requiring of her this year. The rest of it is her choice.  Today's history task was to begin an essay considering when and why people should change their opinion/challenge existing orthodoxy by looking particularly at Copernicus and Galileo.

11 am-12 noon. Once she completes her note taking we head out to take Dh to run some errands.

12 noon-1 pm. Home  and lunch. Over lunch Miss 13 reads a little from the newspaper and works with Dh on the daily crossword. Mr 16 arrives home.

1-2 pm Miss 13 goes onto Ebird to enter many of her bird lists from this year. We used the site occasionally last year but didn't really get into it. During one of last week's outings the leader challenged Miss 13 to keep a complete list and count and enter it on Ebird. She did and was surprised  to discover that this placed her in the Top 100 birders in the country. She was then keen to see what her ranking would be if she entered all her data from the year so far.

She's now in the Top 20 for total number of species seen! Obviously not all keen birders use the site but it was fun to see her rising through the ranks,  and the site is a good form of citizen science so we'll try and be more diligent about entering our data. I spend some time with Mr 16 going over some German vocabulary and some English grammar.

2-3 pm The day starts to fall apart a little. I'm trying to get dinner organised before we head out when a good friend rings and needs to chat. Luckily Miss 13 springs to the rescue and takes over dinner prep while I'm on the phone.

3-4 pm Miss 13 and I try to buy her some new clothes for autumn and winter. Sadly nothing fits. But we do get more socks - trampolining is really tough on socks and she wears hers out with alarming regularity! Then we make a stop in at library where we pick up some books on albatross for this week's online bird class blog entry. As a bonus we find some good ones on  penguins which we'll use for the following week. Mr 16 has worked on an economics assignment and a maths lesson.

4-7 pm.  For the bulk of this time I'm shuttling the kids to and from sports practice.- Mr 16 has an hour and a half of cricket practice and Miss 13 has two hours of trampolining.

7-10 pm Mr 21 has dropped in and stays to dinner. It's great to catch up. We have a very brief chat with Miss 19 before she heads out.


Wednesday on the other hand was a very non-schooly looking homeschool day - at least for Miss 13.

8-9 am Breakfast, and Miss 13 has some spare time so she does a Latin lesson before finding me and running through her Latin and French flashcards. We also check the Eagle Cam and do a quick lesson on Duolingo.

9-9:30 am Miss 13 does her Maths. Mr 16 is reading the newspaper and checking various things online.

9:30-11 am Basil and his owner come for another visit. The aim is to give us a quick overview of training him - the commands and gestures he's used to - and to get him used to following us. He's calmer this time and it goes well - our cat sees him and isn't 100% freaked out which surprises us.

11 am-2:30 pm - Dh heads into the office and Mr 16 heads out on his delivery job. Miss 13 and I decide to go birding. It's a beautiful day at the estuary - warm and calm - and we see a nice variety of wading birds.

However, we do have a particular goal in mind for this expedition and after nearly two hours searching the salt marshes and small creeks along the margins we are  ready to concede defeat. But finally our efforts are rewarded with not just one but two Whimbrels. These are relatively large birds with a really obvious long down curved bill. They are a rare Arctic migrant  (maybe 100 or so reach this country each year). One or two have been reported in this location this season but despite repeated searches over the past six months or so we've had no luck...until today that is.

The Whimbrels  were too far away for us to get a good shot. This comes from Wikipedia.

2:30-3:30 pm. Miss 13 rests and eats while I get busy preparing dinner - mixing and rolling pasta dough and roasting red peppers. I check in with Mr 16 and look over some of the work he's completed in our absence.

3:30 - 6 pm. Miss 13 is at the gym training. Mr 16 is busy organising a replacement activity for Scouts. Somebody else was meant to be organising the evening but didn't and as chair of his unit it falls on him to come up with a last minute replacement.

6-7 pm. Back home for dinner and a rest. Miss 19  - a psychology major - is pleased to report that she survived her sheep brain dissection lab (she wasn't looking forward to dissections at all) , and the rat she worked with today in her other lab was much more trainable that the one she had last week (it wasn't interested in food which made it hard to reward it for doing the desired task). Mr 16 and Miss 19 both head out .

7-8 pm Miss 13 makes for the kitchen to bake Passionfruit Creams - not exactly healthy but they are delicious.

8-9 pm Miss 13 and Dh watch an episode of Once Upon a Time before bed. I finish The Luminaries, a great read even though I found it a bit slow to get into mainly due to the difficulty of keeping all the characters and events straight in my mind.


Of course, even an in-depth look at two days misses much of our learning. Some other highlights:

This week we had the first clues to help us narrow down the location of each Mystery Class. So far our data analysis seems to be on the right track.
Penguins were the topic of this week's on-line bird class. We'd never heard of Isabellinism before so found this class especially interesting.

We watched a BBC programme on the Eagle Owl which led to some good discussions on conservation and ecology.

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We celebrated Macaron Day in the best way possible!

We took Dh birding and saw hundreds of Banded Dotterels.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years


  1. I've found that no two days look the same here either, so I'm not sure I could ever post "a day in the life" and feel like it was representative of our every day. But that is one thing that I love about our way of learning...each day is its own. We are always learning! Loved the glimpse into your learning adventures!

    1. I love the variety and uniqueness of each day as well.

  2. I agree. No 2 of our days look alike either. Isn't that wonderful though? Keilee does so many things during the day that I am not aware of that she is 'learning'. I love this look into your week Sandra. So much GREAT learning. We love "Once Upon a Time" :)

    1. One of the reasons I enjoy this sort of post is that it forces me to notice exactly what my kids are doing.