Monday, February 2, 2015

Our First Day Back

It's the first day of our 2015 academic year.  Mr 17 would be in his final year of high school and Miss 14 would I guess be grade 9 or 10. I don't pay a lot of attention to these things.

7:00am - I get up, feed the dog and cat and have breakfast. I go to make dh's lunch but he tells me he has decided to work form home today. So I go off to check emails and catch up on some blog reading. Being the start of the month there is plenty of new content over at The Homeschool Alliance. The reading on making thinking visible  looks great and I download it to read later. The monthly challenges on movie watching also have my brain ticking over. Since we are reading Hamlet right now comparing two different movie versions seems like a great pick but if I can find a good bird documentary we might do that as well. Just have to be careful not to try and do too much. It's called the One-Thing Principle for a reason!

8:30am - Start to think about taking the dog for a walk before it gets too hot. It feels like today could be a scorcher. Dh says he'll do it so I decide to do some gardening. Since the dog likes to drink from the watering can his absence is a perfect time to apply some liquid fertilizer. I also do some weeding and a little harvesting - fresh peas are such a sweet snack. Miss 14 is now up so I check in with her and let her know where I am if she needs help getting started. I hang the first load of laundry on the line.

9:45am - Miss 14 has finished her maths  (Saxon Algebra 1). She tells me she's marked it herself and everything was correct. We decide to start her Latin together since it is a new book (Latin Grammar) and a new concept. - phonetic spelling and pronunciation. We read together and then I guide her using a sort of Socratic method, checking her answers as we go. So frustrating when several of the answers directly contradict the method given in the text. Not sure if this is a mistake with the answers or the instructions. We proceed anyway. So long as she is following the directions given I'm happy for now but make a note to look online for further help. Somewhere in here Mr 17 gets up and asks for helping making a checklist of all the work he needs to do this week. I'm happy to oblige. I also find the dates of our academic terms for dh since he wants to compile a detailed schedule for Mr 17's economics - a course in game theory using Harrington's Games, Strategies, and Decision Making as the spine. Dh is an economist so it makes sense that he teach this subject.

10:45 am  - Mr 17 starts working through his maths (Saxon Advanced Mathematics)and Miss 14 makes a start on physics (Prentice Hall's Physical Science). She picked the subject herself (more because she felt she should do it - apparently it is important for ornithologists - than because she really wanted to),  but isn't really looking forward to it and wants to get it out of the way. I balance the cheque book and pay some bills.

11:30 am  - I go and mark Miss 14's physics. Marking without an answer key is not my favourite task. I remember when Miss 20 used this same book I had her write in the margin to her answer the page the relevant information was on. I might get Miss 14 to start doing this since it was a real time saver. Mr 17 marks his own maths and corrects an error. Miss 14 takes a break to do some reading before lunch. I make a spinach tart for dinner. Today is so hot we'll eat it cold and by making it now I won't have to squeeze it in amongst chauffeuring this afternoon. Mr 17 makes a start on his comparative politics course (one I've designed for him but based on AP material and using Kesselman etal's, Introduction to Comparative Politics as a spine) and reads an introduction to the material from the AP site.

12:00 noon - Lunch is leftover meats and salads from last night's family barbecue. My mother-in-law bought pavlova and we manage to divide the leftovers three way. Miss 14, Mr 17 and Miss 20 are happy. Dessert is not common around here and dessert for lunch is a very rare thing indeed! Over lunch we have a few interesting conversations based on what was in the newspaper. Topics include the misuse of statistics and how not to conduct your love life (you don't want to know about the reported incident which prompted that one!). Miss 14 disappears off to the computer to work on her geography (North Star Geography).

1:15pm - Miss 14 and I begin to read Act 2 scene 2 from Hamlet. It's a long one so we decide to split it in two. We'll finish it tonight or tomorrow when we'll also start working through this week's lesson from our current MOOC  - Hamlet: Text, Performance and Culture.  Mr 17 is doing some more work on comparative politics and viewing an online segment. Once he's done he helps me with the dishes. I wash, he dries and we chat about his job, nutrition and various other things.

2pm - Miss 14 makes a start on literature. This year I've designed a World Literature course for her. I've tied the novels to the areas she'll be studying in geography.  First up is  The Book Thief  and I bought a guide from Moving Beyond the Page for it because I'd always be keen to try some of their resources but we'd never got around to it before. Before she starts reading there are a couple of pre-reading activities to do - a brief overview of Word War II and an introduction to the author. It takes her longer than I expected. Not sure if I underestimated, if she is going too in- depth with her answers, or whether her energy levels are flagging due to the heat and this being our first day back. Mr 17 does his geography (he's using North Star as well).

3pm - Mr 17 hops on his bike and heads off to work. Miss 14 and I get in the car and drive to the gym for her first day of work. She was helping out with this class in a volunteer capacity at the end of last year so she should be fine.

3:30pm  - I arrive home and unpack the few items I picked up from the supermarket. Then I read the article on thinking I downloaded this morning plus a book of Roget and his thesaurus that needs to be returned to the library. I also order a movie version of Hamlet from the library, prepare the vegetables for dinner and bring in the laundry.

5pm -  I leave to collect Miss 14. Her first day's paid coaching has gone well - apart from a little girl from a gym class who latched on to Miss 14 and wanted to go with her for trampolining instead of with her own coach for gymnastics! We made a quick stop off at the library on the way home.

7pm  - Dinner is over. Miss 14 finishes off the last of her literature. She made herself a timetable for the year and has just realised that she made Monday her heaviest work day - and it is the day she has to leave earliest in the afternoon! Not the greatest plan but at least she is free to change it if she wants. Mr 17 arrives home from work early. Turns out he is more efficient at cleaning up than his predecessor and once the cleaning is done he is free to leave - hence his earlier than expected arrival. I whizz up two cans of berries that I have frozen in the freezer. This fast, cooling sorbet goes down a treat.

8pm  - It is slightly cooler so I go for a walk and take the dog with me. Dh joins us.Miss 14 spends some time putting the finishing touches on the local branch newsletter for the Ornithology Society. When I get back she asks me to look it over so she can distribute it tomorrow. This is only her second edition as editor but it looks great.

9:30pm  - Miss 14 is in her room reading. Mr 17 is in his room - possibly skyping or texting friends. He may well reappear later to see if dh wants to watch an episode of Band of Brothers with him. They are currently rewatching the series. I decide to head off to bed and read.

All in all our first day back in high tide, structured mode has been relatively smooth and quite a successful one. No major hiccups which is great.

Linking up with Simple Homeschool's Share Your Homeschool Day 2015 .


  1. Love this :) I love both Hamlet and The Book Thief. Thank you for sharing your day with all of us!

    1. Thanks Cait. I've decided to read The Book Thief too and I'm finding it intriguin so far.

  2. I love the glimpse into my possible future of homeschooling. Things change all the time around here. I love seeing where it can lead. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It just seems like yesterday that I was starting out homeschooling with a 5 year old, a pre schooler and a baby. Now the 5 year old is working on his PhD, the preschooler has just finished her undergrad degree and the baby is nearly finished high school. Plus there is the 14 year old who wasn't even imagined when we started out. Some days were long but the years sure flew by!

  3. Your mother in law bringing pavlova brought a smile to my face--it's not something we eat here (I don't think, I have never had it) but I have heard about it in books and now a real person I know eats it!!

    I love the idea of having them write the page number for the information in the margin!

    I also love the One-Thing Principle! That is my problem! So many things look and sound good! yes! We should compare two movie versions of Hamlet...but we do have to prioritize our time and not take on too much or I am afraid we won't absorb that much of what we do do.

  4. Great details! This was fun to read because I have a 12-year old and a 17-year old. :)

  5. Thanks so much. We are definitely in the minority with teens. Love The Book Thief. And Shakespeare, we're reading The Tempest this year and will get to see it on stage. I'm all for the One-Thing Principle. My saying is "Think in Threes. Pick One."