It's been a year since I took a deep breath, and pulled the oldest out of school to embark on the homeschooling journey with all the kids under the same roof. While a part of me wants to make grand statements and find the sum total of the experience, another part simply wants to describe what our day looks like now.
My husband was on call, so I woke up alone. I slept in till almost 8. The boys have been up for a while, trading Pokemon cards and playing their games, still in pajamas. 3 yo was still sleeping or chilling in her room. Either way, she did not call out till I was walking around.
By 9, everyone had breakfast, cleaned up the breakfast dishes and got dressed. The boys started on davening, while I davened with 3 yo. She routinely says Mode Ani, Torah tziva lanu Moshe and the first paragraph of Shema. Both boys went downstairs to daven, and I heard some drumming, usually a sign of 8 yo davening. Then it got quiet. When I called them, I found out that they were davening together and 8 yo was teaching 6 yo how to say Shemone Esre. They came upstairs to continue. 8 yo pointed out all the words to 6 yo and said them slowly. The last bracha that he knows is Al haTzadkim. 6 yo stood nearby and followed. Then they said Aleinu together. All of this took place without any direction from me.
My homeschooling friend called and we headed over to their house. She taught a Montessori lesson on the beginning of the universe to the older kids while I kept an eye on the younger ones playing tea party and building. Then the older kids played some more Pokemon, the younger ones played with train tracks and we got to sit and schmooze.
We got home around 11:30. I wrote up the schedule for the rest of the day. 8 yo sulked a bit about chumash. Both boys chose to do math before lunch. 8 yo zoomed through addition with thousands and ordering numbers. 6 yo broke his ruler while measuring in centimeters, and then got frustrated when he had to choose objects to measure. It was not the measuring part that was hard, it was spelling out the objects' names. I served leftover mac-n-cheese, which was inhaled, followed by baked beans with fake taco meat.
After lunch, both boys continued in Rosetta Stone. 8 yo is in the middle of the second unit on level II, 6 yo is in third unit of level I. 8 yo usually does three activities at a time, while 6 yo sticks with one, unless he's particularly motivated.
Then both of them did Lashon Hatorah. 8 yo just started 4th book, the past tense. 6 yo started the Kaf family in the second book. Both were done pretty quickly, as the material was new and introduced slowly.
Then everyone took a break to finger-paint with their sister before her nap. There was talk of painting erupting volcanoes and tornadoes.
Afterwards, it was on to spelling for 8 yo. He stopped me after getting two words wrong, and studied those. 6 yo read a new section in Lama. He read it smoothly and translated. Then he moved on to spelling. Two of his words were "there" and "their". I explained the usage. He had hard time coming up with a sentence using "their", "I want the sentence to be about me, not about them!" Well, don't we all...
8 yo finally got to chumash. My husband popped in for lunch, which was good because the kids might not get to see him tonight. 8 yo went to him to finish up. He wrote down the words he did not know from the new pesukim, looked up kin'ah (jealousy) in the dictionary, and reviewed some previous pesukim.
All in all, we were done a bit before 3.
The boys have taekwondo later, 3 yo is napping, I am making a yogurt cake from expired yogurt. The boys are downstairs doing their own thing, which is unexplainable, unquantifiable and untestable. Whatever it is, it is keeping them happy, engaged and occupied.
I did not know a year ago that a good homeschooling day would look like this. I am not sure if everyone would agree that this is a typical good homeschooling day.
What I did learn is that I do not care. what everyone else thinks I know how we feel and I know what works for us, and that is making me happy.