I love a good day in the life post. It’s been a year since I recorded our homeschool day, and even longer since I did it with more words than photos. When I saw that Simple Homeschool was going to make their recent Day in the LIfe series a Link up, I knew I’d have to jump on the band wagon. Without further ado, an average Thursday at St. Bruno’s, featuring my husband Tony, Addie 13, 8th grade, Byron 12, 6th grade, Edie 10, 4th grade, Fulton 7, 2nd grade and Teddy 5, Kindergarten, and myself Kelly, homeschooling mom since I attempted a hard-core Pre-K program with my oldest nine years ago.
I woke up around 7:30 a.m. My husband had rolled out of bed earlier and he got our two youngest out of their bed while I walked the dog and then got dressed*.
*This is a fairly recent addition to my morning. Until a few months ago, it was common for me to wear my bathrobe until lunch. But now, having showered and picked out my clothes the night before, I wash my face, get dressed and wipe down the bathroom sink every morning.
Once dressed, I carry Fulton back to his bed to straight cath him. Teddy looks at books on the sofa while my husband reviews Latin with the older three children. Since he started working from home full-time last year, Latin class is at a much more reasonable time than when Tony tried to teach it before he left for work. I’m grateful that he has a real passion for Latin because while I agree it’s important, It was never something I had much luck teaching.
Once Fulton is emptied, I give him fluid through his g-tube and put him up in his wheelchair. Then I lift Teddy into his wheelchair and put on hot water for tea (which I hate drinking but it’s Lent). Immediately WWIII breaks of over the remaining ounce of generic Golden Grahams cereal left in the box. Tony struggles to bring the older kids’ attention back to their studies while everyone argues over who’s had the most bowls this week. Mind you, this is only the second day we’ve had this box of cereal. In the end it’s divided up between Fulton and another sibling. My tea steeps and I slice bread to make toast for myself.
Latin breaks and Tony goes upstairs to work in our makeshift home office (folding table in the master bedroom). I finish my toast and spend a few minutes online and text my parents to see how their house fared upon reading about tornadoes in their county.
I clean up Fulton and Teddy’s hands, faces and trays and give them books to look at. I pull a stack of school books from Byron’s desk and prepare to check his work from the previous day. It’s 9 a.m., so everyone sits down to start school. We start with religion so the kids follow the assignments from their CCD teachers. Addie drills herself on Confirmation prep questions using Quizlet. I open Byron’s spiral notebook to yesterday’s assignments, check his work, question him about any incomplete items then write a fresh page of assignments for the day covering math, penmanship, spelling, phonics/ vocabulary, and writing.I return the books to his desk, collect books from Edie’s desk and repeat the process, calling her over to review a few math problems.
I don’t check Addie’s work on a daily basis. She keeps herself on task and will ask Tony or I for help when she needs it.
Now it’s time to complete the boys’ morning routine. First Teddy, then Fulton. It involves putting each on the toilet, getting them dressed, administering medicines and fluid to Fulton and returning them to their wheelchairs for school. The process takes about 45 minutes. 10:30 a.m. is always break time so the older kids get the younger kids a small snack and some toys while I sneak upstairs and lay on my bed and make small talk with my husband for a bit. (I.e. Distract him from his work.) I love my husband’s company and having him at home to talk with is a huge mood improver for me. Ten minutes later I’m downstairs and reminding everyone to start back on school by 11. I give Teddy his Kindle and he starts working on Starfall. Even though he’s only five, he’s expressed a strong desire to read. He’s doing really well with very little instruction on my part WHICH IS THE BEST THING EVER since the last three readers in my house have all struggled.
Fulton especially still struggles. I bring up Reading Kingdom and we start a lesson.He’s doing well but I sit close, trying not to get frustrated while helping him remember words he’s easily seen 1,000 times. Lately it’s been bothering me that my son who is so physically limited must also struggle so much to learn reading as well. Thankfully, today goes smoothly and the lesson goes quicker than usual. I shut down the screens and review Catechism questions.
At noon we stop and I pull lunch together. It’s ‘goodie plate’ day which means a cutting board covered with deli meats, sausages, cheese slices, crackers and honey mustard for dipping. Tony and I resist the urge to eat all the pepperoni and eat a meal St. Hildegard would approve of instead.
A repair man shows up, Tony shows him the furnace and does a short math lesson with Fulton. I was so appreciative of Tony taking on Fulton’s math instruction. Math, like reading is a struggle and too often I was snapping at Fulton and everyone else, when I tried to sit and patiently do both subjects with him. I’m not a good one on one, hold your hand through the process teacher, but that’s exactly what he needs. By splitting the workload, there’s less frustration all around.
By 1p.m. I’ve cleaned up from lunch and the older three are working on either finishing their morning subjects, typing games, practicing their instrument or completing chores. Once all these items are completed, and the clock hits 2, they get screen time. Officially it’s for 30 minutes, but usually, especially on cold days or when there’s bad weather, we allow it for longer.
I always know when it’s 2 because the Fulton and Teddy see the older three get on their devices and immediately start clamoring for theirs. But, it ‘s not so simple. I carry Teddy to his bedroom and put on his orthotics and place him in his stander with his Kindle. I take Fulton and lay him face down on a massage table with his device supported below the headrest. For example:
During this 30 minutes… okay, one hour, when nobody needs my attention I usually complete some tidying up or chores, write or waste time online. Today I clean the tub and start writing my Quick Takes. Before I know it, it’s 3 and I take Fulton off the massage table, give him more fluids and put him back in his wheelchair. Teddy comes out of the stander and all the kids grab another snack. I start thinking my about dinner. It’s Scout night so ideally we need to eat earlier than usual and while I think I know what I’m cooking, this Hildegard diet sometimes throws me for a loop so I need to allow extra time. I work on prepping dinner while the kids busy themselves. Byron checks his laundry. Addie reads, Edie and the little boys are screaming,but it seems in good fun.
Dinner is on the table at 5 and Tony comes downstairs. We eat and talk. The older kids and Tony change for scouts. Fulton and Teddy get excited because scout night means a special movie night for them. The get to watch all the little kid shows and movies the older ones never want to watch. Currently that means a lot of Wild Kratts episodes or Transformer cartoons from the 90s.
The scouts leave with their leader and I pop in a DVD. The boys watch intently and I write some more on my laptop with my Hildegard approved German wine. Fulton drives back to his bedroom at 8. Teddy parks at the dining table, near his wheelchair charger, and I carry him to his bed.We’re on a ‘Frog and Toad’ kick right now so I read a book from the library with four new adventures. We recite some prayers, then I change the boys, get Fulton’s night medicines, prep his feeding pump, adjust his bipap mask, and tuck them in. I assure them I will be downstairs and tonight, like most nights, they call me back in within five minutes to roll over. I repeat, as I always do, I will roll them ONE TIME AND THAT’S IT! and then I re-position them.
I sit down, the dog snuggles in close and I finish writing, pausing only to welcome everyone home and listen to them recap their meetings. I must remind them that they’re hungry now ’cause they didn’t eat enough at dinner, then direct them to the fruit bowl.
Thursday’s are my one late night and Tony heads to bed before me. Other nights, I turn in around 10. I really try to get a lot of sleep because my day is physically demanding and I learned no amount of caffeine could make me the teacher or mother a good nights sleep could. I know I’ll wake up and need to roll the boys over at least once, maybe two or three times in the night.
If you’ve made it to the end, congratulations! I know it looks like a lot all written out, however this was a pretty mellow day and overall I’m happy with how our 2015-16 year is progressing. The boys’ care still dominates my time but I do get breaks to recharge, especially now with older kids who can help more and a husband who’s home all day. During 2015 we had some real rough patches, but I’m glad we stuck it out because I really enjoy our homeschool day…and I hope you enjoyed reading about it!
If you’re new here, welcome! If you’re wondering why my two youngest are in power wheelchairs, please visit my SMA page for more information on Spinal Muscular Atrophy.