What Exactly is Normal?

Many times people have asked me what exactly we do during the day. We do not “do school” as such and so they are confused as to what we are really doing.

A normal day in our house! Wow! There isn’t one!

When we do school (at least what the children would call “school”) it is mostly phonics and copywork. One child drills another with some homemade flash cards while I do reading with each child. Then we all sit down at the table to do some copywork – whatever strikes our fancy. We do have the Italic workbooks, but my older ones usually copy out an interesting quote or a poem. They decorate the page and put it in their binders. For spelling, my oldest two work through some workbooks on their own. We use a dictionary constantly in our daily life (my husband included) so my children have naturally picked that up and will use it if they feel the need. Read aloud consumes most of our time. We are currently working our way through:

Story of the World, Vol 3
More All of A Kind Family
Listening to Music (University textbook on how to listen to classical music)
Our Amazing World (Older nature encyclopaedia)
Exploring England: An Introduction to Nature Craft
The Long Winter (by my husband)
Stories for Girls
Some bio’s about Bach (he’s our composer this term)
A Child’s History of the World (I use it as a sort of review for SOTW)
The Story of Canada
Plus whatever library books we have out (about 50 at any given time!)

Someone once told me to read what you want to read and forget about what level your children are at. This has worked well for us. I’ve also abandoned books that I was not enjoying, telling my children as much of a reason as I could. In Charlotte Mason fashion, I mostly read one chapter or section from each book at a time, but we have been known to spend all day on one book!

Around the edges we try to fit in piano lessons (we’re all learning together) and Spanish and French (Rosetta Stone from the library)

We also have a time of singing in the morning which includes fun kid type songs, historical pieces and just fun folky type songs. I try to do a lap page type craft to correspond with whatever we’re reading.

While I read, the children work on workbooks, a craft, drawing, or an assigned toy. Mostly we just all curl up on the couch and listen. I make it a habit to sit and listen when my hubby reads aloud (even though I could easily find other things to do). I think my children have really learned from this example.

Recently they started writing letters. They couldn’t find any penpals, so they just started writing letters to some other children in the city. The children wrote back, and now a few moms are writing me. This could be fun and a great way to learn copywork stuff!

After my oldest read Little Women, my children started a family newspaper. They often work on that as individuals or together.

We have a chore system in place and my children are responsible for quite a bit around the house although we really fall down in this area. My house is a mess right now – and I am really not exaggerating. Our basement is being built, so everything is on the main floor! Too much stuff, not enough room, and it spells disaster! I should mention that my children help out on house renos on Saturdays (our workday). They are learning to frame, insulate, drywall, paint, level floors, etc. I count this as school!

That’s it. I am trying to get more of a routine going, but I’ve been hoping it will just happen on it’s own. That approach is not really working for us. I think I really need to focus on some stuff in my life, and I am trying to be open and honest with the children about this.

Whatever we are doing, we are usually doing it together. Many experts talk about how this is one of the most important things you can do for children (the family that works together stays together!)

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