A day in the life of homeschooling teenagers and a little one (while pregnant with our 5th child) - part one
As our dayI feel that I need to preface this blog entry with telling you, dear reader, that our days have not always been like this, and that as our children have grown in to young people, and we have added a new little one, to our household, life has grown significantly different! Our children and young people are about as different as you can possibly imagine. We have 4 children, aged 19, 17, 15 and 5 this year, with one on the way. Our eldest children have become decidedly more unique and focused on their passions as they have grown, and much of their day is used to focus on their passions! As our days are so different from one day to the next, I will cover two days in the life of us - as no two days are ever exactly the same!
Day 1 - kindy day!
5am - almost 4 months pregnant and I am up for the 50th time in the night. I try to sneak to the bathroom without waking anybody up, but without success, as our 5 year old's eyes fly open the minute that I start moving around "Good morning Mummy! I am so excited for kindy today!".
After 5 years at home with no childcare, and both myself and my husband working and studying from home, the demands of everything (plus pregnancy) have caught up with us and we have decided to try out part-time homeschooling for our youngest daughter, for want of better words. Of course homeschooling is never full time, but we cannot officially register to homeschool her, and have her in a kindy program at the same time, so we will try to do our usual homeschool schedule with her 4 - 5 days a week, with 2 added days of a kindy program. I am happy that she will be able to socialise a little more often with young children, as our house is full of adults and teenagers at the moment!
5.15am - as luck would have it, as I start to make our littlest some breakfast, we are not the only ones awake. Our son, who is a qualified surf lifesaver, and who is focusing on surfing, lifesaving, bodyboarding, skating and other training this year, is up and ready to hit the beach! He is almost 15 years old and we are very close to our local beach, so it is a short ride, and he is taking our 19 year old Japanese house-mate, who is very keen for a before-work surf. He tells me that he is meeting some other young adult surfing friends there, and I make sure that he has food, enough water and his phone (and helmet). I am trying not to be a helicopter Mum, to no avail. Our 5 year old days goodbye to our housemate in Japanese. Yep, I am surprised too.
We have a routine of all cleaning up in the morning before anybody does anything! So there is some racing around, doing washing, dishes, wiping benches, sweeping and vacuuming. I am ever grateful for a recent visit from my mother in law, where she put this practice in to place!
8am - our 5 year old has done a full morning of breakfast, running around, getting ready for kindy, some work on her Reading Eggs program, and has played several games of cards and some block-stacking game with our 2 Japanese students (yep, we currently have 9 people in our house - 3 of them Japanese teenagers, who are very happily teaching our little one Japanese).
8.30am - Our little one is off to kindy, and our son is back from the beach, has had breakfast and has started on his English work.
We are doing the Academy of Free-Range Learning unit on refugees (he has been one of my best testers - and harshest critics for this program in the last year - and has made my work infinitely better because of it!). I work from home today, so am set up with my university tutoring work on a computer next to him. He tends to wander off to youtube surfing video's if he has time to sneak his computer off in to the rest of the house, so our current system is that we work next to each other, do some 'power hours' of study and then have more time for the beach.
Our morning is peppered with questions about refugees, stopping as he takes off his headphones and tells me about a war going on in Syria, or the origins of refugees leaving other parts of the world. I show him a few websites where he can look up information on the United Nations and our international obligations to take refugees because of the agreements that we are signatory to.
Our 19 year old is working on her website, and social media for a business that she has just started.
Our 16 year old is still asleep.
And my husband is out cleaning our pool for the 100th time this week.
9.30am - Our 16 year old daughter is awake and sets up a the piano immediately. Since we started doing vision boards with our kids, and set up plans for how they can reach their goals, there is very little complaining when they start their day doing something that they are passionate about! My husband and I met when we were originally musicians, and as my husband now studies from home, he spends the whole morning with her in the living room, playing bass while she plays piano, composing and recording songs, mixing them using a computer program and refining their work.
They can both get caught up in this, but at the moment, in her last year of homeschooling, her primary focus is music, musical recording, musical theory, English and Maths, as her goal for next year is the conservatorium of music. For our daughter, singing, composing, studying her music workbook and playing the piano takes up most of her day at the moment.
12.30pm - Everyone has a quick lunch of salad rice paper rolls, and our Japanese housemate cooks a ramen dish for our son and my husband.
Our son has finished most of his work for the day, which has included; an Italian program online, English, Maths, and his refugee assignment through the Academy of Free-Range Learning. He crawls in to bed and goes to sleep for a few hours.
Our 16 year old daughter completes her music study, then does 2 hours of maths through an online program.
I show our 19 year old daughter a few of my websites and give her some ideas on how to get her shop started.
I am really grateful for such a quiet day, with our son tired out from an early-morning surf, and our littlest out of the house for the day. We have found that as our son is very high-energy, he needs to do some physical activity in the day before he starts his study, or he will never do it!
3pm - our son leaves for lifesaving training (he has a pretty active day!). He will be skating with his friends first, then doing training, and starting work at his paid job until 8pm tonight - hence the need for a sleep this afternoon. We pick up our little one from daycare and she is exhausted and so excited to tell us about her day!
4pm - Our daughter starts on dinner, and I sit down with our little one for a book and a movie before her bath. Our 16 year old gets ready to go to her late- evening choir.
5pm - My husband takes our little one for a bath while I finish off my tutoring online, and get some blogging and other boring business tasks done.
5.30pm - my Mum comes and picks up our 16 year old to go to their Italian choir together. I love that she is able to focus so much on her passion of music, and that she is not too embarrassed to join in with an adult choir every week. It is something really nice that they can do together.
7pm - we have a big, loud, noisy dinner with a full house of our guests - all teenagers, and all excited about their day. Dinner is the very worst time for me. I have always been a person who has advocated for family dinners, but since having 6 teenagers in the house for the last two weeks, I pretty much want to run away most nights, and have dinner in my bedroom *which I don't*. I think I am showing remarkable self-restraint. It is a challenge having 6 teens and a little one in one space. I don't know how that family on '21 kids and counting' does it.
8pm - our son has been transported to and from work, and is now passed out again in his room after a very busy day. Our daughter is out partying with her senior choir friends, who are mostly in their 50's and 60's - no doubt being treated to pizza while they watch the samba dancing class that is next to the restaurant. Our littlest is fast asleep and I remind my husband that he has probably got to start on his own study for the evening!
8.30pm - another mammoth clean-up of the house. Our dining table doubles as our study area, so that needs to be kept very clean and organised. The clean-up process is almost as bad as dinner, with too many people and too much noise for my current stage of pregnancy. But we get it done.
10pm - everybody is home, and our living room and lounge room are crammed with our family and guests, eating popcorn and watching a movie before bed. I remember when our eldest 2 were in high school - they had to be in bed before 8.30pm to get up for school in the morning. We don't have that problem anymore, thankfully!
11 - 12pm - somewhere near midnight everyone drifts off to bed without complaint. Our two youngest have been asleep for many hours, so I look forward to some good old sleep deprivation tomorrow morning.
Day 2 will be very different again!