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What is Normal?

Dear Friends,
Often times I have friends (old and new) come to me with questions about homeschooling.  Some of you are new to homeschooling, so are thinking about it (or thinking how strange it is), some have been schooling at home for a while but want insight on how others are doing.  From time to time I will post my answers to these common and (and sometimes uncommon) questions that I have grappled with.
My answers are not the end all and be all.  I hope to dabble them with the truth but the only truth that I can guarantee is from the scripture itself.  Everything else is just my musings on what happens in our cozy little spot Under the Maple Tree.
Recently a friend wrote, “Hey Cori, would you be able to give me a run down of your average day.  I am interested in the practical aspects of how Charlotte Mason’s philosophy gets put into practice?” 
Ha ha ha!  What is a “normal” day!?!  I have been asking myself that a lot lately in light of our crazy renovations!
I hesitate to share our current schedule – as it is so different now that I am eight years into this career and am schooling three girls in three different grades and tending to a demanding toddler – but present day is what you will get.  It is a very different day than when we first started to homeschool and there was just one very young student and a toddler. 
Also I can tell you what I plan for most days to look like but there really doesn’t seem to be a “normal” day for us.  There is always a hitch, a headache, spilled milk, an attitude that needs to be addressed, an unexpected visitor.  Lately it has been renovations that have thrown us off.  And really, if I am rightly looking at education the day does need to bend around these things.  It is just as important that I teach my kids to clean up their messes, to love their sisters, to overcome attitudes, to work hard despite the excuses.
Our “average” day then might have many of these elements:
7:00-7:30 Get up (I don’t let the kids get up before 7 as they disrupt other tired people; They do need to be up by 7:30 as there is much to do in the day and there isn’t time for dawdling – though sometimes lately I am known to be the dawdler) 
7:30-8:00 Personal chores.  (make bed, tidy room, get dressed, brush hair, brush teeth) See Working Together.
8:00-8:30 Breakfast
*8:30-9:30 Corporate chores (things like watering the plants, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, etc.) Also see Working Together.
*9:30-12:00 Table time (our table time includes things like language arts, math, nature notebook, copywork and spelling, etc.)
*12:00-1:00 Couch time (this is our time for Bible reading and other readings like geography, history and science, literature and poetry) Realistically, we get to this component one to three times per week.
* I used to be pretty set on this schedule but lately have mixed up these three main elements of our days according to our needs.  i.e. – If we haven’t had couch time for a couple of days then that might come right after breakfast or if we have an appointment early in the day then we might skip to language arts at the table first.
1:00-2:00 Lunch (The girls are starting to take turns at preparing a meal or two on their own – or with my help – each week!)
2:00-3:00 Quiet time (This is non-negotiable.  If I want to give my kids my best everyday I need to get some down time.  Remember most people spend 8-10 hours away from their whole family everyday, an hour of downtime is not a rejection of our kids and their needs.  Besides it helps the kids to be able to learn to quietly entertain themselves, to enjoy quiet reading time, to keep out of trouble without eyes constantly on them.  It also gives them time to pursue some of those passions that life is sometimes too noisy and busy for: painting, crocheting, creating, building)
3:00-6:00 Play time (mostly outdoors), time for mommy to do some work, finish my chores, read, prepare dinner, etc.
6:00-7:00 Dinner and clean up
7:00-8:00 Play, get ready for bed, baths, etc.
8:00 Little girls to bed
8:30 – 9:00 Oldest daughter to bed….
Sleep and then start again.
I hope that gives you a bit of an insight into our “Charlotte Masonish” day.  You will notice that I didn’t just stop at the academic learning time as I really do think that times like chores, outdoor play and quiet time are an integral part of our learning time.


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