26 Apr 2012

Our homeschooling day

Amongst my favourite blog posts are the ones Mama Squirrel posts about her daughter, Crayons' homeschooling days. Posts like this one.

I don't know about you, but I find it really helpful to see what an education using Ambleside Online looks like in real life, especially since Crayons is only a term ahead of Jemimah.

Today I thought I might might try my very own Mama Squirrel post. Maybe you'll find my day interesting as well. You never know!

Since I work as well as homeschool Jemimah, our days are rarely straight forward. Today I had a meeting from 10.30 am - 1.00 pm, and we needed to be finished shortly after to travel to Melbourne for hubby's work. Our homeschool needed to fit in around these commitments. We began at 9.00 am, after Jemimah had completed her Private Devotions.

We started with a bit of singing. We're studying Canada in folksongs this term. Today it was Log Driver's Waltz, which is a fantastic song except that it is an earworm. We've both been breaking into the chorus all day.

Next Jemimah ran through her memory verses and Westminster Shorter Catechism questions. Every day she says about three or four passages in English of about a chapter each, a couple of French verses and five catechism questions and answers.

I read a poem. It was Longfellow's Nuremberg, which we had read last year during our Albrecht Dürer art study. It brought back nice memories.

Jemimah read a chapter of her Free Reading book, The Story of the Treasure Seekers by Edith Nesbit. She only has a couple of chapters to go. We've both enjoyed this book.

I read a couple of chapters of our book about John Paton. This has been an exceptional book, and today's chapters about how he and the Mathiesons fled Tanna and the cannibal natives was incredibly exciting. After Jemimah narrated we had a bit of a chat about this section of the reading, and how often God intercedes in this way:
At this dread moment occurred an incident, which my readers may explain as they like, but which I trace directly to the interposition of my God. A rushing and roaring sound came from the South, like the noise of a mighty engine or of muttering thunder. Every head was instinctively turned in that direction, and they knew, from previous hard experience, that it was one of their awful tornadoes of wind and rain. Now, mark, the wind bore the flames away from our dwelling-house; had it come in the opposite direction, no power on earth could have saved us from being all consumed! It made the work of destroying the Church only that of a few minutes; but it brought with it a heavy and murky cloud, which poured out a perfect torrent of tropical rain. Now, mark again, the flames of the burning Church were thereby cut off from extending to and seizing upon the reeds and the bush; and, besides, it had become almost impossible now to set fire to our dwelling-house. The stars in their courses were fighting against Sisera!

The mighty roaring of the wind, the black cloud pouring down unceasing torrents, and the whole surroundings, awed those savages into silence. Some began to withdraw from the scene, all lowered their weapons of war, and several, terror-struck, exclaimed, "That is Jehovah's rain! Truly their Jehovah God is fighting for them and helping them. Let us away!" A panic seized upon them; they threw away their remaining torches; in a few moments they had all disappeared in the bush; and I was left alone, praising God for His marvelous works. "O taste and see that God is good! Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him!"

Returning to the door of the Mission House, I cried, "Open and let me in. I am now all alone."

Mr. Mathieson let me in, and exclaimed, "If ever, in time of need, God sent help and protection to His servants in answer to prayer, He has done so to-night! Blessed be His holy Name!"

In fear and in joy we united our praises. Truly our Jesus has all power, not less in the elements of Nature than in the savage hearts of the Tannese. Precious Jesus! Often since have I wept over His love and mercy in that deliverance, and prayed that every moment of my remaining life may be consecrated to the service of my precious Friend and Saviour!

The Story of John G. Paton Or Thirty Years Among South Sea Cannibals by James Paton
Jemimah studied her picture from this term's artist, Ellis Rowan, and read a few pages from the book, Wildflower about her life.

We zipped through some flashcards of our French vocabulary words.

I read a chapter about Bacchus from The Age of Fable. This was Jemimah's written narration for the week.

About then I had my meeting. Fortunately it was at home today. Jemimah went and worked in her room. Her independent work included her written narration, writing a letter in French and studying her dictation passage.

After lunch we spent a few minutes working together on MEP maths, and then Jemimah completed the accompanying worksheet on subtracting fractions with different denominators while I packed.

I read her dictation passage to Jemimah and she wrote in her best handwriting instead of copy work for today.

That was school done.

In the car I read aloud from our books - a few chapters each of Ginger Pye, Tom Sawyer, Athanasius Against the World, and Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates. The father woke up in the last book. So wonderful. I found the earlier parts of this book a thinly veiled text book on the Netherlands, but nearing the end we're all really enjoying it. We don't call this type of reading 'school', but it is a great way to read some fine books together. You all know how much I love reading aloud.

Tomorrow we're off to the Melbourne Museum to have a bit of a look at their joint exhibit. I want Jemimah to try to identify the various joints and the movement that occurs in each, as well as having a bit of a browse around. I love using 'homeschooling' as an excuse for doing stuff like that!


  1. I really liked this post. I recognized a lot of the sort of things we do during a day. A lot of times I read things on blogs and I think, oh, goodness, we're doing nothing of the sort (like examining skeletons and memorizing the names of bones)! Panic! Panic! But I found this outline of your day to be very reassuring.

  2. Me too. I enjoyed it very much, Miss Jeanne. It is like Sarah says, some of what we do as well. I love Jemimah's purple band aid. I love colorful band aids.

    It has inspired me to do a day on our Spanish/English Texan Amblesidey life.

    Right now it's .... caaaamping!

  3. I enjoy having a peek at people's days! It's encouraging that other folks meld lessons in with everyday life; we do, too! I also love to read aloud, Jeanne. Perhaps you'll post more about the exhibit in Melbourne?

  4. Love it. I've never seen the book "Athanasius Against the World." Can you share a link or the author?


  5. Lovely! And thank you for the link!

  6. Jeanne, Thank you for sharing your day:) Your joy of learning and love of your daughter shines through:){{}}

  7. Yes, these are among my favourite posts too. Thanks for sharing. I can really identify with how you work homeschooling around other work, but you can do it and it works. Well done! xxx

  8. Loved reading about your day as I've wondered how you fit in your 'work' into your homeschooling too! That is a great photo of Jemimah at work!

  9. That was interesting. I found myself realising that there are some things we do similar, and some things I have been thinking of doing that you have demonstrated how that could work.

    Of course I am a little envious that you can focus one-on-one, although my rational self remembers that when I DID have just one to teach I dreamed of the days I would have a class.... :-)

    Thanks Jeanne. As usual you have given me things to think about.

  10. Curious to know what is different, DaughterofEve...

  11. If I was young I would love to attend your homeschooling, it sounds like far more fun compared to my schooling .!!

  12. Because I have more than one, my day includes more structured classroom style lessons for some things.

    So for English for example, I currently have three girls working as one class using a very structured curriculum - First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind.

    We also do history all together - even the biggest kids when they have a home day (the two eldest are part time at school). We've just started MOH2 and finding it a great fit for now.

    For my own sanity, I also need to run independant work in allocated groups.

    For example, math, where each child is at a different place in learning, we all work on math at the same time, but independantly.

    Things I noticed that were the same were more the first priority that faith and devotions had in your day, even though we choose some things different.

    And of course, a lot of reading aloud from a wide variety. :-)

    I do like your idea of teaching songs, although I would probably go for hymns that our churches deem 'too dated' (!) but that are a rich part of my faith heritage.

    I'd also like to do more with poetry, although I am very happy with the inclusions in our language lessons program.

    I'd love to do French further and I am in awe of Jemimahs memorisation skills, but those are a bit beyond me atm.

    I guess the main difference is all because I work with six instead of one, and can't give all of them the same tailored one on one time that you are able with Jemimah.

  13. the description of your day reminds me of such an oh.peaceful.day and why i love to read you :) i wish i could be there too!
    it seems nice and smooth with one student to be able to amble through the lessons with only the two of you. in our house lessons are very often much scattered because of myriad distractions (impossible to avoid) and less efficient because of the sheer number of participants! ;)
    amy in peru

  14. Hi Jeanne,
    Thanks for showing us a little of the work/school and together/independent balance that you have achieved.


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