Monday, March 30th, 2015
We’ve been living in South Kensington, London since last January. John is 10.35 and Christine is 8.8 years old.
While this is our final week here before returning to our New York home, and we are trying to savor the experience….this is still a very typical homeschooling day for us marked by online education, a lot of reading, and a little sightseeing.
5:00 am I’m at my PC working on my website and my how-to-homeschool videos. I usually get up at 3 or 4 am but overslept.
6:00 am Inez (wife) is up and headed to the gym.
8:00 am John arises, eats breakfast.
8:30 am Inez leaves for the office. The princess, Christine, arises.
9:00 am Chrissy eats breakfast.
9:15 am John starts his Skype piano lesson. Chrissy takes her weekly bath/swim in the tub!
9:45 am Chrissy starts her math on the computer IXL.com
(I am doing odd jobs, cleaning, laundry, dishes,….even working on the same PC that John has his lesson on. We have a dual-monitor setup.)
10:15 am Piano lesson ends. John reviews his corrected piano “exam”. He scored only 75/100.
10:45 am John starts chess exercises on ChessTempo.com.
11:15 am Chrissy finishes math and starts guitar practice.
(We have NOTHING to do today, i.e. ZERO obligations. I am trying to figure out how we should spend our day. After 14+ months here, we are leaving in 5 days, first for an 11-day trip to Thailand, then back to our “home” in New York.)
11:20 am John calls up a game shop in Covent Garden. He makes a 1:00 pm appointment to play a game of Warhammer with a member of the staff there. It’s free. This is something John has been begging for.
11:30 am Chrissy does the last few pages of her cursive workbook.
11:35 am Chrissy gets back on her IXL.com math.
11:45 am John finishes his chess and packs up his Warhammer pieces.
12:15 pm We get out the door with books to read, 2 Kindles, and my camera!
12:50 pm – 1:50 pm John was at the store playing Warhammer while Chrissy and I had lunch, and read, at Shake Shack ($30 for 2 burgers, 1 hot dog, 1 order of fries, tap water, and self-service!)
Today he was extremely happy to get paid for his work – 40 pounds, roughly $60 at today’s exchange rates!
3:30 pm Arrive back home at our “flat”.
3:30 pm – 3:50 pm I set the timer for 20 minutes of “free time”. John chooses to read one of his assigned books anyway – Retribution Falls.
3:50 pm – Chrissy gets to work on her old blog. I say old because she started a new blog today. John is still reading but he’s on to the next book in the series – The Black Lung Captain. I am uploading all the video footage you saw above and now typing this blog post up.
5:15 pm I lie down for 50 minutes to stretch my psoas muscles….with headphones on, listening to a podcast. Chrissy sneaks off to her room to play.
5:50 pm John is still reading this whole time. He’s loving this book series. Inez comes home and starts dinner.
6:45 pm Dinner about to be served. John is on page 386 of the second book that he just started!
7:45 pm John is listening to this piano channel on YouTube.
8:00 pm Inez and I take a walk to the supermarket. John starts Khan Academy math. Chrissy practices the piano for 20 minutes.
8:35 pm The kids get a rare Monday night dessert – M&M brownies. We usually do no sweets Mon-Wed. John is on page 442 of his book now.
8:45 pm Kids are banished to their bedrooms for the night. Inez is spending time with them, probably packing up and organizing all their junk. I am finishing up this blog post which will be published in 1.5 weeks when I’ll be basking in 95 degree Thai heat.
9:54 pm Kids’ lights out. Big day tomorrow as we’ll say goodbye to all our home ed friends at our “Tuesday Park Day”.
Our typical homeschooling days weren’t always like this. We built up to it over time, with trial and error, by “stealing” ideas from others, and by relentlessly cultivating excellence in all that we do.
If I were to give any advice to homeschooling families starting out who are looking to create blissful and productive days it’d be this.
- Eliminate completely the biggest time and brain wasters – TV, films, and video games.
- Have your kids read constantly. You may have seen mine reading on the train, on the bus,…and they also read at restaurants, cafes, etc.
- Use computers to learn almost as much as possible.
- Take a hard look at all organized activities and constantly ask yourself whether or not they are worth the time and whether or not you could improve upon whatever benefit they provide.