You know what’s funny about this A Day in the Life post? I don’t technically know the Strite family, as we’ve only met recently through e-mail. A mutual friend, who is college friends with Lisa, introduced us knowing that we’d share the CC connection and that Lisa might be interested in sharing her family’s “day in the life” here. Well, I’m so glad she did! Lisa has been so open and friendly and I already feel I’ve learned from her. So, now I’d like to introduce you to LIsa. Lisa, everyone – everyone, Lisa. 🙂
Hi! We’re the Strite family. I’m Lisa and my husband Dave and I have been married for 15 years and we have 3 kids ages 3, 6, and 9. We live near Raleigh, NC.
I think I’ve wanted to homeschool since before we even got married and had kids! I love to learn about everything and enjoy academics, so naturally I wanted to turn my home into a little school. For us, homeschooling is a great way to help our kids learn from the perspective of a Christian worldview, foster a love for learning and also have more time together as a family. Last year was our first year in CC and this year I’m tutoring our 6-year-old’s class and our oldest started Essentials.
One of my biggest challenges with homeschooling is that I’m very introverted. I most enjoy working with my kids one-on-one, *but* in order to fit everything into the day, I do have all three kids together for several subjects. I try to do those subjects in the morning so that our afternoon can be more quiet and I can work with each one individually. We divide our school time into three blocks: circle, group, and room time. We don’t have set times, but it’s usually something like this…
9-10am Circle time
10-11:30am Group time
12:30-3pm Room time (then playtime once assignments are done)
For the start of our school day, I try to keep all three kids involved and work with our youngest on not being disruptive (he’s 3)! We do Bible, CC memory work and some read alouds if we have time.
For Bible, we’re reading a book called “Look Into the Bible” which gives some historical background and an overview of each book of the Bible. I try to change up what we’re doing for Bible fairly often because we have lots of resources I want to use, but I like to focus on one thing at a time. This year we’ll use We Choose Virtues, Who Is My Neighbor? (from Apologia’s worldview series), What’s in the Bible (dvd series) as well as using our take on “picture, ponder, pray” to study the Bible.
Next we work on CC memory work. I try to use a different method each day: spoken, sung, and written and then the last day we use for reviewing previous weeks. We also practice the Essentials songs that our group uses.
I plan out our week so that each day we cover a different topic during group time:
Tue – History – We mostly read real books that correspond roughly with the current weeks’ memory work. Sometimes we’re ahead or behind depending on how many books I have and interest levels.
Wed- Science – I have the kids make a notebook page with the science question and illustrate it. Then, I have a book list for the semester that covers the same topic as our memory work, I usually read aloud but sometimes I’ll have the kids take turns doing the reading. I don’t necessarily try to cover topics in the same order as the memory work for science. We also do a lot of hands-on experiments and activities.
Thur- Geography- We get more in depth practice with the geography memory work which doesn’t always fit well with the way we review during circle time. We are working on drawing the world and practicing current and past geography work using the free program Seterra. My kids love using this program which tracks their high scores and times. We have several laptops so I usually play too. My oldest and I are working on countries in Africa which is really challenging….and he’s beating me!
Fri- Presentations & Extras (literature, fine arts, programming etc)
Usually our youngest will listen for a little while during group time but then starts to get bored and I will take a minute to try to getting him busy doing something else.
We don’t usually get started on room time till after lunch. The kids really like to all be near me when they’re doing school. I named this part of the day “Room time” as a reminder that they do all have their own rooms and that would be a great place to do their individual school work! No one else seems to agree, so they are usually in the family room, school room or library depending where I am. Each day, I will spend some time working individually with each child on their room time assignments. For our youngest, I do some preschool activities, so he gets some special time with me. The older two have an assignment sheet each week that covers their math and language arts broken out by day. But I do let them choose what to complete each day as long as they are finishing enough items.
They have assignments in these subjects (if I list two different curriculum, we usually alternate between them, and wouldn’t have assignments from both in the same week):
Math- Singapore Math and Life of Fred
Spelling- Spelling Workout and a Spelling Bee app to review old list words
Grammar- Rod & Staff (1st-3rd grade) then Essentials
Writing- IEW either at home or through Essentials
Handwriting- Draw Write Now and Prescripts
Reading- They each have a reading list that is a mix of historical fiction that matches up with what we’re covering in history, classic lit and some fun stuff. Usually I assign one novel/week and they have other things they’re reading in their free time as well.
Piano- They mark off their practice time each day.
I also mark which assignments they need to work on *with me* as opposed to just going ahead and doing it on their own. They check off when an assignment is complete and then I circle it once I’ve checked it. It makes it easy for them and me to just glance at the sheet and see how they’re coming along for the week. I wouldn’t typically expect a first grader to work this independently but our daughter saw that this is how her big brother does his work and really wanted to do it that way too. Positive peer pressure 🙂 We also teach our kids to read at an early age and this helps them be able to work independently more quickly as well. I get overwhelmed when our home feels too hectic and having all three kids constantly needing help makes me want to go hide in the basement. I know other moms that seem to have a much greater capacity for interacting with multiple kids, but I just don’t have that gift!
So, that’s our day. If I’ve made it to the end, I’m ready for some chocolate and a break, but I love these days with my kids.
Besides the “school” part of our day, I also try to have some fun activities for the evening or weekend and trips to do as a family that relate to something we’re learning. Since we’re doing anatomy in Cycle 3, I gathered some inexpensive medical instruments that the kids could try out: a stethoscope, thermometer, blood pressure cuff (although I still need to find someone to teach *me* how to use it!), otoscope etc. On a recent trip to the beach, we visited Roanoke Island and learned about the Lost Colony and the Native Americans that lived in that area. We can’t always get things to line up that nicely with what we’re studying, but that’s ok because it’s also great to see them make connections with something we learned about a year ago. We also try to incorporate some service projects that are kid-friendly.
I am so thankful to be able to teach my kids and walk through their childhoods alongside them!
Friends, I found Lisa’s acknowledgement of how her personality affects their homeschooling insightful (“One of my biggest challenges with homeschooling is that I’m very introverted.”) and her comment that she wants chocolate and a break at the end of the day very relatable. I also love how they divide their day into three segments! What did you learn from Lisa?