Saturday, February 21, 2015

Boogers, Work, and McKinely Park

Kirsten is a homeschooling mom of a second grade boy and administrator of the Natomas Charter PACT homeschool Academy. She homeschools her second grade son and works 25+ hours a week. You can contact her at

3:30am comes early, but it is the only time during the day that my son, my husband, my staff, and my dog do not need me. I throw off the blankets and slip into my shoes. No need to get dressed. Don’t judge, but I sleep in my workout gear... it forces me to work out!
5:30am “MOOOOOM!” A quick look at the clock. I walk upstairs with wet hair and no makeup. Too early, but too bad for me. After Robert grudgingly takes a bath and gobbles down breakfast, I finally get my first cup of coffee and pull out my son’s Independent Work folder. He knows to open it and start on it when breakfast is over.
6am I answer emails as he works on a drawing of a dog. I have discovered that using “Draw then Write” books is one way to get him to work on fine motor skills. Every two assignments he completes means a 10 minute break so there are no arguments this morning. Independent work this morning is working on math fluency, a pronoun worksheet, and working on a poem about love that extends our work with Edward Tulaine by Kate DeCamillo. We are reading it as part of the PACT’s participation in the Global Read Aloud.Meanwhile, I answer morning emails and update the PACT Facebook page. Soon, his independent work is completed. After a spelling pretest and math lesson on order of operations (I don’t remember learning that in the second grade...) we move on to writing workshop. Today’s lesson? Showing not telling. I found the lesson online and tomorrow we will use this strategy to revise his fractured fairy tale involving the “Three Little Pigs” and Minecraft.
Science is one of my favorite things to teach. I notice Robert is struggling to label a diagram of the nose and I turn to one of my favorite websites, Kids Health to search for a video and visuals.The diagram is a take home from his science enrichment workshop at PACT. The workshops are not meant to be an entire curriculum, but often they spark a lesson that takes on a life of it’s own. He notices a “Booger Quiz” banner on the side and I make a mental note that tomorrow we will be learning about boogers.
The clouds part, I hear angels singing, and the sun shines down on us, we are DONE with school work at home! How can we be done with school work already? Do we do enough? Check out this weekly schedule to see what we will accomplish this week and see what we have done in the weeks before.
8:30am A snack of peanut butter and apples for both of us as we settle into our laptops. I am back on email, Robert is playing Minecraft. We have been whitelisted on several kid safe Minecraft Homeschool Servers, but I like to be next to him when he plays. If somebody has stolen his items or accused him of griefing, it provides a great on the spot digital citizenship learning opportunity. He has also learned about 1st and 3rd person from Minecraft, so I try to spy on him to figure out other ways to turn his passion it a learning experience. (I wrote about Minecraft and Point of View here)
10am Homeschool Park Play Date at McKinely Park! The bright sun cuts through the cold November air. I have been lucky enough to find several great homeschool groups on Facebook. I try to meet up with other homeschooling families at parks as often as possible. Playing at 10am in the morning is one of the benefits of homeschooling my son loves!11am Off to Grandma’s for lunch and fun while I head into work. On Mondays, I work on campus from 12:00-4:00 as a school administrator for the Natomas Charter School PACT program. On today’s docket? Tours for new homeschooling families, researching new curriculum, and calendar planning.  I eat lunch at my desk. Time to eat is one thing I have had to compromise as a working and homeschooling mom.
Robert joins me at PACT around 1pm for his art class, Masks and Mobiles and then Tae Kwon Do. One of the reasons that I homeschool through PACT is that I do not want to drive all over town for classes. PACT has a campus where they hold a variety of enrichment workshops. He has several workshops with the same kids, so PACT also provides him with a sense of community. He takes drama, science, and literature workshops. We also started a Lego club last year that focuses on social skills and cooperative groups. (You can check out a schedule and course listing here).7pm All electronics off for family reading. Yep. I am a nerd. No cell phones, no tv, nothing. We go to the library three times a week and load up on books. One of the unexpected benefits of homeschooling has been that the amount and types of books Robert reads has greatly increased.8pm Robert’s bedtime. After a short cuddle, the dog climbs on Robert’s bed and it is lights out for them. This is time alone with the husband. We do what hundreds of couples do each night when the kids are in bed and the lights go down low... we watch tv! I will fall asleep by 8:30 for sure. Hey, 3am comes early!What does the day look like when you homeschool and work? 

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