We have already started with our second and final term for this bahaySKUL year. I am pleased to say that we have established a good rhythm to our school days, which keeps us mostly on track to meet our academic goals this year. If you ever wonder what a typical day looks like for us, here’s a peek…
7:00 am I wake up and try to beat Turo out of bed first. The unwritten rule is whoever gets out of bed last will have to stay in bed until the baby wakes up. Of course you’re free to try to creep out of bed without waking the baby, but the success rate is rather low.
So if I’m lucky, I can make myself a cup of hot drink, sometimes Oolong tea, or apple cider vinegar with honey and cinnamon, whatever I feel like drinking that morning. I then check my email and newsfeed while enjoying the cool morning breeze. Sometimes I do a little decluttering around the house, picking up stuff where they aren’t supposed to be.
8:00 am The baby wakes up around this time and so are his big brothers. Ari and Uri usually stays in their room reading until I call for breakfast. The baby gets a dose of sunshine in the front yard, armed with his plastic shovel, digging dirt.
I make breakfast, which is normally vegetable soup and toast, or something that goes well with fried rice.
9:00 am We eat a heavy breakfast, and then clean up. We use our dining table as our study area so it has to be cleared immediately after each meal. The boys are assigned to move the dishes to the sink, wipe down the table and refill the pitchers with water. I have yet to teach them to wash the dishes and sweep the crumbs off the floor. Maybe one of these days.
9:30 am The boys take a bath and dress up. While they take a shower, I check their schoolwork from the previous day, and fill in their spiral notebooks with to-do’s for each subject for that day.
10:00 am We aim to start at 10, but this schedule is not set in stone. We do start school around this time, sometimes earlier, sometimes later.
We do Math first. We do Math everyday, starting with oral drills or using an app for reviewing addition, subtraction and multiplication facts. Then I ask the boys to answer a couple of pages from their LIFEPACs. I have reviewed their modules previously and I put little notes on the pages where I feel I need to discuss certain concepts/topics. When they see a note, they come up to me for a short math discussion. Every other day, I make them take a short math test/quiz.
If they’re feeling motivated that day, we may have time to squeeze in Philippine studies. For this we use Philippines textbook and Adarna Regional Profiles. Ari is doing unit studies on the different regions of the Philippines, and uses notebooking pages I prepared for each region.
Once each week, ideally Wednesdays, we take the morning off so the boys can ride their bike or scooter at the park. Doing this in the middle of the week is actually beneficial, energizing our boys and getting them back into focus on their schoolwork, while getting some exercise. We also walk to the Dairy Training and Research Institute (DTRI) for our weekly supply of dairy products – yogurt, fresh milk, choco milk and white cheese.
12:30 pm We break for lunch. We normally just have leftover from the previous night’s dinner, so all it takes for lunch prep is popping a bowl into the oven to reheat, and cooking rice in the rice cooker. I do this around noon while the boys wrap up their school work for the morning.
1:00 pm After eating, they clear the table, then get an hour of free time. Ari will usually read or draw comic strips or play with LEGOs, and Uri will shoot some basketball hoops or play jump rope. Half the time they play together and the rest of the time they each do their own thing. Sometimes they watch music videos as they babysit their little brother so I could do a quick cleanup after lunch.
2:00 pm Once the baby gets put down for his afternoon nap, we resume schoolwork. Subjects that require lots of reading and focused discussion are scheduled for the afternoon. We alternate language studies, both English and Filipino, with Science and World History/Geography. We simply follow a looping schedule for the afternoon subjects, meaning we finish one LIFEPAC module for Language Arts, then we complete a module for Science and History, before moving back to Language, and so on.
While we rely heavily on our LIFEPAC curriculum for most subjects, we supplement Language studies with short storybooks and e-books. We also have a growing library of illustrated reference books that we use to supplement Science and History lessons. When we can’t read about certain topics from the books that we have, I try to search for videos on YouTube for them to watch.
Since the boys can work independently on parts of their lessons, I take out my computer and try to get some work done, while the baby is napping. I also get to drink my lone cup of coffee during this time. I use this time for easy tasks like checking and answering emails, or doing online research. I reserve the more intense tasks for later in the afternoon when Turo is home.
5:00 pm We strive to complete all bahaySKULwork for the day by 5 in the afternoon, at least my ideal schedule looks that way. It is difficult for me to get some serious work done when the boys keep asking questions about their lessons from time to time. Oftentimes, however, our school hours are extended because either or both of them are not yet done with the things written in their spiral notebooks. This is especially true for Ari, our kinesthetic learner with a short attention span. While his focus on paperwork has improved greatly over the years, you will always catch him lost in an imaginary world in the middle of a lesson. We do encourage imagination and creativity around here, so this is not something that we judge to be wrong. The weird thing is that, even as he keeps drifting off while studying, he maintains a thorough understanding and comprehension of his lessons. So actually, keeping up with the ‘school ends at 5’ schedule is more a struggle for me, who has a million more things to do that day, than my boys.
Turo gets home from work and the baby wakes up around this time as well. Turo takes over babysitting duties, and I use this time for more focused writing. I also schedule Skype meetings during this time, or late in the evening, since my colleagues are from a different time zone.
6:30 pm I cook dinner and the boys get some screen time. They alternate between watching YouTube videos of their favorite Minecrafters, cartoons on Netflix or playing Xbox video games. I also start a load of laundry while cooking.
7:30 pm We eat dinner, clean up, then the children chat with their grandparents on Skype. I wash the dishes, finish the laundry and ask everyone to brush their teeth and change into their pajamas.
When we’re done with everything before 9 in the evening, we watch a movie before going to bed. If we finish late, we read a chapter from our current book (right now it’s Peter Pan) then call it a night.
FRIDAYS and SATURDAYS
Extracurricular activities are scheduled on or towards the weekend. Uri has art classes every Saturday, while Ari has Taekwondo training on Fridays and Saturdays. Weekends are supposed to be free days (no bahaySKUL) for the boys. But if we’re running behind what we’re supposed to have accomplished during the week, we use the weekends as make-up days, just to finish any remaining lesson or unit.