Tuesday, September 08, 2009

our daily rhythm

Tansy asked about daily rhythm, and we have created one for this season.

Our rhythm changes hugely with the seasons, and within them somewhat less so. Depending on sort of 'global' factors they may vary from Spring to Spring- things like whether or not we are milking a cow, for example, and right now we are not. It is Fall, or soon will be. I am done canning for the most part and so I call it fall. The garden needs little or no attention because it is serranos and okra and turnips and sweet potatoes. We have a few fall greens that are only babies. Our farm chores are pared down, but we have started our homeschool year, and it goes something like:

We wake at around 6:30 or 7am, we're early people. The kids may or may not all be awake then, usually they are. Right now Kassiopeia (5) and Romneya (1) are awake, but the other 2 boys (Tristan, 7 and Anatoly, 2) are sleeping. All will be awake by 8am. I feed the kids (eggs, mostly), and drink coffee, and mill around on the computer or looking through my schedule. I do laundry throughout the day and without a dryer, I have learned to be crafty and not to waste dry weather. Dishes are also constant.

Tristan (7) tends the laying chickens in the morning. We start school at 9 am or so and we start with reading. We are using Sonlight this year for our school, and love it so far. We are making it secular, though it is a Christian curriculum, and have our own science (Herbal Roots Zine) to go with it as well. I really love Sonlight's book choices. It is literature-based and I am enjoying all the reading with the kids. We also have Singapore Math. School is just us sitting at the kitchen table finding countries on the big map, reading books and drawing pictures.  I have a sort of 'rule' that school lasts from 9-12, but we never take so long. Still, I try not to do anything before 12 that takes me away from the kids, and I try to give them crafts or other fun items to play with until 12, when I make lunch and feed the whole gang (usually dinner leftovers). After lunch, it is a free-for-all for the kids while I do laundry and prep dinner and check the piglets and calves. I'll also gather eggs and do any garden chores that need doing- picking okra is about it anymore.

Karl has an unusual work schedule- he is often out of the house by 6:30am but home by 3:30pm, sometimes sooner. It usually takes all of that time to have the house tidy- dishes done, laundry hung and folded and washed, and so on. When Karl gets home we do things that require us both and the kids either help or play inside and out. First, we let the layers out to roam in the woods and field. Regular chores are compost turning, manure forking, garden tear-down for fall, various building or repair projects or even kombucha bottling. Dinner is around 6pm, but we have been known to eat as late as 9 if we have a busy farm workload. We try not to do that! Because of the nature of Sonlight, there is more reading to do in the afternoon or evening. Karl does the evening chores with kids-in-tow playing hide and seek whilst I clean up from dinner.

Anatoly is a unique bird, and so our home is a little different than it might be: the television is almost always on, Toly is almost always naked, and he follows me everywhere. I have seen recently he is beginning to play with the older kids a little more. Sometimes. He does not want to be involved in school but he also doesn't like for us to be. I am hoping as we get more used to our schedule he will settle down about it, but right now we are just trying to make it work.

Our day seems so sparse! Over the seasons it changes... the hogs will require more daily care as they eat more and need more moving or bedding, the heifer calf will be bred this winter and need more care and training. When she is in milk (next Fall) it will be morning and nighttime milking and milk chores like cheese, yogurt etc. The spring will bring seedlings in the greenhouse to tend twice a day, and baby chicks 50 at a time to raise for meat. Spring and Summer are dominated by intense garden work and pasturing the poultry. Then butchering, canning, etc all until Fall... We hope to use a shorter, Fall - Spring school year so that we can  have the freedom for farm work in the summer, maybe even finishing our year by the end of April or beginning of May. We would continue Herbal Roots Zine and similar supplements through the summer, of course.

As far as outings go, we don't make many, but that may change now that we have a car we all fit in! There are two or 3 secular homeschooling groups I have joined online and I would love to meet up with. Why secular? Because homeschooling, for us, has nothing to do with religion. And while I have embraced all the many religious homeschoolers I have met, I have found they are less willing to embrace me, so to save everyone trouble, we are secular.
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