A Day in the Life: The Ritter Family - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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A Day in the Life: The Ritter Family

{Sienna, Fiona, and Mia – all photos by Tamzin Ritter}

It’s back! We had so much fun last year when Joy Newman shared a typical day in her homeschooling life, that we have asked a few more parents this year to contribute a similar post. Although we are also in the middle of our Down Home tour highlights, this feature is different in that we get a glimpse into the reality of a homeschooling day, and can share in the ups and downs of a fellow SLOCA parent on this journey of educating for life!

Today’s “Day in the Life” homeschooling adventure is courtesy of the Ritter family. Tamzin and Trees Ritter are a Track A family in their 5th year at SLO Classical Academy, and have three girls: Mia (LMS), Sienna (Intermediate), and Fiona (Primary). Thank you Tamzin, for letting us peek into the wonderful world of learning and craziness that makes up a homeschooling day in your family. And to all the parents who are living this out at home too… enjoy!

Monday – the afternoon before our homeschool day

I prepare the girls’ workboxes.  This is Sue Patrick's system that I tweaked to fit my personality.

Tuesday!

5:30 am

My alarm goes off (seriously)

6 – 6:45 am

I am walking with my dog through downtown SLO.  I have a hot cup of coffee in my hand and an audiobook whispering into my ears.  My zen time.

7 am

Trees (my husband) wakes up the girls and everyone descends to the kitchen for breakfast.  Trees leaves for work around 7:30 am.

7:30/7:45 – 9 am

The girls start working through their homeschool boxes.  These boxes are just a way for me to keep the girls’ work in order and are also a great visual representation of what they have done and what they have left to do. 

Today Fiona (my youngest in 2nd grade) has asked to do her math lesson with me first. Fiona is a wiggle worm, so we head to the living room with her math books, a white board / pens, and a pencil.  On the sofa Fi does somersaults, stretches, and bounces.  We work through her lesson.  I then send her to the kitchen table to make “10s” with flashcards.

Mia has chosen her science box first. I don’t care what order the girls choose to complete their boxes.  I am too lazy to organize and deal with that.  Mia LOVES science this year and is eager to research coral reefs on the internet. Mia, my eldest and a LMS student, happily and independently works on her assignment.

Sienna, my middle daughter and a 4th grader, chooses her independent reading box.  Sienna is reading The Witches by Roald Dahl.  Sienna lazily reclines in the sun in the playroom and reads away.

The girls manage to complete around 3 of 9 boxes during this time.  I remain in the living room on the sofa, pulling each child aside to do a math lesson. 

9 am

My brain is fried.  Math just takes it out of me!  I have to remember to read that HIG BEFORE I try to teach the lesson.  Ooops.

9 – 9:20 am

After grabbing a snack, the girls are banished from the kitchen area so that I can have some time to regroup. They play in the playroom.

I snack – of course – tidy up a bit, and then stare out the window at the construction project going on next door. 

9:30 – 10:30 am

BACK TO BOXES.  Now our day is really in full swing and so is the chaos.  I basically move from child to child overseeing the various assignments they are working on.  Awesome – Sienna can do her KWO completely on her own!  Fiona reads two books of her choosing to me.  Mia is finishing up her Kumon and then chooses to practice guitar.  I ping pong back and forth answering questions.  Maybe I would benefit from Sue Patrick’s system with her “work with mom” cards.  THIS mom is working over time.  But hey, we are discussing, learning, laughing, and moving through those boxes!

10:20 am

Mia asks to make the tea today. 

10:30 – 11:30ish am

We all head over to the sofa with our cups of tea, where I proceed to read out loud the day’s assignments.  Today I only have to read Story of the World and Mia’s AEN assignment.  We read The Golden Goblet last night at bedtime.  To be more efficient, I have Mia take notes while I am reading (Mrs. Wright asks that 5-10 facts be listed for homework and future classroom discussion).  

Because all three of my girls are studying the same thing (yeah SLOCA!), I read ALL of the assignments to ALL of them.  Needless to say, Fiona’s sofa gymnastics increase in complexity as time ticks by.  It makes for a lot of reading on my part, but the girls really enjoy this time together as a family.  Fiona twists and turns and both Mia and Sienna are coloring Halloween pictures.  I choose to read walking around the room today (it makes me feel professorial – is that a word?). 

11:30 – 12:30pm

The girls and I sit at the dining room table and work on history narrations, IEW assignments, and anything else that relates to the readings.  The information is fresh in our minds, and we roll with it.  My dad calls, and I ignore it.

11:50 am

Trees arrives home from work to get ready for the “Hammer Ride”.  An avid cyclist with a flexible work schedule.

12:30 pm

I am done with the girls.  I order them out of the house for some “outside” time.  Mia rolls her eyes at me and asks to go to her room to color.   I say NO and push her out the back door.  I need a child free zone, and they need some fresh air.

I prepare lunch, listen to my audio book, and refuse all requests from the girls to come inside, or speak to me.  I need this time alone and I take it.

1 pm

We eat lunch together outside in the yard and talk a little bit about some things that we have learned today.  What a beautiful day.  I feel sane again.

1:30 – 2:15 pm

Today I decide to work out in our garage.  Mia and Sienna both have work to finish and Fiona joins me in the garage with her dolls and their various “chariots and thrones.”   

Sienna comes into the garage crying to tell me that Mia pinched her cheeks really hard.  I ask that both Mia and Sienna finish their work in the garage where I can see them.  Trees is home and in one piece!  He heads back to the hospital to work.

2:15 pm

CLEAN UP.  We all pitch in and get the place back to some sort of order.

2:30 pm

With major sighs and complaints from the girls, we jump on our bikes and ride to guitar lessons. Today, a fallen tree branch across the sidewalk, makes for an unexpected adventure crossing.

3 – 4 pm

Guitar, then cycle home.

We spend the rest of the day playing, cleaning up, preparing dinner, and chatting.  Oh, and I call my dad back.

Wow, I am exhausted just writing about our day.  It was a full one, but pretty smooth sailing (except the pinching incident).

Would you like to blog about a day in YOUR homeschooling life? Email Down Home and let us know! It's a great way for our community to share real life together. 

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