A Day in the Life: The Richert 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 Richert Family

{photos by Jill Richert}

Get cozy and get ready to enjoy this latest Day in the Life post! Today we hear from Jill Richert, whose family is in their 6th year here at SLO Classical Academy. She will introduce everyone, so I’ll let her get started with her account of this very full home day! 

My name is Jill and my husband Ben and I have three students on Track A at SLOCA: Sadie (5th), Weston (2nd), and Abel (Kinder), as well as 2-year-old Jack at home. We also have Ben’s 96-year-old Grandma living with us. She moved in the year we started at SLOCA, when Sadie entered kindergarten, so our adjustment to homeschooling and a multi-generational home went hand-in-hand. She was an elementary school teacher, and enjoys spending time with the kids, especially one-on-one, so that first year she offered to take 3-year-old Weston for an hour or so on some homeschool days to make it easier to get our work done, and help me balance caring for a two-month-old. Since then, we’ve gradually fallen into a pattern with one of the preschool-aged children having “Grandma School” for about an hour on most Tuesdays and Thursdays, where they read books and play with stickers or simple toys with Grandma. They love it. We’ve now had two graduates and Jack is “enrolled” for the first time this year. 

Unfortunately, on the day of this post, Grandma School was not in session because Grandma had a doctor’s appointment. Fortunately, RideOn has expanded its senior shuttle service this year, so Grandma was able to get a ride with them to her morning appointment. In past years, I’ve been more flexible with providing rides for her to various appointments, but this year, we’ve struggled to get everything done, especially on Tuesdays, and so I’ve really tried to avoid anything extra on that day, and Grandma tries to make her appointments on Mon/Wed mornings or else get a ride with the shuttle.

6:30 AM
I get up for a little quiet/devotional time and a quick email check before the kids predictably all roll out of bed at 7. Everyone gets dressed with various amounts of prompting/fussing/wrestling, and are ready for breakfast at 7:30. We have our usual oatmeal with an addition of pumpkin smoothies as a nod to our book of the week. Abel likes the smoothies.

Ben leaves for work. Forgets his phone and comes back, then leaves again. 

Sadie starts practicing piano.

I get Weston going on two quick timed mental math strips. We’ve really been getting bogged down in math (renaming) so I’m trying to get him geared up for more speed. He gets 20 second PRs on both strips! Abel is finally done with breakfast, so I send him to brush his teeth.

Weston starts thinking about what to draw for our hallway timeline, since we haven’t put any new pictures up this year yet. He would like to do Leonardo, but wants to look at the books we read for inspiration, so we pull them all out.

I check on Abel and he is sitting in his bedroom playing with something, teeth still unbrushed. We go into the bathroom and brush his teeth. Then I send him to collect 9 stuffed animals for his math activity. I collected a bunch of place-settings from Jack’s kitchen toys (which he’s really into lately) last night and now give them to Abel to set the table for his animals’ tea party. He’s supposed to compare the numbers of plates/silverware and numbers of animals. Jack starts fussing because Abel has his kitchen toys.

Check on Weston. Hasn’t yet started drawing or decided what to draw. I start working with him on his math lesson (after retrieving Grandma’s yard stick) and we start measuring… everything. We’re both happy we’re on to a new unit!

Sadie is done with piano and goes into her room to practice the violin. She doesn’t beg to play out in the living room and I’m thankful for small graces.

Jack is still fussing (Despite ample opportunity, he only took a 10 minute nap yesterday and then was up in the middle of the night, which is unusual for him, so he’s grumpy today). Abel has his animals set at the table but there are only six. I send him to get three more. Weston disappears to get chapstick. I put Jack down with a few books for a “book nap” in Abel’s bed, because Jack’s crib is in Sadie’s room, where she’s practicing.

Weston takes a break from math and practices the piano while I talk to Abel about math. We draw 9s in the air and in salt. 

Jack gets up from his rest time in a better mood and wants to write in the salt too. He gets his kitchen toys back and happily takes them into the living room to cook up a feast.

Abel does handwriting – works on lower-case g’s in the air and in salt again, because he really likes doing that. I notice him licking his fingers and we go wash our hands. We do pencil power coloring and the handwriting page. He is really proud when I draw stars on his best samples.

Sadie is done with violin and starts working on her fraction math exploration packet. She asks a few questions here and there but mostly does it herself.

Jack says, “I starving baby.” I give him a banana.

Weston is done with piano, and goes back to working on his timeline piece.

Everyone gathers on the couch for family devotions (Scripture reading/ discussion, singing and prayer) and reading the kindergarten literature, which Sadie and Weston always greet with enthusiasm and nostalgia, though Abel is seen as the expert and he shows us where Australia is on the globe. Even though we do this every home day, they all feel they must jockey for the best seat on the couch. Sigh.

Inspired by The Pumpkin Runner, we all go and race around the house a couple of times (several of us wearing rubber boots, like the hero of the story). Actually first, one child accidentally hits another child with a large stick and we have to discuss kindness. Then another child pushes his brother while on the starting line for the race, and we have to discuss it again.

We finish Weston’s math. The little boys clean up the kitchen toys because Abel is up for his official play time and he wants to play with the farm toys, but the prerequisite is cleaning up something. 

Abel goes into his room and plays contentedly with the farm toys. Jack wants to play with the lids (which I collected as a math manipulative a couple of years ago). I work with Weston on reading, grammar and spelling. Sadie is finishing math, and doing Latin and grammar. She even looks up the grammar solutions manual and corrects her own work, as per Mrs. Wright’s instructions. She reports to me on what she missed.

Weston goes outside for a wiggle break.

Lunch, after which I quickly put Jack down for his badly needed nap.

I have to talk to the dishwasher repairman, who just arrived because our dishwasher broke one month before the warranty expires (instead of one month after, as they usually do) so I had to let him come at his earliest opportunity to diagnose the issue. Grandma returns from the doctor, and comes to get her lunch and also chats about the appointment. She’s doing amazingly well for 96 – her doctor keeps telling her that living with children is keeping her young.

I send Abel to take his “book nap” (resting and reading books for pleasure) and read about Columbus from History of US to Sadie and Weston.

I need a break, so I send Sadie and Weston to take their book naps. I take a real nap on the couch. 

I summon the troops (sans Jack, who is still sleeping), and then discuss Sadie’s history reflection journal while we wait for the boys to meander out – she wants to draw a picture so we settle for copywork and a picture, and decide on a passage from a letter Columbus wrote.

Read the first part of the d’Aulaire Columbus book with all three kids. We notice the reference to volcanos in Iceland and connect it to recent science lessons and our family trip last summer to Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Weston dictates his narrative while Sadie works on her copywork.

Jack is awake, so I get him up while Weston works on his copywork. His diaper is dry so I sit him on his potty, and he performs! We all celebrate.

Abel does his reading lesson.

I see an email from a fellow kinder parent about a youtube video featuring Cliff Young, the inspiration for The Pumpkin Runner, so we watch it. Fun to hear those Australian accents!

Weston is illustrating his copywork. Abel is working on his pumpkin craft. Sadie is working on her IEW assignment on the computer. Jack is too quiet in the other room. I go and check on him. He is playing with Abel’s farm toys, probably feeling like he’s getting away with something. Works for me!

Weston recites his poem and then goes to review his AWANA verses. I help Sadie with her IEW writing.

Listen to Abel and Weston say their AWANA verses, then the boys are sent outside to play.

I start to read I, Juan de Pareja with Sadie. Jack wanders in and I discover the other reason he’s been so quiet. I go to change his diaper.

I continue with I, Juan de Pareja. Weston asks if he can come back inside and play with LEGOs. I say only on condition that he is quiet and doesn’t distract from our reading. After a couple of minutes, he is sucked into the story and paying careful attention, though still playing with his LEGOs. 

Sadie writes her notes on the book.

Sadie goes outside to find rocks for her science assignment, as I start thinking about dinner. It was supposed to be left-overs, but everything got eaten last night – what’s up with that?! Sadie comes back in with a rock and then works on her drawing for her history reflection journal. Abel comes in and I have him draw a picture of the outside and inside of a pumpkin. This is on the grid for later in the week, but I noticed last night that the designated pumpkin was starting to mold on the bottom, so we’d better move that up on the schedule. He practices his numbers in the margins.

Quick spelling lesson with Sadie, then we’re done! I scramble to finish dinner while everyone goes outside to play until Ben gets home.

After dinner, I go for a short run in the dusk/dark while the older three kids are at AWANA. Ben heads to the gym after we’re all home. It’s a full, crazy day and didn’t go the way I’d planned, but we’re thankful for the family time, and the chance to learn and grow together.

Wow, are you tired yet? It’s so refreshing to see that others out there have long days too. But it was clearly a gratifying day as well! We love learning about the different dynamics in SLOCA families, and how people make it all work. Thank you so much, Jill, for taking the time to record this, and for letting us in on your home day with details that many of us can relate to. (And for adding that you took a nap – great idea!) 

SLOCA parents, if you are interested in sharing about one of your home days on the blog, please email Down Home and we would love to set it up!

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