Today we're talking with Renata who blogs over at Sunnyside Farm Fun. She is on the Schoolhouse Review Crew this year with me and I thought it would be nice to get a glimpse into her home and life and find out how she homeschools (especially since she is waaaaay over there in Australia where I hear they have amazing seafood!).
Kemi: Tell us a little bit about your children's ages and grades?
We are blessed with 4 precious children: Zai (12), Ellie (10) and identical twins Eli & Jud (8). We are also registered foster carers so our family changes size from time to time.
Kemi: What homeschooling method do you use?
We use an eclectic method which basically means I tailor-make our homeschool to the needs of each child all the while ensuring I comply with the many requirements of the NSW Board of Studies.
Kemi: Can you give us a peek into your typical homeschool day?
My day generally begins around 6:30am as I wave my hubby off to his paid work. Often I wake before then & do my daily devotions. If I’ve chosen to sleep in a little, I will do it after he departs.
During this time the children will wake up and sleepily tumble in for morning hugs. I then get myself dressed & groomed for the day. As I’m already in the bathroom, I quickly grab the dirty clothes hamper & take it to the laundry to begin the first load of the day (for the rest of the day this is Ellie’s job). As I leave the laundry I grab the meat from the freezer for dinner that night. This gives it plenty of time to defrost.
Breakfast follows. Then my eldest son & I milk our jersey house cow. While we are doing that the other children are supposed to be doing their ‘morning firsts’ which is a list of jobs they must complete to ensure they are properly groomed & ready for the day. These jobs also include feeding their many pets. Sometimes I will have to remind them when I come up with the milk…..
After milking is completed and the milking machine is cleaned, either Zai or I will open up our chickens & collect the eggs. We allow our chickens to free-range during the day, but lock them up for the nighttime. While we are about the farmyard we mentally note any jobs that need doing so we can complete them later that day. Depending upon how long this takes, I try to complete some of my daily jobs during this next little while. If I am going to make cheese or yoghurt I begin that process. I also hang our first load of laundry out on our washing line.
At 9:30 am we begin school. We begin with a devotion time around the dining table. This time also includes activities such as times tables, memory work & many chats about any relevant topics. The children will then complete their independent school work. At the start of each week I provide them with a list for what I would like them to achieve each day. They work from this list.
If I haven’t previously, this is when I will clean the kitchen & complete any cheesemaking etc. As the morning progresses my time is spent giving lessons, assisting children & listening to read alouds. I also try to hang out any laundry as needed.
12pm is lunch time. Lunch is usually reheated leftovers from dinner the night before. After lunch the children will play outside. If I am using the slow cooker for dinner, this is when I start dinner. I also try to get some writing done for my blog or the Molly Green magazine. (I knew you looked familiar!)
School begins again at 1:30ish. After lunch we complete our joint subjects. I choose curriculum for Science, Geography, Art & History that encompasses all the children’s stages so they can work together. The children will then finish any incomplete schoolwork. Then they have free time. During this time I do my daily jobs. I use the method from Large Family Logisitics (which, by the way, is worth anyone with any size family reading). This is where each day is assigned a specific focus area eg. Tuesday is office day. I’ve found this system very useful in our family.
When everyone is completed, we band together to finish any other jobs that need completing. This can range from farm jobs to unplanned cleaning to garden jobs etc. This is also when we try to do a generalized tidy up. The children are then free to play or read (I am a big believer in children needing plenty of free play time to explore the world). I will try to use this time to fold & iron our laundry. I put mine & Dave’s away. As part of their morning firsts, the children will put their own away the next day.
Around 5pm I begin dinner prep unless I’ve started it in the slow cooker at lunch time. I usually have a helper to assist me with this. Dave also arrives home around this time so I spend some time chatting to him about his day.
6pm we eat dinner. We all clean up together with different family members being given different jobs. Often Dave will have a farm job that the children help with. Around 7pm the children are all showered. We all then assemble in the lounge room for our family devotions time. Dave leads this & it is a wonderful time for our family. The children then go to bed & read for a while (lights out is usually 8pmish).
In the evenings we complete any other jobs, chat, write or study depending upon what is going on in our lives. Around 9pm we usually shower and head to bed. I will read until 10 when I’m usually falling asleep.
**Notes: Not every day runs this smoothly. Please do not think that I can always accomplish everything on this list. I have essentials such as homeschooling, animals, laundry & basic cleaning that I try to achieve – anything else is a bonus
We only school 4 days a week. This means we have an extra day for the big farm jobs, homeschool group, appointments, or other socializing that will arise.
During different seasons the children will do various sports in the afternoons. On sport afternoons I use the slow cooker for dinner & I try to do my daily jobs in the morning.
Kemi: Okay I'm totally impressed and trying to regroup to ask the next question which seems ridiculous in light of all you already do but just in case….do you perchance have any crafts or hobbies that you would like to share?
I take a very active role in running the day-to-day parts of our farm. I also do all the farm bookwork.
I love photography & was blessed with a lovely camera in 2013. This naturally led me to blogging which I consider a hobby. I also enjoy crochet, sewing & gardening although I am still learning in each of these areas.
Renata is a happy wife of 15 years & homeschooling mama to 4 precious children (including identical twins). She spends her days surrounded by beauty on their small farm. She journals her homesteading, homeschooling & homemaking adventures at Sunnyside Farm Fun.