Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Day in the Life of...

My oldest two daughters are currently in kindergarten and second grade. We are doing just a few things with Sarah, the younger; basically just teaching her to read and going over some basic things we think a kindergartner ought to know, like her address and her 5 senses and you know...things like that. Ella is immersed in schooling; education; learning. She's got a full schedule. She whines a lot about school though.

And it's not that she doesn't like it. It's that she wants to play. Sometimes 15 minutes into school she'll be asking when we're going to be done with school for the day. I have to admit that the learning environment is a little rough. She's the eldest of five young children and her sisters are all quite the distraction. The run around yelling and banging on toys and the like. We try to curb this distraction as much as we can with naps for the little ones and activities they can do while we're doing school with Ella. But still, I'd be distracted, too if it was me trying to learn with all that noise.

However, she does get to sleep in until 7:30 or 8 every single day. We have a leisurely breakfast of some of her favorite things like pancakes, crepes and chocolate Malt-O-Meal and then they do their morning chores, get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair and start school. We very often don't start school until 10AM or later and school lasts about three hours, sometimes four hours depending what's on the schedule for the day. Either way she's done with school no later than 1PM and she has the rest of the day to play. That's a pretty sweet life if you ask me. No homework either. Lucky girl.

What's she whining about?????

One day Mom and I were discussing this and comparing our own public school experiences with her cushy life. Mom even has recent experience with teaching in a public school. In the middle of this conversation I said, "We should do 'a day in the life of a public schooled student' to show her what it'd be like." Mom, being the great planner that she is, ran with it and we all (Del, Mom and I) tossed out ideas: make her wake up at 6AM, make her a brown bag lunch, make her ride the "bus" to school, etc.

First day execution...

Her schedule looks a bit like this:
6a - wake, dressed, eat, comb, chores, etc.
7:05 - go outside to wait for bus
7:15-7:45 - bus ride to school
8a-8:50 - spelling
8:55a-9:45 - science
9:45a-10 - recess
10-10:50 - history
10:55a-11:45 - PE
11:45 - 12:25 - lunch, potty break
12:25p-1:15 - math
1:20-2:10 - reading
2:10-2:25 - recess
2:25-3:15 - grammar, penmanship, dictation
3:15-3:30 - pack up to go home and line up for bus
3:35-4:05 - bus ride home

We've given her homework in almost every subject. Del tuckered her out before lunch with the 50 yard dash, a 1/4 mile run and all sort of other President's Physical Fitness guidelines stuff. She ate lunch and then he bored her nearly to death with math after lunch. She actually likes math and Del was a math major for a long time but with the lunch and all the running...LOL, it was just a bit too much for her. She perked up a bit after math with some interesting reading with my mom. She is teaching/reading the book Dear Mr. Henshaw to Ella and she loves it...except when she gets to the questions. Those are sort of tedious for her.

Lessons learned...

The things she said to Marie (come to escape the cold weather for 10 days) during history was that she thinks she likes public school because she likes to work and it's been quiet and easy to work the way we've structured it. This is sort of backfiring on us. We decided to keep all the little kids downstairs during this time. Bad idea. She likes the structure and quiet we have ordered upstairs in the school room. She likes the dedicated one-on-one attention she is getting hour after hour after hour. Darn...

Tomorrow will be different. In no public school that I ever went to was I ever anything but the next name or number on the list. There was no personal attention EVER and certainly not a full 7 hour school day of quiet to work in. There was always some kid making trouble, some kid asking to go potty, some kid pulling hair, some kid getting a spanking, some kid...I think you get the picture, and if you were public schooled yourself, have a zillion stories of some kid doing.... So tomorrow we're sic-ing the little kids on the peace and quiet. Some of us "teachers" are going to act as other kids and ask stupid question and pull her hair and distract her like crazy. Then it will be a long, gruelling day with the same distractions she gets on a daily basis. Maybe she'll complain about her 3 hour school day less then.

It's been an interesting experiment so far. There are lessons to be learned by all, including us know-it-all adults.

I'll update you tomorrow on how Day Two In the Life of a Public Schooled Student goes.


Johanna said...

Don't you just hate it when a perfectly good plan backfires on you? Aaron tends to complain about school some days and you'll have to let me know what ends up working so that I don't have to go through the trial and error with him!

Lawanda said...


My kids did go to ps.

My oldest (remember she is a teen and quite the social butterfly) complains all the time that she'd like to go back to ps. BUT we cannot get her to roll out of bed before 10 am. haha I may have to start a lesson like this on her, and see how much she appreciates HER cushy life ;)

She still sees all her friends except the public school ones three times a week. And the school "friends" were one of the reasons we decided to homeschool again! (Not so friendly, them "friends")

So I honestly don't think she has anything to complain about, myself... ;)

(But she does miss her honest-to-goodness friends from ps, cuz they are all TOO BUSY for a real life...one away from school)

Granny said...

I can't WAIT to hear how it goes tomorrow! Hey, in case you haven't already thought of these things: don't let her near the baby and don't even answer her questions about the baby. If she were away at school she wouldn't get to help with or even know what was going on with her newborn sister until she got home at 4:05! And then she'd have too much homework to be able to do anything but a quick kiss!

And do an exam for lice. She'll love that. Tell her that since a girl in her class had lice, you'll have to comb through her hair looking for evidence every day for a week. And then maybe give her a shampoo with turpentine just to make sure.

And tell her you found out that the lunch you just served her in the lunch room might be contaminated with salmonella.

And then, tell her that someone's lunch money disappeared and until whoever took it returns it, she has to stand up against the wall while she does her schoolwork.

There, I've got you going. You'll think of more ;-)

Joanna said...

ROTFL! Those are fantastic ideas Granny! I especially like the lice one.

You have to wonder about PS "friends"; mine were pretty darn wishy washy and as an adult I know no one that I met in school. My closest friends I met through my parents, church or when I was in the military.