A Homeschool Day at the Madsen's- Peru Edition

Ever wonder what a typical homeschooling day looks like at the Madsen home? As you know, we've been (mostly) living in Lima, Peru, since the summer of 2013. By we, I mean: David, myself, Marissa and Marcus. Darcie spent the first ten months here with us, and she and Zach spent this past Christmas here with us. That was amazing because we toured Machu Picchu together, our second time to do so as a family.

This was us at Machu Picchu in 2005

This was us at Machu Picchu in 2014

So, our mornings are very relaxed around here. David wakes up first to get ready for work, usually around 7am. I get up with him, make him a sandwich and see him off. After that, I take advantage of the peaceful atmosphere by curling up on a living room sofa with my Nook open to my scriptures, and a soothing cup of my favorite peach herbal tea.

Our current morning reads include Percy Jackson and Love Inspired romance novels.

Marissa and Marcus generally wake up between 8 and 9am. They are both morning readers too, starting with their scriptures and moving onto their current reads.

We eat breakfast together around 9:30am.

 After breakfast, we tidy up the kitchen and hand-wash the dishes, including those from the night before because, Peruvians do not value hot tap water as much as us Americans do, so we actually have a daily limited supply of hot tap water in our kitchen that runs out long before dinnertime! (And boiling water gets old fast!)
Then we shower and dress for the day, make our beds, start a load of laundry, and just before 10:30am, Marissa sets up her bedroom to watch her first online class for the day.
Marissa and Marcus are distance learners through the awesome Liahona Academy. Liahona is a truly unique private school in Utah. Their emphasis and specialty is on providing an LDS education. That means the teachers and staff are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, just as we are, and they blend the gospel of Jesus Christ into the core academic subjects of English, science and history.
These are actual classes with dedicated teachers. There are academy students, who attend these classes in person, as well as distance learners, like us, who participate in these classes from all over the U.S. and the world, as homeschoolers.
Marissa has the option to watch her classes live, which lets her instant-message her teacher throughout class. If she misses a live class, she can watch the recording of it anytime she chooses.
The curriculum we're using for Marcus this year includes, but is not limited to: The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History; Christian Kids Explore Physics; Learn Math Fast volume 2 (fractions, decimals & percentages); A Reason For Handwriting Cursive E; Spelling Made Easy (covers 290 homonym groups); Spelling Smart!
As Marissa's watching her first class, Marcus and I sit down at the dining room table with his math book and crank out a lesson. Marcus is a natural at math and we aim for three math lessons each week. On the mornings we don't have a math lesson, Marcus practices his cursive and completes a few spelling worksheets. And then he works on his weekly five-paragraph essay for his Liahona writing class.

So, it is summertime here in Peru and the local children are out of school and that means the ice cream vendors are out in full force. This is what we get to listen to most of the day, day after day. Isn't it a lovely, soothing sound? You also get to see our view from our first floor apartment. Peruvians love tall walls topped by electric fencing.

Lately, on the days our maid doesn't work (Tuesdays and Thursdays), Marcus, Marissa and I have been walking to a nearby park during Marissa's break between classes (her classes are not all in a row). So, around 11:45am, we head out the door.

There are a few parks nearby which are nice for tossing a Nerf football or Frisbee back and forth.

I spy with my little eye... the ice cream bicycle guy! Actually, the sound of his kazoo gave him away.

We head back a little before 12:30pm because that's Marissa's next live class. She settles back onto her bed and I bring her a snack of some kind to tide her over 'til lunch.

Meanwhile, Marcus sets up for his classes by hooking my pc up to the family room TV. Soon we are both watching his four pre-recorded videos in a row. It takes us an hour to get through them. Each video is between 7 and 20 minutes long. First, history, followed by reading, followed by science and ending with writing. All taught by the same teacher and we both think she's awesome.

Marcus uses this workbook for his Liahona work and this planner to stay organized.
We spend another hour afterwards, working on some of his Liahona assignments.
Every week, Marcus makes a craft or creates a work of art related to history. He also has science projects and experiments related to physics. I take pictures of his work and submit them to his class Kidblog. I love Kidblog! It's where he can show off his work and see the work of all his classmates. It's a great way they connect with one another. He also has a pen-pal from his Liahona class.
This bread comes without crust.

We always end up eating a late lunch, around 2:30pm. Marcus and I eat together, but I take a tray into Marissa so she can keep watching her classes. Her last class ends at 3:30pm.

There are no Liahona classes on Fridays, which is really nice because it gives the kids a catch-up day if they need it.

On late afternoons and sometimes all day Friday, we have a lot of free time on our hands. We use this time to read, bake, create art, do more science experiments (because Marcus doesn't ever get tired of science experiments), play board games, blog, email, take walks, Skype with the college kids (if they are available), etc. On Fridays, our maid brings her boys over to swim and play with Marcus while she cleans for us.
Look who was perching on our electric fence this evening?
Our evenings are much the same as our mornings, relaxed and laid-back. Around 6pm or so, David returns home from work and we sit down to dinner together as a family. On Wednesdays, the kids have youth activities at our church from 7 to 9pm. Other than that, and grocery shopping once a week, we use this time to watch a movie together, followed by family scripture study and prayer around 9:30pm.
I end each night by either reading to Marissa or to Marcus. We alternate nights. With Marissa, I am reading her, The Princess Bride. With Marcus, I am reading him, The Hobbit.
And that dear friends and family is what a most of our days here look like right now. Thanks for joining us!

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