classically educating

Our Loose Homeschool Schedule

I am a scheduler at heart.  I love color coordinated calendars.  I love to know what is coming, what is expected and I typically thrive when there is more to do.  HOWEVER.  I also need downtime, time to reflect and process and freedom within my well planned schedule to breathe, reassess and just let us all be.  Which is one of the many reasons I love homeschooling and the freedom it affords each member of our family.  

Some new things we incorporated this year: 

*Table time for the 3 year old - a lot of great ideas out there, but essentially 45 minutes - 1 hour where the 3 year old plays at a small table quietly with things only brought out during table time, so I can work with the older two on combined subjects (map work, Classical Conversations memory work, presentation preparation, etc.)  

*Rotations for the big kids to play with the 3 year old - this worked in 30 minute increments, long enough for me to complete 1-2 teaching subjects with each of the older two kids one-on-one

*An electives only co-op because having a house of highly active boys, and needing a little differentiation in age-appropriate activities I will gladly pay $10-$35/month for science, PE, art and more.  It has been a gift to us this winter/spring!

*Morning time! - time together every morning we are at home, which realistically boils down to 2-3 mornings/week where we read scripture, share a devotional, study a character trait, talk through an etiquette lesson, read poetry, and then a chapter or two from our current read aloud.  We might cover map work or a few pieces of memory work review during this time.  The only time I require them to give me complete attention is during Bible, devotional & character.  After that, they are allowed to work on/play with something quietly while I read or we discuss.  I try to rotate things in the basket that are available each week just for this time (dot to dot, cars, hand puzzles, jar of shells, etc).  I love pambarnhill.com and appreciate all the things, especially her morning time suggestions/plans as well as A Handbook for Morning Time by Cindy Rollins.  

Our schedule started off ...super scheduled.  Time windows, back to back, and motivation to finish promptly which equated to a few free minutes outside or doing something of their choice.  It worked well at first but I felt bound, without freedom to fluctuate between subjects if needed or give the kids a longer break if necessary; this was confusing to them to deviate from the schedule even if we really really needed to deviate from the schedule.  

So then what?  We adjusted :) 

Before you read ahead to what OUR day looks like, this is in no way to try and force your family into our mold nor lead you down a path of comparison.  Our "average day at home" is about 2-3 days a week.  Full of mini breaks, moments of correction, and getting off track often.  Each year when I evaluate our schedule I am constantly searching for ways to improve, whether adding more or taking away or changing it up altogether; that's all this is for.  To show another means of "how".  

Our average day at home looks a little like this: 

7ish - breakfast

8-9ish - all morning chores/responsibilities completed; I read and puzzle with the 3 year old if he's feeling social :) 

9ish - Morning Time!  **I mean, sometimes morning time didn't start until 10.  Sometimes I just needed longer for coffee.  Or someone soiled clothes and I had to get a load of wash in, which means I didn't get dressed when I'd hoped.  Or let's be honest, some days during this pregnancy I just plopped right back in bed and let the kids play.  Be. Free.  To wake up, assess the day, and reevaluate what best suits the needs and emotions of all those precious people in your house...including yourself :) 

10ish - Snack & some sort of review/presentation topic discussion.  Or a few moments for me to switch out laundry, take a bathroom break, check my email.  

10:30ish - 3 year old plays on his own or has Table Time.  This is a stretch for me because Table Time inevitably means playing with all the things in all the ways that make all the messes.  I try to ignore and limit correcting/instructing if it's not a life or death situation.  2nd Grader goes to a quiet place to go through all morning work subjects that do not require my help (includes: LifePac, Handwriting, Math Worksheet, Spelling Worksheet, two pages of Review from his Classical Conversations Cycle 3 note booking pages).  I work with Kindergartener on as much as I can get through in half an hour - usually starting with Math.  

11ish - Kindergartener needs a BREAK or is sometimes finished for the day so he plays with the 3 year old while I work on 1-2 subjects with the 2nd Grader

11:30ish - everyone is cranky and begging for food so I send them outside or to their room/basement to play basketball while I make lunch

*in an ideal world we are finished with school by lunchtime.  Some days this happens..others we all need food and a nap so we tack on some more later in the day.

12ish-  lunch

12:30ish - nap time for the 3 year old!  (and all the people said amen)  Reading/spelling lesson with kindergartener if not completed earlier while 2nd grader has free time or works on something he didn't finish earlier

1ish - everyone has quiet time for an hour and a half...or longer if needed...

2:30/3ish - Finish up last 2-3 subjects with 2nd grader if it's one of those days, otherwise...freedom!!  

The reality is - seasons change.  Life with littles is tough!  Give yourself grace, give your kids grace and worst case take them all to chick fil a and the library and call it a field trip + life skills lesson while looking for books ;) 

Kindergarten and 2nd Grade Roundup

Woo!  May is here which means school is almost not here - or maybe it's already left your house for the summer :)  Either way, we are celebrating with completing books, finishing up our tests and looking back on goals planned and now achieved.  

Which inevitably means - time to look at options for next year!  As registrations quickly approach along with all those terrific homeschool resale pop-ups I thought I'd offer a peek into what our kindergarten and 2nd grade roundup look like.  

If you are new to homeschooling or just getting your feet wet with the idea - be encouraged: It does not have to be hard.  You don't have to compete with the school system at large; you get to choose what works best for YOU and YOUR family!  You get to use all the "transition time" that takes up a large portion of the public school day and let them learn at their own pace, pursue their personal interests, help them catch up in areas of weakness, challenge their strengths and offer them a taste of truth, goodness and beauty in the every day.  

So on to the good stuff....

Kindergarten!  About 45 minutes - 1 hour a day of direct one-on-one teaching time...

Handwriting - A Reason for Handwriting

Math - Saxon 1

Reading: started with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons then eventually moved on to any level one readers from the library

Spelling - All About Spelling

Classical Conversations Cycle 3 - incorporated during our morning time, copy work found on Half A Hundred Acre Word and several fill in the blank options from CC Connected

The End :) 

 

Second Grade: About 1 1/2-2 hours of direct one-on-one teaching time

Handwriting - started with a Reason for Handwriting cursive; wasn't a great fit this year so we switched to Handwriting Without Tears and it's been a night and day difference.  

Math- Saxon 3 (finished up from last year) and Intermediate Saxon 4

Reading - Sonlight Readers - they offer a great online assessment to evaluate which level to pursue with your reader; the chapters for 4th Grade increased significantly in length so we followed our own schedule and will finish these through the summer.  

Spelling - Sequential Spelling

Classical Conversations Cycle 3 - incorporated during our Morning Time, copy work found on Half a Hundred Acre Wood and several fill in the blank options from CC Connected

Language Arts - Writing With Ease (we stopped after week 24; it wasn't a favorite for both of us and we were able to incorporate similar ideas and concepts in our other books) & First Language Lessons 3 (this is going to last us through next year as well so we only did about 2 lessons a week after we got into the diagramming of sentences).

History - LifePac Grade 3

 

That's really all there is to it!  The kids get science, art & PE at our co-ops, and we will use Apologia Science Jr Notebook Journal for our summer studies.  Of course there are plenty of games, lots of reading aloud, music studies and all the things that make up our school day that can't be quantified into a textbook.  That's the beauty and hybrid bit of homeschool for us!  

If you're looking for an idea of a daily schedule, visit this post, Our Loose Homeschool Schedule