A few people have recently asked me how we order our school day. I can say that it’s a work in progress. This is our fourth week of school for this school year. So far, each week’s schedule has looked a little different. I am trying to find my “homeschool” style. I think that I fall somewhere between Charlotte Mason and Unschooling. We use My Father’s World for our curriculum, which is very Charlotte Mason… but I am not very strict with the lesson planning and such. I am just as happy to let the kids run around outside, pretending they are on the prairie with Laura Ingalls as I am to have them doing table work.
I do think, however, that schedule and routine is healthy for the children. I think they find security in knowing what is coming. So.. for now, here is a glimpse of our homeschool day:
I wake up whenever baby girl gets up… usually between six and six thirty. The older three kids usually wake up within the next hour. We hang out and snuggle until breakfast. After breakfast, the kids play until baby girl goes down for her morning nap. My husband doesn’t usually go into work until around lunch time… so, often, he watches the kids while they play so I can exercise before school starts. The kids will usually come outside and run around as well.
When baby girl goes down for a nap, the big kids and I gather around for Bible reading and Calendar time. I put together this calendar board as a central starting place. All three kids (7, 5 and 3) can learn from what we are doing. Little Sis (3) will join us some days and choose to play on her own on others.
We use calendar time to read stories, Bible verses, talk about the day and work on our memory verse. We practice counting by ones, twos, fives, etc. And we sing lots of songs. As we get use to to the flow of calendar time, I’ll start letting the kids take turns leading us. As you can see in the picture above, they have already started practicing. They love to “play school.”
After calendar time, we move on to table work. This year, I am implementing the workbox system. Basically, all the assignments for the day are divided up into different drawers… one assignment per drawer. I am only using this for the older two children. Eventually, I would love to get a cart for each child, but they are a bit pricey… so Big Brother and Big Sis will share this cart this year. (Incidentally, the least expensive one I found was at Sams… $30… all the drawers are white. This one is from Wal- Mart.. it was $35).
I’m sure I’ll do another post on another day about workboxes. I am still trying to figure out how to most effectively use them. Basically, the kids complete whatever work is in the box, leave the completed work in the box and move the number on the outside from the left to the right, to show that the box is complete. I am putting together ideas for workboxes from what I find on Pinterest.
Some assignments in the box can be completed without adult help and some have a note that say “Stop! Wait for Mom!” I also have sticky notes with instructions written in the self directed box (for example, “use a writing prompt to complete a journal entry.”)
I try to order the boxes so that while Big Brother is doing self directed work (spelling, math, journal, etc.), I can work one on one with Big Sis. When she and I are done, it is just about time for the one on one work with Big Brother.
Little Sis has her own busy work to do during this time. I’ll write more about that on another post!
We usually throw a snack in between calendar and table work. Most days, we are finished with everything by lunch time. In the afternoons, when the little girls are napping, I read aloud to the big kids. Right now, we are working our way through the Little House on the Prairie series.
Breakfast, Play Time, Calendar, Snack, Table Work, Lunch, Naps and Reading time.