We are about a month into our new school routine so I think I’m finally ready to share about it. In case you aren’t a regular reader, our children are in grades 4, 3, 1, and pre-k. Elijah is in his first year of Essentials at Classical Conversations, and everyone is in Foundations. I love seeing how much Elijah has already learned in Essentials and can’t wait to see his growth this year. Each year, our routine for homeschooling gets a little tweaked as the children get older and we embrace new challenges.
The best way to see what our schooling is like is to look at a week instead of just a day. I know that inevitably, one day might include a sick child, a dentist appointment, or some friends visiting. No, we don’t make play dates during the school day, but we do like to help out another mom in need of childcare when we can. I try to allow for flexibility in our plan for the week.
Each week, we attend our chapel and AWANA on Sundays and our Classical Conversations community on Mondays for Foundations and Essentials.
Tuesday through Friday, we are at home for most of our learning. This will be the part that I explain.
I have found in our family that we just cannot accomplish all our work without an early start to the day. I know everyone defines “early” differently, and some would laugh at what I deem early. For us, we try to start our school day by 8 am. This means that the kids have to complete their “5 things” prior to 8am. The added bonus to regularly being ready by 8 am means that on Sundays and Mondays, we actually feel a little more relaxed getting out of the house.
I guard our morning time from distractions as much as possible. Doctor’s appointments, cleaning projects, and other household tasks are all put on hold from 8 am until lunch.
Before 8 am:
The children do their “5 things”. Ok, so I really do know how to count, but our 5 things really could be counted as more if you grouped them differently. The five for us are:
- Get dressed.
- Brush teeth and hair.
- Pick up dirty clothes.
- Read Bible and pray.
- Eat breakfast (and clean up your breakfast dishes).
We meet at the kitchen table for Bible, Hymn, and We Choose Virtues.
Bible: We are reading through the book of Philippians over and over again. We read a chapter a day with everyone having a Bible in front of them and each taking a verse at a time. This has been great for my beginner reader to occasionally take a shorter verse and the older readers to practice reading out loud daily. I think we’re on our 4th or 5th time through Philippians so far this year. I’d like to read it enough times that we really become familiar with the book, but we’ll see how it goes. The kids really like to have a few sword drills before we open to Philippians as well.
Hymn: We get out our hymnals and practice one hymn for a number of weeks until it is memorized. By memorized, I actually have the kids recite it to me rather than read it. Hymns are such great poetry that this is our poetry study. We have 3 copies of The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration so that multiple people can read the words at once. Now that we have another reader, we really need to locate another one.
8:30 am – lunch
Everyone starts with their math (and I feel a bit crazy helping them, but that may just be par for the course). We just changed to Saxon this year.
Elijah starts his facts drill sheet and the warm-up from Saxon 54. I pull out Ruth and Isaiah’s teacher guides to see what we need to go over. I give Gideon his simple math and handwriting worksheets. I also write out Elijah’s problems in his notebook (copying the math problems down seems to be a big challenge right now). Then I hop between the 4 kids helping them out. Ruth and Elijah will even jump in and read instructions to Isaiah or Gideon while I am helping someone else. As each child finishes their math, they then move on to the rest of their checklist.
As a child needs help or gets stuck, I am right there with them to help. When math tasks are done, I grab Isaiah for his reading lesson or Elijah for Essentials work.
Gideon usually finishes his school room tasks in 30 to 45 minutes. Isaiah maybe takes an hour to 1 1/2 hours. Then they head off for audio stories, play time, or awana listening.
Ruthie is almost always done with her daily checklist before lunch, and Elijah is often done by lunch. I stay in the school room as much as possible to be available to everyone during this time. I try to check over all their work as things are completed so that they get immediate feedback.
Kids finish up daily tasks that don’t need me after lunch like piano or independent reading. They also work on some of their weekly tasks each day. Somewhere in the day (maybe while making lunch), we review the memory work together or listen to the memory work songs. I try to read aloud to the kids after lunch as well, but this fall I’m still struggling to get it in. I think it’s because we are reading about Columbus. I think Ruth and Elijah have read at least 5 books about Columbus so they aren’t finding yet another one all that interesting. Our next read aloud pick definitely needs to be an unfamiliar story.
Elijah’s list (4th grade):
Daily: Saxon Math 5/4, Essentials chart writing, task sheet, IEW assignment, vocabulary, handwriting practice, CC memory work review (including a few memory work review sheets from CC Connected), piano practice, AWANA, and independent reading (at least 30 minutes)
Weekly: read one science and one history book (from library crate), spelling test, trace geography maps (using deli paper similar to this), bbc typing practice, CC history sentence illustration, presentation preparation, backpack packed for next week’s CC, update book list, have mom check and file everything away
Ruth’s list (3rd grade):
Weekly: (same as Eljiah) read one science and one history book (from library crate), spelling test, trace geography maps, bbc typing practice, CC history sentence illustration, presentation preparation, backpack packed for next week’s CC, update book list, have mom check and file everything away
Isaiah’s list (1st grade):
Gideon’s list (pre-k):
Daily: handwriting, math practice (worksheets from Teacher Filebox), audio stories(while playing), reading lesson (We are working toward this. Right now, he likes to “read” one of these books to me daily. At this point, he has them basically memorized but calls them his “reading lesson.” ), AWANA
Weekly: presentation, Starfall (he would prefer daily!), pack backpack for CC
I hope this post gives you a glimpse into our we run our homeschool in our family. I’m not an ultra-planner, but we do like to have a routine. For the rest of our time, we try to have a lifestyle of learning by making time, reading great books, taking field trips, and giving good answers. I always get new ideas from others as they share about their day, and I hope this gives you some new ideas as well.
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