In my last post I wrote about my approach to homeschool. I thought it might be nice to show you what that actually looks like in our home and what resources I’m using.
We start our days with morning time, where I read some books aloud while the kids eat their breakfast. I don’t remember where I got this idea, but its genius. Their mouths are busy eating so its quiet, and they sit and actually listen to the stories. Morning time has become such a beloved routine in our home we even do it when we’re taking a break from school. Here’s how we do it:
- We begin every morning with a short scripture reading. We’re studying the New Testament this year using our church’s Come, Follow Me curriculum. Its a great resource!
- Once or twice a week, we sing a song that the kids are learning in church, or one of our own choosing, or recite a scripture or poem.
- We read a book from our Charlotte Mason-inspired literature loop. These include Aesop’s Fables, A Year Full of Stories, a fairy tale, and a Beatrix Potter story. I ask Porter for a narration of these stories.
- Last, we read a picture book. Whatever we want, sometimes its from the library, sometimes its seasonal, sometimes it ties into our nature study.
After breakfast we get dressed and do morning chores (basically dishes done and bed made) before coming downstairs for the academic portion of our day. I don’t require anything of Wyatt right now, so this is all for Porter. I do have a few activity books and fun hands-on things for Wyatt to choose from if he wants. Sometimes he plays games on my phone. Table time usually takes us about an hour or a little more, depending on how long our math lesson takes and how long we spend reading.
- We begin with handwriting because it can be done independently, which gives me a few minutes to spend getting Wyatt going on something. We use Handwriting Without Tears or copywork from a poem or song or book we’re reading to practice handwriting. I set the timer for 5 minutes every day.
- Then we move into Right Start for math. I fell in love with this program when I went to a presentation at a homeschool conference last spring. I love the hands-on way it teaches concepts using different manipulatives. I love that it uses games instead of worksheets to practice math facts. We do one lesson each day, and they range between 20-30 minutes.
- We use The Good and the Beautiful for language arts- it covers phonics, reading, spelling, grammar, and art appreciation. The lessons are varied and gentle, and although we only started in November, we’re both liking it so far. I set the timer for 20 minutes and when it goes off we’re done.
If we are doing a block or unit study, we’ll do this either after table time or after lunch if we don’t have other plans. A block or unit study is basically just a deep dive into a topic that either Porter is really interested in or I am really interested in teaching. We recently wrapped up a rock study, which I shared about HERE. Currently we’re in the midst of a geography block on Brazil, and will move onto an ocean study after that.
There are also a few other things we sprinkle into our week. Once a week we try to do:
- nature study using Exploring Nature With Children. I’ll choose a few books to go along with whatever topic we’re studying that week, maybe plan one of the extension studies, and plan for a nature walk to observe whatever our theme is.
- poetry tea time. We have a special treat (I’d like to get my kids more involved in baking this part) with tea or hot chocolate and pick a few poems from a few poetry books to read. This is a Bravewriter-inspired ritual and the kids love it.
- Once a week the kids go to “school”– a 4 hour program for homeschooled kids. Wyatt attends their Waldorf-inspired playschool program, and Porter goes to science, art, PE, and performing arts classes. They have to take a lunch and even get report cards each term! This gives me a much needed break and some precious quiet alone time.
- Both boys are in a class each this term. Porter is taking a Lego engineering class, and Wyatt is taking a music class.
The last component of our homeschool is Friday Fundays. We did this once or twice, and Porter and Wyatt loved the idea so much its become a permanent thing. On Friday Fundays we do all the fun things we can’t fit into any other day: art projects, science experiments, games, movies, going out for sundaes, visiting the museum, or maybe some block study activities we didn’t get to during the week. Sometimes we do table time, sometimes we do a “table time lite” where we just play games and practice reading, and sometimes we skip the academics all together.
And that’s it. That’s pretty much the foundation of our homeschool lifestyle. It might seem like a lot, but actually our days are composed of few parts, and we’ve got a good weekly rhythm going. We try to finish by noon, leavom the entire afternoons, and part of the mornings, free for play or outings.