So Where Did That Nice Schedule Go? (A Homeschooling Update)

So Where Did That Nice Schedule Go? (A Homeschooling Update)featured

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A few weeks ago when we started our homeschool year, I wrote a post about our first day of school, as well as some of our plans for the year. I promised an update in after a few weeks, because I knew I would have to make changes in my plans.  Although I taught math at JSU for 9 years, this is only my third year at this thing called homeschooling, which is completely different than teaching young adults in a classroom.  I would imagine it’s completely different than teaching a classroom of elementary students as well, but I can’t say that from experience.

What a joy he is!

What a joy he is!

 

Anyway, let’s just say that I think I am finally okay with having a VERY flexible routine for our day at home.  I have always said that, but this year is turning out to need even more flexibility.  We are doing a lot more this year than last, for a couple of reasons.

  1. Isabella is so eager to learn! She is “doing school” now, too.
  2. Lily is in 2nd grade now. With each year comes added responsibility and a little more work to do.

Isabella is four years old (will be 5 in December) and was practically begging to “do school like Lily” this year. So she does school, too.  I have collected a variety of workbooks with prewriting, math, and phonics skills that she works on for a few minutes while Lily does her math page.  (I find great workbooks in the dollar section at Target!)

With her young age comes a challenge because her attention span in not as long as her older sister’s.  I have to stay on my toes and try to have a variety of things for her to work on. (This is difficult for me.) I needed more ideas for Isabella, and keeping Isaac occupied is also a major challenge.

Out of desperation to keep Isabella and Isaac occupied and happy, I have been frantically searching Pinterest for ideas and inspiration.  Let me just tell you, I have found so many good ideas!

I’ve not ever done these types of learning activities before (remember, it took me getting absolutely desperate to even look for any), but now I’m so glad I found them!  I’ve found many good activities for both Isaac and Isabella that keep them occupied and help them learn as well.  Check out my Pinterest board for Toddler Fun here, and also my Preschool at Home Pinterest boards with activities for Prewriting, Math, Fun, and Language Arts.

With some changes to the routine, here’s what a normal day usually looks like for us right now.

Breakfast+ Math. Lily’s math page (and Isabella’s worksheets) go on the breakfast table right when the food is taken away.  We have always used Abeka’s math program for Lily, and it works very well for her.

Get Ready For the Day. I made up a song for this one to help the kids remember what to do. My goal is to help them establish good habits early on.  The song is to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

Make my bed, get dressed, brush my teeth

Make my bed, get dressed, brush my teeth

Then I straighten up my room

And I’m ready for the day

Make my bed, get dressed, brush my teeth

Outside play and/or Morning Time.  Isaac needs outside time to play early in the day.  I’ve been sometimes combining this outdoor play with reading aloud.  Sometimes we start out reading aloud in the house, move outside, move back inside… You get the picture. We do whatever will work at the time.

I’ve started some memory work for the kids during morning time, but my morning time plans are still in progress. I hope to have a more involved morning time plan (and binder) ready to go by our second six-week term, including worship time, other spiritual studies, memory work, reading aloud, and perhaps foreign language.

Pam Barnhill has a wonderful new podcast and a book that are both all about morning time, as well as several good blog posts to give you an idea of what Morning Time can add to your day!   (Whether you are a homeschooler or not! It’s called Morning Time, but the idea will work in the evening, on a Saturday, or anytime that will work for your family.)

Snack Time. This happens around 10:30, no matter what point in the routine we’re at.

School Time Downstairs. We are blessed to have a wonderful space downstairs for school. This is when Lily does her Spelling, Grammar, Handwriting, and Phonics.  We are using First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind for grammar, Handwriting Without Tears, and All About Reading for Lily’s phonics. I really like All About Reading, because it seems to be working so much better for Lily than what we were doing before. She is having lots of fun with it!

This is also when all the learning activities come in handy for Isabella and Isaac. It’s like a circus.  I’m here, I’m there, I’m everywhere!  It’s a challenge, but it’s worth it.

Lunch and Then One More Thing (Usually Science or History).  We love the science curriculum we purchased from Sonlight! Isabella and Lily can do it together, because it is for ages 5-7.  For history this year, we are using Story of the World (Volume 2: The Middle Ages). We are studying history chronologically. Last year we learned ancient history, next year will be the Renaissance, and then modern history.  Every four years, we will repeat the cycle.  I learned about the chronological study of history in The Well-Trained Mind, a book about classical education.

We just got our Sonlight science curriculum in the mail, and I am so excited! It's for ages 5-7, so I can use it for both Lily and Isabella. I love that we can do our science together! Can't wait to get started with it. :) #homeschoollife #sisters #lily #isabella #scienceclass

We love our Sonlight science materials!

Before I go, I must reiterate what I said in the beginning: I am finally learning to let go of the routine! I held fast to it as much as I could the first week, but I was so discouraged and overwhelmed after the second week that I realized I had to loosen up.  I worked through my discouragement, made changes, and I’m happy with the way things are going.

Some days, we don’t have morning time. Some days we do history or science first.  Some days we don’t do any “school” until after lunch.  Some days are easy, and some days are a struggle.  We simply do whatever works right then. And that approach is working well for me. I know what needs to be accomplished and I set out to do it, but I’m finding that spontaneity is my friend.

About the author

Tasha

Tasha Medellin is a head-over-heels-in-love wife and not-so-perfect mother of three who loves spending time outdoors, curling up with a good book, and simply basking in the riches of God's glorious grace.

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