The other day, I met a couple home-school moms through my sister-in-law. I don’t often cross paths with other home-schoolers so I was eager to swap ideas and see what these other ladies have tried and what works for them. The first thing one of the moms said to me was, “You aren’t one of those super crafty mom, are you?” This made me laugh. I know why she asked this and even though I replied that I was most certainly not “one of those”, I still recognize my desire to be one.
I am fairly new to Instagram, (I just got my first smart phone a few weeks ago so I can actually take decent pictures now!) and I have discovered the wealth of examples in homeschooling from moms all over the world. Their stunning pictures of all the intentional and beautiful crafts, essays, Montessori activities, Charlotte Mason quotes, nature walks, and art studies makes home-school look like an enchanting dream. I truly can not get enough of it. I love peeking into these little school houses where learning is captivating these precious little people of our world. But my home-school doesn’t always look like that. In fact, I think it is safe to say it has never looked like that. I am new to this and I am trying to figure it all out and it is no walk in the park. Sometimes, we are literally on a walk in the park and it is a disaster. Fighting the tendency to compare myself to the amazing mothers of Instagram plus the weight of my children’s education on my shoulders, I have to constantly remind myself that learning IS happening in my home, my children are, and feel, loved, and I get to be with them every step of the way. Every. single. wonderful. painful. tiring. invigorating. step. of. the .way.
A typical day for my crew pretty much always goes like this:
Kids wake up between 5:45 am-6:30 am
Hubs and I roll out of bed somewhere in that time frame, as well, because there really isn’t any other choice. One of us gets the coffee going, he gets ready for work, I pass out bananas and cups of milk to the older three while they watch a movie and I nurse or feed Faye her bottle.
Around 7 am, I start the dishes and/or laundry. I clean up the table and go get dressed.
7:30 am, the kids come to their room to get dressed, and then they head outside to play (I am sure our neighbors love us).
8 am, the kids come inside and we start our Morning Routine which is cleaning their room, Jenks get a laundry basket and collects any dirty clothes and takes it to the laundry room, the boys fold their quilts and lay them at the foot of their beds, one by one they go into the bathroom to brush teeth and wash their hands and faces.
8:30 am, we start our Reciting. I let the kids play on the floor of their room while we recite all the things we have been memorizing.
- Memory Verse (so far we have done Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:27)
- Counting to 20, Counting to 100 by 10s, Counting backwards from 20
- Days of the Week
- Months of the Year
- Pledge of Allegiance
- The Presidents (we are up to the 7th so far, each day we add one)
- Our Address Song
- a Hymn ( Come Thou Fount)
Even Pammy can do almost all of this.
Then around 9:15 am, the middle kiddos play, and I give Jenkins two pages to do in his math work book, the number of the day worksheet, one page of copy-work , which is when he copies a verse or phrase to practice his penmanship (he can do more if he wants), and his spelling words come from his copy-work. When he is done, he can go play with kids and I usually feed Faye who just got up from her morning nap.
10 am, is usually snack time so I send the kids outside to sit on the patio and eat their snack (so I won’t have to sweep the kitchen again). When they are done, I let them play for a bit until someone gets hurt or starts a screaming match with someone else. When this happens, its usually a good time to change things up. Jenks comes in and goes to his room to read a chapter in his book. The younger three watch a reading video from Teach Your Baby To Read. This is how our oldest child learned to read at the ripe old age of 1. He now is at a 3rd grade reading level and he will be 6 in January. So far, our younger kids have not had the same success. Though the middles can recognize several words.
10:30 am, we go for a walk around the neighborhood or to a park with trails. We also use this time to intentionally look at nature and to observe things about our world. Its not always super in-depth, but directing the kids attention to how a squirrel climbs around a tree, or the different shapes of leaves has proved to make them more observant and leads to many interesting conversations.
11:30 am is lunchtime. We eat either together at the table or I let them watch a show in the living room (if mom needs just a minute to herself). After lunch, we play outside, sometimes go to the library or to get diapers or milk from the store.
Between 1:30-2 pm is nap-time. The girls go down without complaint usually. The boys lay on my bed and look at books. If one is sleepier or grouchier than the other, I will make him go to his bed to get a real nap. Otherwise, the boys have to lay down for about an hour and then they can play outside until about 3 pm. At this time, I get them a snack and beg them to stay outside. We have a small house and two noisy boys can be heard through any wall.
4 pm is when Jenkins can play his video games if he completed all of his school work. If not, he uses this hour to finish it but it eats into his game time. Also, through out the day, I take minutes away from his game time if he has a bad attitude, is unkind to his siblings, or doesn’t happily do his chores. I am more than ready to take minutes away from video game time and this proves to be an excellent motivator for my little guy. The other two are not so easily motivated along the right path.
So this is our basic schedule. I think in the coming years, we will be able to be more creative and more in depth with our studies when we don’t have a baby needing so much of my attention and with a super sneaky and cheeky little 2 year old reeking havoc. One of the things I was most excited about teaching was history and learning about different cultures. I pretty much nixed that whole subject on week one. I still look forward to teaching and learning about those things, but forcing it when my kids are so young just isn’t happening right now. We will study what we can, when we can. As long as we cover all the basics like reading, writing, and math and dive into any of the other subjects as we can, I am satisfied.
Have you considered homeschooling? If you have, what have you tried and what worked? Also, I am looking into doing Classical Conversations maybe next year! I have heard lots of cool things.