Monday, August 3, 2015

A Day in the Life: Our Homeschool Schedule (2015-2016)

I love schedules, agendas, and to-do lists. I make them for myself and for my children. Personally, it helps me to function better throughout my day and reminds me of the things I need to get done. If I don't have it on my list, it will most likely slip my mind. I knew that I would need something similar for my daughter and her homeschool day.

We start off our homeschool day by doing our morning chores. These are the simple things like making their beds, saying morning prayers, brushing hair, getting dressed, etc. Then it's time for breakfast. I try to do something nutritious but also fun for breakfast. This morning, for example, it was cinnamon-sugar toast, strawberries, and [soy] milk.

Over the summer, Bridget requested that she do math first thing in the morning, so we made that change in our schedule this year. While she works on her math lesson (an instruction video and worksheets), George also does math in the form of puzzles and counting bears.

After math, we begin language skills. In kindergarten, this consisted of only reading and handwriting. This year we have also added spelling and grammar. While Bridget works on spelling, George and I work on the alphabet. This year, writing has changed a bit, from basic handwriting skills to learning to write complete sentences. Bridget does this Monday-Thursday. On Friday, she works on a handwriting lesson from her Zaner-Bloser book.

When I am working with Bridget on writing (which requires my instruction), George works independently on his pre-writing skills (straight lines, backward circles, etc.). This is a special time that we get out the dry-erase markers. Because these markers are only used for specific times, it's a special treat and keeps him occupied for longer. He's sometimes a perfectionist and keeps the eraser handy.

Our history lesson also includes geography (which is why you don't see a separate time for geography) and George usually likes to join us for this. He also joins us for science, but these subjects are not required for him. If he prefers to play quietly in his room, he has the freedom to do so. Typically though, he will stick around to see what fun we might be having.

Other subjects done once a week are piano, art, and music. I am teaching the piano lesson, as Bridget is still learning the basics. An hour of art is set aside for a special art project related to what we are covering in history, or for drawing lessons and other random art skills. Music this year is studying the orchestra and various composers. The reason for this is because ancient history doesn't really have much to study as far as music goes. Next year, when we are studying medieval times, we'll study music related to that period. We'll cover the composers again when we cover their time periods. For now, we're doing a gentle introduction.

Our littlest Sparrow spends his time hanging around the homeschool area with us. He'll get loud on occasion, and sometimes will need to be picked up. He's pretty good and entertaining himself as long as he knows someone is close by. If you go too long without paying him any attention, he'll start pulling books off of shelves. That's when I know it's time for some cheerios or a sippy cup of milk to distract him.

History and science usually include a project or coloring page, so while the kids are working on those, I step into the kitchen to prepare lunch. I style my lunches like "school lunch". I enjoyed school lunches as a child. Everyone has their stories about how gross the food was, but I guess I grew up in a district where the food was actually quite delicious. I recreate many of those items with a vegan twist. Today, we had "faux fish filets" and various sides to go with it. The kids love this style of lunch and I enjoy making them. Water is typically served at lunch, unless I've been a slacker with offering fruit. If so, they'll get orange juice.

After lunch, Liam goes down for a nap, George goes into his room for quiet time (or a nap if he prefers) and I sit with Bridget on her bed and do our reading lesson and practice. This is a subject that she needs my undivided attention and it needs to be quiet for her to focus (she's very easily distracted). After that, she can read for fun or play quietly.

The times given in our schedule are approximate. If Bridget is still working on a subject and close to finishing, I'll wait for her. Some subjects may take longer on certain days. Sometimes she wants to spend more time on something because she enjoys it. I don't want to put a cap on her interests and creativity just for the sake of moving on and sticking to a schedule, but I do try to keep her mostly on task. If we need to continue school work after snack time, then that is what we'll do (we've even done science experiments after dinner, because sometimes life just happens).

That's about it for our school day!

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