Anna, Bethany and I all have chosen to educate our children at home, and we get a lot of questions about why and how we homeschool. Eventually we’ll all share about what led us to this decision, but for this week, we thought we’d take turns sharing about how we are homeschooling this year!
Our family’s approach is essentially the classical model, informed by a healthy dose of British educator Charlotte Mason. My kids are all in grammar stage, where we’re focusing on accumulating the foundational building blocks for all subjects. In keeping with Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of short lessons, we spend only 10-20 minutes per subject, and we don’t do every one every day. We do school during the little girls’ nap time, aiming to complete our formal school time in under two hours at this stage (pre-K and 1st grade).
Here’s a picture of this week’s planner for T. (We started school August 1st and are doing 4-day school weeks this year because our Thursdays are taken up with CBS and and a homeschool play group every other afternoon.)
Our typical homeschool day goes something like this:
First thing in the morning, T does his math review page. We have normal morning activities, play dates, run errands, etc the rest of the morning. After lunch, I put the little girls down for naps and have T and E tidy up the table and join me on the couch. We sing a song/hymn, pray for our school day, and start school with Bible. (We focus on memorizing passages of scripture. The kids and I are working on Mark 4 this year, and T will have his Bible study homework on Romans once CBS starts in a few weeks.)
Next we move into math. E sits in on T’s math lesson, in which we often use our chalkboard easel or toys/duplos as manipulatives. We move to the table for T to complete his practice sheet, and E usually does math activities like pattern blocks, tracing numbers, or coloring pages.
After math, we move into language arts. I usually do a phonics lesson with E while T is finishing up his math worksheet, then he and I do his writing lesson (I still watch him doing his copywork to prevent bad habits) while E plays with lacing cards, beads on a string, or other preschool activities in her specially designated school bin. We do English grammar orally, and on Fridays we take a little more time to do French together.
The last part of our day is already the kids’ favorite thing, a weekly rotation of PE, anatomy, geography, typing, and fine arts. For Friday fine arts, we’re alternating a month at a time through art appreciation, music appreciation, and good old, messy art projects (although I taught elementary art in a former life, I only pull out paint with a gritting of teeth). The kids love asking what “special” we’re going to do each afternoon, and they’re designed to be fun for the little girls to join into when they wake up from their naps.
(Next year, when E starts formal kindergarten, we’ll be adding in Latin and history, both of which the older kids will be doing together.) And of course, we have hundreds of books in our family library as well as tons of library books sitting around, and we read aloud from picture books and chapter books all the time.
I’m sure our schedule will change quite a bit in years to come, but this routine is working pretty well for us for now!
(This post contains affiliate links.)