I know it is January and not midyear…it is however the middle of our school year.
Reworking our daily routine was one of the many changes I made to our homeschool during our recent eight week(!!!) break. We needed a moment to breathe after the move, for holiday traveling and due to a bit of stressful burnout for mom. I was approaching my breaking point. Sadly, that moment isn’t too far below the surface anymore. I’m not as mentally tough as I used to be. Maybe we can only take so much stress in life before the cracks start showing…I don’t really know.
Anyway, our new routine is full of margin giving me enough space to follow those creative moments and rabbit trails without the guilt of abandoning a schedule. I’d been trying to figure the schedule/routine puzzle out when my thoughts synthesized while watching Julie’s Bogart’s Morning Basket scope which occurred during our eight week break. By hour’s end a new enchanted vision emerged. A complete re-visioning of home education…a mindfulness of just how precious this time is with my kids and the desire to reclaim it from Prussian-Industrialized schooling.
Yeah, I had a moment…a really cool one.
I just want to add that turning away from public school styled curriculum wasn’t easy for me. I found the grade level schooling of Christian Light Education rather comforting and easy. I didn’t like the moans and dread it evoked from my children. But as I evaluated it during our break I came to realize that I didn’t like the rigidness or early, unnecessary independence built into the curriculum. I wanted our learning to be organic and together. I want to be my kids mother and educational coach not their taskmaster. I had to let go of my love and attachment to the public school (basically Prussian) model of education. Growing up as an abused kid the public school was my refuge away from my parents. I was holding on to that method out of love for those teachers who made public school at place of security and refuge for me. So I learned to let the public school model go over our break and embraced the absolute joy that my children do not need a place of refuge away from home.
God bless those teachers who loved me more than my own parents. Thank you Mrs. Skidmore, Mr. Worley, Mrs. Fisher and Mrs. Alsobrook. And I hope that every kid out there who has parents that suck have teachers like you in their lives.
This was our first week back to school in eight weeks. I have been a slave to the written lesson plans and self imposed schedules for four homeschool years. Out of the past four years this has been our best week of home education ever!!! EVER!
I took the basic outline of the day given by Julie in her scope and spliced in loop scheduling. That’s it. I do not have a lesson plan. Instead I write down what we are doing each day into my “lesson planner”. I know what we need to finish each school year. I know where we should be each nine week fifth (we do five sets of nine weeks).
Our new routine is broken down into three major portions of each day with three minor portions.
I. Wake and transition from sleep time begins around 7:00 in the morning. They have an entire hour to make breakfast, make their beds and get cleaned up for the day.
2. Morning Basket Time begins around 8:15: This is our read aloud time. We read our Brave Writer Arrow selection, Beautiful Feet Books selection, and from The Story of the World. Next is our Oral Loop time in which the kids take turn reading aloud. Only one child per day. Littlest is not reading aloud yet but will be by the end of the current school year. Following the Oral Loop is the Morning Basket Loop schedule. We only do two subjects at a time from the Morning Basket Loop. Once we finish those we move onto another subject. Right now we are exploring Shakespeare and Science. Once we finish these we will move to living math books, nature, character studies, biography, art and music. Then the loop repeats. (This is my kids favorite time of the school day and ha made all the difference in their attitude!)
On Wednesday morning we will skip the Morning Basket time due to Co-op. The crew with work on math, chores and have board game time until it is time to go to our local co-op.
3. Table Time begins around 10:00: We work on our copywork and dictation for the Brave Writer Arrows each day. We have a set daily schedule for these. On Monday through Wednesday they do their best handwriting for the copywork piece and I go over the grammar. On Thursday they do French Dictation (we are working toward full dictation) and on Friday they edit the copywork selection. I give them a handout of the selection with all of the punctuation removed. My crew looks forward to this every Friday! After copywork/dictation they move on to any history assignments. After which we loop The Writer’s Jungle, Language Arts, Vocabulary and Music Theory assignments from their piano teacher. (At the moment we are skipping The Writer’s Jungle and Language Arts assignment s for our online class of Just So Stories from Brave Writer.) We also do Freewrite assignments every Friday and these also have a set eight week schedule following the Brave Writer method.
Also, on Fridays the kids have to answer a set of questions from my husband. He wants a report on their week and he reads over their answers every Friday. If they do not take his questions seriously then they spend some time on Saturday morning writing out detailed paragraphs to each question.
Here are my husband’s four questions: Share something you learned this week. What would you like to learn more about? Share something you did not enjoy this week. What was wonderful about this week (does not have to be school related).
4. Math and protein snack around 11:30. The kids all now have individual math curriculums. Sparkles used Teaching Textbooks, Oldest is currently using Christian Light Education but is researching which algebra course he wants to begin in July, Middle Boy is loving Beast Academy. Each kiddo in a different math is extra work for me but perfect for them. I spend time with each child individually during the math hour. Each child also spends about twenty to thirty minutes on Khan Academy math. They all look forward to math because they get a yummy snack. Sometimes I make a special snack and other times they just get a cheese stick.
5. Lunch hour. Most days my husband comes home for lunch so our lunch hour varies depending on his schedule. I always hang out with my Sweetie when he is home so they can finish up their math, have lunch and a bit of free time.
6. Around 1:30 we get together for our Afternoon Loop. On Tuesday we have Poetry Tea Time. On Friday’s we enjoy board games. The other days of the week we loop through science, art, Latin and history projects. Guitar and piano practice begins as each child finishes up their work. By 3:00 the kiddos put away all schoolwork (if we are still working) and spend forty minutes or so on chores (I have a set schedule for these as well). Following chores are video gams while I enjoy a chai and some free-time to myself.
That is our basic day and it sounds far more complicated than the reality. The entire routine fits on one page that I show in the picture above. This was our first full week implementing the new routine. Our school week was wonderful and everything I dreamed it ever could be. Perfect and beautiful! I hope you find the a delightful balance for your day.