Reason #52405837 why I love homeschooling: Coming up the stairs to put laundry away to find this scene awaiting me:
We're just starting out on the homeschool journey, after having our oldest in a traditional, Catholic school for the past two years. It's the direction I originally wanted to take our family in, but until now, it wasn't a financial possibility.
We've been homeschooling now for almost two months, and still loving every moment. You can see a quick blog update on our year here.
On this page, I'll explain some of the things we've tried, if it works, and why!
Our daily schedule looks like this:
We aim for being up and out of bed by 7:30, but if we're being totally honest here...that maybe only happens 2-3 times a week. I will fully admit to NOT being a morning person. I do not like to be talked to as soon as I get up, or to listen to a lot of noise and activity. I guess you could say it takes me awhile to get going. ;-) Usually the boys are up and playing in the playroom by 7:30...and I come out of my bedroom by 8. Hey, it works for us!
After breakfast, we all work on our respective chores (me cleaning up breakfast, getting laundry started, etc, and the boys making their beds and getting ready for the day), and we head into the school room by 10. This gives me a bit of time, too, for scheduling morning appointments or playdates. As long as we're home by 10:30 or so, we can keep our schedule relatively the same.
First round of school: the second grader does independent work while I work one-on-one with the preschooler and the kindergartener. The preschooler also has his "Busy Box," which I'll show a little bit further down the post, that he only gets to play with during this hour and a half.
We break for lunch and some play time (so Mommy can workout and shower), and then the littlest two head into the playroom to entertain themselves while the second grader and I work on his work together. This is where I bring in new concepts, or work on other tasks that require my assistance.
We manage to still have time to play, run errands, or take a quick field trip after this and before Daddy gets home. When Daddy gets home - the work is over, and it's time for playing!
Our school set up:
Each boy has his own desk, and his own "workbox." Every night, I go and prepare their workbox for the next morning, leaving all the supplies they will need, and the books they will need to complete their schoolwork. On their desk is a good morning message, explaining what they are expected to do each day. Each of the big boys uses that morning message as a "to-do" list, checking off each item as we accomplish it.
The 2 year old also has a desk, but doesn't find a morning message on his desk each day. Instead, I'll add a some new items to his "busy box." (Note: they're not really "new." Each item is something that I "rescued" from other areas of the house and have repurposed it into something that he can play with. For example, he has playdough and cookie cutters/kitchen utensils one day, or stacking bowls and marbles another day, and pipsqueaks markers and scrapbook paper on a third day.) Today he had a felt board and a matching activity:
The felt board was made from a piece of a cardboard box, and is covered with blue (sky) and green (grass) felt. Today's activity was a Mr. Potato Head dress up, but he also has shapes and a house scene, and I rotate through all of them. I do have a picture hanger on the back of the board, so I can hang it on the wall when it is not in use.
This matching activity is simply a piece of posterboard, with three columns, and velcro for each spot. Today, he had shapes and colours (each big shape is a different colour, so I can have him either find the matching shapes to put in the column below, or have him place the shapes by matching colours instead). I plan on using this with the kindergartener, as well, when we get to word families.
This one's pretty fun - we use it for the beginning reader (as shown in the pictures above), the older child with his phonics and his spelling definitions, and the youngest preschooler with his letter names.
Each piece is laminated, and attached to a velcro tab. When I say, "The shark is hungry for ______" I fill in the blank with something that we're learning together (the reader, a sight word; the older child, a definition of a word; the preschooler, a letter name). The child then finds the corresponding word, or letter, and "feeds" it into the shark's mouth. It's fun - and SO versatile!