You would think that after homeschooling your kids for going on 6 years, you would have scheduling down to a science. Maybe some people do. I am not one of them, however. Without fail, every August/September (insert the name of any month here) finds me tweaking here, adjusting there, constantly in search of the right formula for the perfect school day. Well, I may very well regret putting this thought to “paper” (digital paper, that is), but I think I might–just MIGHT–have stumbled on a combination that will work for my little tribe. We’ve done this for 2 days now and both of them have been as stress-free as any I can remember for a long time. I know there’s no “one size fits all” for homeschooling schedules, but this is what is currently working for us.

  • 8:30 – 9:00    Bible. During this time, we have breakfast together and read a portion of “Character Sketches,” which is what we’re studying for character and Bible knowledge. I read to the kids while they eat breakfast and then we talk about the animal or Bible character of the week. Sometimes they draw something from the book, which is filled with amazing illustrations. I’m toying with the idea of switching to “Our 24 Family Ways” but probably won’t do that until we finish at least 1 volume of Character Sketches.
  • 9:00 – 10:00   Reading. All 4 of us lounge around in the family room with our book of choice. The two older boys are reading Newbery books on their Kindles this year (chosen by me) and my youngest is snuggling up next to me and finally (!) reading some easy readers all by himself. I signed up for Hewitt Homeschooling’s Lightning Literature for 2nd graders and so we’re systematically reading/studying the books that go with that curriculum. Today, we included our read aloud time during this block but we generally do that after lunch. We’re reading the Golden Book young readers’ version of The Canterbury Tales and it’s wonderful! In fact, it deserves a post all by itself just for the illustrations alone (coming soon!).
  • 10:00 – 11:00  Math.  We move to the kitchen table and get out the Saxon books and all 3 boys do their work independently. When they’re done, they get to play a math game of choice on the iPad. Today, we played Math Bingo, which is a big favorite. I’m also having Quinn do his weekly Foundations math skip counting by completing the “Tables, Squares, and Cubes” worksheets that you can download from CC.
  • 11:00 – 12:00  Writing.  I teach Liam and Quinn their Essentials lesson during this block, and have Aaron review his Foundations memory work on the iPad while we’re going over things that they need me to explain. Once the two older boys understand what they need to do for the day and we’ve reviewed anything new (I use the awesome checklist PDF that you can download from CC Connected for Essentials), I turn my attention to Aaron. We drill the memory work for the current week and go over previous weeks. We also take time to read some more from whatever happens to interest him at the moment. Right now, he’s into some easy readers that were mine when I was his age, but this is the time that we’ll also be reading from Story of the World, the Kingfisher encyclopedias, etc.
  • After lunch.  Read Alouds/Memory Work Review/Presentation Prep/Homework. This generally lasts anywhere from 1 -2 hours, depending on how diligently each boy worked in the morning (I set a timer for each of the 3 hour-long blocks above and so if someone isn’t done when the timer goes off, his unfinished work becomes his homework.). This is also the time that is easiest for me to give them individualized attention if they need it in a particular area.

A couple other tidbits:

  • No, we’re not doing an official science curriculum. They are reading about science during the day (science encyclopedias, random science-themed books that we own, magazines, etc.) and we’ll dig deeper into their weekly CC science lesson if they want to. I’m confident that this is sufficient according to the classical model and have chosen to focus on what I believe are the bigger rocks for my kids (see 3 one-hour blocks above). I love it when I walk into my mom’s sunroom to find my kids reading National Geographic and then eagerly telling me all about Atlas moths or Antarctica. Not too long ago, Liam mentioned something about his pinna and I had to ask him what that was. I think they are picking up lots of science completely on their own and I’m good with that.
  • What about Latin, geography, copywork, [insert whatever subject I’ve omitted here]? I attempted a classical notebook with each boy for the first two weeks of school, but it did not prove to be nearly as useful or fun as I had hoped. Instead, we’re orally drilling CC memory work after lunch and are working on incorporating practical applications instead. For example, when talking at supper about the news, we’ll find Syria on the globe. Instead of copying a Bible verse or an excerpt from a book on a page in a notebook, we’ll write a thank you note to a teacher.

Here’s hoping that we’ve found our groove!

Hot chocolate boy

Aaron earned a cup of hot chocolate for (finally!) being able to recite some parts of the food chain: producers, consumer, and decomposers. Yeay, buddy!