Our Homeschooling Routines

Reading Together
So far I have shared about our curriculum plans (which I have already modified), our learning spaces, and our students. Today, I am sharing about our typical homeschooling routines.

We are finishing up our second week of our new homeschooling year. This is not a typical year in homeschooling as we have experienced in past years. We have the addition of my nephew Malachi (5  years) who has joined us for his Kindergarten studies. Briyah is excited to have a study buddy as she would like to be a teacher in the future, just like her big sister Shaiya (who is working on her elementary education degree). Malachi loves all of the trivia tidbits that Briyah shares with him each day.

One other major change in our household is that I have shifted my primary focus to my home as I left my busy position of Director of Marketing which I previously held. I miss my co-workers and friends, but I am very thankful to focus my full attention and energies on our homeschooling and household. I am especially grateful for my amazing husband who works so hard to take care of us!

When we began our new year two weeks ago, I did not have a set daily schedule in place. Our family thrives with routines and schedules, and we took a week to gauge the rhythm of the day with Malachi joining us for studies. We spent one week exploring through our curriculum and a natural routine fell into place, which we have now set in place as our general schedule. Malachi loves learning and he fits in very well with our uber geeky family.

We like to schedule our day in time increments of 30 minutes. Even though we are committed to our schedule, we do adjust it as necessary. Our daily schedule is our primary guide, but we do flex according to the needs of the day. For example, Briyah and Malachi were having so much fun working on their Egypt project the other day, that we continued for two hours rather than moving to the next subject. I like to find balance in our homeschooling day. Schedules and routine are important. However, flexibility and spontaneity are important for us to harness great moments of learning.


A few other things that are important to our homeschooling family:

Worship - we play worship music throughout the day in our home and we talk about the goodness and glory of God throughout the day.

Scripture memory - we memorize Bible passages each day and week. There is nothing more important in life than to know Jesus as savior and to cling to God's Word.

Literacy - we tote crates to the library and fill them to overflowing each week. We read aloud, we carry books with us everywhere we go, we read on our iPhones/iPad, we listen to audio books, we talk about Literature, and we have books in every room of our home to foster an overall learning environment.

Outdoors - we endeavor to get plenty of fresh air and sunshine each day. We schedule in one hour of outdoor time for play and nature study, but we also take our other subjects outdoors on good weather days. Some days we join other homeschooling families in the afternoon to play at local parks.

Here is our typical schedule on our at-home days (Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri). Tuesday is our community day at Classical Conversations Anderson, library, and choir. We do have some days where we plan field trips, have appointments, or attend programs at Anderson University. Our schedule is our daily ideal and goal. It gives us a framework but we also allow ourselves the freedom to adjust and modify.

Morning Routines

My hubby and I wake up anywhere from 6:00 to 6:45 a.m. This varies each day depending on how late we have stayed up the previous evening. Briyah gets up each day at 7:00 a.m.

Malachi arrives around 7:15 a.m. each day. Briyah and Malachi have their choice of morning activities that they do together. They play LEGOS, color, read aloud books, do crafts, or work on puzzles. We do not watch DVD's or play Wii in the mornings so that they can start the day active. After 45 minutes of doing fun activities, they are usually ready to get the day's activities going.

While the kids have their morning activities, I work on getting things prepped for the daily studies, laundry, and other household needs. I generally do not check my emails in the morning because this is the busy part of the day for us.

8:00 a.m. - Breakfast time
We usually have fruit, bagels, cold cereal or something simple. As we get closer to Fall, we will have lots of oatmeal days where the kids get to choose their toppings. We love oatmeal!

8:30 a.m. - Bible
We play our Bible memory song from Seeds Family Worship. Briyah and Malachi work on activity sheets from Bible Verse Printables to correspond with the week's memory work. After they complete their memory work, I read from a short devotional 100 Ways to Know God Loves Me and play the matching song. Briyah moves on to working on her Bible study guides and Bible reading. Malachi works on his coloring pages. We have not ordered Who Am I? from Apologia yet (I want to get this soon!), but will be adding this during our Bible time.

Malachi working on his Bible verse

9:00 a.m. - Calendar / Memory Work (Ideas/Resources on Pinterest)
We review our calendar, daily weather, and Classical Conversations memory work. Briyah and Malachi have calendar books to track the days, months, and weather. I plan on creating a calendar board in September that we will start using each day. We will also use this time period to review memory work for studies with Classical Conversations Anderson.

9:30 a.m. - Math
Briyah works on Saxon 65 lessons. Malachi works on his math worksheets, activities, and math apps (Intro to Math) on the iPad. I assist them both during Math time.


Briyah working on Saxon 65

10:00 a.m. - Math Activities
Briyah works on her Splash Math app daily and then has her choice of Math learning apps for a 30 minute period. The iPad has been very beneficial to help Briyah have a love for math. Malachi has free time to play LEGOS.

10:30 a.m. - English
Briyah works on Our Mother Tongue lessons in English Grammar. She works independently and we review at the end of her lesson. Next week, Briyah will start working on Essentials of the English Language for Essentials at Classical Conversations. I work with Malachi on his daily Phonics, Reading, Handwriting activities. When Malachi completes his written worksheets, he moves to the iPad and works on Language Arts using Letter School, Rocket Speller, Starfall, and Intro To Letters. Each app takes a few minutes and they are a positive reinforcement to Malachi's written work.

Malachi loves Rocket Speller

11:00 a.m. - Outdoors
On great weather days, we head outdoors for an hour. The kids play outdoors for 30 minutes of free time. I usually sit out on the deck and use this time to update my planner, journal, read books, blogs, and explore Pinterest.

Play time

11:30 a.m. - Nature Study / Outdoor projects
After the kids play for 30 minutes, we work on projects and activities outdoors. We nature journal, paint, create with clay/dough, and do our messy crafts. God-willing, in future months, we will garden and build an outdoor classroom.

One of our favorite nature blogs is Handbook of Nature Study. If you are not signed up for updates yet, be sure to check out this blog. You will get an inspirational/educational newsletter every month. The Outdoor Hour Challenges are starting up again in September and you will not want to miss this!

Afternoon Routines

Once we have a full morning of learning activities and outdoor play, the kids are ready to eat.

12:00 p.m. - Lunch
We usually have a simple lunch of PB & J, tuna, or turkey/chicken, fresh fruit, cheese sticks/yogurt, pretzels and water. We love to eat outside on the good weather days.

12:30 p.m. - Free time
If we have a focused day with great attitudes, the kids get to choose their own activities for free time. Usually they will choose to play outdoors on good weather days. On rainy days they typically choose an iPad app such as Toontastic, Story Land, Brain Pop Jr. or Brain Pop. The iPad is a great positive reinforcement. We only use the iPad for fun on days that all is tracking as planned with great attitudes. We have very few negative attitudes because the kids want to have free time playing games on the iPad. Since we reserve the DVD's and Wii for later in the day/evening, the iPad is a fun media activity that they do not want to miss out on playing. This great reinforcement helps the flow of our day quite a bit and it allows us to have a peaceful learning environment.

1:00 p.m. - History / Geography
After lunch, we move into many of our hand-on projects and activities. Some days we work outdoors on the deck and other times we are in the house. Our family loves history and we have collected many history resources over our 14 years of homeschooling. I have primarily structured our learning activities based on Susan Wise Bauer's The Well-Trained Mind, which is one of my absolute favorite classical education resources.

Fun Egypt studies
Our history studies are based on a general theme using the Classical Conversations Foundations Guide for our core sequence. This year for Cycle 1 we are studying Ancient History. For example, we are studying Ancient Egypt and Ten Commandments for two weeks. We will then move on to Ancient Greece, Rome, Asian civilizations, etc. Each week, we take crates to the library and fill them with books from each time period/theme. Briyah and Malachi get to choose from these books to read each day. This past week they have been focused on the mummification process. I promised them we would try to mummify a chicken, which I have read about on other blogs. Briyah goes in depth with her studies and Malachi works on his level completing less complex projects.

During our history studies this year we will do lots of hands-on activities such as:

~creating history notebooks with narrations, copywork, and art activities
~map and lessons from Knowledge Quest
~reports
~history pockets and lapbooks
~coloring pages and sketches
~dioramas
~ancient feast celebrations
~Egypt and Rome iPad apps from Britannica
~iPad apps from Knowledge Quest

Working on Egypt studies in the fresh air

1:30 p.m. - Timeline Notebooks
To continue our history studies, we work on our timeline notebooks. Our two main resources for timelines are Homeschool in the Woods and Notebooking Pages. We invested in the History Through the Ages timeline figures several years ago and it was one of the best purchases we have made. We use these every year in our homeschool. The Notebooking Pages Treasury is an amazing resource for notebooking and timelines and this is also one of the homeschooling investments that will last from K-12.

2:00 p.m. - Science / Fine Arts / Themed Studies
We study science by reading, notebooking, and doing experiments. Typically science is twice weekly at home and once weekly at Classical Conversations Anderson.Two other days a week, we study artists and composers (from Classical Conversations Cycle 1) or worked on themed studies based on Briyah's and Malachi's interests. Yesterday, the kids were interested in wasps. I had planned an activity on the Blue Moon of August, but they were so interested in wasps, they spent the half-hour reading about wasps and working in an insect sticker book. Flexibility is key in our house. We go with the flow and follow the interests but we still try to fit in all of our learning plans as well. Briyah ended up doing a night sky observation and sketching the moon in the evening. Malachi worked with his mom at home in the evening completing an observation and sketch of the moon.

2:30 p.m. - Writing / Latin Studies
In the afternoon, we continue Language Arts and Briyah works on writing with IEW Ancient History assignments for the Essentials class with Classical Conversations. Malachi has an activity while I work with Briyah and he either picks books to look at or works on hands-on activities. We have not begun our First Form Latin curriculum yet, but will start this in September. I set aside part of this time for writing but the bulk of the time will be used for Latin in the future. Briyah loves to write and she works on writing in her free time during the morning and evenings. Classical Conversations and the IEW curriculum have instilled a deep love of writing within her and so this subject is a joy for us.

3:00 p.m. - Literature
I save Literature for the end of the day and it is for a full hour. Once Briyah starts a book, she likes to read for 1-2 hours at a time. For the first part of the time period, Briyah reads assorted books aloud to us. Malachi picks the books out each day and the topic varies. Afterwards, Briyah has her reading time where she reads selected literature. Malachi has free play time. Often he likes to imitate Briyah so he picks out books to look at while she is reading. I am going to read a few works (children's versions) with Briyah such as the Illiad and The Odyssey this year, and then we are going to discuss them together. Malachi will be able to be involved as well because we will bring home Illiad and Odyssey picture books and print coloring pages for him.

Reading time

4:00 p.m. - Free time
We have an hour of free time at the end of our school day and the kids can either play outside or do activities of their choice. I work on dinner prep and laundry. Sometimes we take a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood. When Fall arrives, I am pretty sure Briyah will be curled up with a book during this time period. After 5:00 p.m, the kids can play the Wii for a short period. On good weather days, they usually want to play outdoors. On rainy days, they like to play the Wii together.

Evening Routines

We do not have dinner at the same time every day. Our ball park is anywhere from 6:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m. depending on the activities planned.

A few nights a week, we observe the night sky in our Astronomy studies. The main resource we use is Signs and Seasons from Classical Astronomy. Briyah is creating observations and sketches while she learns the night sky. We print up a sky map each month and track the night sky. My hubby and I cheat frequently and use the Star Walk app to identity objects that are visible.

Night sky observations

Thank you for visiting my blog and reading about our homeschooling journey. We love learning and it is truly a grand adventure for us. My prayer for our homeschool year is that the kids will love and glorify the Lord, love their neighbors (especially their cousins), and love learning! I pray your homeschooling year is off to a great start!

You can read about other homeschooling typical days at the iHomeschool Network's "Not" Back to School blog hop.

Linking up with:
Not Back to School Blog Hop

Comments

jacqui said…
Hi! I read through your post and noticed you mentioned Apologia's Who Am I? I used it last year with my 1st & 5th grader. We really enjoyed it doing it together & the lessons were easy for my kids to understand. :) I found your post through the Not Back to School Link up. You might like my post http://reflectinghisglory.com/?p=1618
jacqui said…
I enjoyed hearing about your day. I noticed that you want to use Who Am I from Aplogia. I used it last year with my 1st & 5th grader. Was very effective! I think you will like it. I found you through the not back to school blog hop. You might like my post at
http://reflectinghisglory.com/?p=1618
Amy said…
What a full day! It sounds wonderful =) It is also wonderful that you are home full-time to be a part of it this year! Thanks for sharing this with us at Trivium Tuesdays last week!
missy said…
Thanks for sharing your day in detail. I am not good with routine, but I know my kids need it. Now that I see it written out in front of me I can better grasp the concept of routine. I like how you said what you were doing too. Because I never know when to clean. The 30 min idea is going to help out a lot. I have a 2 year old son and 5 year old girl, she is in part-time kindergarten, I plan on homeschooling next year.Thanks, Missy
missy said…
Thanks for the post. I really needed help with routine, and this makes it doable for me.

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