homeschool: the nitty gritty
I have been asked by several people lately about how I homeschool, what curriculum, etc. and so I thought I'd do a post about the details of our homeschool schedule.
If this ain't your thang...pass on by. No feelings hurt.
We "do school" formally four days a week, Tuesdays thru Friday. Mondays are Jeremiahs day off and we try to protect those days as much as possible. However, we typically will do any museum visits and field trips on Mondays.
On school days we start school usually around 9:30 am (or whenever Zoe goes down for her morning nap). I start off working one on one with Ella while the boys either spend 30 minutes on starfall or watch superwhy. Once Ella is going and set up with some of the work she can do independently, I switch gears to working with the boys. Because they are on different levels, I work one on one with each of them, then try to do an activity where I can include both of them. While I am working with one of them, the other will be sitting at the table with a puzzle, maze, or some kind of manipulative (I love these and these.)
Once the boys are "done" I move back to Ella.
I usually end up the day with either an art or science project...and include all 3 for this.
It is kind of like a dance where I am constantly switching partners, ha!
My goal everyday is to be done with school by lunchtime. Then in the afternoons we try to get some energy out! Most days we do this...with the exception of Thursday when I take Ella with me to Eli's therapy appointments and we do school in the afternoon.
As far as curriculum goes I am only using one formal curriculum, and that is Horizons for math. For everything else I use a combination of internet curriculum, printouts, and library resources.
I am a firm believer that all you need to homeschool is some motivation, a good planner, creativity and a library card.
I am also a firm believer that learning should be as organic as possible and stem from everyday life experiences. A trip to the grocery store, a walk to the park, making dinner, or an afternoon of free play are wrought with lessons as long as I am intentional in bringing them up.
Ella's everyday subjects include math, reading, spelling, and writing. Weekly we cover science and art. I pick a science subject to cover each month and approach it as a unit, trying to incorporate it into the other subjects when possible. For example we studied the solar system for January and all our art projects were based on that, we used planets as math manipulatives, etc.
We also have an author, composer, and artist of the month that we study...by listening/looking/reading their work throughout that month. In addition we have a word of the week that introduces a new vocabulary word that relates to the science unit we are studying.
The boys are going through ABC school and studying a letter a week, as well as doing all our science and art lessons together. I am constantly amazed at how much they absorb just by being in the room with Ella as we cover other subjects.
Not every day goes as planned and January was filled with sick days. And having Zoe means that are days are never really predictable. However, that is the beauty of homeschooling...being able to adapt as needed.
I also have finally figured out a realistic but very necessary time to plan for all of this and I block off Sunday afternoons to do any planning/printing for the week. In addition I take 1/2 a day once a month to plan all the next months science lessons, order books, peruse pinterest for ideas, etc. I have learned that without proper preparation chaos reigns!
More to come later on our month studying the solar system...