I decided to start ‘school’ earlier this year than planned due to the upcoming births I will be helping with in the fall (which always requires some recovery time). Its a gentle start meaning that we still have a full summer schedule of play dates and outdoor adventures but have been adding in a bit of our school work as we’re able. This year I’m going to attempt a more structured day but its a guide that I won’t let dictate everything as I want all our days to have the flexibility for creativity.
8am- wake up and do morning chores (hopefully they were done the previous night by 9pm with evening chores completed). The kids have printed graphs with their morning and evening chores listed
9am- we start ‘school’. The kids each have their own rolling carts/scrapbook totes with their personal school books in them that they have to roll out and put next to where they will sit for the day (they also have their current reading books, craft project and sketching notebooks in these carts and anytime they finish an assignment before their sibling they may pull that out and work/read quietly while they wait for what is next). Part of their morning chores include clearing off the table, so they should be sitting with their books ready and the table clean at 9am. I spend that morning hour making myself breakfast and getting Bayus ready for his day, also checking email, printing papers for their work of the day and getting myself dressed and ready for the day. We are using MFW curriculum and start our day with a short review of our memory verse for the week, sometimes there is some discussion, a short Primary Language lesson, handwriting review and writing in their journals (I have a list of writing prompts and will have already written the day’s verse and the day’s writing prompt on the sliding glass window). So basically we start the day with a bit of bible and english.
9:30- 15min-30min ‘recess’. My kids think its really fun to have recess and they take it so very seriously to play hard during that time that I find it adorable. I set a timer in the house and go out and ring a cow bell when the time is up and they come running. Sometimes I will tell them to collect eggs or eat strawberries from the garden but mostly its free time that involves a lot of running and chasing and playing in the ‘forest’.
10am- Math; we are using Singapore math this year and so far I’m not impressed but I’m going to go a bit further with it before I pronounce judgement and switch. We move into Geography after math and they have a geography binder they are often filing worksheets or construction paper flags they’ve made during this time. Sometimes the lesson involves a game or song that goes along with the given country
11am- Science; they have science notebooks that they write about what we read from ‘Living World’ in and illustrate a bit
11:15 (or so) they are outside for more recess time (hopefully with their science lesson fresh in their mind as they run around outside). I take this time to set out lunches
11:30-noon we eat lunch and I’ve usually got a CD playing with international music from the country we discussed that day or the memory verse or our Latin studies playing in the back ground
Noon- Quiet time; Elias and Hannah each grab their current reading books and have to find quiet corners to read in for 40mins while I get Bayus to lay down for what usually results in a nap (He spends most of the morning hours playing with trains or castle toys and running outside with the others during recesses)
1pm- Elective time; these rotate daily–> Monday= music lesson,Tuesday= Latin, Wednesday= Sewing, Thursday= Draw Squad, Friday= letter writing to relatives and free choice as they can pull out any craft projects they’ve wanted more time on to work on in the afternoons
1:30/2pm our school day is done and they run off for lots of free play, crafts, afternoon trips to the YMCA or library or friends houses…..that sort of thing. We may have some cub scouts for Elias and Celtic dance classes for Hannah in the fall that will be afternoon/evening on our schedule.
So I started our ‘school’ the first week of August and so far it has gone well. I have not wanted to stress about our schedule, I want it to be a guide but not a dictator, and we are doing about 1 week of work every 2 weeks. The kids like everything we are doing, the schedule is doable and they are loving the electives and recesses this year. I’ve had the materials for most of these electives for years now but never had it formally included in our schedule- now that it is its fun to see it happening. Its also fun to hear the kids greeting each other in Latin.
Here’s a picture of the kids first sewing project. Using a full adult sized dinner napkin they made small lunch napkins and silverware roll ups. I used the remaining fabric to make a bag to hold it all in with their new Tiffin lunch pails. The kids are loving using these for our picnic outings!