Monday, March 29, 2010

School Time

A couple weeks ago I shared about our morning routine. I think that doing the same thing every morning has offered my children some stability. Every day looks a little different, but we try to start out the same. Here's a peek into our school time.

I found a great resource from World Book of what they should know at each grade level. I would love to be the kind of mom who could take that and teach my kids very naturally throughout the day. Unfortunately, I no longer have the brain power to be able to do that. There are plenty of resources out there, though, to help me teach my kids in a manner that fits us.

Reading/Language- I think it's pretty important for kids to learn how to read. Once they can read, they are able to find out anything they want to. But my boys hated sitting still long enough to get this very basic knowledge into them. I read a great book by Ruth Beechick (A Home Start in Reading) that helped me to see that reading is not the all there is. It's more important to teach kids about the world around them (science) and allow them to build a thirst for knowledge. Once I stopped pushing on the reading, things really improved.

Math- I am perfectly comfortable teaching my kids their math without needing a text. We do word problems in the van while running errands. We play counting and simple math games while setting the table. But math is so sequential that I was afraid I would miss something. So, we have a text, but it's more for me to see what they should be learning than it is for them to work from. I'm discovering that while my method is teaching them their math skills just fine, they don't really understand the written equation- we'll work on it :)

Each of these topics takes about ten minutes per child. Usually the kids are all playing on the floor. I'll call one over to me and we'll do a lesson from their book. Recently, Zachary's language lessons have involved drawing pictures of each season, so all the kids did that with him. Or I'll be working on patterns with Veronica, and the boys will want patterns, too. More often than not, I'm even folding laundry during this time, as well! It's pretty laid back, but I like the structure that the books we have chosen give us. For these lessons, there's little to nothing to prepare ahead of time. This makes it easy for Daddy or Grandma to do a lesson, as well.

Bible Study- We're always doing something different for this. Right now we have a Character Building curriculum that we're really enjoying. Sometimes we just read through a whole Bible. Other times our unit study is more Biblically based and we have a lot of projects that we're working on. Our favorite of all time was reading through the Jesus Storybook Bible.

Unit Studies- What about everything else? Science, history, geography, etc. We have chosen to immerse ourselves in one topic at a time and study it from all angles. There are many great programs that offer unit studies. We are currently using Konos. The units are based on character traits and are multi-level. All the kids study the same thing at the same time. Many times during the school year we don't do this part and just check out stacks of library books. It serves the same purpose- to introduce the kids to a variety of topics and to enjoy the learning process. Using Konos is my way of being intentional about choosing the topics and projects and the other method is the kids picking out what they're interested in. Both are valid methods of teaching and we utilize them both.

Right now, Bible study and unit studies are done altogether. Crafts and science can be done by all the children- each to their own level of skill and understanding. Some things we've already covered twice and I anticipate covering them again. The baby needs to learn about Adam and Eve and how weather works, too!

Add in a little playtime and doing a couple chores and it's lunchtime! My how the day flies by. How do you structure your day? Do you do any structured activities with your kids?


  1. Thanks for the peek into you guys' "house school"! (as Elena calls it;) So helpful to get a feel for what others do. It was great to see you guys this weekend!

  2. It was good seeing you, too! I think schooling at home is so intimidating. When I talk with other moms it always seems like everyone else is spending most of their day schooling their children, while we only "do school" for an hour or two. It doesn't have to take lots of time or money. That's the beauty of homeschooling- you can make it fit your lifestyle, so long as you meet your state's guidelines!