Thursday, August 18, 2011

Our School Schedule

I love to get a glimpse into other people's daily schedules, especially those involving homeschooling and homemaking and making it all work day in and day out, so I thought I would share our current homeschooling schedule.  Currently we are academically schooling six days a week (Sunday through Friday).  This is temporary.  I am working on getting Arin ahead, so that when the baby is born in October, we can take an extended break and have time to enjoy loving on and adjusting to a new family member.  For now though, this schedule is working great!  The kids are cooperative and excited about school, which always makes it easier.  Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday are our heaviest academic days.  Tuesdays are reserved for book work or field trips, and family time.  Fridays include book work, baking, and extra cleaning chores.  On Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, we break our school day up into different sections of learning time.

First, the girls wake up and eat breakfast.  During breakfast, I read a chapter or two from whatever chapter book we are working on.  Currently, we are reading The Little House Chapter Books (the Rose Years).  After breakfast, the girls clear their spots at the table and go to get ready for the day.  This includes getting dressed, making beds, brushing teeth and me fixing their hair.

Once those basics are completed, we start our first learning session, Circle Time.  The girls love circle time.  It is relaxed, fun, and it includes both girls.  Circle time includes the following things:

- Good Morning Song:
Good Morning to You
Good Morning to You
Good Morning, Good Morning and How Do You Do?
Good Morning to You
Good Morning to You
Good Morning, Good Morning, I'm Fine How Are You?

- Prayers

- Then, I read a chapter from whatever book we're reading in the Bible, or I read a bible story.  Eventually, I'd like to add in a bible story coloring page or a bible story craft, but for now we keep it very simple.

- Then, Arin works on her memory verse.  So far, she's been able to memorize them quickly, which means we work on one verse a week.  I video tape her at the end of the week and she loves this!

(In case you are wondering what Arin started to do with her hands at the end of the video (I cut it off before she was finished) - she knows her Uncle Todd will see these videos and she is always trying to do something to make him laugh when he watches them.  Silly little girl!)

- Then we talk about our character quality.  Currently, we are working on obedience.  I had planned to work on a different character quality each week, but while they have the definition down, they don't always put it into practice, so we are spending more time on it.  The definition I gave them for obedience is, "To respond immediately (first time) to the instructions given by a trusted adult"  We talk about who is and who isn't a trusted adult and what situations we would and wouldn't obey in.  We usually play a game like "Red Light, Green Light" because they need to immediately obey the instructions given (Stop & Go).

Playing "Red Light, Green Light"
The above activities are done in that order.  The rest of circle time is done in whatever random order we choose, but we always do all of these activities.

- Stretch or do The Hokey Pokey.  We alternate days on this activity.  They love both.  When we stretch, I keep it simple and do it with them. 
I tell them, "Reach for the sky. 

Now touch your toes. 

Stand up Tall.

 Now bend to the right. 

Now bend to the left. 

Now, squat real low." 

We repeat that a few times and I always end stretching time with "Now shake, shake, shake and get all those wiggles out".

- Calendar.  We alternate days of reciting the months of the year or days of the week.  If we're reciting the months of the year, we just run through them a few times.  Arin has them almost down now.  If we are talking about the days of the week, we sing a song set to the Munster's theme.

There's Sunday and there's Monday
There's Tuesday and there's Wednesday
There's Thursday and there's Friday
and then there's Saturday.
Days of the week (snap) Days of the Week (snap)
Days of the Week, Days of the Week, Days of the Week.

This is the song that I used to teach Arin the days of the week when she was two and she still loves it.  Ella is beginning to catch on to it now too.

- We also sing "Today is Wednesday (or whatever day it is), Today is Wednesday all day long, all day long.  Yesterday was Tuesday (or whatever day) Tomorrow will be Thursday (or correct day).  Let's have fun, let's have fun"  I think I saw this song on Delightful Learning at the beginning of their school year last year????

- We read two library books.  We have a big basket of library books and each of the girls pick which one they want to hear.

Ready for storytime.
- We sing two songs.  Both of the girls get to pick one song they want to sing.  "If You're Happy & You Know It" is the favorite at the moment - someone always picks it.  Itsy, Bitsy Spider, Old McDonald, Row, Row, Row You Boat, and Mary Had a Little Lamb have also been popular during Circle Time.

If you're happy and you know it shout "Hooray!"

The Itsy, Bitsy Spider...

...down came the rain

I'm a Little Tea Pot
- Ella is learning her ABC's, so I write them on the dry erase board and we sing them three or four times.  The girls love taking turns pointing to the letters as we sing them. 

After we sing the ABC's a few times, I ask Ella to find certain letters, like "Where's the S?" etc.  Today, Arin took over the role as teacher and she came up with a new idea, which worked really well.  She circled 2-4 letters and from those letters, she asked Ella to find a particular one.  Ella got them right many more times that way than the way I was doing it.  I guess it was less intimidating/confusing to look through just a few letters.  So way to go, Arin with that idea :)

Big sister teaching little sister :)
- Arin's uncle has challenged her to a few memorization tasks.  He has asked her to learn the names of the U.S. Presidents in order, the names of the vice-presidents, the names of the states and the names of all the state capitals.  Currently, we are working on the presidents.  I picked up a set of the president flash cards at Target.  We work on these three at a time.  Once she has learned three, we add another three until they are easy for her.  She is working on the first six right now and close to being ready to move on.  I let her use the pointer when she is reciting their names.  The pointer (purchased from Target) is a super-fun toy and apparently a great motivator :)

Then, Circle Time is over.  We have outside time.  This is a fairly short period of time. I set the timer for 15-20 minutes and the girls go outside to play.  I try to have an activity planned for them each day.  Blowing bubbles is the favorite activity right now, but other options include sidewalk chalk, kicking the soccer ball, playing frisbee, riding scooters, riding bikes, etc.

When Outside Time is over, we come in, get a drink and a snack (usually a bowl of grapes or some other fruit) and Arin settles in for her book work.  This is her favorite part of school.  I know because I just asked her today and that is what she told me, plus she always gets giddy when I tell her we are doing book work.

Book work includes:
- Singapore Math 1A workbook or practice book.  One or two pages, six days a week

- Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  One lesson, six days a week.  By the way, she says this is her favorite of all the subjects.  I tried Hooked on Phonics with her last year and had nothing but meltdowns, so what a relief to have this be a joy to her now.  It says it'll take about 20 minutes a day per lesson.  Right now, it takes Arin less than 10 minutes per lesson.

- Language Lessons for Little Ones 2.  One lesson per day, six days a week.

- Evan-Moore Geography.  One lesson per day, four days a week.

- Weather Journal.  Four to five days a week.

- Italic Handwriting.  One letter per week, five days a week. 
  ~Sunday: write lowercase letter on unlined paper - any sizes.
  ~Monday: write uppercase letter on unlined paper - any sizes.
  ~Wednesday: write lowercase letter on lined dry erase board, trying to keep the "right" size according to the lines.
  ~Thursday: write uppercase letter on lined dry erase board, trying to keep the "right" size according to the lines.
  ~Friday: write lowercase and uppercase letters in the book.

- Miscellaneous.  We do one of these activities every day, five days a week, but we alternate them:
  ~Week/Weekend Recap (Arin tells me about something that happened over the weekend or the previous week.  I write it down and she draws a picture to go with it),
  ~Write a letter (the girls dictate a letter to their grandparents (the set that doesn't live near us) and I write it down and they draw pictures),
  ~Writing Strands 1,
  ~Silly Story Starters (Arin makes up a story and I write it down.  She draws a picture to go along.  She also enjoys me video taping her telling the story.)
  ~Nature Journal (observe nature and do an art project/activity related to it).

- Read Aloud.  Arin reads aloud to me everyday from her Bob Books or her Hooked on Phonics Books.

Arin reading to her daddy before bed.

- Silent Reading.  Both girls get a stack of library books and find a comfortable place to sit/lay and look at their books.  I set the timer for 15 minutes and I read my book at the same time.  They are to stay quiet and focused during this activity.

What does Ella do during Arin's book work time?  She keeps herself busy looking through books, coloring, doing her own book work,

working on a special project I have for her, putting together a puzzle, playing with her doll house, coloring in her "weather journal" (a composition notebook), or sometimes she makes up her own activities.  This week, she kept herself busy putting erasers in a hairbrush. 

Simple (I would have never thought of it) but she loved it!  Soon, I will be adding more structured learning to her day (maybe, we'll see how life adjusts to a new baby).

Then, it's usually lunch time :) If it isn't lunch time, then we'll move on to our Before Five in a Row (B4FIAR) activities.

While I am fixing lunch, the girls have free play.  During lunch, we sit together at the table.  I am a quicker eater, so once my lunch is finished, I read another chapter or two to the girls.  Once they are finished, they clear their spots at the table and brush their teeth.  They have more free play.  I work on my chores.  The girls usually help out with some chores also.  Their favorites are cleaning windows, dusting, starting the dishwasher, mopping, help sort dirty clothes and fold clean clothes. 

By this time, I am about to fall over.  I need a rest period every afternoon and it does the girls well too.  Sometimes rest means naps all around, sometimes it just means cuddling up in mama's bed and watching a movie together. 

After rest, we have a snack.  I do some more tidying or check email/facebook, etc. and the girls play or watch a movie (depending on what was included in rest time).  If there's enough time, we will work on our B4FIAR activities before dinner (if we didn't finish before lunch), if not, we'll fit them in after dinner.  On a really good day, we are able to fit them in before rest time :)

We have dinner, clean-up, more free-play and maybe some more outside time, perhaps we'll go visit family or run errands.  Then, it's get ready for bed time.  Baths, PJ's, quick tidy of living room, snacks, stories, and bed.

What works so well with this schedule is that it includes both girls most of the time.  Ella has to keep herself entertained during some of Arin's book work, but she is usually happy to do that.  It also keeps the girls busy which means little time to get into mischief.  It also adds a lot of variety to the day, so while they are doing a lot during the day, they are not getting burnt-out.  In October, we'll be taking an extended amount of time off completely from school.  Then, we'll probably start up light at first - few tasks a day/few days a week.  Eventually, I would like our new academic schedule to be limited to four days a week, with Tuesdays and Saturdays as family days, and Fridays focusing on homemaking lessons/preparing for the Sabbath.

Linked to: TOBY

1 comment:

  1. I love it. We also keep a similar schedule and my kids love it. They love being on a schedule and I love it too! We also use BOB books. Keagan loves them and now Miss Priss does too.