With the first week of school under our belt, I thought I’d share the schedule we are trying to implement this year. Although it is probably still too early to tell, the schedule worked great for us this past week. It is very similar to what we did last year, except this year the older boys have assignments to fulfill.
Because we have to be out the door so early to make it to school on time on Mondays and Wednesdays, I do not make my kids wake up at a certain time on our home days. Once every one is up, we head downstairs and have breakfast as a family. We are so blessed this year to have Neil at home during breakfast, and after eating he leads the kids in our family devotional: scripture memorization, catechism, singing and prayer.
The kids clear the table and go do their chores while I clean up and begin to get their work ready. After they are dressed, I set the timer for 15 minutes and they have their quiet times. During this time they have to stay in their room and read, listen to music or play an instrument. The 2 year old goes in his crib with books. When the timer goes off, we meet in the school room to begin our studies!
This simple daily routine has brought so much peace to our home. It provides a little bit of time for me to get organized for the day, gives the kids age-appropriate responsibilities to help out around the house, and their time alone really sets the tone for the day.
The Pre-K class is using the FIve In A Row curriculum, so we begin our school day with the book of the week. I highly recommend this curriculum for toddlers and up. I cannot say enough how much our entire family has enjoyed it. This is our third year using it and the activities are always engaging and educational. I will try to highlight some of the curriculum we are using throughout the year, but if you have young kids, even if you do not want to homeschool, this is a great way to get through children’s literature.
Each of our kids is in a different level of Saxon Math, so after Five In A Row we begin our Math Meeting. We do the calendar, weather and counting together, and then each of the kids completes their level activities. At this point, Antonella begins her independent work while I bounce between the boys, teaching their math lessons and assigning activities. We usually save the hands-on, crafty activities for the end of the morning.
Along with math, the boys complete handwriting practice, spelling, and reading. We have started the year with pretty basic assignments, laying the foundation to build upon the rest of the year. Antonella is able to do her handwriting and reading while I teach the boys.
After lunch and the boys are in bed, I have time to teach Antonella her math lesson and also complete the other subjects. We are usually done before the boys wake up from their naps, and we have a little bit of time to rest, get some things done around the house, or get dinner started.
Although the assignments will increase and require more time as the year goes on, I am hoping this schedule will serve to allow me some individual time with each of the kids. I am sure you are wondering what August is doing this entire time… He has special toys that he is only allowed to play with during school, Antonella plays with him part of the time, and he generally floats around and I throw things at him to entertain him. He can also participate in a two-year-old version of most of the activities that the older kids do.
Our mornings are a mixture of peaceful learning and loud controlled chaos. From day one we have started to work on patience. Each of them at some point or another has to wait for me to finish up with a sibling and continue their lesson. Each of them hears “Just a minute!” several times a day and each of them has to figure some things out on their own. But in the midst of the questions, the flying erasers and the fights over the pencil sharpener, they are learning so much more than their textbooks teach them. I believe that in this environment they will thrive and learn and worship, and it is my joy to be a part of it.