Thursday, September 3, 2015

How We Homeschool

I may be weird, but I like reading other peoples blogs about their homeschool routines and plans for the year.  It gives me ideas or affirms things that we're already doing.  So I figured I would do a post about our school - mostly for me to look back on and remember in years to come, but also to possibly inspire or affirm someone else :)

Our Daily Routine:
I purposefully don't call this a schedule because there are no fixed times to it, just our normal order of operations.  Obviously, things come up at times and we deviate from the plan, but more often than not this is our day.

  • 6:30am Mom wakes up to run, do devotions, and shower
  • 8am most time kids are up, Mom makes breakfast, kids do morning chores (required before they eat: feed creatures, make bed, put clothes away, empty dishwasher, write in thankful journal)
  • Bible verses work during breakfast
  • After breakfast: Teeth brushing, laundry starting, coffee drinking...then, school starts!
  • We all meet on the couch for our Bible lesson, history reading, and "living books".  Living books are mostly non-fiction books recommended in our curriculum about the history event or science topic we are studying. We get these from the library every week and they stay in our book basket.  The kids each pick a book for me to read from the basket for our morning reading time.
  • Everyone moves to the dinning room table to do individual work.  We use the work-box system, so the night before I put each assignment in a box for each kid with a sticky note on it with directions.  If there is a star, they have to do it with me.  No star, they can do it on their own.  The kids pick which box to work on in whichever order they want - the rule is all their boxes need to be done before lunch.  This works really well for us.  
  • When boxes are done we head outside before lunch.  This could be a short walk around the park, riding bikes, running around the park - just some outside time before lunch.
  • Lunch - no set time, it's whenever we make it to this point.  Around 11am I will usually cut up an apple to hold us over till lunch.
  • After lunch we meet back on the couch for Spanish and music (if it is assigned that day - music theory or some directed listening).  This is also read aloud time.  I read a chapter or two of a novel to them, then Keanan goes off with the timer set for 20 min. of reading while Kyla reads to me from a BOB book or other beginner book from the library.
  • Quiet time!  Timer is set for 30 minutes and the kids have to stay quiet in their rooms during this time.  This is when I do my Bible study, check email, and read the news. 
  • Afternoon chore time. The kids have one afternoon chore to do every day (changes daily) and I have one cleaning task to do.
  • DONE!  (Usually 2 or 3pm) Time to play, meet up with friends, or get ready for afternoon activities if there are any that day.
  • 6pm - Dinner and Zac gets home
  • 7:30 - 8 get ready for bed
  • 9pm - lights out for kids (Keanan usually reads for a bit up to this time, but Kyla is probably already out)
  • 11pm - Mom goes to bed!
Note: all changes on Thursday's when we go to PETRA.  The kids are in a history co-op class while I attend a women's bible study.  Afterwards we go to the library.  Everyone is tired when we get home, so we do some quiet time, math, reading, letters/emails, and chores.

Our Curriculum for this semester:
 - Both kids together (we use My Father's World curriculum):
  • Bible: The names of Jesus (bread of life, living water, rock...)
  • History: Adventures in US History - also includes a study of each state
  • Science: varies, but connected to the history lesson or the Bible lesson
  • Art: I Can Do All Things art book (and crafts with history lessons at home and at PETRA)
  • Music: Patriotic Song study (goes with our history lessons), Composer study: Tchaikovsky, Hoffman Academy Piano Lessons (online - more music theory than actual piano)
  • Spanish - Speekee (online), soon to be starting Rosetta Stone
  • PE - varies.  Kyla also does ballet and Keanan just made the rock climbing team at Planet Granite!  They both do group PE in PETRA on Thursday's as well.
-Kyla, on her own
  • English: Learning God's Story first grade lessons (she will be reading through the Bible with her own Bible reader)
  • Math: selected lessons from The Complete Book of Math and Kahn Academy (on Petra days)
  • Reading: BOB books and easy readers from the library
  • Cooking Class - while Keanan is at climbing team practice Kyla and I will be cooking together!  Tuesdays - dinner, Fridays - dessert!
-Keanan, on his own
  • English: Language Lessons for Today, Spelling by Sound and Structure
  • Math: Singapore 1b (almost done and will be moving to 2a), Kahn Academy (on Petra days)
  • Reading: chapter books from the library
  • Typing: Fun to Type - lessons and games
We do all the above things for about 4 weeks, then take an "off week" to mix things up.  The kids each got to decide what they wanted to learn during these weeks. 
  • History: current events from World Kids
  • Reading: Same as above
  • English: letter writing
  • Math: Kahn Academy
  • Keanan: Lego WeDO - engineering, robotics, programming, science...awesome!
  • Kyla: History of Ballet study - technique, famous ballets, famous!
  • Field Trips!!
I LOVE our school times!  I feel like I am learning right along with the kids.  I love how most things in our curriculum are connected - these connections really make things more fun and easier to learn.  

Some other stuff:
The kids are also involved in a few activities:
  • Ballet - Kyla, once a week
  • Rock Monkey's - Keanan, climbing team, twice a week for two hours each time
  • Jr. First Lego League - both, team is starting this month! Zac and I are the coaches :)
  • Church Christmas Musical - both, Wednesday night practices
  • BACH - all of us!  Bay Area Christian Homeschoolers - our homeschool group that we do park days, field trips, moms night outs, science fair, art fair....with.  We are pretty active with this group, and I have just been appointed to the leadership team!
So much fun!  We are really loving this stage and all the opportunities God has placed before us.

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