Ready for the New Year! 2017 Book List

It’s that time of year again. Planning time!

I fell behind early in the year, and did not get to all the books on my 2016 list. However, I am a firm believer that it is better to plan and fall short than to not plan and go through the year unchallenged.

I’ve spent December working hard to wrap up several books, and while I still have a couple books to complete, I am so excited to hit the new year!

This year I decided to organize my reading list by areas of interest rather than just planning out month to month.

Personal scholarship areas of interest:

Educational Philosophy – I’m still focusing on Classical and Charlotte Mason this year, as well as the power of good literature in a child’s upbringing

Christian Topics – This year is about delving deeper into relationship with God, and having a more impactive Bible study time.

Parenting – this year I continue to work on being a better mom to my kids, a better wife to my husband, and making my house a home.

Science – my earliest passion was science, and even though I am not currently working in research, I do love to read about new discoveries and different areas of research.

Literature Study – Why limit yourself to reading literature when you can read  books about literature?

Current Topics – It is easy for me to get wrapped up in my focus areas, so I have made it a point to select some titles on current topics to explore this year.

Great Books/Classics – I am wanting to work through some classic works this year, including more Syntopical Reading in the Great Books (which I don’t list here), as well as exploring some Shakespeare.

Homesteading and Self-sufficiency – A project of mine, and something we as a family would like to work toward.

History – I decided to follow up on 2016’s study of Abigail Adams with some additional reading.

Fiction – This is my catch-all area for fiction works, though most would certainly be considered classics.

Literary Mentors

Two of my main goals for 2017 are to improve in my role as a mother and wife, and to have a deeper and more fulfilling walk with God.

I’ve selected Charlotte Mason and C.S.Lewis as literary mentors to walk alongside me as I work toward these goals.

2017 Reading Goals

Completing 2016 Books

  •  A Philosophy of Education (Volume 6) by Charlotte Mason
  •  Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville
  •  In Defense of Sanity by G.K. Chesterton

2017 Book list

Educational Philosophy

  •  Learning All The Time by John Holt
  •  Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt
  •  Keeping a Nature Journal by  Charles E. Roth and Clare Walker Leslie
  •  Consider This by Karen Glass
  •  The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
  •  For the Love of Learning: Giving Your Children a Lolipop Education by Amy Edwards
  •  Climbing Parnassus by Tracy Lee Simmons
  •  The Paideia Program by Mortimer Alder
  •  How to Speak, How to Listen by Mortimer Alder
  •  Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson (survey)
  •  Home Education by Charlotte Mason
  •  Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson

Christian Topics

  •  How to Study Your Bible by Kay Arthur
  •  Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby
  •  Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  •  The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
  •  The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonheifer
  •  The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
  •  Desiring God by John Piper
  •  Basic Theology by Charles Ryrie
  •  Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph

Parenting and Homemaking

  •  10 Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker
  •  Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson
  •  Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins
  •  Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren
  •  A Life-giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson (reread with RAR)
  •  Untangled:Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour
  •  Laying Down The Rails by Sonya Shafer
  •  The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schafer

Science

  •  The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

Literature Study

  •  A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz
  •  Marmee and Louisa by Eve LaPlante

Current Events

  •  Feardom by Connor Boyack
  •  The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe
  •  Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

Great Books/Classics

  •  The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
  •  Plutarch’s Lives
  •  Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing
  •  Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Homesteadinng and Self Sufficiency

  •  Survival Mom by Lisa Bedford
  •  Mini-farming: Self-sufficiency on 1/4 Acre  by Brett Markham
  •  Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart

History

  •  John Adams by David McCullough
  •  My Dearest Friend: Letters of John and Abigail Adams

Fiction

  •  The Man in the High Castle by Phillip Dick
  •  Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter
  •  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  •  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  •  Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton Porter
  •  Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
  •  The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  •  Native Son by Richard Wright
  •  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  •  Father Brown by GK Chesterton
  •  1984 by George Orwell7
  •  Jo’s Boys by L.M Alcott
  •  Eight Cousins by L.M. Alcott
  •  Rose in Bloom by L.M. Alcott
  •  Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

As with my 2016 list, I may find myself deviating from my list, and that’s okay. As long as I have a plan to start the year off right, I’m happy!

 

 

 

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Arc Notebooks for Homeschool

At the beginning of the school year, I knew we would be having a challenging year, with back and forth trips to Atlanta while we were in the process of selling our house, and being in a state of flux. In what can only be described as a Herculean effort (for me at least…), I spent a couple of days getting the ENTIRE school year planned out, printables prepared and organized into folders for 36 weeks. Each week all I had to do was reach for that particular week and distribute any printables between our daily folders. 

This has worked well for the most part. The one drawback I have had, though, is not being “with it” on a Sunday to fill the upcoming daily folders. Some weeks I have scrambled on Monday to get our week started out right.
 

I had a friend recommend the Arc Notebook system from Staples recently, and seeing how I am always looking for ways to be more efficient and productive, I decided to try it out and see if it meets our needs. The Arc system uses a special punch and the pages slip onto a series of discs via openings along the edge, rather than closed holes that are bound by rings. This system allows for easy removal and placement of papers and notebook components. 

Ready-made notebooks can be purchased in letter and junior sizes, and individual components are available separately.
 
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(left) the press and various components for making Arc Notebooks. (center) discs are available in two sizes. (right) We’ve made several notebooks recently, for school, personal bible study and weekly planners. They work great!
 
I have prepared arc notebooks for Kyri, my rising fourth grader, and now for Ender, my 4-year-old starting pre-K. 
 
For Kyri, I have made sections for each of our subjects.  Rather than our weekly folders, all of our printables are now contained in a single notebook, organized by subject. A full year of spelling printables, spelling test pages, math printables and facts practice sheets, geography printables, etc. Now I don’t have to worry about filling daily folders on a Sunday to prepare for the upcoming week because everything is already organized in our notebook. 
 
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(left) We used the larger discs for Kyri’s school notebook. (right, all panels) Kyri’s notebook contains all printables and consumables for her math, spelling, history, geography, bible, and science.
At the beginning of Kyri’s notebook I have included blank checklists, where I list daily tasks I would like her to complete. While most of our morning is spent reading together during Kidschool, she does have independent work as well as some guided work she does in the afternoon (and this material makes up the brunt of her notebook). 
 
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(top, left) We have made junior notebooks for general note taking. (top, right) Weekly planning pages for Kyri’s notebook. (bottom, left) One section of Ender’s notebook contains several Arc zipper pouches. (bottom, right) One section of Ender’s notebook contains letter and number cards for daily practice.
For Ender, his notebook is more for organizing laminated activity packs in zipper pouches. I have letter cards, and matching games, puzzles and sorting activities, all printed and laminated. I have one section for many laminated letter and counting cards, followed by a section of zipper pouches that contain printed and laminated preschool activities. Lined paper and printouts are in another section. I’ll go into specific resources for each grade in separate posts.
 
 

 

Homeschooling in the midst of turmoil

One of the many benefits of having a homeschool lifestyle is the flexibilty it allows. This year our family is going through a fair amount of change. With an impending job loss and relocation for a new job on the horizon, we have opted to uproot the family and relocate to Georgia during the transition.

 
This means most of our stuff is sitting in storage, we are living with significant space restrictions, and we have taken a few weeks off for packing, moving, and settling in.
 
I know that if we had Kyriandra enrolled in a traditional public or private school, there would be a significant amount of pressure to schedule our move when it worked best for the school system’s schedule, and there would have been a timer going to get her enrolled in the new school system shortly after moving.                                                                                                                                   
In order to keep school moving forward, even in the midst of all the chaos, I have done several things:
 
1. Plan ahead
 
I know this may seem obvious, but keeping things running smoothly when everything else is chaotic and hectic really requires planning, planning, planning. We school year round, but I do sit down at the end of summer and plan out the new school year. I plan a 36-week schedule for the Fall and Spring, and we do a lighter load in the summer. When I sat down at the end of August, I knew our October move was going to disrupt school for a few weeks so I decided to prepare for the entire year.
 
I prepared six 6-week overviews, where I mapped out in broader terms what we would cover each week in each subject. For example, I went through our Saxon Math and planned out 36 weeks with two lessons per week. For History, I mapped out all the topics I wanted to cover over the course of the school year.
 
I also prepared our weekly lesson plan page and printed up enough copies for the entire year. Each week I can can refer to the 6-week overview and see what we are covering, and I plan out our lessons in more detail for each day.
 
Finally, I prepared 36 manila folders and labeled them weeks 1 through 36. I did all my printing in one marathon session and filled each folder with all the printed material for that particular week. So now when I am getting our Daily Folders read for the week I only need to pull out that week’s manila folder. I have our Saxon math pages, spelling pages, spelling test sheet, geography sheets, Bible Road Trip pages, and any art pages I have prepared. I distribute the pages among the Daily folders and we are ready for the week.
 
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2. Schedule by Week and NOT by Date
 
When I planned out our school year, I purposely omitted listing actual dates. Instead, I planned by weeks. We managed to get through Week 4 of school work before our move. We took off three weeks of school for packing, moving and settling in. I then picked up our school schedule at Week 5 without stressing over the calendar date. I write in the actual dates on our weekly lesson sheet so that I know when we actually covered the work. Planning our schedule this way has done wonders for my stress level. Now I don’t get upset that we aren’t where I had “hoped” we would be by a certain date. I know we are up to a certain “week” and that works for me. 
 
3. Be flexible and let things go
 
I’ll be the first to admit we fall behind in some subjects. I try to keep us on track with our core subjects of Math, Language Arts, Science and History, but sometimes we fall behind in other subjects. Our first year homeschooling, this would have really stressed me out! But I have come to realize that it all comes out in the wash. One of the reasons we school year round is that we have all year to cover things, if we fall a little behind in an area, we’ve got time to get caught up. 

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Additionally, we are always open to learning opportunities that aren’t “on the schedule” so while we may not be on schedule in one area, it is more than likely we have added some valuable learning experience so that it balances out. For example, we haven’t been keeping up with our Art plans as I had envisioned them back in September when writing out my schedule, but Kyri has started participating in the monthly Kid Clinics at Home Depot. 
 
Finally, don’t discount the importance of independent study. I encourage Kyri to spend as much time as possible reading good books. If we aren’t quite keeping up, as far as our paper schedule is concerned, but Kyri has been reading about a variety of topics, then I certainly don’t consider that a bad thing.

 

 

My Compass

compass (n.) an instrument for determining direction
 

In the past year, I have been doing a lot of reading about the Thomas Jefferson Leadership Education philosophy. It has really resonated with me, and I am incorporating more of the philosophy into our educational style here. Leadership education isn’t something just for the early years, though. It is meant for lifelong learning.

 
One of the ways we inspire our children to pursue learning is to model learning. I really believe this. This is true for most things. We can tell our children to do (or not do) something or behave a certain way all we want, but if we aren’t doing it or modeling it ourselves, the lesson will often be lost on them.
 
Learning, and loving learning, is no exception. This does not need to be anything “formal.” There are things that I want to learn and I need to set aside time in my day to pursue this continuing education. I benefit from this, obviously, but my kids see me reading and studying, and this models a love of learning. I want my kids to see that learning is something that we should want to do, not just something we do because someone else requires it.
 
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One component of Leadership Education is planning and evaluating what you know and what you want to learn, This evaluation, which should be done every six months, is callled a Compass. 
 
The details on working up a Compass are a little vague in TJEd literature, probably because this is a personal process and there are a multitude of ways to tackle it. While this can be personalized as needed, I did find a wonderful resource online. This author outlines how she does her compass, and is quite detailed in her process. I am going to be using her guide as a starting point and putting together my own six-month compass. After putting together my own compass, I will feel more confident in sitting down with Kyri and writing out her own six-month compass.
 
Check out Freedom Educators for an excellent outline of how to work up a Compass. 
 
Briefly, I am working on three areas. 
 
First, I am detailing my strengths – what I like to do and what I am good at doing. I am also building a list of my top 30 books I’ve ever read. Reading good books, classics, is a key part of the TJEd philosophy, and so reading good books that have a lasting impact on us is very important. I’ve read a lot of books over the years, so I have had to really dig deep to come up those that I would classify as my top books.
 
Next, I am taking a critical look at myself and listing areas that I need to strengthen. This isn’t limited to academic areas, but also includes personal growth or life skills.
 
Finally, I am making a plan for the next six months. Included in this plan is a list of books that I would like to read, things I would like to learn (again, not limited to academics, this includes life skills, even fun things like new hobbies), and my personal mission. 
 
Coming up with my personal mission is a tough one. This is where I need to dig deep and think about what I am meant to do with my life. I think for my first Compass, this mission statement may end up being a little vague, but over time as I do more exploration, I will refine my mission.
 
The Compass is meant to be read weekly as a reminder of your personal plan. After six months, it should be reviewed and updated. What goals were accomplished? What new things were learned? What new books were read? Incorporate your accomplishments into your new compass. 
 
I am looking forward to this process. It is so easy to make plans or set goals for ourselves and then lose sight of them, only to wonder later why we didn’t accomplish anything.

Children and Math

I’ve had two different stories about children and math come through my Facebook feed in the last two days. 

 

In Monday’s online edition of The Atlantic, there is a piece that discusses young children being capable of learning algebra and calculus concepts through play. You can read the article here.

 
One suggestion that is made in the article is that the normal progression of math instruction that we are accustomed to, is in fact developmentally inappropriate and does not allow for more playful exploration of mathematical manifestations in activities such as nature, art and music. 
 
“Mathematics is fundamentally about patterns and structures, rather than little manipulations of numbers,” says Math educator Maria Droujkova. 
 
In the article, Droujkova goes on to discuss this idea of “complex yet easy” versus “simple yet hard.” 
 
What a great way to think of things.
 
Complex yet simple – things like origami, building a house from LEGO blocks, snowflake cutouts. Complex concepts but simple (and fun) activities. Children can grasp the more complex concept through these playful activities.  
 
Simple yet hard – doing a worksheet of 100 repetitive math problems or memorizing multiplication tables without recognizing the inherent patterns present.
 
One of the take-home messages of this piece is that children can learn these complex mathematical concepts in an informal way. They get the concept and can think of it in a more abstract way. From there they can move into a more formal understanding of the subject matter, incorporating words, graphs and equations.
 

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The second article I read was an Op-Ed piece in the LA Times. You can read it here.
 
The writer, Edward Frenkel, discusses the benefits of incorporating mathematical concepts and ideas, rather than just straight arithmetic, into math instruction. While he stresses that the tried and true method of math instruction, teaching addition and multiplication tables for example, was still essential, demonstrating some of the abstract along with the concrete would go a long way in capturing the attention of children and motivating them to learn math.
 
Frenkel writes of more abstract mathematic concepts as being “portals into the magic world of modern math, starting points as surely as addition, subtraction and fractions are starting points. The added bonus is that they give us a perfect antidote to the common perception of the subject as stale and boring.”
 
I think, as with most things, it is important to find a balance that works for your family.

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I have written previously about how we have switched over to Saxon Math (starting with Saxon 5/4) this school year. While there is a bit of drill (each lesson starts with a Basic Skills “test” which essentially drills the student on basic mathematical facts), the Saxon lessons incorporate mental math and problem solving, which encourages students to solve a problem without a template, and then prompts the student to note which strategies he/she employed to solve it. The problem sets consist of new concept questions along with problems from previous lessons. While there is a steady build up in skills and difficulty, there is a constant review of previously learned materials. 

 

While we are spending time each week on formal arithmetic instruction, we also incorporate more concept-based learning experiences. 

Often these are puzzles and online games that focus on sequences, patterns, or solving. We have spent a lot of time exploring origami and LEGO building projects (if you are using Google Chrome, check out this cool app!) , even Minecraft. Video games, while perhaps not a traditional math experience, does provide ample opportunity to hone arithmetic skills – crafting recipes and working in multiples, tracking points in various skills, etc. 
 
We have also just started using  Dragon Box, an app I highly recommend! This app teaches algebraic principles in a simplified way. Starting with simple blocks with creatures, basic concepts are taught, reinforced and built upon. Kyri devoured the lower version (5+, for ages 6-8) in just a couple of days and was quite excited when I installed the higher version (12+, great for ages 8 and up). She is already quite comfortable with the concepts such as positive and negative numbers, reducing fractions, and balancing equations as a result. To her, algebra is a puzzle or game to be solved, not a math subject looming out in the future to stress over.
 
These activities promote an interest and drive to learn more without the pressure of formal learning. But we are also building a firm foundation in basic skills with the formal instruction. I think we are striking a good balance.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our typical day with a 7-, 2- and 1-year-old

I know that homeschooling schedules are as varied as the people who count themselves as homeschoolers, but I always find it enlightening to see how other people manage their daily routines.

We are now halfway through our third year homeschooling, with our oldest being a 7-year-old second grader, and our two littles being 2 ½ and 1. We’ve also got a baby due this summer, which I am sure will require more adjustments to our school schedule.

We are year-round homeschoolers, but we do follow the “traditional” school calendar for some of our subjects, since we are participating in a small co-op that meets weekly. I also try to plan for a lighter schedule in the summer to allow for more outdoor, unscheduled activities.

We typically have two days during the week that we have activities. One day a week we spend our mornings at co-op working on science demonstrations and experiments, followed by a weekly park day with our local homeschool group. Since this keeps us out of the house most of the morning and afternoon, I do not schedule any “school” time at home. One day a week we spend a few hours at our local library branch participating in childrens’ programs and checking out books for the week. On library day I try to have a lighter school schedule that can be done in the mornings.

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The baby keeping me company during co-op.

The remaining three week days, I try to devote to school work and getting housework done.

With our 2-year-old becoming more independent and wanting more interaction and activities, we have struggled to find the perfect schedule that works for us for the days we are home. At the beginning of the school year, I tried to start school by 9:00 and allow for longer breaks throughout the day. We would work through one subject area, and then the kids would have a break to play and get wiggles out.In theory I had planned to use those short breaks to accomplish my own tasks, but between caring for our youngest and refereeing the older children, very little on my personal task list was getting accomplished.

After the holidays, we changed our daily schedule up trying to find something that fit our family better. So far our days are running smoother, though I am constantly looking for ways to further refine it and be more efficient and productive.

We are not a family of super early risers, so the first part of my day from 7:00 to 8:30 is spent getting my husband ready and out the door for work. The children typically wake up sometime during this time and either have breakfast or spend some time playing.

I split the remainder of our day into three blocks of time.

9:00 – 11:00 Household tasks, breakfast if needed

I now have our 9:00 – 11:00 time block devoted to household tasks. Dogs are fed, the dishwasher loaded, and some light straightening up of the living area downstairs is done. If anyone woke up late, breakfast is served. I try to cycle some laundry, and do any administrative tasks during this time period. If the kids are done their tasks, they have free time. I try to keep us screen-free until after 5 PM, so their free time typically consists of playing or reading, or some type of paper craft.

11:00 – 2:00 School work (typically Math, Language Arts, Art/Music Appreciation and or Logic)

At 11:00, I have our school materials for the day downstairs from our classroom and set up on the dining room table. While we have our dedicated classroom space upstairs, it is much easier with the younger children to do our work downstairs. We do math and language arts daily, history and science reading one day a week (not usually on the same day). A couple days a week we spend working on Hebrew, and depending on the day, we may do some Five in a Row reading, art and music appreciation and logic.

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Toddler tornado at a recent art field trip.

During our 11:00 – 2:00 block, both babies are usually awake and wanting some attention, so I try to have us cover subjects that are “interruption friendly.” We tackle math and language arts, and depending on how settled the littles are, we will get through art/music and any logic we have.

Short breaks are taken as needed, as well as a short lunch.

Around 2:00 our 2-year-old goes down for a nap, and if I am lucky our 1-year-old is either content to play quietly in his playpen or also falls asleep. It takes 30 minutes or so for me to get the 2-year-old settled for his nap, so this is free time for Kyri. Unless we have a lot planned for the day, I will typically not start back up until 3:00 so that we both get some free time.

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Break time between subjects!

3:00 – 5:00 School work (reading intensive subjects like Science and History, Hebrew)

By 3:00 we are ready to wrap up our school work for the day. We have a 3:00-5:00 block of time set aside for any remaining school work. I try to save our subjects that have a lot of reading for this afternoon block. We get through our science and history reading, and any narration we have for those subjects. We also work on our Hebrew. We don’t often work until 5:00, but I keep that as our end time  to keep us screen free until then. If we finish early Kyri has free time to do reading or crafts or playing, but I try to keep TV, computers and tablets off.

So far our new schedule this year has been working for us. We’ve been quite productive with our studies. I’m still trying to optimize my housework schedule, but that is a whole other beast to tackle. Having mornings dedicated to household tasks have definitely helped, though.

Our schedule will change again this summer when we have a newborn, and we start early preschool activities for our middle child, who will be turning 3.

 

Mid-year Evaluation

We just wrapped up our first week back to school. It was great getting back into our routine! We took an extended break from our studies at the start of the holidays in November. We kept up with our Science and History lessons for our weekly co-op, but for our other subjects I let Kyri decide what and how much she wanted to do. The lighter schedule did us all a world of good – we school year round so these breaks really let us recharge. But around Christmas, I was really getting anxious to get back on track.

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We’ve got a couple changes to our routine as we head into the second part of the school year.

History

It was decided, after some extensive discussion regarding the rigorousness of Story of the World Volume 3, to drop History from our co-op. Several of our members were struggling to keep up with the reading and found the material a little dense for this age group (our kids range from 5-9). Our family will be continuing with reading SOTW and some of the suggested reading, as well as mapwork and narration. I will not be doing  any of the activities at home – I decided that for us, crafts were less impactive for our history lessons. I am looking forward to our co-op focusing just on Science – there will be more time to go in depth with the subject matter each week.

Math

Until now, we have used Kumon workbooks for our Math curriculum. We work through several books each year, covering Addition, Subtraction, Word Problems and Geometry and Measurement (the catch-all subject, in my opinion). Kyri loves her Kumon workbooks, but I wanted to start using a curriculum that has a “lesson” aspect, rather than just problems. After extensive research, I decided to go with Saxon 5/4. Each lesson starts with a Warm Up, and includes a Math Facts drill quiz (which she loves) and some mental math. Then there is a short lesson that builds on previous lessons and includes example problems and a few sample problems to work. Finally there is the Practice Set, which is 20 – 30 problems, which cover material from previous lessons as well as new material. This is now our core Math Curriculum and we are covering one lesson a week. Kyri works on her Kumon workbooks as enrichment during the week as she sees fit.

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We normally stay on course for the school year, so this is the first time we’ve really changed things up mid-year. Anyone else making big changes to their school plans for the remainder of the year?

Our Homeschool Schedule

We’re in week 2 of our Fall school schedule and I wanted to share what a typical day and week look for us. One of the benefits of homeschooling is finding a routine that works for your family. After some fine-tuning this past year (and our toddler deciding on a regular nap schedule) we have found a schedule that is working.

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Co-op Day

One day a week we meet with our Science and History co-op. We typically spend a couple of hours with our group, and then share lunch and playtime at a park. I do not schedule anything intensive for before or after co-op. I have only scheduled Logic, Computers and Spanish on co-op days, since these are topics that can be done casually and with some self-direction.

Event Day

One day a week we schedule events – library, park, you name it. We have a ton of homeschooling opportunities here in San Antonio, and so one thing that I have had to do is make the decision to limit our outings during the week. I am trying to keep outings contained to one day a week to keep me from turning into a bus driver. If I can keep that to one day a week, I’m happy. The only book work I schedule for our events day are Math Journal, Handwriting and Spanish practice. These are items that are easily done at the table during breakfast or dinner prep with some distractions.

Work Days

The remaining three days are our work days.

Keeping in mind I have two littles to keep up with, I schedule our school day into two blocks. Each block runs from 2 to 3 hours, depending on how efficient we work and what our attitudes are like that day.

Each day during our Morning Block, we work on Math and Language Arts. One day a week we study Art and Music Appreciation, Civics, and Health and Natural Wellness. One or two days a week we also work on our Bible reading and verse memorization for AWANA.

These are topics that we can do with some interruptions and starting and stopping. I don’t have us scheduled for specific times (for example Math from 9:30 – 10:00). I find it works better for us to just have the material we are working on in the block of time, and it can get done in any order. I do try to direct her to do Math and Language Arts first, but ultimately I leave the order up to Kyri.

Our Afternoon Block starts around 2 pm, after I put babies down for naps. I purposely scheduled those subjects that need more attention and less interuptions for our afternoon block. I have a 2-3 hour block of time on our calendar, but like our morning block, it can run shorter or longer depending on our efficiency and attitude. Each day during our afternoon block, we work on Hebrew and our Five in a Row reading and lapbook activities. We also do our Science and History reading and narration (one or two days per subject, depending on need) during our afternoon block to prepare for the upcoming week’s co-op.

As you can see, I have a lot of free time on our schedule. Having a determined block of free time on the schedule serves as incentive for Kyri. She knows that if we don’t work efficiently or are having attitude issues, our school work runs into free time. She also knows that if we can get our work done in a timely manner, free time starts early.

This is what works for us, and I know every homeschool family is unique. What works for you?

 

Schedule