Homeschool Day #54

Every day we begin again. And every day we try something different than the day before. At day #54 I don't think we've had two days exactly alike. Some of you homeschool moms are already thinking, Isn't that the point? Flexibility. Room for learning outside of a rigid schedule. Those other moms who either teach full-time or who were once former teachers in a public school setting are probably shaking your heads right now thinking about how much structure I need. A better plan for the day, month, year. I agree with both of you. And I feel pressure from both sides. We are still trying to find what works for us: a new homeschool mom, a non-reading Kindergartener, and a too-smart-for-his-britches 2nd grader.  So, let me first say that I am open to advice from the more experienced!

So far I have found ONE schedule that works for us! I found it a week ago but we have only used it twice (remember, each day has been different for us). My goal is to use it daily. It came from the front of a Classical Conversations foundations book. She uses the timer method, which I've heard lots of people recommend but didn't really know what I was timing and for how long.

Basically, it's set up like this:

1st Hour

2nd Hour
Grammar (ELA) & Review (this is where I review our weekly homeschool co-op material)

3rd Hour (split into three 20-minute segments)
Reading (split into Silent Reading (aka "Library time", Level Reading, and Instructional Reading)

4th Hour
Writing/Journalling (this is where I also get in their AWANA verses because they can copy them)

After Lunch, we can work on science, social studies, art, crafts, piano lessons, etc.

But here's WHY it works for us...Sammy gets started on his own so I am immediately freed up to teach Maddie who requires every bit of attention I have. As soon as either of them are done with their work in that subject (within that hour), they can leave the table! That means they are free to use the computer (there's some great learning sites and Sammy is used to this from his 1st grade classroom), the iPad (again, some great learning games), the math basket (random stuff like Hot Dots, Wrap-ups, shapes, etc), felt board, coloring, etc. But here's the best part: I GET TO LEAVE THE TABLE! I thought for the 50-something days that I couldn't leave the table until school was over. That meant that dishes were not getting done, dinner was not getting thawed out, bills were not getting paid, clothes were not getting washed, emails were going unanswered (you'd be surprised how many emails Matt and I both get on a daily basis!)...So, even if I get 20 minutes every hour that comes to an extra hour or so that I get to finish my daily to-do list! I also thought that it would be bad practice to let the kids leave the table but this has also been better for them. These short breaks are definitely helping with their moods and keeping them interested in our school day. So this is what we will try. I mean, I just used my 20 free minutes during reading to write this so I'm liking the freedom of my day a bit more.

That's all for now. That's how it's going. Homeschool changes...a lot. But we ARE learning. Maddie is beginning to read. They both love the library. We are all learning patience daily. We are currently enjoying learning about animals, fables, apples, and pumpkins. Maddie chose to learn about sharks, snakes, hippos, giraffes, and, of course, kitties. Sammy chose books on bats, emus, whales, eagles, dolphins, and poisonous animals. We have read some very strange stories/fables but I love that they love them. I'm thankful to the constant encouragement from both home and public school teachers and principals alike. Ya'll have been so great to me!

About Me

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I am a local Charlestonian, born and raised in good 'ol South Carolina. I have only been to other surrounding states within a days drive since I refuse to fly in an airplane - so let's see - that includes NC, GA, FL, and I think I may have crossed the border into VA at some point. I've been to the Bahamas 3 times (since you can get there by cruise ship) but one day I hope to visit Mexico. After my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the second love of my life is my high school sweetheart, Matt. We were married at ages 19 and 21 (I'm the younger one) and in the past 8 years have acquired two amazing kids - Sammy and Maddie. We have a fairly new member of the family, Casey, who is a black lab/shepherd/pit bull mix and is very lazy. We "McCall's" have a family motto: "McCall's never give up" (for some reason this has stuck with us all). We all have a passion for music and treasure our family time. Every moment is a gift...