Good Morning! Wow, it was a beautiful sunrise this morning. As I glance at the gorgeous morning light beginning to rise and sip on my tea, I thank the Lord for the extra moments this morning. The house is quieter than usual at this time on most given days. I am thankful for the extra time with the Lord and to get a few more things done that are “only if there is extra time” tasks. This is one of them.
Next to curriculum, the most common question is one I desired to know myself, when we first started homeschooling. “What does your day look like”? I would like to answer that simple question, but first I want to make sure I explain that it has not always “looked or been” this way. See, there is not a one answer fits all to this question. Everyone can do school in one fashion, but that does not mean it is going to be the best for you and your family. For the most part my “formal days” of homeschooling have had similar looks, but seasons and ages of my children were always factors. Do school in a way that works best for you, your family and most of all your student. This includes your schedule, methods, curriculum and extras.
Each day, whether homeschooling or not, my day works best if I spend time with the Lord. If you’ve heard my testimony in person, you know many years ago, before the birth of my first child I heard a preacher’s message- “Give 1 Hour to God”. In a nutshell, since then I have tried to give at least an hour of my time in the mornings to the Lord. I mean that’s only 1/24th of my day. It has changed my life!
So, in the mornings as I rise, spending at least an hour with the Lord is the first thing I tackled. As you already know, multitasking is awesome! Whether in the shower, folding the late load of laundry or making breakfast I can usually multitask some of that hour. 🙂 However, if I am able, it really is a joy to sit with a cup of coffee or Matcha Mint tea (currently my favorite) and read/talk with the Lord’s handiwork, watching the beautiful sunrise. God is so good!
With that, the house begins to stir and the most beautiful sites of children lounging, beginning their daily routines, tending to our critter friends, finishing up an assignment, one starting his independent work early when it’s quiet out of preference, and so on, fill my morning. None the less, their “rest of the day” begins. As I finish up breakfast, setting the table, copies for morning school, (and blog/ devotional mail.)I have more time to meditate on the scripture time verses. We sit, fellowship, eat and do Bible as a family. This has looked different through the years to accommodate our schedules, different ages, and diversity to keep it fresh and intriguing. For 2023 we have been listening to a wonderful preaching series: Through the Bible Series found on Youtube by Keith Wall. Hear is the link for January if you are interested. So, we listen to this as we eat and read our daily meditation verse aloud. (Throughout the day, sometimes we discuss it’s context/ why it was in the Bible at meals, but mostly refer back to it at Bible Time prior to bedtime.)
Next, we have a 30 minute block. That might give someone extra time to begin their day (shower/read/time alone/etc.), gather their school work, tend to the animals if needed and etc. That usually bring us to 8:15AM. But, as I stated before we have a schedule of order, but flexibility to shift the time as needed. Mondays and Thursdays were our late starts (9:15) because of late church nights and traveling. So this really depended on our season and commitments in life. So, do not be afraid to make adjustments in your seasons of life. **For us spring, summer and about half of fall we actually prefer to move up at least an hour. So start time for school is between 6:45-7:15am. (We just insert an hour recharge/quiet/reading in the afternoon with the little ones if needed.)
After, we meet again 30 minutes later. We begin with pledges, memorization work, handwriting and speed drills. I will explain more on this in another post. Then we begin with table school. (A separate blog post as well- it’s lengthy.) Table school is all ages together for 1-hour blocks. Depending on the day, I do (1)-2 hour block or (2)- 1hour blocks. (One before and after lunch.) After table school, all the children begin their spelling and dive into English. During this time, my students split by levels. (Once their vocab./spelling from table school is complete they move into their “grade” work lists.) Once they have completed their spelling & notebook work, they each have an appropriate pace at grade level. Now there is new material daily, but they have already gone over all the new material on the board with me at table school. I do this in a unique way, so the pace is more of the “homework” portion after the lessons, if that makes sense.
Working quietly, I then begin one-on-one reading with each individual reading level. This takes us into a Math start and break for “lunch”. It’s not always lunch, but also time with dad, projects, out sourced learning, private lessons, small jobs my kids have taken on, college elective courses, and/or outdoor free time. We take this break until dad is busy, we’ve ate, cleaned up, been outside and usually the littlest is actually napping. (Lol- I say this because I have always had “a nap time” and it is really a block of time for a quiet house.)
Often, I plug in a block of table school (science/geography/economics) on short mornings first, then go right into their independent courses or uncompleted assignments. During the winter we utilize daylight hours better and start later if we haven’t had a lot of time outside that day. Either way at this point we complete our “seat work” and never really “stop learning”. Each child is so different, but all from one amazing creator! Let us never change who they really are as a person of which they were created to be. As I write out my day, I want to throw these sprinkles of truth in to remind that not all days look the same, that’s the beauty of education. Even in public education, some of the best teachers inspired their students to continue learning beyond the requirement. As I am blocking the main schedule in my mind, I think of days that table school inspired and lit a learning fire that carried over most of the day. Or reading a portion of history connected to geography lead to more questions for discovery, so we shifted. Those are great learning days! It is so sweet, when this begins to occur daily or the kids race through their paces to have the afternoon to start reading/working on projects of things they really want to study.
After the requirements are done, one of my children will paint, draw or complete various extra art displayed during table school. One may cook an authentic recipe or bake a treat. Another is reading statutes and laws during his free time. Another can be found in the shed taking some sort of motor apart. It’s that ‘developing a love and desire to learn’ that’s vital. But, I will be the first to admit, I am also old school. I do believe in self discipline and structured learning to help use and apply the information gleaned. This is on my preference and experience. It is what my students were most successful with! As for little ones, my youngest loves school, but is not ready for busywork. She sits, colors, plays play dough, learns and listens. But we also do forest school & spend as much time outside as possible together. In math today, she knew the answer, and before I said anything else, pudgy little cheeks filled with goldfish shout, “order of power’s mommy”. Our children’s hearts and minds are always in tune. They absorb so much more than we ever conceive imaginable. So, don’t forget to accommodate the little ones too. Make learning fun, it will actually make it easier to teach them when it comes their time. (Snacks help too.) Even my older kids say, mom doesn’t that count as brain food for more power. How can I argue with that, right?
Why am I sharing this? Because seasons will come and go. There may be some very difficult times to homeschool. Don’t give up! There may even be times when you need to outsource learning, or find a mother’s helper. Point is, there will always be nay-sayers. From your closest friends, family and even from complete strangers that have never met your kids. Just as any bad example/ freedom missuses, it ruins it for the others. In your hardest seasons, support is vital. Make sure you have an honest friend. And make sure you are honest with yourself. I do want to include, if you feel your child is delayed or question if something is going on, ask another homeschool mom, a veteran homeschooler, and/or a professional service. Don’t ever be afraid to utilize help, however needed; for your family to function at its best. Never apologize for desiring the best education for your child that fits your child, even if that means special accommodations, scheduling and/or extra services possibly needed!