• Teaching Mama

Homeschooling Different Ages - Part 2: A disclaimer

This post comes with the standard homeschool disclaimer: "Do what works for your family." No matter what the experts say or the advice the moms in your co op give, the best answer to "What is the best way to do this?" is always, "Whatever works for your family." There is no one perfect approach. There are, however, many great ideas. There are wonderful overarching educational philosophies to guide your decisions. There are time-tested, tried and true method to choose from. This post is about sharing what works for our family. We pull from several different methods to create what I call, "Wild and Free Classical Unschooling." It works for us. Our biggest influence is the classical method of education. Think of it as the one room schoolhouse of days gone by. What I describe below is our family's implementation of these ideas and how they work or us. Take from it what you will. Leave the rest. Make a homeschool experience that works for your family. I hope you find something here to pull and make your own!


How I school my 11, (not quite) 10, 7, and 1 year olds:


A Sample Schedule


8:30am - finish up breakfast and read our scripture together. We pray together and memorize scripture together - mom included! {SIDE BAR: Memorization is generally easy for children and much harder for adults. Do it with them anyway!}


9:00am - Language Arts - together. We do the majority of our teaching time together. It varies from day to day but Language Arts in our house includes: reading, writing, spelling, grammar, Latin, and Spanish.


DO NOT BE ALARMED! Stay with me. Keep reading.

I am not raising an army of super geniuses. I am not setting some impossible standard. We do NOT do all of these every day. Some days we many only touch on reading and spelling and spend the rest of the time writing. Some days we may do a few Spanish songs and recite our Latin memory work and then listen to an audiobook. Here is what we are doing today: Wednesday is for writing and website - we love alliteration! Its good for the soul ;)


Wednesdays are for Writing and Website

We only do this the first 30 minutes. Then it is grammar time.


Stop! Its GRAMMAR TIME!

Yes, we do grammar together. The key is to scaffold up or down depending on the child. So we review the rules together, chant memorized parts of speech, sing the prepositions, and come up with sentences together. We'll label a or correct sentence on the board together. Then my older two might continue a few exercises on their own. My younger daughter may just copy the sentences we wrote.


The family that diagrams together...

Tomorrow we will listen to an audiobook and do reading. My two oldest will read independently while I work with the 7 year old on phonics. {SIDE BAR: Baby is napping. I try to be flexible to do my most focused school time while she is asleep. This means allowing my schedule to shift as her sleep patterns change.} No matter what - we are done with Language Arts by 10am.


10:00 - 10:30 - RECESS. Yes. Already. My introverted self needs a break. These kids need to move and do something different or dare I say, pointless. The baby is most likely awake now. ~As I finish writing, it is now recess time. Boy B and Squishy B are building a pyramid out of plastic cups on the table. Big girl B is up in her room being a tweenager. Baby B is awake and having a snack beside me.


10:30 - Math - yes, together -ish. We start together by saying addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. We skip count to song. Today we will do multiplication 3's and 4's. Big Girl B already knows them. Boy B is still mastering them. Squishy B is just starting to understand multiplication. Its still a good learning experience for all of them. After a few minutes of that we will split up. Big Girl B works independently on her math lessons now. She reads them and works the exercises on her own and just asks questions as needed. (See also: the many reasons I LOVE Saxon math.) Boy B is semi-independent. I take few minutes to go over whatever new concept he is working on and then leave him to work on his own too. Squishy B still requires a math "teacher" so I spend the most time here. We work solidly until 11:00. Then they can put their math aside. {SIDE BAR: math is usually moved to the living room where Baby B can crawl all over us and practice her mad walking skillz.}


11:00 - All things related to Science. Whatever our science topic for the week is - we do our memorization together. We read books on topic together. We watch videos. The older kiddos might read something on their own while the younger one does a worksheet with me. We go on short nature walks. We do not use a set science curriculum. Our plan is to start a formal one next year for just my oldest girl who will then have the maturity and skills to learn science independently through reading.


11:30 - All things related to History - geography, timeline of historical events. We memorize a history sentence together. We trace maps. We read books, watch videos, and discuss what we are learning together. Sometimes I plan the content, sometimes we go down the rabbit hole of googling information and youtube videos.


12pm - LUNCH.


After lunch we attempt to squeeze in some piano practice, art, computer time, and finish any left over math. Some days we are successful in this. Some days we go out and play, which is just as important.


OUR GOAL: to have all school lessons, work, and chores done by 3pm. Why 3pm? Its not because that is when the public school day ends. Its because that is when the public school day ends and the neighbor kids are home and ready to play! No, we don't live in the 1970's - just a neighborhood in Kansas built in the 70's. We have intentionally made friends with our neighbors and encourage the children to get out and play just like we did as kids. They come home for dinner. The second half of our day is just as important as the first half. Physical play and outdoor time are a must for my children, and I suspect for yours as well. Then I go to bed. Because I am tired!! But in all seriousness, this is what I said it was - what works for us. Maybe you can pull some of these ideas and make them work for your family. Maybe you think I am crazy. I'm okay with that. Happy Homeschooling!

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