This is a guest post written by Kim! I hope you enjoy all of her encouragement and insight as she details a typical homeschool day with her two little ones. Find out more about Kim below.
With two boys, three and five, our days are usually full of a lot of energy, a lot of noise, and a whole lot of crazy. When it comes to our daily homeschooling, I have been slowly introducing a gentle learning environment for both boys since they are both still young.
When I first began to plan our official homeschool “Kindergarten” year, I was already (almost unconsciously) trying to recreate a public school environment. I was already beginning to forget the freedom homeschooling allows in learning. While planning, I was trying to check all the boxes and tick all the subjects. I was trying to figure out how to cram all of this material into one day… for a five year old!
Luckily, it began to stress me out, so a light bulb went off - if this is stressing me out, it is definitely going to stress him out! So out the door that plan went.
After finding a great community of homeschoolers online - I was able to peak into their days and the materials they used. This opportunity allowed me to see the material in action with similar aged children and consider how it would work for our family. Seeing the different “styles” of homeschooling and different materials these homeschool mamas used (and a bit of trial and error) helped me find the gentle and relaxed routine/rhythm that works for our family.
I really take the freedom of homeschooling literally when it comes to the morning. As a non-morning mama, I am rarely in a rush to start our day. We have the freedom to have slow mornings, so I take advantage of that!
My oldest is usually up first and is allowed to quietly play or watch cartoons while the littlest and I slowly wake. I quickly get ready and then we have coffee and breakfast. After breakfast, they get dressed and then are free to play while I catch up on a few things.
We usually don’t start school until around 10. In the beginning, I felt guilty about this - but I’ve worked hard to get over the traditional school schedule I have in my head. Now it is something I am so grateful for! The slow mornings and gentle easing into the day helps us all.
We start school by doing our morning program that has:
fables and more!
My three year old is often included in our morning time. I really try to encourage him to join us in much of our school so that he gets used to the rhythm, but he is also free to wander off to play.
I also try to take turns with them if there is material my three year old can’t quite handle. I make sure to finish up with Mr. Five and then do some preschool learning individually with Mr. Three. When Mr. Five was doing preschool, he had all the attention, so I have to make myself aware of that often to give the same time and attention to Mr. Three.
After we do our morning time, we move onto math and language arts so I know they are done for the day. Math is something Mr. Three is often included in. The concepts in Mr. Five’s math is sometimes too advanced for Mr. Three, so I just readjust the activity to work for his preschool level.
Language arts is usually one-one-one time for Mr. Five, then Mr. Three and I have one-on-one time after that. While I’m working with each individually, the other is free to play quietly or color. We then read our daily story together and discuss it and/or do any coordinating activities I have planned for it.
Once our essentials are done for the day, we either continue or break for lunch. If they need a break then it is time for lunch. They eat and then have a time to play afterwards to get some wiggles out. Or, if we are in a groove, we keep going. (I like to stay flexible and follow their lead.) We then do our read aloud chapter book and one of our loop items from our weekly loop schedule.
Loop Schedule and Additional Learning
In the beginning of the year I planned our loop schedule and worked to stick to it. Our five weekly loop items are geography, space science, crafts/painting, and two nature study days.
I found out quickly, based on our moods, that if we don’t want to do our art day on Tuesday and would rather do it Friday, we should switch it. Or if the weather doesn't allow us to do our nature study on Wednesday, then we go on our nature walk Thursday instead. I just pick one of the five loop items daily according to what works best for us that day.
Along with our loop item, I pick and choose some other activities to add to our day. For example, I choose additional religion devotionals, picture books, handwriting practice, learning games, crafts, or review. I try to have all additional items I need ready at the beginning of the week so I can quickly grab them. I usually lay all of these additional activities out and let Mr. Five pick the order of how we do them. Letting him have some control over his learning usually leads to getting more accomplished.
Our Relaxed Rhythm
My daily goal is to accomplish our essentials - morning time, math, language arts and our daily story time. Then, I add on as time or our inclinations allow... First adding on our loop and then additional learning material. Some days we don’t get to our loop item or additional activities and I still count the day as a success. Our morning time and basics we do are full of plenty of learning, so if they would rather learn through playing all day, they are free to do so!
I want to create an environment that is relaxed and gentle for them- where they are excited to learn and can choose what to learn. They are both still so little that I do not want to make them sit all day to learn. I want to always remind myself of the freedom that is homeschool and let my children enjoy it too.
As a homeschool mama, my goal is for them to love learning, to always look for opportunities to learn-- and that starts here and now. Learning is more than just worksheets, and I want our daily relaxed rhythm to reflect that. Our day is usually a lot of play, a lot of love, and a lot of learning together! That’s the definition of homeschool, right?
Hi there! My name is Kim. I am a stay at home, homeschooling mama to two boys ages 3 and 5. My husband and I are high school sweethearts and have been together for 11 years this fall. Along with our 2 boys and 3 dogs, we live in the Dallas, Ft. Worth area of Texas. I blog over at www.thislovefilledlife.com about all things motherhood, parenting, and homeschooling. Besides my family, a few of my favorite things are Jesus, coffee, a good book, a binge worthy show, and all the beauty that is fall and winter.