We are days away from the kickoff of our next year of home education! How exciting! Right now my children are very young (both under 5) and so formal schooling is not the goal. The goal for this semester is to give them a rich foundation as a learner, rather than give them specific content. The strategy is to expose them to many beautiful ideas, and introduce them to new concepts in delightful ways. This goal makes my job really fun! This allows me to "school" all day in every way.
Instead of a rigorous curriculum to follow, (oh and there are beautiful and brilliant ones out there!) I have curated a rhythm for our home for this semester to expose beautiful ideas, new skills, and curious concepts in bite sized pieces throughout the day.
Here's what our plan looks like right now.
Curated open ended toys
Blocks, costumes, animals, adventure tools, and baby dolls are wonderful for imaginative play.
Baskets of books Thrift stores and libraries help us keep baskets of books stocked all around the house. This enables the children to initiate reading time constantly throughout the day. We only do screen time on Saturdays so reading truly is our form of both education and entertainment. I also have created a ritual where requesting a book also earns you cuddles with mom on the couch with fluffy blankets so the motivation is high in this area.
An outdoor play space. Dirt to dig in, rocks to carry, a swing to delight on, and a fort to create in. This is brain and body heaven for children. Do not negate the educational work being done in these environments.
Family meals. Eating as a family at the table over and over again is formative. We talk about stories and ideas, prayer requests and praise reports. I believe with all my heart, family meals are the classroom where leaders are shaped. There are few things as maturing for compassion, patience, and appreciation as the table. It is discipleship at its finest.
Are you disappointed? I hope not. I know people want a curriculum to buy or checklist to hang, but in this season of "littles" trust me when I say this is more than enough enrichment.
With that being said, we also have a "schooling time" admist our learning environment. This honestly is not necessary. However, my specific children are capable and interested in table work and desk skills. This is the format of our "school time" which is about 30-60 min a day collectively, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
It is split into :
Morning Basket (done together)
Independent work (I am floating between children)
Tea Time Read Alouds (done together at the table later in the day with tea and a snack.)
Here's a glimpse into those things:
Morning Basket (10-15 min)
Morning Pages : Name, Date, Weather, Fun rotating Doodle prompt
24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson
Psalm 23 Memory Work
Table Work (15-30min)
Oliver : 4.5 years old
Tuesday : Reading (100 easy lessons) + Writing (Brain Quest Pages)
Wednesday: Math (Manipulives) + Science (Library books)
Thursday: Nature (Sketch book) + Music/Art (Placemats, Memorial Press Cards)
Eleanor : 2 years old at start of school, but days away from 3.
2 Activity Pages and 2 Busy Boxes a day on rotation.
Activity Book (Schoolzone. I used this with Oliver and really loved it. Lots of coloring, letters, etc).
Busy Boxes (I bought six clear pencil boxes from Walmart and will fill them each with busy learning activities such as (Pipe Cleaners and Beads, Puzzles,
Tea Time : Read alouds
Schedule set for our first semester 12 week stretch. Most of these will be library checkouts and even sometimes audible credits.
Winnie the Pooh
TumTum + Nutmeg
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Little House on the Prairie
A Bear Called Paddington
We are so excited! The joy of flexibility is so wonderful. We can try this but if our schedule shifts or we need to adjust for something more difficult or less challenging, we have margin to do so.
A final note:
This home rhythm and education is what works for our family. I feel a call to my home in this season. Although there is no paycheck, I still treat this as if it's my full time job, therefore I want to do it excellently.
There is great glory in seeking the Lord and following His leading for your unique family. We celebrate all forms of education and family rhythms as they choose to honor God!
To A Semester Of Wonder,
P.S - A very special shout-out to my dear friend, and honestly homeschool mentor, Elizabeth. She has been so kind to encourage and equip me with thoughts and lists. If you are a new homeschooling mama, I pray you find other mamas to run alongside you. It truly makes a difference! I'm happy to connect with you on all social platforms at @abbycirkles.