I apologize to those of you who received a partially worked on, draft version of this post (technical difficulties). This one is finished. Please feel free to post your questions in the comment section, so I will know what to post about next.
I want to share about how we’re homeschooling this year because we are at our peak of homeschooling with 9 school aged children (ages 6-17), plus two preschoolers and it seems that we have a good, balanced system going that is working well for everyone academically as well as allowing our family to continue to host children with Safe Families and be active participants in our amazing, wonderful, encouraging, church (which has been an incredible blessing to our family over the past couple of years).
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted about homeschooling, so I’ll share with you some things we do everyday that aren’t necessarily part of “school”.
- Everyone who is capable of independent reading, reads the Bible several times each year.
- Family worship
- Bible memorization
- Free time every day
- One hour free reading or rest time everyday
Today I’m going to be posting what we cover each week and the overall flow of our school day. Then over the next weeks I will add in some details, so please feel free to ask questions so I’ll know what to cover in subsequent posts.
Our family has pulled homeschooling ideas from Ambleside Online for years. We’ve always enjoyed their book selections and I have always appreciated how they have incorporated Charlotte Mason’s ideas into a practical plan for homeschooling today. I have, however, never been able to figure out how to use Ambleside with our clan, until now.
This is what is working for us.
I continue to start my day by spending some time with our preschoolers, Bella (3) and Valor (1). We do something simple and fun like making cards for Grammy, blowing bubbles out on the deck or drawing on the windows with window markers. This gives my little ones some focused mommy time before I get busy with the other children.
‘Morning Basket’ starts right after this and includes all of the children from 17 year old Amber down to 1 year old Valor. Our morning basket is a literal basket filled with all the books that we use during morning basket time.
Each day we sing three songs. One hymn that we are currently memorizing, one review hymn and one review Psalm.
During this time period we read and discuss a devotional/theological book (we books aimed at our oldest children), currently The Holiness of God.
We also read a prayer from Valley of Vision.
During this time period we recite two poems, one that we are currently memorizing and one review poem.
We also read one new poem a day.
Once a week we read a poem and the notes on that poem from The Classic Hundred Poems.
Art, Music, Nature, Geography, Timeline
We do only one of these topics each day. Geography and timeline are only for the younger kids, so if we are doing one of those subjects we delay this segment until we are finished with all of the ‘big kid only’ subjects.
At this point in our morning basket the kids ages 7 and younger get a break and go outside to play.
We’ve only been doing regular Plutarch and Shakespeare reading for about a year, but this is one of our favorite parts of the school day.
Our children really developed a love of Shakespeare when we began collecting the Arkangel series of audio Shakespeare performances several years ago. These recordings are unabridged and very well done. Our children ask for them for Christmas and birthday presents, so we are slowly building our collection.
This is a subject that may disappear for our older kids after we finish the current book we’re reading, but we are enjoying “Science Matters” and it’s a good review for those who are working through Apologia’s high school books and a good introduction for the younger kids.
At this point our older kids are dismissed for the day and the 1, 3, 6, and 7 year old children join us again.
The older kids work independently on math, science, history, Greek, etc. Mark is in charge of these subjects and he does a fantastic job keeping everyone on pace and understanding the material. As a matter of fact, all of our older kids finished with their school work a couple of months early this year (some of them finishing in December and February). That NEVER happened when I was supervising their work. I’m hoping that he will write a post sometime about how he manages to be the primary homeschooling parent of 4 high school students and still keeps up with work, house projects and social responsibilities.
This Bible time is focused on our younger children (currently 1-12 years).
During this time we read the Bible and the children narrate back what we have read. We are currently using Greenleaf’s Guide Old Testament History. We used this when our older kids were small and enjoyed it then and it was time to go over the material again with the younger ones.
We also work on Bible memorization during this time period.
Read one ‘little kid’ poem. We’re currently reading from “When We Were Very Young“.
I know that this may seem like a lot of work, but it goes quickly and we usually get through all/most of this by 10:00 or 10:30 in the morning.
At this point the 12, 10 and 9 year old are dismissed to work on their independent subjects; Ambleside reading assignments in science, history, literature,etc. and copy work and math.
Little Kid School Time
During this time I currently just have the 6 and 7 year old boys.
Reading and Writing
The boys alternately read to me out of the First McGuffey Reader and work on handwriting/copywork.
Ambleside Reading and Narration
I’m doing Ambleside Year 1 with the boys, so I read the assignments aloud and then they narrate them back to me. Because of what we do in our Morning Basket time, we omit the Ambleside Bible and Poetry assignments.
At this point our 7 and under crowd are finished with their school day and are strongly encouraged to play outdoors.
Middle Kid School Time
The last part of my day is spent listening to the middle kids narrate their reading assignments and checking their math and copy work.
I prefer to have one of the books be for “written narration” so each of these children have regular writing practice. I also like to use Institute for Excellence in Writing for additional writing practice.
Ideally, we are finished with all of this by lunch time, it doesn’t always happen, but that is the goal. Then the children have free time in the afternoon to build forts and bridges, make cookies, tend the chickens, research new projects or just climb trees .
Do you have questions about our day? Questions about how we cover specific subjects?
You may also be interested in:
- Time for play
- Our homeschool goals (and things we do to accomplish them)
- 6 distinctives of our homeschool
- Daily Bible reading
- Family worship
- Bible memorization
- Free time every day