Our Homeschool Resources & Routines

Our family has enjoyed delving into our new homeschooling year for the past couple weeks or so, and by request, I’m sharing a list of our curriculum/resources.

  • For our daughter (who is almost 5), we’re doing a mixture of resources based on her skill level. Her attention span is completely age-appropriate, so each subject/project is done in a fairly short amount of time. (Total “school” hours per day is about 2-3 hours, usually; not including outside time.) Her skills/knowledge level is meeting kindergarten or 1st grade-level materials, so that is mostly what we’re using.
  • Our 2-year-old son loves joining us for the songs, read-alouds, and weather portion of “circle time,” and then usually amuses himself with a book or small toy until we’re done. (The children sit on a “special” blanket by the CD player & calendar in a corner of our living/playroom.) He likes to doodle on paper at the table with us as we work on schoolwork, or he gets a “Busy Bag” project. Occasional activities catch his interest (such as counting; he can now count to 10, or art; he knows most of his colors & loves to paint).

For our daughter, we are mostly following the classical schooling rhythm lined out in The Well-Trained Mind (one of my favorite homeschooling resources!), with a bit of Waldorf additions mixed in.

Our children really seem to thrive in a structured day with a predictable rhythm, and the boundaries of their own space (carved out in a home open to the public!).

Our Week at a Glance

  • We do Math, Reading, and Writing every weekday.
  • Listening/Logic (with a workbook) is done once or twice a week.
  • Science is done twice a week; one day is a read-aloud & narration, and the second day is an observation or hands-on project.
  • History/Geography is done three times a week.
  • Art & Music are done 2-3 times a week, in addition to a fun art project once a week.
  • We have a Nature Walk once or twice a week (one day can alternate as a field trip or other family game time, such as Skip-Bo).
  • We have AWANA club, Sunday School class, and a Library Day each once a week (every other week a “story time” is scheduled at the library during our regular visit).

Our Daily Routine

Since we run a business out of our home, the start of our school day is a bit flexible (depending on whether I am needed to help serve guests or not). Typically, our routine begins between 9:00-10:00 am (after breakfast is completed and children are dressed). The children are expected to take care of their dishes after each meal, and laundry after getting dressed. We start the routine with our “Circle Time.”

After Circle Time, we work on most of that day’s studies (at least the math, reading, & writing) and then take a snack/recess break. I finish up morning projects (such as putting dinner in the crockpot, preparing lunch, or other kitchen/laundry work) while the children play outside.

(They don’t usually mind playing in the rain, but sometimes choose the option of riding bikes in the covered carport outside our kitchen.) This outside time is also an opportunity for the children to gather leaves or other nature materials needed for the day’s art or science project.

The "big girl" bike + the STOP sign she made!

After lunch, we have a “Quiet Resting Time” for about an hour, when the children quietly look at books and/or listen to a classical music CD or audio book while I rest. If we will have a late evening out (such as AWANA night), our 2-yo may take a nap.

In the afternoon, we have a snack time, and then we complete any projects not done in the morning (such as a big science or art project), do read-aloud books, “homework” projects from AWANA club, or just free play time while I do chores. (I learned this helpful hint from Large Family Logistics: Do the read-alouds after quiet time, so Mama has a chance to rest, and isn’t falling asleep while reading!) :)

In late afternoon (this may get earlier as the daylight diminishes!), we have our Nature Walk (this often includes berry-picking or a stop by our garden to get produce for dinner).

After dinner and baths, we have a Family Time of a read-aloud chapter book or catechism book (we alternate nights), along with a short Bible story and a hymn (abbreviating the storytime if it happens to be a late night). (Our 2-yo is rarely awake for the family time, but he occasionally joins us.)

Just before bed (and teeth-brushing), if anyone is hungry, we offer a small bedtime snack.

Our Resources/Materials

Circle Time: Calendar (with an interactive wall calendar), Weather (using our magnetic “weather kids”), Bible Verse/Character (revisiting the memory verses from last year’s Horizons P4/5), Poem or short Read-Aloud, Songs with Finger Plays, Prayer

Reading: BOB Books (We’re just starting Set 3.)

Writing: Donna Young Worksheets, ReadyWriter

Math: Horizons K (We’ll be going into Book #2 in a month or so.)
Supplements: Tangrams, Card Games (such as Skip-Bo), Math stories from the library (such as Sir Cumference)

Science: A selection of projects from: Mudpies to Magnets and Bubbles, Rainbows, & Worms;
Narration/Reference from: Kingfisher Human Body Encyclopedia, The Way We Work, DK Animal Encyclopedia (an older edition than the one linked here)
(“Animals, Human Body, Plants” focus this year; supplementing with other topical books)


Nature Study Subjects:
seasons, moon phases, weather, clouds, gardening/seeds, animal tracks; referring to Keeping a Nature Journal, along with supplemental topical books

History/Geography: The Story of the World: Ancients (vol. 1)

Art: Drawing With Children, Discovering Great Artists, Muhlberger’s “What Makes a…” series
Supplements: Various artist biographies & picture study materials, and lots of creative supplies

Music: Classical Kids Series CDs
(Supplement with world music, hymn histories, rhythms, family worship; eventually add piano & recorder in the next year or two)

Listening/Logic: Developing the Early Learner Workbook Series (We’re almost done with book #2.)

Religion: Family Bible Reading Time, Missionary Stories (such as the Miller Stories), Catechism (with Big Truths for Little Kids), AWANA club materials

Practical Skills Goals for the Year (for Gen)*:
Shoe-Tying,
Finger-Knitting,
Cooking Skills (cutting, grating, kneading, pouring)
Habits/Chores/Manners (“finish what you start,” routines, orderliness)
Laundry Sorting/Put Away (We’ve mostly mastered this, but need consistency.)
Sewing Machine (She’s halfway through sewing a doll’s quilt.)
Lacing Cards/Hand Sewing

(inspired by the Berry Bramble Cottage family)

Did you see some of your favorites on the list? What are your plans/projects for the year?

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11 comments to Our Homeschool Resources & Routines

  • Tracy

    Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. When and how do you plan your homeschool schedule, what materials you’ll use when etc. I’d love to read more about the process you use to select materials for the year and how you go about deciding what to do on a month by month, week by week and/or day by day basis.

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    @Tracy, In the summer, I took a day to plan our year’s themes & resources, and to order books. Most of it is guided by The Well-Trained Mind book’s schedule/resources.

    Monthly/weekly, I like to work with seasonal themes, when possible. Much of the day-to-day work is just “do the next page in the book,” depending on her mastery of the material (if we need to repeat an assignment), and if she has any additional questions/interest in a certain topic. :)

    I do take a planning time each Saturday where I can organize library book requests & materials as needed, but it doesn’t really need much weekly work; I keep things pretty simple.

    Hope that helps!
    Blessings,
    Michele

    [Reply]

  • Great ideas & plan, Michele. Sounds a lot like our routine, although we do a LOT of active work and not much seatwork (two boys = wiggle!). :-) We’re using KONOS this year to help me get ideas for themes & projects – I’m loving it, so far. It’s so much less like school and more like… fun. 😉 It’s keeping me (and the kiddos) interested.

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    @Meg @ Cracking An Egg, We have a very wiggly little girl, too! :) The “seatwork” is pretty limited; usually no more than 10-15 minutes at a time, with lots of hands-on active stuff mixed in. We’re having lots of fun- I’m glad you are, too! :)
    Blessings,
    Michele

    [Reply]

  • Sarah C

    Thanks so much for posting this. It was encouraging and inspiring. I have a two yr old and three month old and so don’t seem to get as much done as I would like with my preschool/kindergartner. I use several of the same things you do, and want to use classical too. How much handwriting do you do? I’m having a little trouble with that. Glad you guys are having fun too!

    [Reply]

    Michele @ Frugal Granola Reply:

    @Sarah C, Handwriting is pretty laid back for us at this point. We usually just do 1 worksheet a day (or 2 if she requests it). She gets her number-writing practice with her math workbook, too.

    I really like the Donna Young worksheets for the early ages practice. They very gradually introduce the skills- and they’re free! :) I usually make up a short story to go with each page (“Help the man find the road home,” or something like that) to keep it fun. She often asks to do an extra “special activity page” (as she calls it) while I’m making dinner.

    Blessings,
    Michele

    [Reply]

  • I loved this post! I always enjoy seeing how others structure their days with little ones in the mix. I have a 6 month old and 2 1/2 year old and I still struggle with a routine I really like :). I had a few questions…Do you run any errands with your kids during the week? Also, at what age did you start “school” with your oldest? When do you find time to tend the garden? I find that during the week it’s hard to get much done in the garden so I spend the weekend “working.” One more question, when do you find time to incorporate sewing, hobbies, etc. I hope I haven’t asked too much from you but I am looking for any ideas to help me find my groove :).
    Blessings~
    Megan

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    @Megan Harris, Good questions. :)
    I don’t usually have many errands. Sometimes we’ll stop by a local market real quick after the library (they’re across the street from each other). I order much of my groceries in bulk (through Azure Standard), so they are delivered once a month.

    My limited gardening is usually done during the nature walk/outside time. My husband does more of the intensive gardening tasks than I do; usually while I am preparing dinner or on a Saturday morning. When the children were younger, and we weren’t doing a day of schooling, I would do more gardening in the morning while the oldest played outside & the baby napped (or I wore him).

    We started “preschool”-type topics/activities with our oldest when she was two; and we’re doing many of the same things with our 2nd child. They learn colors, counting, etc. plus lots of read-alouds & hands-on activities (“helping” with chores, sensory items, etc).

    Sewing is usually done on an afternoon (usually Saturday, but occasionally I’ll have a bit of time on a quieter weekday afternoon), as needed. I don’t do much in the way of “hobbies” these days (and don’t really miss it, either). My life is pleasantly full, and our family is also very busy in ministry as well. I do attend a weekly afternoon Bible study, as well as meet with a prayer partner for a couple hours early on Saturday morning.

    My husband and I spend time together after the children are in bed, and intentionally carve out a weekly “date night” (usually at home), as well. About once a month, we like to have friends over for a BBQ/dinner, board games, etc. on a weekend evening. (My favorite kind of “hobby.”)

    Hope that helps! :)
    Blessings,
    Michele

    [Reply]

    Megan Harris Reply:

    @Michele, Thanks so much for answering my questions :)! You gave me a lot to consider. It is so encouraging to hear from other moms.
    One quick little question 😉 Do you have set blogging time? I love to post on my little family blog but the time gets away from me.
    Megan

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    Yes, I try to keep all my blogging to a set time each week. I work out a schedule with my husband; it’s often on a Saturday. :)

  • […] originally intended to just address our toddler’s needs (which I mentioned briefly in our homeschooling plans), I’ve also added some activities for our older daughter as well, so I have an assortment of […]

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