- 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.
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.
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
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.)
Practical Skills Goals for the Year (for Gen)*:
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?