Laidback, relaxed, simple...
All words I want to describe our homeschool. However, these are NOT words that I would use to describe myself. And after seven years of teaching special education in the public school system, these are not the three words I would pick to describe my teaching style! Stressed, frustrated, and uptight might be more like it…
A change in perspective
To some it may seem that having a teaching degree and experience may be a benefit, or even a necessity, to homeschool their children. And while there are some perks (I feel very confident lesson planning and have experience adapting to many learning styles) there are many disadvantages as well.
The public school system is focused on cramming as much information as possible into 180 days of instruction. One of the many reasons I desire to homeschool our children is to preserve their natural love of learning. So a more relaxed, interest focused approach appeals to me. But a small voice is constantly nagging at me, telling me we are not doing enough, that they will fall behind, and that I need to push to do more!
Its during these moments that I have to pause, take a deep breath, and ask myself: Who says?
- Who says I have to cover X material this year?
- Who says that a Kindergartener must be reading within 2 months of beginning school?
- Who says 6 hours a day is the gold standard of learning?
As homeschoolers we are free from all of this pressure! So let’s embrace the freedom and relax!
Our daily routine
To keep our homeschool laidback, relaxed, and simple I have decided to stick to a routine instead of a schedule. I have a plan for each week, but unlike public school, this plan does not need to be laid out minute for minute. Instead I focus on blocks of time interspersed with a lot of time to play!
Young children process the world around them through unstructured, imaginative play. When children are not given this time to interact with the new skills and ideas they are learning, they are robbed of the chance to make meaningful connections that lead to deeper understanding. As we have studied butterflies this month, I have watched my daughters (5 and 1) crawl around like caterpillars, wrap themselves up in a blanket chrysalis, and dig out their dress up butterfly wings to transform and fly around the house. All without my direction or prompting!
Here is a glimpse at a typical day for us
For more details about our curriculum check out this post! A few notes about our above routine:
- Our morning basket is very simple: devotional book, poem of the week, bible story. We usually finish before we are all done with our breakfast!
- Check out this post to see the calendar we use and how you can make one too! My daughters typically take turns picking a Months of the Year, Days of the Week, and Weather song from YouTube. I have a simple calendar notebook that my oldest completes 2-3 times per week. It gives her some independence and some handwriting practice.
- Our current picks for our read aloud time include (one per day):
- I also try to get one Reading Eggs and one Math Seeds lesson in each week. This usually falls before or after rest time.
What does your routine look like?
Please leave a comment letting me know about how you structure your homeschool day! I know this will be evolving for us as the girls grow up. If you are still trying to nail down a structure for your day, I hope this has given you some ideas. Remember to keep it simple at first. You can always add more as you settle in and get more comfortable!