I thought I would write about what our daily homeschooling rhythm looks like right now. We haven’t really had a first day of school as I try to keep our learning going each day. At my children’s ages there is not a lot of sit down “school time”. We are aiming at a middle ground between unschooling, having short lessons for reading and leaving invitations out for new learning opportunities.
My goal is to incorporate reading, writing, math, science, art, and geography into the themes that the kids are currently interested in learning about. This may be in the form of outings, planned projects, books, or baskets of related activities simply left out in the play room. Right now it is space. Over the past two weeks we have worked on shapes, light, measurements, visited the science centre, went to a live talk in an omni-theatre on planets, created an outer space model, reading lots of books and a theatre show of “The Way back Home” by Oliver Jeffers. Ewan also loves Pokemon, so reading and math are worked into each game. He has also decided to write a Pokemon book!
Isla is also enjoying learning about space. But she also very much enjoys art, dance and singing. She spends a lot of her days drawing, painting and cutting with dancing and singing in between projects. Reading is her other love and she will sit for hours to listen to stories or poems.
The ‘structured’ activities that are done daily are a short reading lesson for Ewan from the program ‘All About Reading’ that lasts about 10 minutes. Reading poetry at breakfast and lunch (Toes in my Nose by Shiree Fitch is their favourite – they have actually memorized every poem in the book and still insist that we read it each day!). Reading a chapter from a chapter book – we have just finished Little House in Big Woods (Laura Ingalls) and we now play little house every day at the pool (another daily activity). Our current novel is Farmer Boy. Ewan also reads a chapter with Alan at bedtime and they are currently reading Harry Potter. Lots of reading!! We also work in piano once or twice a week and we incorporate speaking French over lunch time. Many of these structured activities I am trying to pair with a meal time so that they just become part of our daily routines.
On an average day we begin with screen time (sky landers video game or a tv show) on their iPads from 6am-7am because I cannot get up before 7am while Everly still wakes during the night. From 7-8am we FaceTime family and friends. We then have breakfast between 8-9 (sometimes later). This is when we will have morning time learning – read the poetry, chat about some of our themed learning, work on memorizing an important fact (our new address, telephone number, months etc), talk about our day and end with Ewans reading lesson. Kids then clear their dishes and we read a chapter from their chapter book. We then get swim suits on and head to the pool from roughly 10-11am. When we get back we have our baths and showers for the day and then I prepare lunch. Over lunch we speak some french and read more poems or sometimes another chapter.
After lunch, I will either put Everly down for her nap or we head out for an activity and Everly sleeps in the baby wrap. On the afternoons that we stay home, I try to have an activity for us to do. It could be a science experiment (we are loving the Magic Schoolbus Monthy subscription – they send a themed kit with everything needed for 7 experiments), art, writing, or whichever activity they feel like playing – lego and magformers are often taken out. Usually I will begin dinner around 4:30. If the kids are starting to lose it with each other at that point I usually put on a Sparkle Story – wonderful imaginative, listening stories that last about 20 minutes. Alan is usually home after that and can keep them busy. We aim for 7:30 bedtimes, so it is usually brushing teeth and pjs after dinner with a board game or a story.
Alan has been taking off Wednesdays and we are using that day as our field trip day to explore the city. We try to choose trips where two adults are needed or full day events. So far we have went to the zoo, the bird park and a theatre show. Alan is away this week so we had a pyjama day today – sometimes those are good too!
Above is a general outline of our days – I personally like to have a plan. But I am really trying to go with the flow as well. For example, this morning right after breakfast the kids really got into lego and had the entire living room floor covered with projects. I used the time to catch up on chores and laundry and we went swimming in the afternoon instead. There are also many, many, MANY meltdowns. Ewan has really been struggling with being homesick and not wanting to do anything. Once he is engaged he is loving each activity – but it has been a battle with each and every transition – even to go to the pool. Which is why I am trying to keep some activities linked to our basic daily routine (3 meals a day).
This week has been much better – he has been more positive and enthusiastic and he is beginning to sleep better at night too. So hopefully we will continue in a positive direction. And if it isn’t Ewan then it is often Isla or Everly upset! We are still juggling with activities and finding ways to get everyone involved. Everly has recently found a love of colouring and not just eating crayons (although she did enjoy snacking on an orange crayon today).
All in all, we are having a lot of fun being together and learning together. There are moments where I want to tear out my hair, but there are also many moments where I can honestly say that there is nothing else that I would rather be doing than living and learning each day with my children. Sorry you still have to go to work Alan 😉