Ages of children: 2 boys, ages 5 and 3
Number of Years Homeschooling: 2 years
Curriculum: Just this year I’ve started implementing more of a Charlotte Mason style of learning, but I tweak to what fits us, so there’s a little eclectic in there as well. I use Handwriting Without Tears for writing and phonics, Miquon Math, Story of the World for some history, Signing Time for sign language (just started this!), and we also do nature notebooks, picture study, some phonics flash cards and things here and there, and LOTS of outside play time.
My oldest is 5 and ‘technically’ for a Charlotte Mason style of learning, you shouldn’t be doing much sit down work until they’re 6 years old. Ethan surprised me at 3-4 years old wanting to write and asking lots of questions so I started preschool with him then using Heart of Dakota, an excellent Bible-based, all-in-one curriculum. He LOVED it! After we finished that, I had found out and read the Charlotte Mason style of learning but I knew I wanted to keep going with some of his skills instead of stopping and waiting until he was 6, so since then we’ve been doing a very relaxed schedule of schooling.
Our day starts at 7am with breakfast unless my little blessings decide to wake earlier while Mommy is still trying to drink her coffee and figure out what day it is. While they eat I do a quick Bible study with them out of the Bible or another book that emphasizes the stories and scriptures. We have gone through “God’s Wisdom for Little Boys” and also “A Little Boy After God’s Own Heart” by Jim and Elizabeth George and they have been great for helping with scripture memory and character building!
After this, they go do their “BBs”, as I call them- brush their teeth and make their beds. If I am gung-ho and ready at this point then we will sit at the dining table to do some HWT or phonics and Miquon Math. It takes no more than 30 minutes for sit down work. I try to alternate days of handwriting and phonics and do math each time. The schedule I made looks something like this:
Mondays-Bible Story, HWT, Miquon, Nature Walk, outside play
Tuesdays- Scripture Memory, Phonics, Miquon, Read Aloud History, Outside Play
Wednesdays – Bible Story, Signing Time, park/library/field trip day
Thursdays- Scripture Memory, HWT, Miquon, Read Aloud Poem, Outside Play
Fridays- Bible Story, Phonics, Artwork Appreciation, Handicraft Focus, and Outside Play
Please know that I do not follow this schedule to a ‘T’ yet as my kids are still little, I have an 8 week old, and I have ‘issues’ with sticking to schedules and enjoy flying by the seat of my pants. You all can just pray for me with that one. But it does look cool, doesn’t it?! lol
My youngest boy loves to ‘do school time’ too so I will sit him at the table with us to play with pattern blocks, magnets or other things that he doesn’t get to have full access to throughout the day. Sometimes this works and sometimes he is too distracting for my oldest so I’ll tell him to play on the floor with his beloved trains or something else.
I am definitely still learning the ropes and since my boys are young I put life skills and character building first so things don’t always, or even mostly, go as scheduled but I know that I would much rather foster a love for the Lord, family and learning than to just rigidly force the school work to get done. I have no doubts that my kids will learn what they need to in time. I am also very blessed to have a wonderful support group of moms around me who have been doing this longer than I have that I can go to with any questions.
My Biggest Challenges: doing ‘artsy’ crafts that require cutting and glue (I get frustrated easy with messes), and sticking to schedules!
You can read more from Candi at her blog Beautiful Tapestry.