I’m excited to be sharing Our 2020-2021 Homeschool Plan. I always intend to blog more about our homeschool adventures, but life happens and other things take priority. I’m going to try to share more on the blog (but definitely on Instagram) this year. I’ve talked a bit about our homeschool philosophy on here before…I love Charlotte Mason and her emphasis on reading living books, nature study (especially in the younger years), outside play, cultivating good habits and attitudes, etc.
We tried Ambleside Online last year, but to be honest, I was overwhelmed by the amount of work I had to put into preparing our daily lessons/schedule. Their book lists and the amount of resources they provide are incredible, but I needed something a bit more prepared for me. I started looking for another Charlotte Mason-inspired, affordable curriculum that would provide more structure for me. I was SO thrilled when I saw Jennifer Pepito’s new curriculum for older children, The Kind Kingdom. What I love most about Jennifer’s The Peaceful Press: it’s gentle for mama, it includes a daily plan for all subjects but math and phonics, and the kids ADORE the books and projects.
The Kind Kingdom is a Charlotte Mason- inspired literature and projects based curriculum geared for ages 6-12. Both Zoe (7) and Naomi (6 in December) will be working on The Kind Kingdom this year. We’ll adjust any readings as necessary, if I find any particular books beyond their ability to comprehend. The curriculum uses The Chronicles of Narnia, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare as a spine, with lots of other incredible readings and projects. We’ll be forming salt dough maps of The British Isles, making elderberry syrup, studying & memorizing scripture and hymns, taking nature walks, perfecting handwriting, work on room tidying (and other life habits), and SO MUCH MORE. I love that this curriculum looks at the *whole child* and places an emphasis on good habit formation, like bed-making and room cleaning.
The Kind Kingdom includes instruction in these subjects: Bible, Reading, Narration, Poetry, Copy Work, Science, History, Geography, Art, and Practical Skills.
I’ll be supplementing with additional Math, Phonics, and Handwriting curriculums. As our schedule – and COVID-19 – permit, we may add in some ballet and violin lessons for the girls.
We will be trying out Abeka Math for the first time this year. One of my favorite ways to find curriculum is to simply ask around…what are friends, family, online acquaintances doing, why do they love it, why does it work for them? My sister AND sister-in-law swear by Abeka math, and it’s one of the more affordably priced options out there. Zoe’s going to start with Arithmetic 2, and Naomi with Numbers Skills K-5.
For Phonics, we’ll be using The Good and The Beautiful Language Arts. Again, I’ve heard great things about TG+TB LA on a few homeschooling facebook groups, and it looks wonderful. I’ll be starting Zoe and Naomi both at Level 1, but will adjust to higher/lower levels if needed. TG+TB LA includes phonics, reading, spelling, grammar & punctuation, literature & writing, and art appreciation. Because there is some overlap with The Kind Kingdom, I’ll probably mostly emphasize the phonics, reading, spelling, and grammar. If we have time, we’ll dive into the other subjects. As with all our curriculum *plans,* we’ll give this a try and if it doesn’t work for me or the kids, we’ll sell the curriculum and try out something else! Ah, the beauty of homeschooling (are you tired of me saying that?)!
And for Handwriting, we’ll be continuing with my favorite handwriting curriculum – one that I used as a child and adored then. The Italic Handwriting Series by Getty & Dubay is simply beautiful. It doesn’t teach ball-and-stick (which I personally cannot stand), and it transitions wonderfully to the Getty & Dubay cursive italic. Zoe and Naomi both completed Book A last year; Naomi will be revisiting Book A, and Zoe will be diving into Book B.
Ahh, the daily schedule! This is the hardest part for me, because I’m more of a loose rhythms kinda gal. I typically just have a general list of things that need to get done in a day, and they’ll get done when they get done. I’ve never stuck to a strict schedule before, and don’t think we’ll have one this year. BUT loosely, this is our plan for movement throughout our homeschooling and home-keeping day. I’ll be sharing how things are progressing and any adjustments as they occur!
6:00 – 7:30 – Kids in bed; Mom has quiet time, a workout, responds to emails, etc.
7:30 – 8:45 – Kids up, dressed, breakfast, morning chores (beds made, rooms neatened, chickens, bathrooms wiped)
9:00 – 10:30 – Morning time: singing, Bible, reading, narration, map work, memory work
10:30 – 11:00 – Snack, outdoor play
11:00 – 12:30 – Math, phonics, science, history, reading
12:30 – 2:00 – Lunch, cleanup, quiet time/naps, free reading, Mom works/responds to emails
2:00 – 4:00 – Outdoor play, catch up on projects if needed, educational TV allowed, dinner prep if needed, Mom works/responds to emails
5:30 – Dinner prep, dinner, cleanup
7:00 – Tidy house/baths/free time/educational or family TV allowed
8:30 – Kids in bed
This is a great question, and I’m not entirely sure how things will go this year. I have two toddlers: Jojo will be 3 in September, and Aletheia just turned 1 in July. I know Jojo will be incredibly eager to participate in as much of our day as possible, based on his enthusiasm last year when he was just 1 1/2. And Aletheia is in that great age where she’s still blissfully unaware of what the older kids are doing, and she’s still a fantastic napper.
One of the beautiful things about incorporating “morning time” into our day: we can include the whole family for most of it. So Jojo and Aletheia will be with for morning time, learning how to sit still for an hour or two, while learning our songs, and participating in Bible, reading, and maybe even narration and memory work. It’s amazing how much kids are capable of at young ages.
For our mid-morning school time, in theory, I’ll have some activities for Jojo (things like special puzzles, blocks, etc.). I’m not sure how organized I’ll be yet, but in an ideal world, I’ll have daily boxes where he will find simple, new activities. He’s old enough to be learning letters, colors, numbers, etc., so for these boxes, I’m thinking things like sensory boxes and bean and shape sorting and learning how to use scissors. If that ends up being too much for every day, I may allow him to watch an educational show or buy a fun “busywork” workbook for him. He’s also great at independent play and keeping Aletheia occupied, so I also plan on having them play quietly in the living room for a portion of our school day.
If the older girls are painting or doing any sort of project that Jojo is capable of, I’ll just have him join us: watercoloring, making salt dough, cooking & baking, planting a garden, going on nature walks, etc. Aletheia still naps 2 (sometimes 3) times a day, so I’m not too worried about keeping her occupied. When she’s awake, she’ll either be eating or playing with Jojo in the living room or hanging out on the kitchen floor. Again, this is my PLAN; we’ll see how it goes. I’ve never had two toddlers to deal with (AND THEN WE WILL HAVE A NEWBORN IN JANUARY)! Bonus points if you got this far and read that last sentence; I haven’t officially announced my pregnancy yet, and this is the first time I’ve mentioned on my blog! 😉
As you probably noticed, our daily “schedule” doesn’t have any space for leaving the house for extra outside activities. Part of that is due to COVID-19; I’m not planning on any outside “extracurriculars” this year, but that may change as restrictions loosen, etc. Or, we may schedule some online extracurriculars once we’re in a good rhythm.
The other part of our lack of extra outside activities is not due to COVID-19 and it’s a very intentional choice. Our school week is 4 days; Fridays are reserved for leaving the house for errands, activities (one day), grocery shopping, playdates, cleaning the house, etc. When we made the decision to homeschool, I had to come to accept reality that we were HOMEschoolers. For the foreseeable future, our days were to be primarily spent AT HOME (or taking school on the road on a hike or on a road trip, etc). My days of casual, last minute “let’s have a play date here in the middle of the day” were gone. Sure, we still do have that freedom and flexibility to suddenly decide to pack the kids into the car with a picnic lunch and drive to an apple orchard and make a day of it, or meet friends at Chick-fil-A for lunch. BUT I had to realize that if I’m going to be a homeschooler, I’m going to have to become more disciplined and embrace this season of being home for school [almost] every day. And I’m 100% ok with that!
That’s it for Our 2020-2021 Homeschool Plan! Like I mentioned, I’ll try to be better at updating the blog with our homeschooling adventures. If you follow along on Instagram, you’ll definitely see more there!
AND! If you want to hear me TALKING about homeschooling, tune into The Good Dirt Podcast, where Mary and Emma (of Lady Farmer) and I chatted for over an hour about ALL things homeschool!
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