Homeschooling Essentials: A Plan

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

Welcome back to the Homeschooling Essentials series! I hope you’re enjoying reading about everyone’s Essentials and maybe even learning some tricks and tips for including some of them into your homeschool.

Today’s Essential from me is a plan. I have to know in advance what I’m going to be teaching or it doesn’t get done. It’s as simple as that. I’ve tried it both ways, with a plan and without one, and hands down, it’s better when I plan things out. I was blessed enough to win a copy of The Well Planned Day Homeschool Planner earlier this school year, and it’s made a huge difference in our school. Things are no longer crazy “what do we have to do today?” And the kids are more focused too ;).

You don’t need any specific planner, although I do highly recommend the Well Planned Day. Just find one that works for you and your specific needs. The things you’ll need to include are the different subjects you need/want to teach, and a space for the lesson required for each child. That’s it. You can even make your own. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to work.

Even though my kids are in different grades, we do pretty much everything except silent reading and math together, so my planner looks kind of blank, but it’s really not. I should be a veteran teacher by now, since this is our third year of homeschooling “seriously,” but most of the time I still feel like a rookie. Having a good planner and taking the time each week (or ideally, planning out more than one week in advance, although that rarely happens) to fill it in really helps me a lot.

In case you’re curious, here are the subjects we do regularly:

Bible (typically, I read 2-4 chapters aloud to the kids; last week, we read the Gospel of Mark, this week, we’re reading some of the epistles)

Math (currently the kiddos are learning their multiplication tables using flash cards; once they have those mastered, which I suspect will be soon, we’ll move on to age-specific stuff for them)

Reading (Munchkin participates in a book club at the public library so he reads that book; Seahawk decided he didn’t love book club, so he’s reading Johnny Tremain right now – he loves history, so historical fiction was the right choice for him)

French (we’ve been using the lessons from SchoolhouseTeacher.com, but I recently got a membership to Mango Languages – look for the review near the end of February!)

Science (another review coming soon – Science4us.com; also reading The Burgess Animal Book for Children)

English (we do a grammar lesson and/or creative writing/pen pal letters)

History (reading An Island Story: A History of England for Girls and Boys)

And that pretty much fills our day. I try to have us done with lessons by the time Small Fry goes down for nap (at 2:00) so that the kids can go play with their friends while the baby sleeps. There’s another homeschool family just around the corner from us, so our kids and their kids play together a lot. That’s been a real blessing. While the baby sleeps and the kids are out playing, that’s “my” time. I use those couple of hours to tidy the house, take care of the breakfast and lunch dishes in preparation for dinner, and then do any sewing or quiet reading of my own.

So there’s my thoughts for the day.

Don’t forget to check out the other posts, linked below.

Blessings,

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Lisa @ A Rup Life

Jordyn @ Almost Supermom

Jenn @ Teaching Two Stinkers

Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog

Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy

Brandi @ Brandi Raae

Jodi @ Insane in the Mombrain

Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles

Homeschooling Essentials: Flexibility

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

Welcome to Day 2 of my Homeschooling Essentials! Today it’s all about flexibility.

You have to be flexible to be a homeschooling parent. Things don’t always go exactly the way you planned, and that has to be okay. There are unexpected sick days (for the kids and you), last minute errands (or days of errands…), and burnout days. You have to be flexible enough to let things go and say “There’s always tomorrow.”

Earlier this month, we had half a week of the need to be flexible. Right around New Year’s, Small Fry was sick. I think it was New Year’s Eve, actually. He was just feeling puny and was not himself, and finally, about an hour before bedtime, it became clear why when he threw up all over me (sorry if that’s TMI…). That was on a Wednesday. Thursday was normal, and on Friday, Munchkin was sick with the same thing. He spent the day in bed, but was fine the next morning. But that morning, Seahawk was under the weather and slept most of the day. Sunday of that week, the day before I’d planned to start school up again, was fine. We went for a family bike ride and all was well. During the night, though, I came down with the illness. Here’s where the need to be flexible really struck. Even though it was Monday, and the day we were “supposed” to get back to school, there was no school happening with Mom stuck in bed. Let me also say, I am incredibly blessed to have a husband who’s self-employed and works (mostly) from home. He was able to take that Monday (which happened to be our anniversary…) off to take care of the kids so I could sleep and recover. Enter Flexibility Day 2: Tuesday. We’d missed school on Monday, and because we’d also missed our anniversary, we took Tuesday off from school, too. The kids spent the morning with Grandma so hubby and I could have our anniversary date. (We went to see¬†Saving Mr. Banks. Have you seen it? Very good. I don’t even care for¬†Mary Poppins and I liked¬†Mr. Banks.¬†In fact, hubby’s been reading the book Mary Poppins¬†aloud to the kids this weekend. Then we’re going to watch the movie, and on Tuesday, which is discount day at the cinema, we’re all going to see¬†Saving Mr. Banks¬†again.)Anyway. So we started school on Wednesday the 8th instead of Monday the 6th. And did anyone die? Nope. Because we understand the importance of being flexible.

Now, this is not to say that you can call yourself a homeschooler and just never “do” school with your kids. There has to be a balance, and I think it’s better to err on the side of more school days than less. The education has to happen, whether you’re at home or sending your kids to school. But you have to accept that things aren’t always perfect.

So that’s my thought for today.

Don’t forget to click through the links below and see what everyone else is writing about today!

Blessings,

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Lisa @ A Rup Life

Jordyn @ Almost Supermom

Jenn @ Teaching Two Stinkers

Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog

Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy

Brandi @ Brandi Raae

Jodi @ Insane in the Mombrain

Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles