Tuesday, 18 January 2011

How our day and school both work.

Our day starts with breakfast at 8am - they may get up at whatever time they choose, however DD4 never sleeps beyond 6am :(
Chores are after breakfast, they have a chore chart with 3 jobs each day - if the chores aren't finished then they don't get any TV time or Screen time. Chores include sweeping, empty dishwasher, fold laundry, feed chickens, hoover bedroom, tidy toys away etc.

We 'school' between 9am and 12pm. Our school day starts with a prayer followed by our scripture or AoF memorisation, next is circle time - this includes our calendar, game and songs (I'm really lucky with the songs as my Mum is very creative and can put together a song or verse related to a subject we are learning) followed by a group lesson (History, Science/Experiment, Art or Music) and drawer time.

The group lessons work well because DD4 & DD2 are desperate to be like their big sisters - they will happily sit through the discussion and join in the experiment or activity, then at the end rather than writing up the discussion they both have a relevant picture to colour/cut/paste.

We have modified Sue's workbox system to suit us - we use 6 drawers per child without the tags on the front. Each drawer contains a lesson or activity suitable to their age/ability, I tend to use the last drawer as the only 'fun drawer'. I use the 'Work with Mum' drawers to present new Montessori equipment or do a 3 part lesson (I'll blog more about those later).

Snacks are out on the table all morning (usually dried fruit, jug of water and crackers) they can help themselves at anytime they wish during the morning. They all pour their own drinks (I use a small glass jug) although DD2 tends to make a mess :)

We break at 12pm for lunch and from 1pm-3pm is 'explore time' - we can go on a garden adventure to explore nature, do some exciting chores (they love dusting & mopping?!), interact freely with the Montessori shelves, play Lego or bricks, knit, read, sew, paint/craft, create a game to play together, finish their unit studies, bake, yoga, trampoline etc anything that loosely comes under an educational or life skills heading.

Dinner is at 4pm and after they have tided it away there is the option of TV time (usually a pre-recorded programme) or free time. I limit TV to 30 mins a day unless we are all having a popcorn and snuggle DVD.

The bedtime routine starts at 6:15 - pj's teeth etc followed by family scriptures, prayers and then while DD6 & DD8 write their day records DD2 & DD4 get Mummy time, personal scripture stories, prayers and tucked in. Next is DD6's turn and lastly DD8. By 7:30 all is peaceful and Mummy relaxes and spends some quality time with Daddy - or we both get stuck doing the housework :(

We are not a true Montessori, Mason or Workbox family - what we have done is taken ideas from each to suit our needs. We don't have the space for all the Montessori shelves so we rotate equipment using the space we have. We have everything set up at child friendly height - the crockery is in the lower cupboards in the kitchen so they can access it to lay the table etc, small brooms and dustpan and brush are on low hooks in the utility space, fruit bowl is on the table, all artwork/posters/displays are at a suitable height for them, easy access to all books (again rotate these due to space restrictions), all equipment is child sized for ease of use and all responsibility is given to them.
We school most of the year - we do take a week off over Easter and Christmas  although DD4 complained over Christmas because there was no school - she insisted I put all the craft activities I had planned into her drawers so it could be 'real school' :)
We do lighten the load over the summer and half term breaks and tend to focus more on unit studies.
Family holidays also have a lighter load - a study on the animals of a country we are visiting or language lessons etc. Books are always with us as we all love to read.


Melanie said...

It's lovely to get an insight into your lives. It sounds lovely! At leaset one of our sons would have benfitted from this kind of schooling. State education is not flexible enough to accomodate the differing needs of children and I feel boys in particular are disadvantaged by the system. I wish I had your energy and discipline to have done it - but I was too stressed and now I could do it for the one yet to get sucked into the system I fear for his social needs if he is alone with me doing this. Do any parents home school together (though is that home schooling?!)

Zelda said...

I'm lucky in the fact that I have four in school together so they interact with each other. DD8 loves teaching DD6 to read etc.
But to answer your question - Yes.
There are homeschool groups who get together locally for various activities or classes. My local one runs creative writing classes, history visits, rock climbing and French classes to name a few.
I also took the option of sending mine to a Montessori school 1 or 2 days a week so they could interact with others.
Combine this with their church friends and they have an active social network, friends over to play, lesson swaps etc.

Martianne said...

You are doing what I have been trying to do in fits and starts for several years. So inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

ladle24 said...

When do you have time to prep all your materials then?
We do something similar, but I can never keep on top of it!

Zelda said...

I set aside 2 evenings a week - I usually stick a DVD on and settle down to cut, laminate or sew. I have a small notebook and write down all my ideas. My current list to make includes world flag map, weight cylinders, colour tablets, rivers of the world, felt botany maps, felt animal maps etc.
I usually aim to complete 1 project each week on top of any three part card sets that I will need for the next week.

Anyway it provides a good excuse to sit and watch telly for a while.

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