Most of the time people aren’t super interested in what I do each day and I typically share anyway (because I enjoy it). But this time I actually have a “real” reason to share. Others are interested in how a day looks in our homeschool. So I thought I would share the details!
I am a certified teacher yet diving into homeschooling has been a difficult journey. We have homeschooled off and on because of my mental health issues, but we have decided this time that this will be “it.” We don’t feel that our “local” school is a good fit for our kids (for many, many reasons), and we have moved on.
Since I stopped teaching, I have struggled to find a way to use my gift of teaching. I questioned if I ever was even a good teacher (since I struggled with being able to teach because of my mental health). I thought I would never get to do what I loved. And when I tried to homeschool before, much of the anxiety that made it difficult was because I didn’t know where I fit in the homeschooling world. Bright and shiny homeschooling curriculum that was expensive? Very specific methods like classical or Charlotte Mason that weren’t a great fit? Workbooks? Or school at home?
I started watching Julie Bogart (Brave Writer creator) videos several years ago when I was planning to homeschool the boys again (and God shut that door, which was good, because I wasn’t ready). Seeds were planted, though. I started homeschooling the boys again in February and went right back to the easy-to-use, open-and-go curriculum because I felt like it checked all the boxes. While I did enjoy it, it wasn’t a huge passion like I remember teaching being for me. I have been afraid, though, to let go of the structure of box checking to jump into a world of a creative and rich education for my kids.
So here I am.
I do use some curriculum, but I sometimes branch out from it (it serves me, not the other way around). Math U See, Story of the World (for history), and Karis does science through Master Books (their junior high level). And we do use some Brave Writer curriculum such as some single issue Arrows and Boomerangs (I also do some books that aren’t covered with these). I teach a lot of grammar using the visual encyclopedia for grammar and punctuation, using an interactive notebook from Teachers Pay Teachers, and they practice it using literature. Sometimes I branch out and use other methods. We use the writing projects through Faltering Ownership. We pick and choose things. Instead of planning for a whole year, I plan for a month at a time and then focus on things that I decide on each week.
Each day we do these things (in a routine not schedule, also this is a repeat for those who have been following my blog):
- Read aloud
- Reading strategy or skill lesson (if applicable that week)
- Grammar lesson
- Arrow or Boomerang focus (if applicable)
- Writing project
- Bible- I do it with the boys (The Story with Kids) and my daughter branches off to do a teen Bible study
- History- Karis does this on her own and I do it with the boys. She reads on her own, reads out of the Encyclopedias, and does everything written (questions, narration, and map work). I do everything with the boys, but in a few months I will have them do it written as well.
Independent for all
- Math U See (watch the video and do pages A and D)
- Independent reading and reading response journal (applying reading strategy and grammar lesson)
- Nature studies
- Geography/culture studies/art appreciation/artist study
Okay. Now that we have the routine written out, let me share about a specific day!
Here’s how Tuesday went:
- We used the inferencing cards (from Teacher’s Pay Teachers) to continue making inferences. There is a paragraph where you have to make an inference to figure things out.
- Read aloud Henry’s Freedom Box and practice making inferences through it (Evidence from text + prior knowledge = inference or E + PK = I)
- Review proper nouns. Teach abstract nouns using The Visual Guide to Grammar and Punctuation with lots of examples and practice.
- Read 14 pages in Colors of the Rain while focusing on making inferences and pointing out proper and abstract nouns.
- For independent reading, the kids had to read for 30 minutes and write 3 proper nouns, 3 abstract nouns, and make 2 inferences (all week).
The kids are usually pretty engaged with conversation because they are getting to do fun things with their hands. This day Karis chose a coloring book, Ethan chose homemade play dough and cars (his go-to), and Levi chose clay. I also light candles because it brings calm to the table.
I introduced the Faltering Ownership writing project which is called “Wild Words.”
Then I read aloud a section of chapter 11 in Story of the World, had the boys answer questions orally, and they orally narrated.
Karis did these things independently and written.
I read part of the story of Hannah and Samuel in The Story for Kids.
Karis did a section of her Bible study on 2 Corinthians for teen girls.
Before the boys went off to do their independent work, I introduced rock types to them using the Nature Anatomy book and reinforced it using The Cabinet of Curiosities and a few other books.
They went for a short nature walk and then journaled about a rock that they found using any type of media that they choose. Ethan painted with water color and Levi used pencil. They had to label it with the type of rock that it is.
They have a white board checklist to follow each day. It has made independent work much easier for them.
I have since changed the lime green since it’s hard to see!
Since it’s now Friday, I’ll also share about how things went today. Fridays are a bit different because we do Poetry Teatime and Friday Free-write instead of our read aloud. Today was so great. My kids have all grown in their writing skill. It’s so good to see!
I love this poetry book. So. Much.
Friday Free-Write went better than it ever has. They all wanted to just keep writing and writing. Then they all said that they want to add to it next time. Karis is using a prompt and writing a story. Ethan and Levi both decided to write about themselves.
We cut, colored, and glued in our parts of speech review flaps. They know a lot of these, but I want to make sure they are solidified. They didn’t get much grammar instruction at all in school.
When they were finished, they wrote the definition of a noun inside with an example of each type, then they wrote what a proper and abstract noun is next to it.
Then before they went to do their independent work, we did the last part of week 1’s writing project.
They had sooooo much fun and just wanted to keep going. They wouldn’t even stop when their dad brought them their food.
I’m so thankful that I finally dove into Brave Writer!! It has changed all of our lives!!