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Today, I am sharing how our days usually went for the elementary years, the time in my daughter's life that gave her the basics and, most importantly-- a love of learning.
My 2e daughter had some attentional issues similar to ADHD, was an intense child, (OE) when she was young and had some sensory issues as well. Homeschooling met her needs so much better than public school.
Having a structure to her day was so important as she also had some anxiety, and structure helped her to relax and anticipate what would happen next.
At first we used a simple written schedule, that was posted in our living room, our main learning area. Changes in our schedule would cause anxiety. Having a written schedule that my kiddo could see and refer to, was a great help.
Our "Usual" Early Elementary
- Morning Start - Breakfast together, getting dressed and singing songs from the Wee Sing books. I dearly treasured these early mornings. It got us off to a positive start.
Then, in a few years, we added a bible study. We began be lighting a candle, then turned to the bible verse for the day, and read the story that went along with it. This led to many great early morning talks.
That was the plan - Often the candle did not get found or lit.
Then it was time for play, a video, or an audio book from the library, while I got ready for the day.
- Morning Studies - We always started with a favorite, which was Explode the Code (ETC), for many years. Then we worked in math, spelling, reading, and writing.
We focused on just the 3 R's - reading, writing, and math all the way through 3rd grade. We needed that much time to cover the basics, as we also needed to take a lot of breaks, to "run" off my daughter's energy!
So we did not do science or social studies until 4th grade, also another great help.
We took these active breaks a lot.
Or when I need one! Early on, my daughter was full of questions almost all the time, so sometimes I really needed a break too.
When I needed a mama break, we used what we called "room play time". I put my feet up and relaxed, and she listened to a cd, read to herself or played in her room. These breaks were so important to me and for managing my own stress level.
Every Thursday morning we did some handwork, like hand sewing, very easy knitting or something similar together. It was a nice tradition, something that we looked forward to each week.
- Clean up/ Lunch - We started in preschool, with this little cleanup song...and added in chores as she grew.
"Clean up, clean up,
Everybody clean up,
Put the toys in the box,
Everybody clean up."
My chores like laundry and light cleaning were done before or after lunch usually. My kiddo liked helping.
- Afternoon Activities - During these earlier years, the afternoons were all about free play, simple art projects, errands, running to the park, that kind of thing.
My daughter's favorite thing to do was going to the park to explore the streams, look for birds, etc.
- Before Dinner - This was often time for a video while I prepared dinner.
- Dinner - Flexible depending on hubby's schedule.
- Bedtime Routine - Bath, story, more stories, bed.
By the time bath time rolled around, my hubby often was able to take on that, and my daughter loved to read aloud to him. .
Bedtime was set up for 8pm, but my hubby often wanted her to stay up, so it was flexible. At the same time, we tried to stick with the bedtime, as we parents needed parent time to recharge.
Things changed in 4th grade...
Our Homeschool Schedule
4th - 6th Grade
We used Oak Meadow curriculum for our history and English for many years, and liked how it included literature, related to the history topics, and tons of hands on projects. Hands-on was very popular at our house! My daughter's learning style was visual and kinesthetic.
At this time, our schedule became more specific.
It looked something like this:
- 9 am - Math
- 10 am - Explode the Code advanced, Spelling
- 11 am - History and English combined, often Oak Meadow, hands-on projects, lit related to the history lesson. Or interest led.
- 1 pm - Watch educational videos together, finish chores
- 2pm - Science, Writing, or Art
- 3pm - Take a walk, go to the park, do PE inside with a tape
We spent a lot of time on organizational skills at this age, helping my daughter find a good system for keeping herself organized.
This was an issue for many years.
We used spiral notebooks, one for each subject, and all of the written work was put into them. That eliminated the need to find that specific sheet of paper, that sort of thing.
Afternoons were for free time, reading, videos, games. Or heading out to a friend's house, taking a walk, reading, etc.
Evenings there was sometimes a class like gymnastics, which was great outlets for my daughter's intense energy.
And she turned her high activity level into a strength!
When I felt tired or my daughter needed a break, we quit our studies and went to the park or for a short drive. Getting out in nature was a great stress relief for both of us!
Mom Self Care - I also built in time for a bath for mom (when my hubby could help out), or quiet reading time for me, and a weekly date with my hubby, when we had a babysitter.
This is how our elementary days tended to go, with lots of variations on the theme, as life happened, eg, sinus infections, the flu, or just needing a break, etc. We schooled from September through early June, then took off for the summer.
This is how she grew......
Are you curious how our days looked during the high school years? Here's "A Week in My Teen's High School Life", all about how we did high school at home.....
This post is a part of the 9th Annual Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. Check out all the other great posts from iHN homeschoolers and more.
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Betsy is mom to her now rising college senior, whom she homeschooled from preK through high school. She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early years, high school & college and wrote - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind. She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting.