Changing school needs

I never can stick with one routine. It works for a few months, but then one or two of the kids need something different and it’s an uphill battle to keep things going at the right times and for the right amount of time, and things disintegrate and I start building a new routine. It’s frustrating at first, in part because I always wonder if I’ve just failed to enforce things enough and that’s why it fell apart. But, as I start to assemble a new schedule I get really excited. There are always things I want to do with the kids, or have the kids do, that can’t fit into a schedule. I look things over and decide what seems best for that time in their education or in our family situation and then just go for it. But when a routine disintegrates and I begin to assemble, I start to remember all of those subjects and ideas that fell by the wayside, and it’s actually pretty invigorating. I’ve let things disintegrate over the past 2 weeks, and I’m finally over feeling guilty, and I’m looking ahead to a new schedule.

Of course, it’s summertime, so that presents some other challenges as well as opportunities. Emma’s off to Girls’ Camp this week. Sue comes for a visit. And then my family comes, and we might head up to the cabin for a few days. After that, the boys have a class at the Rec Center, and then we’re already to August! Throw in swimming lessons somewhere in there, and that’s a fair bit to juggle. But it’s also a lot of learning and growing and fun as well.

I’ll try and remember to post whenever I get things figured out. I keep a record of my various routines under the tab “Homeschool Schedule.”


Poems on a rainy day


“I Like Rain”

Rain is wet.

Rain can be going down fast

or slow.

I like rain.



“Rain, Rain, Rain”

The rain

Cold, wet.

Nothing to do out there.

The house

Warm, cozy.

Something to do in there?




drip, drop

drip, drop

drip, drop

splash, splash in

the puddles even

though it’s cold

and wet, it’s

cleaning the

earth and it

smells good.

Falling, falling from the





“A Rainy Day”

It’s wet and cool,

Grey and cloudy,

Misty and calm.

Drops slash in puddles

While we splash in puddles.

Inside feels warm, cozy,

When we watch the trees

drip with rain.

Poems on snow today

It feels cold.
It looks soft.
And small.
I feel excited.
It’s fun!
“Snow Snow Snow”
The cold snow.
The fun we have.
The whiteness, the softness.
The sun goes down.
And everyone sleeping.
snow feels
cold. in
bits of ice.
falling from
very fast.
it’s cloudy
and it’s dark.
it’s like
a white
blanket in
small flakes.
falling fast.
with water
Pretty, small white dots
Slowly falling and muffling,
Turning everything peaceful,
And silent. Soft wet white rain
Turns  you calm.
Like a factory –
quick assembly line.
Millions of white pieces falling in millions of parallel lines.
Looking up the white pieces seem to be born out of no where.
No factory.
Just a uniform whiteness.
Clouds. Heaven?
Heaven sending down millions of white specks.
Quiet. Soft. Cold on cheeks.

What we’re up to today

What are the kids doing today? Well, this morning we went to the library. We got two bags of books, including some books on the country-of-the-week: India. The kids like Brandon Mull books, Beverly Cleary books, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Then we were off to the library book sale, where we searched through nearly 100 boxes of books for ones we wanted to buy. It’s hard to decide what to buy, now that we have a library so close to us! But we found 25 books to buy — some to replace our most oft-read books that have fallen apart recently. I picked up some phonics books too, just the ones that deal with some trickier sounds. Also a Where’s Waldo? book for good measure.

Now we’re home and just finishing lunch. Micah (3) is playing with a gigantic train set-up in the living room, talking happily to himself. Lydia (5) is coloring the coloring pages she picked up at the library. Emma (11) is reading for her “free reading hour,” and the boys (7 and 9) are using the Lego Idea Book they got this morning to make some cool new projects.

Soon I’ll pull them away so they can start their free reading hour as well. It’s a good transition from lunch/break time to school time!

This afternoon we’ll also study the India books we picked up and do some math assignments.

That’s what we’re up to today!

Kids’ Geography Assignment

The kids all have geography as one of their subjects this semester. We’re doing the same country all together each week and sharing things on Fridays. I’ve done geography with some of them before, but this year we’re doing it differently. I think it’ll be a great project:


First, copy the outline of the country and label the countries or water-areas that touch it. Copy the flag, too. Then pick some of these to do:

Nonfiction books – These books can teach you a lot about geography, like famous mountains, rivers, waterfalls, etc. They can tell you about famous places like old ruins. Or famous big cities. Whatever you read about and want to write down, find those places on the map.

Fiction books – find authors that write stories that take place in that country. Find out what cities or areas the stories take place and find them on the map. (If you want to, you can also look up extra information about those areas or pictures on wikipedia.)

Fiction book authors – find authors that are from the country and learn where they were born and where they grew up. And of course, find those places on the map.

Family – has any of our family been to this country before? Find out where they went and find it on the map. (If you want, ask them questions or learn about those places in books or on wikipedia.)

Family History – do we have any ancestors from this country? Find out where they were born or worked or grew up and find them on the map. (You can also learn more about those places or find pictures.)

Movies – do you know of any movies that take place in this country or were filmed in this country? Learn where and find it on the map.

Share what you find out on Friday! But share it by showing it on the map!

Newest Homeschooling Routine

Another school year is upon us, and I’m doing lots of thinking about homeschooling.

Every year I re-evaluate our decision to homeschool and what we’re hoping to accomplish by it. This year, I really, really felt the weight of the responsibility I’m offering to take on myself. I assign 4-9 subjects to each kid, and now multiply that by 4, and that’s around 30 “classes” I’m suppose to be in charge of and check up on. Thankfully, I’ve never assigned myself the role of preparing set lessons and standing up as a “teacher” (I seriously admire those with the training to do that, especially for large groups of children!). Rather, I teach my kids to read well, and then I set them to work with reading assignments in various subjects. Their job is to read, take notes, draw pictures, and then later explain to me what they read about. Sometimes we even set it up so that they teach each other. This method may not be as fun or exciting as what I see other homeschool families doing, but it’s the only way I can keep my sanity! 🙂

And I cross my fingers that it’s also allowing them to see that they don’t need me to learn, only to push them to do what they’re supposed to do. I remind, check up on, listen, ask questions to see if they’re working hard or not, but what they are learning comes from their books. (Even math workbooks.) I hope it’s doing what I think it’s doing for them.

With that, here’s our general plan this year:

Overview of School Schedules

Me Emma Jacob Jonah Lydia Friday
Before 7:30 Scripture Study,

Computer time

7:30 Wake up kids Wake up/breakfast Wake up/breakfast Wake up/breakfast (breakfast chore!) Wake up/breakfast Wake up/breakfast
8:00 Shower & make bread, plan dinner Shower, Bed, books, & jammies Shower, Bed, books, & jammies Bed, books, & jammies Bed, books, & jammies Bed, books, & jammies
Do Lydia’s study Scripture Study Scripture Study Scripture Study Scripture Study Scripture Study

Morning School

Get lines ready in notebooks,

Keep an eye on everyone.

Dishes, laundry, other tasks.

Music practice

(30 minutes)

Review Geography assignments (share with each other)

Pick: Rec Center, Art Museum, Science Museum, etc.

Clean rooms very well & vacuum.

Also, take care of shopping, & other things Mom needs to do!


(45 minutes)

American History

(2 pages in book)

Read chapter book


Read! 🙂
Arts (30 minutes)


Arts (copy poems) Arts (copy art picture, write name) Arts (copy art)

(45 minutes)


(45 minutes)

Science (2 facts, 1 picture, 1 question) Science
Writing (Journal)

& Handwriting

Writing (Journal)

& Handwriting

Writing (Journal)

& Handwriting

Writing (Journal)

& Handwriting

LUNCH (lunch chore!)
Ideally, read too!

Help with math

Play with Micah

Free Reading

(1 hour)

Free Reading

(1 hour)

Free Reading

(1 hour)

Free Reading

Afternoon School

Math (45 min) Math Math Math
Geography (any book on country)
(45 minutes)
Geography (any book on country)
(45 minutes)
Geography (any book on country)
(45 minutes)

(draw maps)

Spanish with Daddy
After School Rec Center, play learning games, free time, library, shopping, etc. Baths/Showers for J, L, M on T/Th, Sat

Here are some pictures that go through a day of school in our house.

Here are some pictures to help explain what we do during our homeschool schedule:

There’s a bit of a sample of how we do things! I’m glad they have each other and it gets more fun and more rewarding all the time!