Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What's Been Happening Lately, Part 3: Daily Routines and Homeschooling

Even though I've known this truth forever, I am constantly amazed at the effect a good routine can have on things actually happening.  I've made a few tweaks to our daily routine recently that have just fit, and as a result, our days have gone smoother while also accomplishing my goals. 

One such example is our outside time.  I know I've mentioned before my struggle to get outside everyday.  Some seasons, like summer, lend themselves more naturally to this, and it's not a problem to get outside everyday.  But in the middle of winter, it feels like hard work to get outside, so it often doesn't happen.  But I just recently borrowed an idea from my preschool teaching days and decided to try going outside right after lunch each day.  And this has fit our routine perfectly.  It's already a transition time, which somehow means that it doesn't take nearly as much effort to actually get outside.  Most days the kids take their scooters out to the road, and we spend 20-30 minutes there, but if I need to, I can also send everyone to the backyard while I finish cleaning the kitchen up.  This little tweak has been a game changer for us right now.

The other routine change I made was with our "school" time.  I finally had to admit that my plan of doing our "school" time in the afternoon just wasn't working.  I had been pretty intentional in choosing that time, but for various reasons, most days it wasn't happening.  Given my unschooling tendencies, it wasn't that big of a deal, really, but I did want to make sure we were working on a few things regularly.  Part of me thought that if I just disciplined myself better, and kept trying, I could make it work, but I knew that it ultimately came down to making the routine work for us.  So, I've moved our school time to the morning, which is definitely my more disciplined, productive time of day.  This does make the morning a bit busier, but it also means that we're actually doing it on a regular basis.

Speaking of homeschooling, I wanted to give a little update on the resources we chose to use this year.  Thankfully, everything has been wonderful!  We love the Story of the World history, and we're currently on our second listen-through.  The kids usually listen to a chapter while I get lunch ready, which works really well.  

We have loved Life of Fred as well.  I really appreciate the relaxed approach to math, and the kids enjoy it.  Another resource we found for math is Bedtime Math.  We borrowed the first book from the library and have been using it during our Morning Time.  The kids LOVE this.  The author's goal is to make math as much fun and as much a part of everyday life as a bedtime story, which fits my philosophy exactly, and it has been just that for us.  The kids say this is their favorite part of morning time, and even Toby asks for a turn with a question.  After we finished the library book, I promptly purchased all three books, which is high praise!  The books include questions for a few different age groups, but because I have so many kids so close together, I have had to make up some of my own questions, too, but having some ideas to go on already has made that pretty easy.  We just started book 2, which is also great, though the questions so far seem easier.  Anyway, we highly recommend these books!

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