How We Homeschool Early Elementary

Many of you have been suddenly thrown into homeschooling, and homeschool vets have been sharing resources. Everyday Reading shared a screen-free ideas post, and Kendra Tierney shared some great homeschool advice too.

Since I think a lot of people are curious, and in hopes it might help, I'll share what we do too. My children are 2nd grade and under, so this would be different if I had older kids.

The Subjects:

These are the things I care about my kid learning right now, our educational values per say.

- spend lots of time outdoors learning about our world and nature
- spend time on free creative play
- read AND be read aloud to, foster a love of books. Read at a level that challenges them, and books that are just for fun. Read fiction, non-fiction, and poetry / short stories.
- learn practical life skills
- dive into science and explore interesting topics
- practice and grow math skills on a regular basis
- learn to write and improve writing skills
- learn about history, civics, society, culture, and our ancestral backgrounds
- Study the Catechism and learn about our faith

You don't have to come up with a list of your learning goals like that, but it can be helpful to keep in mind. I knew I valued books, but it took me a long time to be able to articulate that value and put it into goals for our family. In the meantime, I just read often which helped progress us in that regard anyways.

The Daily and Weekly Objectives:

At the beginning of the week (usually Sunday night) I make a list of all the homeschool I'd like us to accomplish that week. I break it down by child and it looks something like this:

6.5 y/o:
- 5 pages math
- 5 pages writing or copywork
- read every day
- be read to every day
- 3 science activities / discussions
- 3 activities catechism
- 3 chapters history
- 3 other learning activities

4 y/o:
- 5 days speech (just practice with mom articulating challenging words and sounds)
- 3 worksheets (either ABC practice, color review, little mazes, or numbers)
- be read to every day

I don't put more for him because he participates in our science discussions and nature activities, and I think it's best that early years have majority of the time spent on creative play.

From there, I don't micromanage too much what we get done each day. If it's a day my child wants to blow through 5 pages of math and do nothing once it's done, that is fine. We read later in the day, and then our math work for the week is done.

I rarely fight kids over anything homeschooling. There can be a bit of complaining at the get go, but they settle in quickly and enjoy it once they get started. I say things like "just give it a try!" "let's see what activities are on the next page?" and I let them choose the subject / activities they'd like to do first. Sometimes, if they are dragging their feet, I will allow an educational app or game of some kind if they finish quickly.

The Daily Schedule

Our daily schedule varies some (often we go outdoors in the morning too), but it generally goes something like this:

7:30-8:00 wake up
8:00 Breakfast
9:00 Get dressed, make beds, etc.
9:30-10 Start school 
12:00 Educational game occasionally, free play
12:30 Lunch
1:30 Naps / quiet play / independent reading
2:30 Outdoor time / play / crafts / creative time (this often involves them helping me cook, or do another project).  
6:00 Dinner (we often have a science or civics discussion over dinner)
7:00 Tidy Up, PJs, etc.
7:30 Family read aloud and family rosary
8:30 Bedtime

The Books:

For math: Abeka math books, available from their website
For catechism: St. Joseph's Baltimore Catechism
For catechism copywork & handwriting: St. Anne's Helper
Children's Bible: The Golden Children's Bible (correct text, many illustrations)
Poetry favorites: A Child's Garden of Verses, A Child's Book of Virtues, 
History: This Country of Ours (audiobook available free on YouTube
Geography: MODG's geography book
Science: MODG science workbook, Julia Rothman's farm / food / nature collection, and several nature & reference books we have. We also use websites like NASA. 

We keep a stocked home library of children's science, religion, early readers, chapter books etc. I also pick up additional inexpensive books at the pharmacy / grocery store depending on what we are learning, for preschool worksheets, phonics, etc. for more book lists check out Mater Amabilis and Mother of Divine Grace curriculums, both of these have great book suggestions. Mater Amabilis is Charlotte Mason style, and the curriculum is free online.

I also take book suggestions from fellow homeschoolers and Everyday Reading. I print lots of free worksheets and coloring pages from various sites.

I think that's about it, but if you have a question drop it in the comments and I'll try to answer!