Sunday, July 26, 2015

Large Family Homeschooling: What Our Day Looks Like

Pin It Over the years, our routine has changed according to the needs of our family. Previously, my focus was on the order of daily events rather than the times of day they were occurring. This worked method worked well for us. My kids always knew what to expect next.

When we began foster care, I knew we'd need to create more structure in order for our large family, and new children with special needs, to thrive. We currently have a sibling group of 3, while previously we had a sibling group of 4. Sorting out a schedule and learning large family logistics took some time. I still don't have it all figured out, but I do believe we have a thriving homeschool as we enter our 6th year.

One change in our schedule this year is that we are taking a break from all sports and evening activities, besides church and foster care related events, until the spring. This frees up our evenings for family time. 

We're also trying out a tv free living room for the year. We haven't had cable in years, but I still felt video games and Netflix were becoming distractions. The kids were surprisingly on board when I suggested a tv break. We'll see how they are feeling when winter boredom arrives!

The first video below explains how I've structured our homeschooling days. The next video gives a glimpse into our first day of school. I tend to schedule more time for lessons than actually needed so that we aren't rushing through the day. The last thing I want is for my children to feel overwhelmed. I want them to love and enjoy learning, and being together as a family.

Large Family Homeschool Schedule:


Our First Day {DITL Vlog}:


Happy homeschooling!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Our Homeschool Room 2015-2016

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You can see our homeschool room in previous years by visiting these posts:


Only a few changes have been made to our school room since 2013. We've freshened up the paint, added a desk, and purchased two dry erase boards. One of the boards is for Classical Conversations. I used washi tape to divide it into 6 sections for the different subject areas. 

For our latest tour, I decided to make a video for you all. We still enjoy and get plenty of use out of this space. Learning also takes place throughout our home and community. The world is our classroom, but it's nice to have an organized space and place for our materials.



Friday, February 14, 2014

A Day in the Life

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Welcome to a day in our life. Our weekly routine pretty much stays the same, but each day looks a little different. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, we go to various co-ops around town. Field trips are mainly scheduled on Fridays, and we try to keep Wednesdays commitment free. 
Our homeschooling method would be described as eclectic. There are many wonderful approaches to homeschooling, and pulling from different methods works better for us than trying to fit into one style.  

Today is Thursday, a Valentine themed day. 

7:30 AM:  Despite not falling asleep until 2:30 AM, I am wide awake. My alarm is not due to go off for another 30 minutes. I decide to throw in a load of laundry, and text CJ (husband) until he gets home from work.  By the time he’s here, our children are awake. He oversees breakfast and morning chores while I take a shower and get ready. 

9:00: Isabelle, the kids' friend, arrives for the day. The 3 girls (1st and 2nd graders) start on the workboxes they can do independently (Calendar notebook, practicing spelling words, handwriting, journals, and math since we aren’t learning a new concept today).  Samuel, my 4th grader, reads his Bible and completes a Logic puzzle.

10:00: Valentine craft time- Sarah picked out a butterfly craft for everyone to do last night. We also used scented watercolors to make heart maps.  

11:00: Everyone grabs a book to read, or finishes up their Language workbox.

11:45: Lunch- Since we have 3 children, each one is responsible for helping with clean up after one meal and one snack. Samuel does breakfast, Sarah does lunch, and Madelyn does dinner. We used to rotate who did what meal, but there was too much arguing.

During lunch, I read the Bible, and a story about the history of Valentine’s Day. Then I take care of more laundry before we head out the door for co-op.

12:30PM: Leave for co-op- Thursday’s gym co-op is about 25 minutes from our house, so I bring along a science dvd on the heart. The girls are currently learning about the human body, and you know, it kinda fits in with the Valentine’s Day theme. The kids also grab a few books to read for the ride home.

1-3:00PM: While the kids are having their Valentine party, I find a spot at the church to finish up lesson plans for the upcoming weeks. 

3:30PM: Back at home, details of the party are still being shared as everyone looks through their Valentine boxes. Eventually, the girls run off to play while Samuel finishes up his last few workboxes and a science experiment using magnets. We discuss what he’s learning about World War I in history.

4:15: Isabelle gets picked up, and I declare a quiet time until 6 PM. Their instructions are to read, play quietly, or write/color quietly. I also try to read during this time, but they are anything but quiet. We’ll try again tomorrow.

6:30PM: Dinner- CJ makes tacos while the kids help me straighten up the house. Our craft bin is a disaster, so I pull everything out and organize it. 

7:00: This is the time CJ and I would leave for small group on Thursdays, but it’s canceled tonight, so we watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy as a family. 

8:00: Showers, books, prayers, then bedtime for kids

9:00: Once everyone is tucked in, CJ and I have about 30 minutes to talk before he leaves for work.

10:00: While I’m gathering supplies to wrap Valentine’s Day gifts (snacks and a coupon book), I notice our loving Labradoodle has thrown up all over the downstairs bathroom. Lovely.  I grab some cleaning supplies and get to work.

11:15: Gifts are wrapped and set out for the morning. 

12:15AM: After making sure everything is ready to go for school tomorrow, I go up to bed. Tonight I’m asleep by 1:00AM. I love being a homeschool mom!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Homemade Scented Watercolors

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This simple watercolor paint recipe will leave your child's artwork smelling lovely. 

All you need is:
1 tbsp kool-aid drink mix
1 tbsp warm water
1 container per color (we used a muffin pan)

Mix the water and drink mix together. 

We used our watercolors to make heart maps for Valentine's Day. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

How to Make Snow Ice Cream

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Samuel, my 4th grader, wrote a how-to essay on making snow ice cream. This is a quick, simple recipe that my kids can't get enough of!!

Making Snow Ice Cream
by Samuel

     Have you ever been snowed in without a sweet treat? You can make snow ice cream in a few simple steps. Here's how!

     You will need the following ingredients:

  • 4-6 cups of fresh snow
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • toppings (if you prefer)

     You can find the snow outside. You can find the rest of the ingredients at a grocery store if they aren't already in your cupboard.

     Follow these steps to make snow ice cream:

  1. First, collect snow in a large bowl.
  2. Next, add in the milk, sugar, and vanilla. Mix everything together with a spoon.
  3. Now, scoop ice cream into a smaller bowl, add your toppings, and enjoy!


Friday, August 23, 2013

Our Family: A First Week Peek

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This is my wonderful homeschooling family of 5. CJ works in the US auto industry, and I am a stay-at-home mom/teacher of 2 princesses and 1 superhero. Homeschooling was something I desired to do for my children even before I became a mother. Growing up, a couple of close friends were homeschooled while I attended a public middle school. My parents weren't sold on the whole concept of homeschooling at first, but after begging them, they finally agreed to give it a try during my high school years. Best decision ever-- I LOVED homeschooling. Through this great choice, new friendships, and a Christian curriculum, I was led down a life-changing path to accepting Christ. So, basically,   the 5 of us think homeschooling is awesome. :-)

My children are 4th, 2nd, and 1st graders this year. Our friend's kids join us to learn and have fun, so if you see a random 4th and 5th child occasionally on the blog, that is why. 

Here are the kiddos, along with highlights from the first week:
Holding up fingers to represent the grade they are in

Madelyn, our baby, is a 1st grader!!

Samuel is our oldest. The archaeologist career idea stems from an Indiana Jones phase.

Sarah will be an AMAZING artist and mom. Her creativity puts my Pinterest boards to shame.

I include file folder games in their math workboxes for extra fun and review.

We'll call this recess ;-)
Wordly Wise 3000

School may have started, but we are not passing up sunshine and pool time!

He loved this experiment using batteries to light a light bulb. (photobomb courtesy of Sarah)

Zoo days

Happy Homeschooling!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Our School Room...The New New NEW One

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We are entering our 4th year of homeschooling (I’m including the year of home preschool we did in that number)!!! Each year our learning space changes a bit. You can go here to check out our past rooms.

When house shopping time began in the spring, we knew we wanted 4 bedrooms and a place to keep our school furniture and supplies. I am not one who can cope with school materials all around the house. Last year we had to rent out a smaller house while we lived in Ohio. Our dining room table and kitchen served as our school area. We made the best of it, but it wasn’t ideal for our family.

We came upon a house in April that we fell in love with…a perfect-for-us forever home with a nicely reduced price tag. The downstairs had a lovely open floor plan with a room that could easily be turned into a school area. When you walk into the house, it’s the first room you see, and I like it that way! Its original purpose was to be a formal dining room or living room. Yeah, I can totally live without either of those. We don’t have formal gatherings in our home…ever. Anyhow, we finally sold our previous house after 16 months of trying to get rid of it, and bought the perfect-for-us one. It belongs to us forever…or until CJ retires and we move someplace with warm temperatures year round. I can also totally live without experiencing snow and winter ever again. A girl can dream!

The new school room DOES get used. My kids may not stick to it all day, but they use it plenty enough to be well worth having the room. They also use the family room, back patio, and bedrooms. The school room is our starting place, and one by one they'll leave if they need an extra quiet/cozy space to read or concentrate.

The spice rack bookshelves off to the side of the 4x4 Expedit hold our books we're using for the week.

The white baskets hold our readers and read alouds.
Our dry erase board is a sheet of white panel board from Home Depot.

You might recognize our furniture if you are familiar with Ikea, or read COAH. Her room totally inspired me, as you can tell, I copied a lot her ideas. Yeah, I could have been more original, but the outcome would most likely have been a disaster. All props for creativity go to Erica. 

The walls in our room still need painted. Coming up with the right color has been challenging. The kids want something loud and bright, I prefer a shade that won't give me a headache first thing in the morning. Until we come to a compromise, they'll remain white.

Another space the kids prefer is our playroom (4th bedroom upstairs). Madelyn spends a lot of her time in here making messes memories. 

 So, there you have it! A new house and room for many new homeschooling family memories!