Our Homeschool Rhythm

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I’m a big believer in routine. We’re all creatures of habit in many ways and when it comes to children I believe that they tend to thrive on routine as most crave the predictability and security that a routine offers.

When it comes to home educating many families find success in having a routine, a predictable rhythm to their day and week that allows their homeschool to flow more easily. We certainly do.

Now I’m not talking about a schedule here where every aspect of the homeschool day is slotted into a timetable where maths has to start at 10am, followed by a break at 10:30 and history at 11:00.

This may work for some but when one of the blessings of home educating is greater freedom, a rigid schedule can miss out on some of the flexibility and spontaneous joy that home educating can bring.

So below you will see what our daily homeschool rhythm looks like. Our school day starts at a different time every day and occasionally we swap elements around if need be but in general, this is the flow of our day.

 

STARTING THE DAY

Our Homeschool Rhythm | The Open Home

Thankfully my girls are not early risers and Bubbles generally only squarks for me around 7:15 (sometimes even 7:45) but the day generally starts with us heading down to breakfast in our pyjamas around 7:30 once I’ve managed to wake up a little.

I love the idea of being all dressed and ready to start the day before we head down for breakfast, but Bubbles tends to wake up “starving” most days and I’ve learnt that battling to dress a hangry 4 year old is not always worth the fall out.

CHORES

Our Homeschool Rhythm | The Open Home

Every day straight after breakfast we do our morning chores. Blossom empties the washing machine and hangs the laundry and Bubbles empties the dishwasher with my help.

TABLE TIME

Our Homeschool Rhythm | The Open Home

Once the chores are done we jump straight into our table time work (sometimes still in our pjs). This typically starts anywhere between 8:30 and 9:15. This is the slot where we get our copy work (writing practice) and maths out of the way, sometimes some picture narrations and nature journaling too.

Table time is really for my 6 year old who is now doing some formal lessons, but my 4 year old likes to feel part of things even if she isn’t yet required to do the work so for her table time involves any fine motor activity of her choice; colouring, beading, stamping, octons, hammer board, etc

At present Table Time lasts no longer than 30 minutes.

WORKOUT

Our Homeschool Rhythm | The Open Home

Now that our table time work is out of the way and the essentials of the day done the girls (are supposed to) get dressed and then have some free play time whilst I fit in my 30 minute workout, shower and get myself (and then sometimes my 4 year old) dressed for the day.

Sometimes there is time for them to squeeze in some yoga practice whilst I get ready and then sometimes I have to skip my workout all together if we’ve had a slow start to the day or have to be out of the house especially quickly.

MORNING BASKET

Our Homeschool Rhythm | The Open Home

Once we’re all dressed and ready for the day we start our morning book basket, usually around 10:00 – 10:30 depending on whether we’re heading out or not.

Each morning basket consists of devotions, art enrichment and a main lesson:

  • Devotions

Right now our devotions include a Bible reading, our gratitude journal and a prayer.

  • Art Enrichment

Every day I kick start our art enrichment section by reading a poem. We look at a poet each term and try to get familiar with their style. We then follow up poetry with either hymn study, picture study or composer study. Like with poetry, when it comes to picture study and composer study we focus on one artist/composer per term to really familiarise ourselves with their work. As for hymn study, we study 1 hymn per month and again the aim here is familiarity not word perfection.

  • Main Lesson

Now we have a 6 year old in the house we’ve introduced a few more subjects to our week so our morning basket now includes one main lesson per day; natural history on a Monday, geography on Tuesday, history on Wednesday and PSHE on Thursday.

These lessons often involve read alouds, picture books, the occasional video and of course, lots of discussion.

MORNING ACTIVITY

Our Homeschool Rhythm | The Open Home

This is where things differ a little as most of the week we head out on an outing or to a group after our morning basket but twice a week we stay home.

So on Mondays we attend our Nature Explorers group, on Tuesdays we have a play date, on Wednesday we do catch up and crafts at home, on Thursdays we tend to tackle house or gardening projects, on Fridays we visit the library and then on Saturday it’s swimming lessons, followed by church on Sundays.

LUNCH

Our Homeschool Rhythm | The Open Home

Always an important one. As I don’t have to prep for school lunches the night before I don’t, unless I know we’ll be out and about for lunch the next day. Generally I just serve leftovers or prep sandwiches as and when we’re hungry, usually around 12:00.

READ ALOUD

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After lunch we read a chapter or two of our current read aloud and on the rare occasion that we had to skip morning basket to rush out we add it on to this space here.

AFTERNOON ACTIVITY

Our Homeschool Rhythm | The Open Home

In true Charlotte Mason fashion I try to get all the school work in the formal sense out of the way in the morning so that the afternoons can be for more leisurely activities and lots of free play.

So on Monday we have our Poetry Tea Time, on Tuesday we try to bake, on Wednesday the girls visit their grandparents for a playdate on the farm, on Thursday we have a family outing and on Friday the girls attend their Rainbows group. Saturday and Sunday aren’t school days in our home so those afternoons are generally just for rest and play.

DINNER & BED

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Dinner is usually somewhere between 17:30 and 18:00 and after dinner we head up to bed. I try to have my 4 year old down by 19:30 and then Blossom can read to me in peace before being tucked up in bed around 20:00.

We used to attempt reading practice during table time but it proved difficult with a chatty 4 year old around so we needed to find a consistent one-to-one slot in the day and bedtime won out.

EVENINGS

Books Lately | The Open Home

Once the girls are all settled in bed my evenings then consist of a small amount of prep for the next school day followed by my own down time.

Thankfully my termly lesson planning and hours prep on the weekend make the world of difference enabling me to do very little planning in the evenings for the next day.

I then aim to head up to bed around 22:30.

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So there you have it, our daily rhythm. Nothing too rigid, just a general flow to our days that helps make our learning all the more intentional and enjoyable. In my next post I’ll try to unpack this rhythm a little more for you and will share how a school day looks in more detail.

Do you prefer to have a rhythm to your day?

 

 

{Autumn Nature Study}

Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home

“Why be indoors when you can rightly be without.” – Charlotte Mason

The autumn started with such promise, our conker hoard was large this year, but October proved to be the wettest October for many a decade and the rain persisted well into autumn making nature walks increasingly difficult.

We still gathered and explored where we could and diligently kept an eye on our beloved ginkgo tree to be sure not to miss it in all its autumn glory.

We learnt a lot about seasonal weather and bird migration this autumn and have also signed up to the RSPB Wild Challenge and are looking forward to working towards our bronze award in the new year.

Here are some of the snapshots:

Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home
Golden sunshine on our first conker hunt of the season.
Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home
Sensory fun!
Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home
Bubbles’ first nature journal entry.
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The return of welly boot season.
Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home
Autumn nature walks in Cumbria.
Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home
Nature walk at Derwent Water, the home of Squirrel Nutkin.
Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home
Gruffalo spotting and squirrel hunting on our way up Orrest Head.
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A successful climb to the top of Orrest Head.
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Rambling in the Lake District.
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Wild and Free.
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Fabulous fungi.
Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home
Rock climbing our way to Rydal Cave.
Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home
Exploring Rydal Cave.
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Autumn views at Rydal Water.
Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home
Autumn crafts.
Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home
Nature walks with our fellow Nature Explorers.
Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home
Blossom’s bird migration work.
Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home
Ginkgo magic.
Autumn Nature Study 2019 | The Open Home
The simple joy of autumn leaves!

 

What did you enjoy most about nature this (wet and windy) Autumn?

{November Gratitudes}

Gratitudes November 2019 | The Open Home
For gorgeous girls and the glorious ginkgo.
Gratitudes November 2019 | The Open Home
For living history and Granny expeditions.
Gratitudes November 2019 | The Open Home
For a successful school term and fun along the way.
Gratitudes November 2019 | The Open Home
For patience and perseverance and breaks in the weather.
Gratitudes November 2019 | The Open Home
For scarves and boots and autumn in all it’s glory.

These are the inserts from our gratitude journal in November, reminding us that God is good and we are blessed.

What have you been thankful for lately?

Snapshots of the Lake District

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Snapshots of the Lake District |The Open Home

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Last month we embarked on a road trip up to the English Lake District. It was quite an epic journey for us and our girls who, living on a small island aren’t used to being on a car journey for more than 20 minutes or so!

We’d been wanting to make this trip for a few years now and I’m pleased we were able to do so whilst the girls were both still young enough to find joy in all the Beatrix Potter attractions.

We visited Hilltop, Beatrix’s home in Near Sawrey, the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkeshead and the inspiration for Mr Gregor’s Garden at Lingholm. We also saw Owl Island on Derwent Water the setting for Squirrel Nutkin and Esthwaite Water, the setting for Jeremy Fisher. On the journey up we also stopped off at the Tailor of Gloucester Museum, in Gloucester.

We also enjoyed soaking in the beautiful scenery of the Lake District. We climbed a fell, found the Gruffalo, explored a cave, saw a steam train and even swam in the Lake (one of us at least!).

I also had the chance to pay my respects at the graveside of Charlotte Mason and also visited the Armitt Museum in Ambleside, which is the home of all her educational archives.

It was a great trip, but I think for our next holiday we’ll leave the car at home and fly somewhere instead. Road tripping is tiring!

Where did you go on your last road trip?

 

 

{Daughter Diaries} #62

Daughter Diaries 63 | The Open Home

Dear Blossom, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! I’m delighted that you girls love autumn as much as I do and I love that you want to spend more time snuggling on the sofa and going for long walks with me. Quality time really is the best. Dear Bubbles, I want you to hear me loud and clear! “You are kind, you are smart and you are important.” You are also sweet and tender, wild and cheeky and I love all of you, ALL of you. Dearest Daughters, may my love for you fill your hearts and bless your souls.

Gotta love a golden ginkgo!

{October Gratitudes}

Gratitudes October 2019 | The Open Home
For growing girls and autumn glory.
Gratitudes October 2019 | The Open Home
For educational pilgrimages and legacies that live on.
Gratitudes October 2019 | The Open Home
For the imperfections that make us human.
Gratitudes October 2019 | The Open Home
For simple pleasures and postal beauties.
Gratitudes October 2019 | The Open Home
For links to the past and memories that live on.
Gratitudes October 2019 | The Open Home
For sisterly adventures and home ed on the road.

These are the inserts from our gratitude journal during October, reminding us that God is good and we are blessed.

What have you been thankful for lately?

{September Gratitudes}

Gratitudes September 2019 | The Open Home
For eager students and the start of new chapters.
Gratitudes September 2019 | The Open Home
For unexpected moments and fresh memories.
Gratitudes September 2019 | The Open Home
For the love of history and books galore!
Gratitudes September 2019 | The Open Home
For intrepid explorers and the return of welly boot season.
Gratitudes September 2019 | The Open Home
For autumn strolls and sisterly secrets.
Gratitudes September 2019 | The Open Home
For perfect moments captured by imperfect shots.
Gratitudes September 2019 | The Open Home
For pyjama school and outtakes worth sharing.

 

These are the inserts from our gratitude journal during September, reminding us that God is good and we are blessed.

What have you been thankful for lately?