Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What works for this {not so organized} homeschool mom

This past weekend we had fun having some out of town guests stay with us. On Sunday afternoon Carrie and I had fun talking about homeschooling. We grew up together (I am a few years older however) and were both homeschooled ourselves and now we have the fun of doing it with our children. We don't get to see each other very often but keep up somewhat through our blogs. Anyway to get to the topic... as we were visiting Carrie said to me: "You seem so organized in your homeschooling". Well this post is a little attempt to keep it real around here!

There are so many ways I am not organized when it comes to homeschooling! I do not make a lesson plan for the year or the month or even the week. I do not have well prepared and planned ahead of time in depth unit studies for my children. I do not have field trips scheduled that fit in perfectly with our course of study. There are many other things I do not do. It isn't that I have anything against those things,its just that it hasn't worked for me at this point of my life. And I guess what I hope to encourage others with is that you don't have to be super organized in order to have a fun and good and Learning homeschooling experience.

 So what do I do? Here is what works for me (us):
  • I do order Math, English and Spelling workbooks for Mara and Jonathan. But I will admit that I was late ordering them this year so we were a few weeks late in getting started with our "official" school year. (Just keeping things real! )
  • I do have a general schedule for each day. Routine works great for us! Of course then some days(like today) other things get scheduled and then our normal routine doesn't happen.
  • I do like to have a general goal of things that I want my kids to learn. We have had fun learning about subjects such as the states or countries and I just find books and figure out a few activities here and there as we go along.
  • I do have a lot of learning material on hand to encourage all of to keep learning. We are blessed to have my parents to pass many homeschooling things on to us (I and my siblings have all been homeschooled) as well as others in church. Having a flexible learning plan allows me to use up the things that we have been given. I keep them all on a particular shelf and try to go through it every so often to see if there is anything I want to pull out and put to use at that time.
  • I do have a reading aloud time scheduled for each day. It has been our routine ever since Mara was tiny to read a naptime story and so now every day after lunch we just plan on that together time. At first it started as just a story book, then we added Bible in at that time. Now we read geography and history and sometimes science as well. We read fun books so it is not boring textbook reading it is reading that generally keeps the kids asking for more.
  • I do have various workbooks available (ones that have been given to us) for Aaron and Megan to work in. It amazes me how much they learn with our scrapped together education!
  • I do have lots of fun on this homeschooling journey and usually so do our children! And that I think is important. It works for me!
This is our shelf of learning!

What works for you in your homeschooling? Are you the really organized type or a little more freestyle?


Melissa said...

It works for me to not make a schedule. :) I do most of what you do. I have a checklist of what we do each day and then we just do the next thing.

Nola said...

Thanks for sharing! Hmmm...well I just started doing stuff with my daughter last winter. I just recently started saying we are "homeschooling" but just to give answers to others really. She is 4, but is very eager, and very advanced, and loves to do sitting down "work sheets" she calls them. I can't keep up with her as much as I want to. She wants more, and I don't have enough energy or time. I really wonder how others manage that. I have a very active 1 year old. I WANT to be organized and have everything together but I don't. And that scares me since we are really just beginning! But its good to know that you aren't totally together either. :)

restrainedchaos said...

I'm in the same situation as Nola. I've begun homeschooling my 5-year-old daughter, but wonder how on earth people manage to fit all the things they do into their day. Especially with littles! Since I've just been throwing things together willy-nilly also, it's reassuring to see other (successful) homeschoolers do the same. But, seriously, how do you do it?

Jenny said...

Howdy! Just dropping by from WFMW to check out your bloggy :D Hope you have a great weekend !

Abbi said...

Nola and Nicole,
It sounds like you have a great start! Some things that have been helpful for me as I homeschool and have children in various age ranges is that it is not going to ever have the same sort of atmosphere as a normal classroom. (This wasn't a big adjustment for me as I was homeschooled in a big family growing up but for some that went to school I think the adjustment could be hard.) So when you are trying to teach your eldest and you have a toddler and a baby too (I remember those days!) there are going to be interuptions. A lot of times while I taught Mara reading I would also be nursing the baby (Aaron) and Jonathan would be playing somewhere nearby or sitting on the couch with us listening to the story. When I had a baby I would usually be holding them while helping the others with their schoolwork. It might feel distracting at first but it will soon be very normal.

As the younger ones get older there are a lot of busy work (coloring books that they think are schoolwork and the like) that they can do and be right there with you. I always try to teach my kids together as much as possible. You will be amazed at how much the little ones will catch!

Also I really recommend the book "Better late than early" by the Moores. (here is a link: )It really made me realize that I can relax and really enjoy this homeschooling process. Often we are really hurting our children when we try to push them to do things early rather than helping them. It is kind of hard for me to explain but I think you would be encouraged by reading this book!

I think you both with do great!

Nola said...

Thanks for the reply, Abbi. I will check out that book. For me, its hard since my daughter WANTS more. I did not want to start her on things this early. I wonder if anyone else has had this issue. I am not saying this to boast in any way, but she has been picking up things without me really. I mean, I guess we read to her lots, and she had some alphabet puzzles and such, but she would ask me questions so I answered them. From there SHE told ME she wanted to write letters, and then sentences, and such...I didn't know she was reading, my mom told me...I honestly thought she was repeating well loved books by memory. She learned to read at 3 1/2 and now is reading picture books...she asks when she is going to school (we've explained but she still asks, I think she wants to since all the kids she knows are almost all in regular school). So I agree about not pushing a child...but when they ask and ask its hard that way too. I really don't know if this is the right approach, doing it with her even so young, but she loves it so this is what we are going with for now. Maybe my baby will wait until 6 or 8 to read :).


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