Our home school day is structured much differently from how I set it up last year. When the kids were in school, they always started the day with math so that is how we started our day at home, too. We ended our day with the subjects we did together — science, geography and history.
Then, last spring, I read some blog posts by a friend who was doing everything in reverse order. She would start her day with the subjects they did together and end her day with math. We decided to give it a try this year, and we are loving it!
We are able to get our day off to a good start with all of the subjects we do together (see my previous blog posts). Then we break off to do language arts, and I work with each child one on one. I do writing and grammar with one child while the others work independently, then we switch.
We end our day with math. This is going much better for us because, even though they need more energy for math, in the past, it was sucking up so much energy that they weren’t able to put as much effort into subjects like writing and grammar.
So… after we get done with all of our reading and science questions, we jump into language arts. Our curriculum is set up with the hardest writing assignments of the week on Thursdays. However, I have found it works best for us to jump into writing on Mondays. Sometimes I also add in extra assignments in addition to what is recommended in our curriculum.
This Monday, for example, my 4th grader was working on writing a narrative using dialogue. My 2nd grader is learning to construct a simple outline that he can use to write about any topic. Today, he chose to write about why he loves his mom. Awwww… one of the benefits of home school.
My kindergarten daughter also has a writing assignment. Often, it is as simple as doing copywork or dictating a story to me.
I assign the kids pages in their phonics books and handwriting books or give them assignments with spelling words to keep them busy while I am working with someone else. On Mondays, the two younger kids usually put their spelling words in alphabetical order, for example.
I just started a new spelling curriculum with my 4th grader, called Spelling Power. It includes simple exercises to help him practice any words he missed. He is not a big fan of this curriculum, but I have noticed he is learning his spelling words more quickly, so I think it’s working.
We also do phonics work during this time, vocabulary and grammar. I know that a lot of my friends who home school aren’t big fans of the grammar curriculum we use, Shurely Grammar. However, my kids have always used it, even when they were in private school, so we are to the point that it seems natural to us.
I’m amazed at how much they know about grammar.
We have about 14 jingles that we sing covering every part of speech. After we sing our jingles, the kids usually diagram sentences. My kindergartner can label subject nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives.
My 4th grader can diagram more complicated parts of a sentence such as direct objects, prepositional phrases, helping verbs and possessive pronouns. Grammar also includes daily exercises to practice other concepts, such as similes and metaphors, pronouns, contractions and homonyms, for example.
Language Arts also includes literature. The boys often read their literature books the night before so they have less school work the next day. However, I have a set of questions I review with them to be sure they understood what they read.
We do most of our home school work in our dining room; however, the kids usually migrate to other rooms at some point. Often, one is working in the family room while someone else is in the kitchen to make it easier for everyone to concentrate.