Tiany is hosting a Homeschool Open House, complete with door prizes. Go to her blog to view all the homeschoolers participating in the Open House, August 1 - 15, 2007.
My name is April, and my husband, Steve, and I have been homeschooling for ... let's see ... 7 years, plus the preschool years of my oldest. My oldest is going into 7th grade this year. I have 6 children, and this school year, I will have a distracting toddler mess maker, an active preschooler, a not yet reading 1st grader, a 3rd grader, a 5th grader, and a 7th grader.
We are a relaxed homeschool. We don't follow strict schedules, and we're pretty flexible. Usually, my children get up, eat breakfast, and start into their math. Sometimes this is delayed for the younger students, who like to watch PBS while they eat breakfast. The morning is usually taken up with their bookwork, which is very minimal (math and handwriting). When the older girls finish their math, they are supposed to start their Tapestry of Grace reading, science reading, Bible reading, and worksheets or assignments. Then sometime in the afternoon, we might do spelling together. They have a chart of what to accomplish in the week, and it's their responsibility to decide how to break up their reading and assignments to get it all done.
The younger students and I usually tackle Tapestry of Grace reading and assignments in the afternoon, when the toddler is napping. We use Tapestry of Grace very lightly and loosely at their age. And sometimes we revert back to Five In A Row for them, for awhile.
We try to have all schoolwork done by 3 pm so the children can have time to play outside, but there are days that they dawdle with school work and chores and don't get that play time. I just keep reminding them they're making a choice and they suffer the consequences. Some days all school work is done by 1 pm, though. I do hope to be more organized this year, although I think I say that every year.
We are a relaxed Charlotte Mason style homeschool, and we tend a bit toward Dr. Raymond Moore's "Better Late Than Early" philosophy. So, our homeschool will seem light to others of a more textbook or a classical approach. And to those who are solely delight-directed in their homeschool, ours will have more curriculum and structure than they are accustomed to. We fall somewhere in the middle, choosing to use curriculum, but using it in a more relaxed fashion than most. We try to adapt things to suit our family situation and needs, as well as our individual students. Quality "living" books are a staple part of our homeschool, and we are continually adding books to our home library.
Tapestry of Grace is our main curriculum. It provides our history, geography, philosophy and world views, literature, writing, and art history lessons. We also use Horizons Math, and Saxon math, switching from Horizons to Saxon in about 4th grade. We use Italics handwriting workbooks, Spelling Power (not regularly), Reading Made Easy (only until they start reading on their own, then we put it away) ... and we're about to start Easy Grammar for the oldest two girls. For science, we have used children's science books, nature study, and assign reading from Christian Liberty Nature Readers to those able to read. This past year, 6th grade A moved on to reading other books about nature. For the upcoming school year, I intend to have her read It Couldn't Just Happen and other Creation Science books for her science lessons. We will start a formal science curriculum next year, for R and A to do together. You can find our homeschool curriculum plans for this upcoming school year (in an easier to read format) at this blog post.
Most years, I start off with a schedule of how the day should go. It's mostly to assure myself, and the children, that I'm not asking too much of them. We can fit it all in. However, we never stick to this schedule very long. It slowly evolves throughout the year. By the end of the year, you can't tell we ever had a schedule, and I could care less, as long as the work is getting done. We prefer to be more spontaneous. So some days, school may start at 9 am, and some days not until 11 am. Homeschool has become such a natural part of our life. Our days are a mix of school, chores, and play. It may not always happen in the same order, but it all gets done.
We do not have a school room. Our kitchen is an eat-in kitchen, and it also serves as a school area. So we have bookshelves in the dining portion of the eat-in kitchen. Bookwork usually occurs there, but I spend plenty of time reading aloud, leading discussions, directing a map study, and teaching phonics from the living room couch. And sometimes children take their reading or workbook assignments to their room instead. Since we switched from Five In A Row to Tapestry of Grace, I am doing less active teaching, and the children are becoming more self-directed in their studies. I still have to teach the younger children, but do not teach the older students on a daily basis. We don't own any school desks, and our small chalkboard is only dragged out for play. Our home is small for our family size, and very full, but it works.
Earlier this summer, I posted several of my previous blog posts on homeschool tips. Links to some of my favorite homeschool posts can be found HERE. Also, for the month of June, I wrote Tips of the Day for the Homeschoolblogger Front Porch, and there were many homeschooling tips included. You can find my June archives of tips HERE. I also posted on My Homeschool Journey and Favorite Homeschool Books in May. And you can read some of our previous "A Day in Our Homeschool" posts HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.