Do you wonder sometimes what a day in the life of another homeschooling family may look like? Unless you are a part of a dynamic and large homeschooling community, you may not have time or energy to connect with others on a regular basis to discuss your routines and timetable.
As per a few requests I would like to offer a glimpse into our daily learning life and share how we manage to provide a high-quality education to our three children in the home environment.
In the morning children are free to wake up based on their inner clock.
8-9 AM – Morning routine. Each child is free to set their own pace to complete their morning routine of getting ready for the day. They prepare their own breakfast or help to make it. After that, each chooses their list of chores and helps to clean the house.
All homeschooling is done in the morning with no exceptions and each child has their own 3-hour learning cycle routine. Hence, everything that happens between 9 and 12.30 is entirely child-paced.
Lower Elementary Aged Child creates her own list of work to accomplish for the day. With no exaggeration, every single morning 3.30-hour cycle looks and sounds very different as it is practically child-led and interest-centered. So I just picked one day to demonstrate what happens in our homeschool setting:
- Spelling exercise
- Math. Now that the comprehension skills and reading are on the level when the child can work on her own with occasional help, this is a completely self-paced math work with a Montessori inspired math curriculum that she completes without having to wait for a lesson from a parent.
- Reading. The book choice is generally based on the child’s current interest and skill level. It can be a chapter book, a science book or something that caught her attention in the library.
- Character building work. This work is generally done with Bible or character-centered exercise book that includes an article with interesting facts about the natural world and lessons that can be learned and applied in everyday life.
- Pet Care. This requires a series of simple tasks, but it does make it valuable experience as the children learn to take responsibility for another living being.
These five aspects of the day mentioned above are done every day and most of the time independently first thing while I spend one-on-one time with the younger siblings. Next:
- Piano lesson. I play piano, so it was my absolute joy and delight to be able to construct a curriculum that is child-centered and based on a creative and holistic approach. I found it to be one of the most fulfilling opportunities to connect with my children.
- Creativity. I have a set of tasks that I rotate every time when my daughter chooses to do creativity. That week, we were talking about fire safety and as a part of the unit she got to design her own room.
- Russian lesson. Once my daughter became a confidant reader in her community language – English, she was able to start teaching herself to read in Russian with student books that are used by parents and teachers in Russia to teach children to read.
These subjects were chosen from the list on this particular day.
Other important subjects such as Science, History, Language Arts are covered as well during any given week. I use a set of carefully chosen curriculum. The content is often based on observations that I’ve made on a previous week. Many necessary skills are conveyed into the lessons, like storytelling, artistic expression, and technology. All are done within the context and often completely initiated and developed by the child with some help from the guides – her parents. We do the work of scaffolding and make sure that the child has access to all necessary tools and resources.
The afternoons consist of the extracurricular activities such as Art Classes, Dance and Sports that were picked based on the natural abilities of my daughter and desires of her heart. We also make a trip to the library, spend time outdoors in nature, go to the church where they receive additional support and care and organize play dates.
Learning cycle of a Preschool-aged child:
- Practical Life -at least one meaningful task a day (eg. cooking or cleaning)
- Language – phonics and pre-reading activities
- Math – we follow basic Montessori curriculum for learning one-to-one correspondence and numerals
- Reading aloud – I make emphasis on comprehension. It means pausing, asking content-related questions and follow up questions.
- Music – songs and musical activities
- Calendar – accompanied with the Earth Goes Around the Sun, Months of the Year and Days of the Week songs. This is one of the initial ways to introduce the subject of History as we discuss family upcoming events and events of the past.
- Hands-on learning activities with cards, construction, or fine motor exercise. Anything that may arise based on the child’s interests.
Most of the time all these activities are done within the first 1.5 hours. The rest of the time I encourage my younger children to play and explore with very minimal involvement from an adult. We also join the age-appropriate play-based community weekly events.
A Morning Routine of the Toddler
- Spontaneous activities. Anything that may arise based on the child’s interest and capabilities. There are 5-7 hands-on activities that are always accessible for the child and which I rotate on a weekly bases.
- Art and sensory activities.
- Reading aloud. The main emphasis is on language and learning new words and concepts.
It may sound like a lot, but in reality, when it is spread across the week, it adds a great dynamic to our everyday life. We end up doing what we love the most – learn, spend time together, meet with our friends, pursue our interests and enjoy the outdoors and nature.
We also use school holidays time to completely switch off and pause our timetable, our days are far less structured. We use this opportunity to spend most of the time in the parks, forests, by the water or with our friends. It creates a perfect balance which is very important.
I believe that vision should be the foundational part of every homeschool. We’ve designed this structure and plan that works very well and is effective.
I invite you to join my Montessori Nature Homeschool Community if you are looking to connect with like-minded homeschoolers or if you need help getting started and would like to learn how to incorporate Montessori principals and natural learning into your everyday life.
You may also find helpful these two lists with curriculum resources:
Would you like to learn more about Montessori Scope and Sequence, how to present lessons to the child? I invite you to visit the Montessori Tube Academy website and check out their online courses.