Home Life

It is crazy to me how much things can change in your life when you only modify a few minor things. 

Say for instance, a new house, can completely change your routine and schedule.

I am a schedule based (not chained-to) person.  I like to have a rhythm/routine to our daily lives.  In the past school would start while I was making breakfast; the boys would knock out their math and handwriting while I was in the kitchen.  {they were only a room away to do this}  Usually about 8am we were done with breakfast, getting dressed, and moving toward full blown “school.”

These days I am lucky to start full-blown “school” by, oh I don’t know – 9:30?  It makes me cringe to think/type that out.  I mean, we used to be finished by 10:30 or so.  In the morning!  And now, well, now life is different.

We have chickens to let out of the coop & feed and water.  We have puppies to let out of their pen and feed and water too.  We have kitties to top off food and water for, we have LIFE.   Not to mention, school is across the yard now.  This is not something I dislike – I LOVE IT!!  But, doing math during breakfast prep is a thing of the past. 

But you know what?  This is the BEAUTY of homeschooling and why our family thrives in the homeschool world!! 

We can stop school to jump on the trampoline after a hard math lesson.  We can stop reading and go for a walk to see the trees budding (or going dormant as they are here right now).



Today I thought I would share a few things that have worked for our family with homeschooling and living.

1.  Syllabus ~


I love my syllabus.  I make one each year before we start, (sometimes a few months in advance) and I bind it with one of those comb binders. [I bought mine on ebay for $17- with shipping was about $40 – but I have made it up in binding EVERYTHING around here and not paying Staples to do it for me]

My syllabus is a reverse syllabus – that means it is blank when the year starts.  I do not plan out what we are going to do, I simply record what we do for that day.  I do not like feeling like I HAVE to do something – so I like to have a guide for the week and I track daily what we do.


2.  Handwriting/Dictation ~ I have been using the Simply Charlotte Mason style for dictation since I attended a conference last fall.  I hand write out a section from a book we are reading – in very clear and neat penmanship (I do not type because I want their letters to be written and not mimic typewriter font).  I put this on a clipboard for them to get down each day to copy.  Perfection is expected (it is only 2-3 sentences) spelling, punctuation, etc.  Then on Friday we use that passage for dictation, by Friday they usually can write is almost from memory.  This is working wonderfully.  Then I staple that passage to my syllabus to keep.


3.  Card Station ~

card basket

this is something we recently started and I am really excited about it.  We have LOTS of card games and they are constantly being left everywhere.  We now have a little table with a basket and all our card games in it, rubber-banded together.  The kids now know where the cards need to “live” and how they should be stores.  But they are out in the open (not tucked away) and easy to grab for a 5-10 minute card game.


4.  Puzzle/Game Table ~

new years 2011 015

We have a big window in our living room, but off from the TV area, and not knowing what else to do with this area we set a table right up by the window and have it available for games & puzzles.  I try to start a puzzle and then leave it for the kids to work on when they want, and we have a chess game out all the time and some weeks the boys play daily!  So we are making great use of this – again, I think it helps having it out (but neat) to remind them they have options of something to do.

This was yesterday’s work in progress

puzzle in progress

this morning we found all the missing pieces and finished it!

puzzle complete

For those who do not know, we are an Ambleside Family.  We are going through Year 3 right now with my two oldest boys and will start Year 1 again in the fall with the two younger children.  This means we do a lot of reading WHOLE books – books that are interesting, educational and captivating!  Books you do not want to put down, but know you must so you can read the other great stuff.  We use Math-U-See for our math and love it.  We have used How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with all 4 – I currently have 3 readers and one on the way!

So, that is a little about Home Life in our home.     



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