the barn school logistics: our daily rhythm

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First of all, let me say that I am absolutely new at this. There are countless people who are more qualified to write about homeschooling than myself.

But still – as soon as people find out that we homeschool – they’re all questions.

How do you get schoolwork done with so many little ones? What does a day look like? What curriculum do you use? and there’s plenty of Are you crazy?! :)

So I’m going to write a few homeschooling-centered posts. Bear with me folks, I promise it’ll be right back to kid pictures and long stretches of silence. Hah!

So here’s my “day in the life” post. It’s the ideal day written out. Very many times it’s derailed by bickering (err, I mean “character development opportunities.” That sounds more polished, right?), potty accident(s), a really cool bird flying by the window, or a family celebration over what one of them has accomplished.

Our day starts with Morning Basket – some families call it circle time, morning time, morning meeting, etc. – there’s all kinds of names for it. Look around online and you’ll find lots of helpful chatter. We’ve got a basket of books on the table, we go through them in the morning, so the name is kind of pragmatic.

As the kids munch their breakfast and I drink my coffee, we go through our basket. I’ve got little laminated cards that serve as a checklist, just in case the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet. We pray then go through bible, a hymn, memory work, Spanish, and a non-fiction readaloud (M/W history, T/Th science, F my choice – sometimes it’s poetry, a fable, an article about something we’ve studied, etc.). I’ll talk more about the specific book selections we use in a later post.

The littles love breakfast, so spending an hour at the breakfast table isn’t a problem. If it stretches longer than that (questions/discussion are encouraged), I usually grab a playdough tub or colored pencils/paper for them. I’m also in the habit of making them tea or warm milk, only during this time, so they feel especially grown up and sophisticated with their little mugs.

After that – and this is a new addition – we do a few silly songs or fingerplays. Think preschool stuff. Itsy Bitsy Spider, Head/Shoulders/Knees/Toes. Something to get us moving and laughing, to get some of the wiggles out before we head to the school room.

Then we hit the books.

  • Penelope does math, spelling, grammar, science or social studies (alternating days), penmanship, literature, reading, and practices piano.
  • Arthur does math, phonics, penmanship, and tags along whenever social studies has battles or science has an experiment.
  • Zoe does math, phonics, listens to picture books, scissors/pencil skills, and lots of sensory play.
  • Felix counts and sorts things, listens to picture books, pencil/crayon skills, and lots of sensory play.
  • I’ll address the logistics of this (especially so many young children!) in another post.

Then I kick them all outside so I can make lunch. I usually eat while they play, so that I can read from our lunchtime lit (a classic children’s chapter book, fiction) while they’re eating.

After lunch, like clockwork, it’s quiet rest time. It’s two hours where the little two sleep, and the big two quietly busy themselves with previously-discussed parameters (yes: reading, legos, crafting, microscoping, etc. — no or limited: screens, anything loud, grazing, asking me questions, etc.)

Sometimes Penelope needs a little extra help on schoolwork, or wants to push ahead to the next lesson. I use quiet rest time for that, too. Next year, when A is an “official” kindergartner, I imagine doing the same with him.

Afternoons are free for hiking, scootering, biking, errands, slacklining, staging theatrical productions, forcing hot wheels to launch into ravines, elaborate pretend play, following Grandpa around in the yard, etc.

Phew. That was a doozy.

Coming soon: our curriculum choices, and logistics with a house full of little ones

Morning Basket: Casey and Penelope were ENGROSSED in some Spanish practice. It was the very end of our basket, so I gave the others something quiet to do while they listened.

Morning Basket: Casey and Penelope were ENGROSSED in some Spanish practice. It was the very end of our basket, so I gave the others something quiet to do while they listened.