Coffee Time is how we begin our school day. Some call it Circle Time others call it Morning Meeting and I am sure it is called many other names as well. We look forward to this time in our day, it’s a great way for all of us to connect and it sets the tone for the whole day.
Our day starts out with our weekly memory verse. On Monday we write it in our journal and discuss what it means. Tuesday we practice it, sometimes I print out a word search for it. On Wednesday we diagram it and identify all the different kinds of words in the verse. On Thursday I write it on the board with several grammatical, spelling and word errors and the kids correct the mistakes. Then on Friday they all recite it to me.
From there we move on to our word of the week which is my way of increasing their vocabulary with some pretty fun words like flabbergast, resplendent, bombastic and balderdash. At the beginning of the week we write the definition in our journals and then the rest of the week we try to come up with reasons to use the word. It is so fun hearing them use the word of the week in some creative ways.
We add different elements throughout the year depending on what we feel like. We do mindbenders and logic problems together. I love doing these because it helps get them problem solving and thinking in new ways. Right now we are going through the Sideways Math at Wayside School books. We have gone through parts of the books every year, and each year they are able to complete more of the problems in the book. If you haven’t ever solved a math problem made of words you have no idea what fun you are missing.
We are going through the US States in order of statehood and sometime during the week we study the next state. I check out books from the library and we go over a deck of flash cards for each state. These aren’t in depth studies just a quick overview. We keep this study fun and light. A friend lent me a book with foods for each state that we are making some of the foods for the state from adding a yummy element to our study.
If there is a holiday to celebrate, we spend some of our time studying, celebrating and enjoying the day. It helps keep our schools days fun and interesting. Besides who doesn’t love a reason to have fun.
Our Coffee Time also includes our group studies. We do Bible together and this year we are going through The Story. This has been so incredibly fun and has opened up a lot of discussion. We always seem to be doing some unit study and I use this time to do any group activities for the study. Currently we are doing the Periodic Table of Elements which has been so enjoyable for all of us. Even the littles can take part in group studies. They won’t learn what the olders learn but they do pick up on things and if you have worksheets or books that are at their level then including them with the olders is really easy.
When we have finished up our time, I give out final instructions and plans or goals for the day. Then the kids disperse to do their independent work and wait for their turn to do one on one lessons with me.
Some days Coffee Time only lasts for a few minutes and other days for a few hours. It really depends on what we feel like doing that day. Our coffee Time hasn't always looked like this. Every year it changes as the kids get older and their interests change. There are so many things you can do during Coffee Time and every year we find fun stuff we will enjoy doing together. If you think that because of your age spans you can’t do a Coffee Time, you should check out Preschoolers and Peace. Kendra has done Circle Time with every age span you can think of.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Daily routines are so important for every child. It helps them know what is coming next and helps them feel like they have some control on the day. It also gives them boundaries. Figuring out a daily and weekly routine that works best for your family and its unique characteristics will help bring a peace to your day. Believe it or not, a routine also helps aid in keeping the creative juices flowing. I used to not think that. I used to think that spontaneity and creativity came from having no routines but I found out from experience that the opposite is true.
Our routine changes as our rhythm changes. Our routine has changed so much since we first started homeschooling and I know that it will continue to change. At the beginning of this school year I found myself trying to make a routine that fit into a mold that wasn’t what worked best for the kids or came close to the personality of our school. I quickly realized this and started tweaking our day to work best for the kids needs and found peace and creativity begin to take their place. Our homeschool has always been more eclectic and delight directed than a school at home approach. Because we homeschool we can keep the bookwork as the backdrop and showcase the learning opportunities and teachable moments throughout our day.
Our daily school routine starts late in the morning because that is when they seem ready to learn. Starting before they are really awake is not a good idea.
Most mornings we start off with Coffee Time. If you have seen Kendra Fletcher's Preschoolers and Peace then you might know it as Circle Time. In a classroom it is often called Morning Meeting of Work. We spend a chunk of time in the morning together doing all sorts of fun things to get the brain juices flowing and set the pace for our day.
After Coffee Time we either have lunch or start independent work depending on what time it is.
During our independent work I rotate through the kids doing one-on-one lessons with them.
They do school related activities until mid to late afternoon.
We don't have a real schedule where I keep the clock. We do have lunch around the same time each day and I do have a specific time when school is over and free time commences.
This is the routine that works well for us in the season of life we are in. I am ready to change up our routine when it no longer works for us. I will know when that happens when the peace of our day disappears. I know that our routine is not about me and my agenda as much it is about the kids and their personalities and their learning needs.
When you find a routine that fits your homeschool, stick with it until it doesn’t work anymore. That is my advice to any homeschool mom who is trying to make a schedule or routine that brings peace to their day. It is so important that peace rule your homeschool day in order really enjoy the adventures.