Simple But Needed

A new homeschool morning routine. Simple but needed.

Homeschool Morning Routine

When we began homeschooling over 12 years ago, a morning routine was something we always had. Sure, it evolved from time to time, but it was always there. One constant in our morning routine was family Bible time, led by Daddy. We were fortunate to have Daddy home in the mornings at first due to our flexible missionary lifestyle {he worked mostly in the evenings} and then due to his schedule while he was in grad school for the past 3 years. He has always led us in reading the Bible together as a family, and although it was something that wasn’t always totally lovely, it was something I always cherished. 

Once his internships began and he was gone early in the mornings, I lost all sense of a morning routine. Honestly, I was a bit flustered. You see, I am NOT a morning person and I was in a {large} bit of denial that I needed to be. I managed to flounder around for over a year and as we approached this current schoolyear, I decided it was time for a simple but NEEDED change.

One thing I knew about myself is that I tend to overdo things and then the overly high expectation of myself causes me to just give up when I fail. Knowing this, I was determined to decide on a routine that I could stick with, one that I would actually enjoy, and not dread.

As I made my decisions, I factored in a few things that I wanted to changed and gave thought to how I could combine and conquer. I wanted to eat healthier and wanted my kids to have a heartier {healthier} breakfast. I wanted time to talk. I wanted time to read. But I didn’t want to read so much that I couldn’t eat too. How to combine these ideas became my goal. Keep it simple <—that was also my BIG goal.

Since our chickens began laying eggs, I have been eating eggs for breakfast every morning, along with an avocado, and some awesome chicken sausage {from Aldi – the Never Any brand – so wonderful}. If I was already cooking for myself, why not cook for them too. I know this sounds like a DUH moment to many mommas, but another thing you must know about me – I do NOT cook. The fact that I was cooking eggs for myself was a miracle itself.

So, all that thinking led to what we now have – a simple morning routine for our homeschool days, one that we needed desperately.

Homeschool Morning Routine (1 of 1)

I cook breakfast, making sure that the foods I am offering are ones I know my two picky eaters enjoy {keeping the conflict low – one of my other goals}. We have scrambled eggs, avocado, sausage, and fruit. With these two particular kids, keeping the menu relatively similar each day is helpful too. They are huge complainers when it comes to foods they dislike, and this causes me stress. So, I made my food choices wisely.

I had a few different ‘reading"’ ideas in mind and then one night it hit me – I already owned the perfect book. Indescribable by Louie Giglio was perfect for my goals. I wanted something that could work for both of my kids {ages 9 and 12 currently} and be simple enough to discuss over breakfast. This book has been great!

We are now on our third official week of homeschool and we have all grown to love this routine. I am so thankful for my time with my kids – even if it does mean more dishes to wash every morning.



A Day in Our Homeschool Life Part 3

Homeschool Life Button Afternoon School

It has been awhile since I wrote the Minute by Minute Tot School post, and have since been asked to update with a detailed post of what our homeschool time looks like now with a 4th grader, Kindergartner and Tot Schooler. I am breaking this idea into 4 parts, probably 5 when all is said and done, but 4 planned parts for now!  If you missed any other parts, see links below…

  1. Before the Homeschool Day
  2. Our Homeschool Morning
  3. Our Homeschool Afternoon {that’s this post}
  4. After the Homeschool Day

How I recorded our day……

I kept a notebook with me, my iPod {camera}, and my good camera.  I took TONS of pictures and jotted down notes throughout the day.  It isn’t easy, but makes for a very true-to-life account for you all.  Good news – the day we recorded – March 7, 2012, was a very typical day for us!  I was hoping it would give a good look at what is “normal” for us and it does! 


For details about each child’s curriculum, see: Our Current Curriculum

12:25 pm

I am done with kitchen cleaning and head back into the schoolroom to find the boys reading together I told them to do this when they finished their lunch}.IMG_2266

I spend 10 minutes on the computer-email, Twitter, Facebook, Comments, Pinterest.

12:35

Our upstairs neighbor and my friend comes down to check on our school status {they live in the apartment owned by my parents above our schoolroom, their 5 kids are nieces and nephews they care for}.  Her kids have a half day of public school and are wanting to play with my kids.  This give the boys great motivation to get school work done.  I estimate an hour and a half and tell her I will text her.

12:40

Start school with the boys after they clean up the books.

PacMan has this today…

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I get Krash started on some independent Calvert work, a phonics sheet and a math sheet-both which are easy work for him.

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Pac sits with me at my desk and we dive into grammar, math, and a special math review for his standardized state testing coming up.

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I turn around and bust Krash petting the cat and not doing his work {it’s cute but distracting}.IMG_0657

1:00

Pac and I gather Science and SS and head into the living room to read, he likes to cuddle on the couch together while I read to him. Another perk of Homeschooling, couch school.

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1:10

Pac heads to do his independent work {grammar, math, science}, I switch to working with Krash.  First I move him along in completing his independent work, as he was supposed to be done by now.

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1:15

We move to the floor for his All About Reading lesson.  He isn’t thrilled since we are repeating lesson 16, since he doesn’t have a solid grasp on the “th” sound.  But he likes the egg-flipping game so he’s OK. 

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1:22

Pac wanders over for help with his grammar, silly kid just didn’t read the directions well and once I read them he gets it and goes back to do his work.

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1:30

Krash and I are done with All About Reading, and move onto some Skylanders school work!  I made a digraph activity for him to work on the same thing he’s learning in AAR. He loves it.IMG_2288

1:35

Krash and I read his Morning Message together, he LOVES this!  I read, then he reads-highlighting any words he can read by himself.  Then we count together!IMG_2290

1:40

Krash moves to iPad school, he can choose form a selection of “school games’” he chooses ABCs of God.

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1:45

Pac announces that he is finished with his schoolwork.  I remind him that today is trash day {his chore that he hates}.  He goes off to do it, complaining mildly {probably since he knows I am recording the day}. I begin to scan our recent set of Calvert assessments in to our cyber school.

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1:55

Pac is done with his chores, and runs to get his friends.  They all head outside to play!  The official school day is done! I can still hear Ladybug through the monitor reading to herself.  She stays up there until Daddy gets her at 3.  With the boys I continued “room time” after naps wore out.  I am doing this with her too, so I can continue to have quieter school time with the boys.  She seems to really enjoy her quiet time.


Notes about the Day…

We normally end our school day anywhere between 2:00-3:00, sometimes later if it is a writing day.  This was an easier day for Pac, mostly because he didn’t have writing and because math was VERY easy.  On harder math days, school goes much longer!  Attitudes were a bit more in check than usual since they knew I was recording the day.  Figure in a few more attitude issues and then you’d have a more normal day. My husband comes home from work at 3:00 and then is home through dinner before he goes back out to work for the evening {ministry stuff-teaching Bible studies, and such}. 

Part 4 of this series will share what a normal after school and evening time looks like for us!

If any of you are inspired to write your own, “A Day in Our Homeschool Life” series, I would love it!  Be sure to send me the links if you do!



A Day in our Homeschool Life ~ Part One

Homeschool Life Button Before School

It has been awhile since I wrote the Minute by Minute Tot School post, and have since been asked to update with a detailed post of what our homeschool time looks like now with a 4th grader, Kindergartner and Tot Schooler. I am breaking this idea into 4 parts, probably 5 when all is said and done, but 4 planned parts for now!

  1. Before the Homeschool Day
  2. Our Homeschool Morning
  3. Our Homeschool Afternoon
  4. After the Homeschool Day

A Typical Morning Before Homeschool Begins…

The boys usually wake up before us and will often be downstairs before us.  They know to complete their morning chores upon waking up and if they are hungry they can make their own breakfast, or they can wait for Daddy-he’s the breakfast guy

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Believe it or not, Krash is more responsible with his chores than Pac is!  After chores are complete, the boys are free to watch tv, or play video games if they got up early. 

Ladybug is a late sleeper most mornings, and loves to play in her bed.  We used to use her as an alarm clock, but she often gets us going too late now!  She usually begins talking and playing around 8:00.  My husband gets her out of bed and feeds her breakfast while I get ready upstairs.  We all meet together every morning at 8:30 for family Bible reading and prayer time.

IMG_0088-2I am not a morning person, so I don’t get up any earlier than needed.  I tried for awhile and was miserable.  My husband and I spend time together at night and decided that was more valuable than trying to force ourselves to get up early. 

Daddy reads from the Bible, right now we are in Matthew, and then we all pray together.  After this time, Daddy goes upstairs to get ready and then leaves for work.  I usually jump on the computer to check my email, my blogs, and a few other things while the kids play and finish up chores.  I make sure things are set up for the school day and sometimes will be on top of things and get the dishes/kitchen cleaned up early!

Notes about morning time in our home…

Morning time is my VERY LEAST favorite time of the day.  Of the 5 of us, 3 of us are NOT morning people.  Ladybug, my husband, and you guessed it-me!  I am one of those “don’t talk to me” types of people and have to force myself to be nice.  Ladybug is the most whiney in the mornings and sets my anxiety off in many fun ways.  The boys seem to be morning people and they tend to hang together.  Their behavior and moods seem no different in the morning hours.

I do NOT always start school on time like I should.  Sometimes I allow one more tv show, 30 more minutes of room play time, or some extra computer time.  This mostly depends on my own mood.  I have learned that if I am not in the proper mood, it is just better to give them 30 more minutes of free time.  This usually gives me time to settle myself if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Unfortunately a common problem for me.

Our “normal” school start time is between 9-9:30am. PacMan always starts first because he does his independent work in the morning and is free when it is complete, if he finishes before snack time at 10:30.  This is on the sidebar of his school blog, he looks for green and gets busy!imageSometimes he is gung-ho and will get it all done before I even get up!  I post his school blog the night before so it is ready for him to check whenever he gets up in the morning.  We have used the blog method for over a year and it works beautifully for both of us!  Here is a sample of one of his recent school days, I cross them off for him after he completes them throughout the day.image


Stay tuned, in my next post I will share what it looks like when we actually start our homeschool day!  I am planning to record a specific day in as much detail as possible, similar to how I did it in my Tot School Minute by Minute Post. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!


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Hiking, Birds and Tears!

This past week our family went on a homeschool group field trip which involved learning all about raptors, such as this little beauty…IMG_5871

Ladybug was NOT impressed and gave us trouble the entire hour long presentation.  Then when it was time to go hiking {hopeful bird watching}, this was her reaction…IMG_5894These 2 were in heaven!!!!

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We live in the heart of the inner city so getting away like this is such a blessing to all of us.  This place was especially beautiful.  Even though we were hoping to spot a few birds, and did not, we still had a blast!

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Ladybug calmed down and enjoyed herself a bit, once she was let loose to roam around.

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This man could not climb enough, he was quite the explorer!IMG_6046

We didn’t see any raptors, but we did have a very close encounter with this little guy…IMG_6032

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I left the field trip and parted ways with my family to head to The Relevant Conference, which is where I am at right now. I miss them all but am so thankful for the day we got together before leaving, and for the opportunity to be here at the conference.



Friday Homeschool at the Pumpkin Patch

Friday is a school day for most of the nation, but not us!  It is our day-off…our “Saturday".  Because of our ministry work, we need Sat. to be a work day, so, we homeschool on Saturday.  About once a month we try to do something fun as a family on our day off.  Many Friday’s are spent just hanging around the house being lazy together and enjoying family, or getting house projects done.  Yesterday, we went to the pumpkin patch we always go to, which is actually a little petting zoo, playground, lunch, pumpkin place!  We had a blast and I thought you might enjoy peeking in on our day!

The birds were Ladybug’s absolute favorite.

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These guys nipped her fingers and she thought it was hilarious.  The boys were freaking out and she would just turn and say, “oooh, chicken bit my finder” and giggle!

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For real, how cool are these guys?  I was enthralled!

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Krash preferred the goats…

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I prefer the adorable children and the perfect fall weather!IMG_5453

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The little gymnast was in heaven!IMG_5535

The pumpkins they each selected…

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Look, even Mommy was there!  It’s always so tricky to be in any photos, but I am trying to be mindful of it so my kids will have photos with me to look back on!IMG_5652

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Finally, to keep things real,  here was our failed attempt at a happy fall group shot!IMG_5674

Happy Fall!!!