Daily Homeshool Schedules

Last week we shared how we prepared this year for back to homeschool. One of the things we did was take time to make each child’s daily schedule. Then Nathan and I reviewed it and went over it with each child. Now their daily structured learning is written out on a small card and taped to their workspace.

At this point in our homeschooling, we mostly have three learning stages. Just as a broad view of the day, Alexander is in Classical Conversations Challenge B and follows those daily tasks. He does schoolwork until 3ish. Eva and William have the same rhythm because they do the same amount of subjects, and they can be done by lunch with their formal learning. Isabel and Nora are both learning or improving on phonics and share a smaller subject load than the rest of the children. Isabel and Nora have time to read and play after their lessons before it’s even time for lunch. Providence has a letter and number tracing workbook, and she joins in our singing, nature walks, art, and whatever intrigues her that day.

It never ceases to amaze me the wisdom and direction that the Lord gives us as we find a rhythm with each new school year! Every year has a different set of circumstances such as a new baby, a house move, new books or added subjects, toddlers that need entertained, but I can testify that as we begin our ninth year of homeschool, He has been faithful to provide the time, energy, creativity, and all that has been needed for a healthy home routine.

We’re all up by 7 and at the breakfast table by 7:15. I read to them a short devotional and by 7:45, the children are doing/finishing morning chores (laundry, wipe bathrooms, empty trash bins, feed animals). 8 means everybody at their workspace ready for daily Bible time. They each have a Bible or devotional book that they read. This could take 10 – 15 minutes. At this point, the daily tasks become more individualized.

Alexander is following Challenge B, a course with Classical Conversations. He is taking a once a week seminar-style class on his own with friends and developing the rest of the learning at home through research, writing, and discussion. The work load has been a big change for our home’s rhythm, but he loves it and is thriving! His daily structured studies are math, Latin, logic, astronomy, writing, and debate.

Eva and William have math, handwriting, spelling, grammar, and writing. They also join Isabel and Nora for Classical Conversations memory work in a little math, Latin, science, history, and a timeline. In the afternoons, both Eva and William have self-directed and independent research/reading. Usually it’s books from the library about a place, culture, person, or event in history. This independent study will often inspire them to do mapping or illustration. In the afternoon they also practice their instruments and finish an uncompleted subject from the morning (we try to avoid this from happening).

Isabel and Nora have Bible time where Isabel reads the Bible story aloud and has a little bit of copywriting and drawing. This means that Isabel picks one sentence from the story and illustrates it on the same page in her notebook. Isabel and Nora move on to math and handwriting followed by phonics (different levels). By this point, Eva and William should be ready for reviewing the memory work from our Classical Conversations with Isabel and Nora. I try to do this with them too. We sing the songs and identify places on the map for just 15 minutes or so daily.

By this time, our stomachs are growling – lunch is all we can think about.

Nathan reads aloud at least one school night. We purpose to inspire the children during this time as well as teach them about different cultures, so for years we’ve been read missionary biographies.

I don’t know if it sounds like we do a lot. Because we don’t. And I am ok with that.

Thanks for taking a peek into our day!

with love. Damaris

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End of Summer

August is the sweet, sweet month of summertime. Picnics and lemonade, grilled sausages and watermelon, gladiolus, peaches and blueberries had their moments of glory. Loud singing insects of summer (I see you, cicadas) continue to warm our days and crowd our nights, yet will inevitably quiet down in the next few weeks.

We praise God for a splendidly satisfying season of summer. A time of resting from structured school days and embracing daily adventures. Slow days at home, picnics at the lake, and suppers al-fresco sprinkled the weeks. Everything tasted like summertime!

For us this year, August was lambing season as well as the crown of the vegetable harvest. The abundance of colors and full flavors have been pleasures at the daily family table. God’s bountiful blessing is truly one of the sweetest delights of summer’s end.

Everyone’s cups are filled, and we’re ready for the homeschool year. Shifting into new rhythms brings a new countenance to the whole day, but we’re all happy and appreciate a fresh start. Our home still feels peaceful and inviting (my main stressor is clutter, messes, and disorder). We go to bed prepared for the next day (meals, clean-up), so while we pause to study and water our learning, the atmosphere is quiet and happy.

This year, we’re trying to focus our teaching with the children on life-giving speech and conduct – nurturing and encouraging others as obedience to and glory to God. So as we face the end of summer, I pray that we learn to be life-givers in our words and actions – because in His presence there is fullness of joy and His lovingkindness is better than life (Psalm 16:11 and 63:3).

What do you say? I think there’s time to make one more batch of mango ice cream : )

P.S. A summer joke from my kids:

Why shouldn’t you tell secrets in the garden?

Because the corn has ears,

the potatoes have eyes,

and the beanstalks.

with love, Damaris


Back to Homeschool: How We Prepare

I love gathering fresh school supplies with my children! They enjoy browsing the variety of materials and selecting their favorite binder and pencils for the new school year. All the preparing cultivates expectation for each of us. This time of the year always feels a little bit like Christmas. New books arrive in mail, fresh pencils and paper fill our drawers, and full jars of paint load organizing baskets. We keep our supply list simple as well as always being conscious of space and budget when purchasing new things for the homeschool.

Prioritizing preparedness before school helps me better plan, organize, and welcome the new homeschool year with joy. The children each go through their books, organize their little spaces, sharpen pencils, arrange binders, and overall grow excited (maybe a bit nervous) for the homeschool days ahead.

It seems like so many supplies! But setting everything in its place at the beginning of the year is key to not quickly losing papers and interest altogether. I’ve noticed that we need to be stocked with the basics to better use our time and keep track of our work during the year.

Sometimes (we have plenty from last year) we’ve purchased watercolor paper and watercolor pencils, sketching notebooks, graphite pencils, wooden rulers, quick-dry modeling clay, several sizes of paint brushes, —-We like to keep a large variety of art supplies because if the children have access to the good-quality materials, they’ll naturally want to use them.

These are the specific things we did this year to prepare for school:

  • Scrubbed the desks with magic erasers. It was the only way to get rid of crayon marks and other markings.

  • We went through every book on the shelf in the schoolroom, every puzzle, game, toy, craft, etc.

  • The children started taking zinc, vitamin C, and echinacea for immune system support. It should help with the transition of being outdoors in the fresh air to a couple days a week in a room with 10 other kids.

  • We went through all the fall/winter clothes bins and filled the gaps with Old Navy or Costco basics.

  • Replaced and replenished school supplies. I threw away dried up paint brushes, old paints, broken crayons, dry markers, and bought lined paper, 3×5 cards, tracing paper, binders, notebooks, pencils, erasers, glue.

  • Stocked up on simple, quick breakfasts: oats, frozen cooked sausages, eggs, bagels, bread for toast, cereal.

  • Stocked up on easy, nutritious lunches: healthy nuggets, eggs (we love egg salad), tuna cans (we love tuna salad), crackers, sandwich bread, deli meats, sliced cheeses.

  • We (first alone and then with Nathan) went through each of the children’s daily tasks and then went over it with them.

  • Prayed alone, with Nathan, and with the children over the year as a whole, for patience, diligence, understanding, compassion, focus, growth, spiritual maturity, and joy in all the tasks.

Lastly, God is using these verses in Galatians to calm my heart as I face a fresh new year and grow my trust in Him. I pray this Scripture can be uplifting to you today too!

“Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Galatians 6:6-10

with love, Damaris


Family Currents

The girls’ hair is getting longer, and we have some fun experimenting with braided buns. They are also more patient at my bobby pin stabbing . The braided buns are really easy, and they keep the hair out of the honey-coated cornbread. These hairbrushes have helped lessen the detangling tears.

When schooldays are shorter, we can be open to more creative leisurely learning. An atmosphere of exploration encouraged the children to seek beauty in art and in nature this week. The clean up is well worth it!

How many can you spot? Nature fills them and me with zest and enthusiasm. We praise our Creator for His glory displayed around us!

As you can imagine, the rooms in our home need cleaning very often – ha! But, in between deep scrubs, I love to use this to freshen up the bedrooms! I don’t know about you, but I feel more accomplished in my day when the linens smell good.

Photo Credit: Daddy

Nathan and I were so blessed when a couple friend called us the other week and offered to watch all of our munchkins, so we could enjoy some alone time. Baby Samuel agreed to chaperone. Oh, what a treat! And what a good example to us of someone ministering in their season of life. Their children are all out of the home now, and our friends graciously gave their time and effort (puppet show included) to care for our children.

with love. Damaris