Our Homeschool Morning Time

Morning Time has become a beautiful anchor of our day over the last few years. With a busy toddler in the mix, it’s not always peaceful and exactly how my idealistic mind has it all laid out, but it is beautiful nonetheless. When my children were preschoolers, we called it “Together Time”. You can read about what it looked like in those earlier years in this blog post.

In short, Morning Time is a coming together of all the children in a home education setting, enjoying subjects that span across a wide age range. Morning Time can look different from one family to another, but the bottomline is that it includes the subjects that everyone can do together. These materials emphasize truth, goodness, and beauty. I have explained in detail what that includes for us below.

In the morning, after nursing the toddler and getting everyone dressed for the day, we bring our breakfast to the table for Morning Time. I also bring our basket of Morning Time materials and give each child their Morning Time menu.

A Morning Time Menu is essentially a book of transparent pages into which you can slip papers for your child to look at, read, or even write on using a dry erase marker. I bought three of these (one for each child and one for myself), and I set them up at the beginning of each week. We use the 4-page menus which means I can insert eight pages at a time. I purchased mine here.

Here are the elements we currently include in our Morning Time with children ages 5 and 6 and a half. 

Prayer and Devotions

The first thing we do is pray and thank God for our day and ask Him to come and be present in all we do. While they eat their breakfast I read from our current devotional book. They often ask questions and we discuss what I read. Sometimes they practice looking up scripture from what we have read in their children’s Bible. Recently we have also been memorizing some attributes of God using these cards from Tiny Theologians. Sometimes we add in a hymn or worship song to this time and sing together. We often pray together again, specific to what we learned in our time studying His word. Here are some of the resources I pull from:

  • Leading Little Ones To God This is the devotional book we have been using for the last year. I often tweak some of the wording to make it more palatable for little minds, but it has been full of rich theological ideas and doesn’t sugar-coat the truth, which is important to me. I love that there is a hymn and discussion questions at the end of each reading.
  • Tiny Theologians Attributes of God CardsEach Morning Time I add a card. I read the description and verse and we discuss what it means. The kids like to create a hand motion for each attribute to help them remember it. We recite all of the attributes we have learned so far. We are almost finished with these cards and I plan to begin the Names of God cards next.
  • Adventure Children’s Bible – This is the Bible my son uses to read and practice looking up Scripture.

Calendar Work and Weather Charting

When the kids finish eating breakfast, they are ready to do their calendar work and weather charting. They love this part because it is so interactive. I’ve wanted to incorporate calendar and weather into our Morning Time for so long, but I could never find exactly what I was looking for. Finally, I decided to make my own Daily Weather Chart and Traceable Monthly Calendar. Using dry erase markers, my kids trace the month name and all of the numbers leading up to the day’s date. Then they circle the date. I write the full date on our chalkboard and we read it aloud together. Then they feel or look outside to observe the weather and chart it on their weather page. If you don’t have a morning menu, these pages work great in dry erase pouches or laminated. You can download both charts here.

Character Study and Scripture Recitation

The main curriculum we are using this year is A Year of Tales. One of the reasons I chose A Year of Tales is because she offers full and rich Morning Time selections that correlate with the Beatrix Potter tale we are reading that week. Included in the curriculum is a character trait to study and a scripture to ponder and memorize. Each of these is a page in our menu. We read them, discuss different elements of them each day, and practice reciting the scripture.

Poetry Reading and Recitation

The next pocket of our menu has selections of lovely poetry slipped into it. I get our poetry from two main sources – A Year of Tales and Exploring Nature With Children. I simply read the poem each day to the children and we discuss it. After a few days of reading it, they naturally start to memorize it and we practice recitation. Sometimes we also recite poems from previous weeks as well. We study each poem for 1-2 weeks.

Art Study and Expression

Next we observe a piece of art, which I also pull from A Year of Tales and Exploring Nature With Children. Sometimes we simply observe the artwork and discuss what we see and feel from it. Sometimes the kids enjoy giving the scene an imaginative story and sharing it with us. Other times we get out our watercolors, colored pencils, or crayons and attempt to replicate the art. You can find the art supplies we use for this here.

Read Alouds

Lastly, I read our weekly Beatrix Potter tale and 2 or 3 books aloud from our book basket. The books in our book basket are usually themed according to what we are studying that week. I choose them based on the book lists in A Year of Tales and Exploring Nature With Children. Other times they aren’t themed to anything specific, they are just lovely, rich stories from one of the other book lists I follow. You can read this post about how I choose good quality books!

Our entire Morning Time usually lasts about an hour. Then we break for more play, chores, and outside time before jumping into short individual lessons for each child. It has been such a life-giving way to bring us together at the beginning of each day. I hope this was a helpful post as you plan your days. 

Homeschool Planning 101

2019-08-02 12.41.11 1The planning side of homeschooling is admittedly half of the fun for me! After choosing all of the curriculums and resources that I am using for the school year, weekly planning is essentially making it all come together and writing down the game plan for each day in one place.

When and how often do I plan?

I usually have one big planning session a week where I spread all of my resources out and fill up the following week’s planning sheets. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. It depends on how much hunting around Pinterest and Instagram I do to find supplemental resources, crafts, and projects. I usually do this one evening a week alongside my husband with some dessert and a cup of tea. My husband spreads out on the other end of the table doing bills or working on his business. We call it our weekly “table date.”

After school each day I also look over the next day’s plans and revise anything based on what actually got accomplished that day. For example, if my son really struggled to understand the math concept for the day, I may erase the next day’s plan to move on to the next unit and spend another day reviewing the concept. This is why I always write in pencil in my planner! I love using mechanical pencils for this because they write so thin and erase so cleanly.

How Do I Plan?

There are three parts to my weekly planning:

1. Writing out the plan

I use all of my curriculum and guides to write out a plan for each day in my DIY planner (more details about that later in this post). I don’t write word for word what I will say or do in the planner. It is more of a reference of page numbers, titles of poems or books, and general ideas of activities. I also spend some time researching anything I may want to add in like additional handicraft projects or activities not listed in my guides and write those ideas in the planner. I find most of my additional ideas on Pinterest and Instagram.

2. Requesting and gathering library books

I use my master booklist to request the books I need from my county’s library website. It usually takes anywhere from 1-10 days for the library system to have the books that I request on the hold shelf ready to pick up. When I sit down to plan, I request the books that I need a few weeks before I need them. It can get really confusing, that is why having the master booklist is so helpful! Requesting them a couple weeks ahead of time gives the library time to get them on hold for me and once I pick them up, I have some time to look through them before I use them for school.

I also use this planning time to go through my current stack of library books and make a return pile of books we’ve finished.

3. Ordering supplies and preparing materials

After I have written down the plan, I make a daily list of additional materials I need to purchase in my planner. I also write down anything I need to do to prep, such as saving an egg carton, printing and laminating cards from a shop, or buying museum tickets. You can find the printer and laminator I use, as well as more of my favorite lesson preparation materials in a list here in my Amazon storefront. I spend a little time ordering anything I need to, printing, laminating, or gathering things from around the house that I may need the upcoming week.

My DIY Planner

There are so many lovely planners out there, but I just wasn’t fully satisfied with any, simply because I had a very specific format in my mind that was tailored to the subjects we are studying. I also laid the planner out in the order that we cover the subjects daily, so that I can just go down the list throughout my day. The other custom thing about the planner is that I made the boxes smaller for the subjects that I have a full self-explanatory curriculum for, and the boxes larger for the subjects that I need to write a lot of details for.

I originally got the idea from my friend, Sarah at @TheSilvanReverie. She shared her daily planning sheet in this blog post about Morning Time. You can find it in the section titled, “How I Plan Out Morning Time”.

I took her general idea and expanded on it to fit my needs. I created the planner in Google Sheets, printed it double-sided at home. I created a 2-page spread for each week and then got it bound at Staples for around $5.

Here is a little peek inside the planner, blank and filled out for my first week of school!2019-08-02 12.46.46 2.jpg2019-08-02 12.47.09 12019-08-02 12.48.35 1.jpgI have created a blank file of my planner for you to download and edit to fit the subjects and order you need. Download the Word Document here or open the Google Doc here. **You will need to save a copy to your own Drive. Click File – Make a Copy. Then edit away!**

I hope this helps you as you begin for a new school year. If you download and use this template, I would love to see and share pictures of your planners, customized to your homeschool. Post and tag me on Instagram!

My Favorite Preschool & Early Elementary Booklists (plus a free spreadsheet template!)

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I have learned in my very short time homeschooling that the primary resource necessary for every subject is good literature! I do not know what I would do without the public library. Over the last couple of years we have used The Peaceful Preschool curriculum whose foundation is fantastic picture books. You can read more about why I love The Peaceful Preschool here. Over time, I have discovered other incredible book lists that are full of rich literature that I want to expose my children to. Links to those lists are at the end of this post.

For the upcoming school year I will be using two main curriculums, A Year of Tales and Exploring Nature With Children. Both curriculums are so rich and full of beautiful invitations. A large part of what they offer are, you guessed it, weekly book lists! With so many booklists to keep track of, last year I found myself shuffling through binders, pdfs, and websites to request all my books from our local library. I just knew this school year I needed a better solution, so I created a master booklist spreadsheet! It was a time consuming task compiling all of my book lists into one place, but I am so glad I did it!

The spreadsheet is broken into weeks and contains the titles and the authors of all the books I need to track down. I have even added a column for the status of each book, such as “On-hold” or “Checked Out” to help me keep track of where each book is in the process.

In an effort to honor the authors of the curriculums and the work they have put in compiling the book lists, I have decided not to share my full and complete book list spreadsheet. Instead I have created a template for you to customize with the curriculum you have personally purchased or book lists you currently follow.

Download the Booklist Spreadsheet Template here.

Now on to my favorite book lists for Preschool to Early Elementary:

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The Peaceful Preschool

As mentioned above, I love the book selections used in The Peaceful Preschool. Even if you’re not using the curriculum, you can download the book list for free here.

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Read Aloud Revival

Hands-down, my favorite picture book list is A Year of Picture Books from Sarah Mackenzie at Read Aloud Revival. It is broken down into months, and I especially love the seasonal and holiday books she lists. She updates it with new finds each year!

I also refer to RAR for Early Reader Books and First Novels to Read Aloud. Honestly, anything Sarah Mackenzie puts out, I advise you to get your hands on it!

Ambleside Online

If you aren’t familiar with Ambleside Online, it is a free curriculum based around Charlotte Mason principles. I really love their Year 0 (Pre-K/ Kindergarten) Book List.

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Simply Charlotte Mason

Here is another great book list for the early years that I like to refer to. This includes picture books and chapter books for read-alouds.

Honey for A Child’s Heart


If you’re looking for a resource to help you know how to select good books for children of all ages, Honey for a Child’s Heart is great! The author also has a comprehensive list broken down by age in the back of the book. I like to add some of these books to our library haul as well!

I hope you enjoyed this round up and you found it useful in creating a plan for a school year full of creating connections over rich literature with your children. Happy reading!

You can download the Booklist Template here or if you’re a Google Sheets person, like me, you can view the sheet here. Just copy a version to your own Google Drive to edit.

Curriculum Overview: A Year of Tales

Today I want to share with you the newest curriculum that I have chosen to use for the upcoming school year. I spent months trying to figure out what would be a good fit for us this year, and I even purchased two other curriculums before deciding this was the one.

Here are some of the main things I was looking for in a curriculum:

  • Could easily work for both of my children (ages 5 and 6 and a half)
  • Gentle, life-giving, inviting lessons
  • Easily adaptable
  • Literature-based
  • Inviting Morning Time selections
  • Elements of nature study
  • Hands-on, beautiful, and useful activities like baking and handcrafts

I honestly thought finding something that would check off all my boxes would be a pipe dream, but I found it in A Year of Tales!0614191501Here is how the curriculum is described on their website:

A Year of Tales is a gentle curriculum for your young learner, from Kindergarten through 3rd grade. Focusing on literature and nature as a base, blending together the rich and imaginative tales from Beatrix Potter, and encouraging character and exploration, this curriculum will create a memorable year of education for both the student, and the teacher as well. The complete curriculum contains 22 weeks of lessons with additional learning included to expand the curriculum to 30 full weeks, if desired.

Each week you will study a new character trait, a Bible verse that encourages and instructs, read thoughtful and well-written literature, as well as a new tale by Beatrix Potter, expand your knowledge with vocabulary words to learn and a spelling list, introduce and learn to appreciate poetry and art, create beautiful and enjoyable handcrafts, as well as exploring nature and science together with a developmentally appropriate hands-on approach. You will also find opportunities to learn basic geography, as well as focused geography lessons for this curriculum throughout the year. Additional Bible readings on the character traits are shared for continuing your learning, as well.

Every Friday, you will break in your lessons for a very special tea and poetry time for review, connection, and remembering. At this time your child might give oral recitation of what they have absorbed and filled their hearts and minds with that week. A field trip recommendation is also given each Friday for bridging what you have learned in stories, resources, and creativity with what your child will find in the world around them.”

– Lisa Wilkinson at A Year of Tales, emphasis mine

What really drew me to A Year of Tales was getting to know the person behind it. Lisa is a seasoned homeschool mom who is still in the trenches herself. She has learned through years of schooling and lots of curriculum what really works in a home education dynamic.

I see this curriculum as a very full and rich menu. It has so much to offer that you can pick and choose what works for your individual child. I especially love that she offers elements to create an inviting Morning Time, including a character lesson, a Bible lesson, poetry, art studies, and fables.

Here are some sneak peeks inside the curriculum:06141915030614191503b0614191503c06141915040614191504a0614191504b0614191504dLisa will also be releasing a preschool guide that I will be incorporating for my younger daughter. I am just so excited to get started. We will likely begin in August once we’re all settled into the RV, and I will share our journey along the way!

 

Curriculum Overview: Exploring Nature with Children

One of the reasons I choose to homeschool is to give our children the time and space to study the natural world around them. Rather than simply looking at pictures in a book, they are able to experience the world for themselves. Nature study is an essential part of a Charlotte Mason home education. I love this article from Simply Charlotte Mason about its importance.

When I began learning about the importance of nature study, I felt lost on where and how to begin. I wasn’t sure how to teach it – especially since I am not incredibly knowledgeable about nature subjects myself. Then I found Exploring Nature with Children!

Processed with VSCO with a9 presetExploring Nature with Children is truly one of a kind. It is a year-round nature study manual that dives in week-by-week into different topics, according to the months and seasons. Everything you need to teach your students about the natural world around them is offered in this gorgeous guide. Topics like the plant life cycle, weather, evergreens, and the moon are all covered in Exploring Nature with Children.

Each week offers:

  • Easy to understand information about each subject for the teacher to learn before teaching. They also include relevant pages to read in The Handbook of Nature Study to better prepare yourself for the lesson
  • A nature walk & nature journal activity
  • A picture book list for additional reading about the topic
  • A selection of poetry that ties in with the theme of the week
  • A piece of artwork that correlates with the topic of study, along with questions to prompt discussion
  • Extensions activities such as crafts, writing ideas, and music appreciation

One of the best parts about this curriculum is that it isn’t age-specific. Lynn Seddon, the author, wrote this guide in a way that can easily be adapted to the youngest or the oldest of nature learners. We have dabbled in it up until now, but this school year I will be diving in head-first with it, and I am just so excited! I look forward to many, many years of using Exploring Nature with Children in our home education, beginning this Autumn. I hope you will join us!

Follow Lynn on Instagram @raisinglittleshoots and see how others are using Exploring Nature with Children. You can purchase the full curriculum here.

Preparing to Homeschool in an RV: Part One

Processed with VSCO with c3 presetI recently announced on Instagram that my husband and I purchased an acre and a half of gorgeous wooded property to build our dream home on. This has been a goal of ours for many years, and we couldn’t be more ecstatic that it is finally happening! When looking at our options for where to live while the build is being completed, we decided to purchase an RV! Before beginning our hunt, I had never even stepped foot inside of an RV. Now, only a week after making our decision, there is a 33-foot house on wheels sitting in our driveway, waiting for us to make it our home.

Naturally, one of the first questions rolling around in my head when making this decision was, “What am I going to do with all of my homeschool stuff?! Where am I going to store everything?” I quickly realized that I would have to be intentional everything I decided to bring with us in our interim home. The storage space in an RV is limited, so I only chose the materials that I absolutely LOVE and plan to use often. I know most of you won’t be homeschooling from an RV, but I wanted to share this list of minimalist homeschool supplies to show that you can educate well even if you live in a small home or lack a dedicated homeschool space.

Processed with VSCO with a2 presetBible

Leading Little Ones to God

We are working our way through this devotional and I really love the content and the language used to describe the bible stories and apply them to our lives. I also like that each entry gives discussion questions, a hymn or song, and scripture for us to look up separately.

Jesus Storybook Bible

This story bible is written so beautifully and every story points to Jesus. We have read it over and over and the kids just love it!

The Adventure Bible

This is the children’s Bible that we use to look up the passages shared in the devotional, as well as read as a family.

Attributes of God cards

We are loving these cards from Tiny Theologians. Each card has one attribute, a description, and a passage of scripture to read. We add one a day to our Morning Time, read the card and create a hand motion to match the attribute.

Processed with VSCO with a2 presetHandwriting

Small chalkboards, chalk, and small sponge squares

I use the small chalkboards to teach all of the uppercase letters and numbers, using the Wet-Dry-Try method from Learning Without Tears. I have found it to be a highly effective multi-sensory way to teach and practice proper letter formation. If you are unfamiliar, I found a video that shows the Wet-Dry-Try method here.

Large chalkboards

I use these large lined chalkboards to teach and practice lowercase letter formation and word writing. I also use the Wet-Dry-Try method with these boards.

Salt trays

Another sensory method to practice letter formation is using salt trays. Children practice by forming the letter with their finger in the salt. The trays I use are leftover from Melissa & Doug products that I previously bought. I find that they are the perfect size, depth, and shape.

Sandpaper cards

These tactile cards reinforce letter formation as well. We also sometimes use them as a moveable alphabet to spell words or match capitals with lowercase.

Handwriting Without Tears books

These are the handwriting books we use and love. I have one teacher’s manual and each of the kids have their own workbooks.

Learning Without Tears paper

For additional practice, I have two types of paper from Learning Without Tears. The Gray Block paper reinforces uppercase letter formations and the lined paper is the next level for practicing lowercase, as well as word and sentence writing.

Primary journals

These journals have lines on the bottom of each page and a blank space for drawing a picture on the top.

Processed with VSCO with a2 presetMath

The Good and The Beautiful Math K curriculum

This is the math curriculum we are using and we love the hands-on approach it offers. In order to continue with it, I need to bring the course manuals, a binder to keep my son’s completed worksheets, and the included manipulatives which I organized in this box.

Geoboards and rubberbands

The kids love to use these geoboards to practice making shapes and other designs. They’re also amazing for fine motor strengthening.

Games For Math book

I like to look through this book for inspiration for hands-on and movement games to reinforce something we are learning in math.

Kindergarten Toolkit Cards

This pack has numbers, shapes, and letters, but I use them mostly in addition to our math lessons.

Processed with VSCO with a2 presetPhonics

Explode the Code books

I LOVE these books for phonics practice. I have a few different levels, for each child and for when my son progresses to the next level.

Moveable alphabet

I made this moveable alphabet using wooden letters, a plastic organizer, and letter stickers. I found all of these materials at Michael’s. I also brought a little piece of felt for them to use it on.

Dash into Learning curriculum

This is a wonderful program for beginning readers. My four year old daughter loves the stories, games, and illustrations. I printed everything and organized it all in a 3-ring binder.

Processed with VSCO with a2 presetOther materials

Individual chalkboards and stand

I plan to use these in place of our large chalkboard for everything. My husband made me the little white stand to make them able to stand up on the table. I also use the stand to display artwork or an open book.

Clipboards

We will need these for taking lessons outside or sitting on the couch.

Small bowls and trays

I use little bowls and trays everyday to put little things that we need while we work. They’re perfect for manipulatives, chalk, and tiny craft items like cut up paper or sequins.

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All of these things fit in one box, ready to be brought into the camper! Stay tuned for Part Two of this series where I will share what we will be using for our main curriculums for the next school year, and everything I need to bring to use them. I also plan to show you how I store everything once I figure that out. I hope that was helpful to you! If you have any questions about any of the products or materials, leave a comment!

Homeschooling with Baby in Tow (and our updated Daily Rhythm)

Babies bring joy, delight, and fun to a family, but they also bring change and adjustments. I’ve shared about our homeschool daily rhythm in the past, but things have changed quite a bit since Huck joined our family in August. I try to balance giving him the attention that he needs while also maintaining the homeschooling routine that we were thriving in before he arrived. I am hesitant to share what I have been doing to make it all manageable because I am fully aware that every baby, mama, and home culture is different. What works for me may not work for you. I have decided to share, nonetheless, in case something that has helped us will give you new ideas try in your own home.

Processed with VSCO with s2 presetBefore I share my tips and rhythm, I’ll describe our current family dynamics, so you can have an idea of our unique challenges and draw from the tips that are applicable to you. My baby is 9 months old and takes 2-3 naps around the same times each day (this took months of work and we are finally there just recently). He is pulling up and crawling and attempting to eat every tiny object he can get his hands on. Part of our routine includes me sitting down to breastfeed him 4-5 times a day.

My older son is 6 and we are somewhere between kindergarten and 1st grade in his work. He is very easily distracted and needs my full attention for at least a portion of school time or I lose him completely. My daughter is 4 and only attends Morning Time, and then she is free to play independently or stay near us and do crafts at the table. My husband works full-time out of the home from about 7:30am-5pm each weekday. I don’t have a maid or chef, so keeping my home in order while feeding all of these people must also be a part of my routine or things go downhill quickly.

Here are a few tips that have worked for us:

Processed with VSCO with a2 presetSchedule your day around baby’s naps

I work really hard to get my babies on a consistent nap routine after those newborn months. Once you have established a nap rhythm for your baby, you can schedule the rest of your daily tasks around it. Even if you don’t have a time set for naps, you can still plan to save certain tasks for the time slot when baby is napping. In an ideal world, we would be able to squeeze all of our schooling in while the baby is asleep. Since that isn’t always possible, I look at our schedule and decide which parts of school are the top priority to be distraction-free. For us, that is Morning Time and our handwriting lesson.

Have everything prepared before you put the baby down for their nap so you can utilize every minute of undistracted time with your older child. For us that means 15 minutes before his nap I have the kids clean up any messes in the main area of the house, clear the table where we do school, and get their snack and water. As soon as I lay the baby down I can jump right in to our lessons. You can see how this plays out in my detailed schedule below.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetPlan to be home more

This has been key to maintain peace in this season of our lives. Before Huck arrived I counted on mornings for chores and school and afternoons for adventuring, errands, or playdates. Now, I have to spread out school activities and household tasks throughout the entire day, depending on when the baby is content or napping. I find that I lose control of my home and our schooling gets pushed to the back burner on the weeks that I plan too many outside activities. For now, since my son is so young, I am not too concerned with checking all the academic boxes each day. Play and being outside take priority at this age, but I can imagine as we enter more formal schooling that making the choice to stay home more will be the key to peaceful and productive days.

Processed with VSCO with  presetTrain your older children to help

As much as I try to do our structured activities when the baby is napping, it doesn’t always pan out that way. If I am working with my son and the baby is awake, my four year-old knows how to keep him entertained and safe. While always in my eyes’ sight and a few steps away, I can count on her to occupy him for a short time while I wrap up a lesson. We teach our children that as a family, we all have a responsibility to help and serve one another. Sometimes that looks like getting a diaper for mama or watching out that the baby doesn’t eat something too small that was dropped on the floor. I try not to count on this for too long or too often as they are still so young and easily distracted from their task, but it can usually buy me a few minutes.

It has been trial and error for sure, and while no two days are the same, we have arrived (for now) in a rhythm that is working for us! Here is what a day typically looks like when we stay home:

Our Daily Rhythm

5:30-7am

I wake up, enjoy some coffee and silence and spend time reading, praying, and preparing my heart for the day. The kids start waking up between 6:30-7 and I snuggle them and change and nurse the baby.

7-8:45am

I make breakfast and pack my husband’s lunch. He is usually walking out the door around 7:30. During this time the kids and baby are playing in the living room which I can see from the kitchen. While everyone eats, I spend this time starting laundry, doing dishes, preparing any last minute things for school activities, and getting myself ready for the day. When the kids are done eating, they clear the table and play until I tell them it’s time for “quick tidy.” Sometimes I can do these things while the baby is in the highchair and other times I tote him around with me.

8:45-9am

I call the kids together for “quick tidy” which simply means they need to get dressed and clean up the main living area and table from any messes they made during the morning. Then they get themselves a snack and water and go to the table for Morning Time. I keep homemade trail mix in the bottom of the cupboard and bowls and cups within their reach. This is always their morning time snack because it has lots of small pieces and keeps little hands busy while I read! Having the same snack every morning also eliminates requests and whining for something else. While they are getting set up for Morning Time I put the baby down for his nap.

9-10/ 10:30am

Baby is napping! Sometimes we can fit all of our school activities in this time block and other days we only get through Morning Time and one other area before the baby wakes up. If you aren’t familiar with Morning Time, it is simply a time that everyone gathers to begin the day. For us it currently includes reading and discussing our devotional, practicing finding scriptures in the Bible and reading it, praying , singing a song or hymn, practicing our memory verse, reading some poetry, and reading a few picture books aloud. I also use this time to have my son practice his reading aloud to us. If we have finished all of that and the baby is still sleeping I will go ahead with handwriting lessons with my son. We are currently using Handwriting Without Tears and love it.

10:30- 2pm

Once the baby is awake I change and feed him and the kids are off to play. They usually go play outside during this time until I call them in for lunch. We may take a picnic outside and continue playtime out there until it’s time for baby to take his second nap. Sometimes they spend this time inside playing or drawing and crafting at the table and I will work on some chores. Around 1:45pm I call them together to clean up any messes they’ve made during playtime or take a bath if messy, muddy play happened. If my daughter is still engrossed in play I will let her continue and only call my son in.

Processed with VSCO with s2 preset2-3:30pm

My son and I pick up where we left off in the morning, doing Handwriting lessons, our math lesson for the day, and any nature study or art project I have planned. This is also the time we have Read Aloud Tea time on some days, which is simply what it sounds like! A snack, some tea or juice, and I read our current chapter book aloud. My younger daughter can be as involved in all of this as she would like to be, but isn’t required to.

3:30-5pm

Baby wakes up and I feed, change, and play with him. The kids play outside again or free play inside until I allow them to watch a show around 4:30pm while I prepare dinner. They are currently enjoying Vooks, where they can watch animated books read aloud to them. I try to straighten up the house in this time as well.

5-6pm

My husband comes home and we all eat dinner together. If the baby had short naps throughout the day, he may nap again for 30-45 minutes during this time.

6-7:30pm

I usually take an evening walk with the entire family or just the baby after dinner. Then I come home and put the baby down at 7 or 7:30pm. Then I clean up from dinner and my husband puts the two older children to bed by 7:30 as well.

7:30-9:30pm

Rest! I spend the last two hours of my day showering, reading, spending time with my husband, blogging, or anything else I want. Before going to sleep I try to set myself up for success for the next day by tidying up the main living area and setting out anything I need for dinner prep and school activities.

Ideally, we would do all of our school in one time block each day, preferably mornings, but with a baby in tow I have to work with what undistracted time I have! I hope seeing our day detailed out is helpful to you. Now that I finally have a good routine going I am certain things will change because babies like to keep us on our toes! The goodness and sweetness of a new baby far certainly outweigh the challenges.