Today's blog is a guest post from Hanna at The Whispering Glen. Hanna is a dear friend of mine, and we're so grateful she put together this post for us. Hanna is a second-generation homeschool mama of four kids aged 3 to 9. She loves encouraging new homeschool families with real glimpses of achievable at-home learning, being a source of intentional home and educational tools and information, sharing simple meals and budget ideas, and expressing genuine solidarity through the community we have in motherhood. She also enjoys creating resources for your home and homeschool such as customizable planners, book lists, mini-units, and printable decorations to enhance your learning spaces!
If you are anything like me, you begin blissfully preparing for your next school year by selecting the curriculum for your core subjects. You select mathematics, language arts, social studies, and science only to completely forget about leaving margin for anything else you may want to add in later on. When I want to incorporate something extra into our already full days, I have to take the time to figure out how I can realistically make that happen without just adding stress. Before selecting anything, I consider whether or not this will serve my family well by adding it in. If that answer is a yes, then I know that the changes I need to make to our day for the short term will be worth it.
In this post I wanted to talk specifically about how we fit An Expectant Easter, a beautiful unit study which leads up to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, into our homeschool days. We participated in this study last year, and are really looking forward to using it again this year! This study includes many of the beauty subjects that we routinely cover each day, such as Bible, poetry, art/artist study, and music. This study also includes many of our language arts pieces through reading, narration, and copy work. Not to mention all the fun crafts and yummy recipes!
In order to fit this study in, we have to make some temporary changes to our regular homeschool rhythm. For instance, last year the bulk of An Expectant Easter took the place of our normal morning time. This became our Bible time, as well as poetry, art, and music studies. I simply set aside the other things we were using in these areas for three weeks to be able to shift gears for an Easter study. We found we were still able to fit in our normal math, science, and social studies lessons while incorporating this resource.
What about language arts? Depending on what my children have going on with this subject area normally, it is easier for us to set some things aside for three weeks and just pick back up after the holiday study. For my kindergartener who is still learning to read, I don’t want to completely stop doing her reading lessons. So, for the three weeks of this holiday study, I will shorten her lessons, encourage her to read along with the older two, and put more emphasis on the copy work and narration portions of An Expectant Easter.
What would this look like in our home? A really basic sample rhythm for our family while working through An Expectant Easter would look something like:
Morning Time (30 Minutes)
While eating breakfast or immediately after.
- Read the scripture selection for the day
- Discuss this part of the Easter story
- Recite the week’s poem
- Discuss the art for the week
- Read the picture book for the day
Contributions (20 minutes)
This is what we call chores, getting ready.
- Clean up breakfast
- Get dressed, make beds
- Prep table for narration pages and copy work
Morning Lessons (45-60 minutes)
- Language Arts
- Narration page (writing & illustrating)
- Copy work (a little each day)
- Other independent Work (vocabulary, phonics review, etc.)
- Math Lessons
Free Play Break (30-90 minutes)
Depending on what time we started for the day.
Afternoon Lessons (45-90 minutes)
We start while eating lunch, and we alternate science and cultural studies every other day.
- Science audiobook OR cultural studies (listening to me read books and engaging in discussions on a particular country we are studying)
- After finishing up lunch, we would do our science OR social studies table work (notebooking, journaling, research and/or begin any experiments, crafts, recipes, etc.). I would keep these on the lighter side during the weeks we were engaged in the special unit study to leave room for the extras with An Expectant Easter.
- This is also when we would work in any additional hands-on connections with An Expectant Easter.
All told, that’s still only 3-4 hours of lessons! Some days may be longer, and some may be shorter. After all, we are nurturing little ones who have their own special plans some days. Am I right? It’s totally doable to add in these special studies, while still keeping on task with your regular work. Realistically there are days where we don’t get to everything, but I still believe that the time spent discipling and pouring into our children in this way is so important.
One time saver for me is having all of the ingredients, craft supplies, and books collected and ready to go before we get started. However, if I cut it too close I end up missing out on the books I want or need because they’ve already been checked out at the library. Or my library just simply doesn’t carry a few. Or I can’t get a used book shipped in time for when I need it. This is when I am so thankful for the internet and it’s resources!
Last year I put together a free virtual access book list download to compliment An Expectant Easter! If you aren’t able to physically get some of the books recommended for this unit study, I’ve got you covered! This download includes ready-to-access links to online read-alouds and ebooks via resources such as YouTube, Hoopla, and Archive.org. I have updated this free download (some links needed to be replaced), and I’ve included a fun add-on in the way of “reveal” envelopes like I did for A Connected Christmas. I like to wrap our daily picture book read-alouds and let the kids take turns opening one every day. In the cases where I didn’t have a physical copy of the book, I still wanted the kids to be able to open something. In addition to the online book links provided, this download includes “envelopes” which display the book title and author, along with an image that hints at the daily hands-on connection that correlates with the book. You can just print off and wrap these up to be opened!
Prior to using this study last year, I did not put much thought or effort into ushering in this celebration with my children. However, after utilizing An Expectant Easter last year, and being thoroughly immersed in the Easter story, I realized how important it is to be continually reminded of the gift Christ’s sacrifice was for all of us! It’s worth taking the time to step back and focus on this special time in the Christian calendar. I hope that it’s a meaningful time for your family this year.
If you are interested in joining us with An Expectant Easter this year, you can get 10% off digital copies by using my code: THEWHISPERINGGLEN10 at checkout!
You can find Hanna on Instagram @thewhisperingglen, on Facebook, and her blog The Whispering Glen.