Homeschooling

Holding Onto What Matters: The Making of a New Schedule

School officially begins for our family next week.

Not that we ever really quit doing school, but that we will be transitioning from Summer School to, well, School.  This just means that instead of Tea Parties, Badminton Binging, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales, it’ll be Art & Tea Time, Badminton Sessions, and more Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  (And other great books!)

And Math and Latin and Writing, Grammar, Poetry…

Each year tends to be a bit different, though, as the children continue to grow and require more academic attention from me.  Naturally, we reassess each year to see what needs to be done for their education without sacrificing the Culture of our Home, which is a beautiful thing.

We never want to be so busy as to not put First Things First.

This means that Jesus needs to remain King of our Home, and we need to spend time with Him.  Lauds in the wee hours of the morning amidst flickering candlelight must never go away.  Dinners in the evenings should find us together listening to the stories of the saints.  The prayers of the rosary should rise like incense before our icons.  Finally, the children should fall asleep with Dad’s blessing on their foreheads every night.  These are the things that matter the most.

All else–school work, extracurricular activities, household matters–comes Next.

This year our family will be making a great change as the three older children will no longer be homeschooled, but will attend a small, private school.  The remaining four children will still be homeschooled–well, the youngest can hardly be expected to do anything “educationally” constructive, except by ways of playing dolls and dress-up, which I suppose is an education in itself and not to be laughed at.

But this will be a great change for us, and one in which we’ll want to be careful not to suddenly become too busy.  Brick and Mortar Schools have a tendency to do this, as there are a plethora of activities, clubs, and sports that one can be involved in, even in this Modern Feardemic.  (At least here anyway.)

This is why our family has decided, for this year anyway, that one activity per kid is enough.  For example, the Eldest is taking piano and organ lessons.  She doesn’t get to do Running Club or be in the Singing Schola, even though those are good things.  It’s just too much running around for us.

The boys* all belong to Troops of St. George, wherein they go camping and learn about the great outdoors, and this is enough for them.

Sometimes less is more.  For it is easier to remain in the arms of Jesus with less baggage–less stuff–tearing one away.

A New Schedule

For those of you who are interested, I’ll post our new schedule below.  Sometimes it’s helpful to see how other large families are organizing their day, if only to give one an idea or two.

Remember that all families are unique and different, though.  This is just what works for us.  You’ll see that I’ve given specific times, but that doesn’t mean I walk around with a whistle and a clapper.  No, these are just general times.  If you have any questions, be sure to ask.

May God bless your 2020 Academic Year!

2020 Academic Year

6:00–6:25am:  Mom Computer Work

6:25-6:50am:  Lauds with all 4 Big Kids

6:50-7:20am:  Mom Shower, Laundry In, T Piano Practice, J Math with Dad, Older 3 eat Breakfast and Pack Lunches

7:20-7:30am:  Dad & Older 3 Depart for Providence Academy, Little Girls Dressed & Set Table

7:30-8:30am:  Mom Makes Breakfast, Bible Reading & Poetry

8:30-9:00am:  Mom Cleanup, J Piano, T Math

9:00-9:30am:  Midmorning Prayer & Latin

9:30-11:00am:  J Grammar, T & G Set Table, Switch-out Laundry

11:00-11:30am:  Lunch with Audible, Cleanup: J Wash, T Dry, Mom Sweep

11:30-12:00pm:  Mom Read Aloud (History)

12:00-1:00pm:  Quiet Time: Mom Prayer, Nap, & Tea

1:00-3:00pm:  T Phonics & Spelling, J Writing & Rhetoric, Art & Tea Time with Drawing & Cursive

3:00-3:45pm:  Pickup Older Children

3:45-5:00pm:  Dinner Prep, Mom Goes For a Run

5:00-5:15pm:  Greet Husband

5:15-6:45pm:  Dinner & Cleanup: M Wash, M Dry, P Sweep, J Garage Detail, Mom Laundry

6:45-7:30pm:  Free Time

7:30-7:50pm:  Rosary

7:50-8:00pm:  Children PJS, Teeth, Prayers, & Blessings from Dad

8:00-8:30pm:  Compline, M Piano Practice

8:30-10:00pm:  Mom & Dad Be Together

 

 

*The boys also serve the Traditional Latin Mass, which technically is an activity too.  So, perhaps we’re violating our Rule of One?
Homeschooling

The Homeschool Room

In our old home, we didn’t have a homeschool room.  Rather, I was very creative about where I placed our homeschool materials–on shelves in the living room, in kitchen cabinets, or in bedroom closets…anywhere.

And the children worked just about anywhere too.  In fact, we even had a card table set up in the basement storage room where The Eldest preferred to do her math, as it was a quiet spot.  One does get creative with limited amounts of space.

Thankfully, however, our current home has 5 bedrooms: one for my husband and me, one for the baby, one for the 3 girls, one for the 3 boys, and one for homeschooling.  Deo Gratias.

The Homeschool Room

Now, we’re trying to educate our children classically.  Just what does that mean?  If you’ve got twenty minutes, I strongly encourage you to listen to Andrew Kern’s podcast, The Top 5 Ideals That Any Classical School Should Employ.  It’s awesome.  And I mean, awesome, as in awe-inspiring.

But…

How does that relate to my homeschool room?

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In order to educate all these children, I need a space that is neat, simple, and beautiful, if possible.

Neat?  Most days.  Although it does happen that the boys will take out their circuits and leave them all over the room, and the Two-Year-Old will decide to shred an entire notebook to pieces.

Simple?  Sigh.  I operate a school.  Therefore, I must have some supplies, but these need not be in overabundance.  For example, do I really need those nifty magnetic shapes that everybody else has?  Nope.  (Although I secretly think they’re the coolest thing ever.)  Or how about a bucket full of markers?  Definitely not.

The third one?  Beauty?  I’m always harping on beauty, because it matters!  After all, Ratzinger once said, it’s martyrs and the arts that will evangelize the world, not all your committees and words.  Shoot, I came back into the Church through studying Church architecture, painting, and sculpture.*  One can only stare at Brunelleschi, Fra Angelico, and Wislawa Kwiatkowska for so long until one begins to ask questions.

In any case, today I’ll show you what works for us.

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In our homeschool room, you’ll see a table and chairs, where The Eldest prefers to do her school work because she can shut the door.  The other children like to carry their work out to the kitchen to be near me.

On the walls in here you’ll see a picture of B16 (our affectionate name for Pope Benedict XVI), two maps, a history timeline, the alphabet, and numbers.  These are all practical things, but I’ve also tried to place them proportionally on the walls.  (Proportion is so important that St. Thomas Aquinas names it as one of the three elements of beauty.)

The other side of the room features our computer work space and bookshelves.

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These are mostly our school history, science, and religion books.  Our other literature books are in a different room.

Lastly, we have the closet, which is a blessing.  No longer must I run from room-to-room in order to gather my daily supplies.  They’re all just here.

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And here’s a look at the inside of both sides:

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This side features the children’s completed work trays, cubbies, my answer keys on one of the upper shelves, and a few games on top.
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This side has the children’s puzzles with DVDs on the top shelf and a few art supplies on the lower shelf.

In a previous post I went into detail about educational supplies or “toys” HERE.

And that, my friends, completes the tour of our Homeschool Room.  But I’ll leave you with three things that I’m continually working on:

  1. It’s better to have less.
  2. How I organize my space matters, because beauty matters.
  3. And, less is really better.  (Except for books.)
*This is why ugly churches and bad art are a sin.  They convert no one.