Things have been pretty crazy at our house lately. It seems like our schedule has been packed from sunup till sundown. By the end of the day, I feel like I have been run over by a pack of wild horses, or maybe just four crazy, rambunctious kids. But don’t get me wrong we have been having a lot of fun.
We visited with friends and family this past weekend, started a major home-improvement project on our house, went to nature preschool at our local arboretum, got our car serviced, and so-on and so-on. To cap it all off, all four kids had dentist appointments first thing this morning. Since we live in a rural area, this means a 45 minute drive each way. Luckily we all survived, and we only found one cavity! One of my daughters has the unfortunate luck of inheriting soft teeth, and is super prone to cavities, no matter how diligently she brushes. After an hour at the dentist and another 45 minute drive home, we were finally ready to start our homeschool lesson for the day.
When weeks like these happen, finding time for homeschool can be a challenging task, but we always seem to find a way to fit it in. One of the most important things for us is our homeschool routine that we have developed over the past few months. When we first started using Mother Goose Time, I frequently changed our routine and even the room we were working in. Finally, after several months of trial and error we finally found a routine and a space that worked for us. Having the consistency has definitely helped the boys (and me) get into the homeschool ‘mood’ more easily, and has helped me stay organized and prepared. Our routine is especially helpful on days like today, when we’ve been running around all morning, and come home exhausted and wiped out.
We typically start our day with circle time, and talk about the calendar (the date, day of week, and year), weather, and review the daily topic. We also use this time to go over our letters, numbers, shape, and color of the month. This may sound a little tedious to do with just 2 students (only one of whom is verbal), and more like something you’d expect to see in a traditional preschool setting. At least that’s how it felt to me when I first started using Mother Goose Time.
When we first started homeschooling, I spent very little time doing circle time, unsure of how to adapt this activity for my small group of students. However, as time passed I discovered that circle time was a great way to transition the boys from play time to learning time. It was also a great way to get my toddler involved – he loves picking out the weather for the day, and hanging it up on our circle time board. During this time I also go over the daily activities with my boys, and get input from them about their expectations for the day.
After circle time we move into the rest of our activities for the day. The activities that are included in the Mother Goose Time curriculum vary from day-to-day, so I tend to adjust the order, depending on the mood of my kiddos.
Today we started with a math-oriented activity, in which we utilized some of our math manipulatives to complete simple word problems. Our duck manipulatives were used to represent herons, and red blocks to represent crawfish. Manipulatives help turn math time into playtime, and helps addition and subtraction make sense to my son. Most importantly, he was thrilled to being doing math problems just like the ones his big sisters do in school . Meanwhile my youngest had fun using a tweezer like toy to pick up the ducks and transport them around the room.
Next the boys illustrated their own post cards, and dictated messages to send to some of their friends and family. The postcards are included every month, and are a great way to share our homeschool experiences with relatives and friends. Today the boys used a diamond-shaped stamp to create lilypads, and then sketched in some of their favorite pond critters.
We finish our days with an art project, so that the boys have lots of time to create. Today we created Crawfish clappers, that we used along with the Mother Goose Time Music. Each month Mother Goose Time sends a new CD, featuring a dozen or so songs that go along with the monthly theme. The songs are inspired by a different musical genre each month, and have been a great way to expose the boys to different types of music. The pop inspired songs this month, were particularly fun. My youngest son loved dancing along with all the songs this month, especially the song about jumping like a frog.
After that we normally wrap up the day, by cuddling up on the couch and reading our book of the day (Check out my previous post if you want to find out more about the Mother Goose Time monthly book list–Read With Them, Everyday). By the time we finish its normally time for lunch, and then the best part of the day-Nap Time!
Being able to cater the day around my son’s wants and needs, and his learning style is one of the reasons I decided to homeschool him this year. Although it took some trial and error in the beginning, I’m glad that we’ve finally found a routine that we are all comfortable with. If you are in the early stages of homeschooling, I encourage you to try a couple different routines before you decide what will work for you and your children. If you have any questions feel free to contact me, I’d love to hear from you.
Join me next week for more homeschool stories and of course more – Chaos on the Creek.
Disclaimer: I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog. In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.