We are a relaxed homeschooling family. However, if you had asked me as a young mother if I ever envisioned homeschooling my children you probably would have been met with a blank stare.
It’s funny to look back and see how far we’ve come. We’ve been down many avenues with homeschooling. But, I finally feel like we have arrived at where we are supposed to be.
That’s not to say that our days are always fun or easy, but I have confidence in our plan. So I’m excited to give you a peek into our days as a relaxed homeschooling family!
If you google relaxed homeschooling (like I did – just to see if others defined it the same way I do) you will find a wide variety of opinions on the topic.
The general consensus is that there is a sliding scale for homeschooling that goes from schooling at home (a style that is basically traditional school done at home) all the way to unschooling (most commonly used to refer to families that teach purely through living life). Relaxed homeschooling would fall somewhere in the middle.
I consider our family a relaxed homeschooling one because we structure our learning to include teaching in the 3R’s, Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, and we use a bit of curriculum (mostly for math).
And I think the biggest factor is that, 9 years into my homeschooling journey, I feel comfortable and RELAXED! I know what it is I’m trying to accomplish and how I want to go about doing that!
When we first started homeschooling my yearly goals consisted of long lists of subjects and topics to cover and curriculum to use to meet these expectations. However, my goals now are much broader and big picture focused.
My biggest goal is to be the light of Jesus to my boys. I want them to love Him and love learning all about him. So we’re revamping our bible study time.
We’re reading the bible together at 3 different levels (each kiddo got a new age appropriate bible for the year) and we’re doing scripture work Charlotte Mason style.
Looking for a great way to set up your scripture work? We are using this system. It cost us under $20 to get set up and it’s easy to use! It fits well with our relaxed homeschooling philosophy – gaining knowledge without busywork.
My mom always said that if you could read, you could learn anything! And I still believe that to this day. So I want my children to be proficient readers. But more than that, I want them to LOVE reading!
To start them out we’re using living books – books that come alive telling a story that is well written. Want to learn more about living books and grab a free copy of my living books list? You can do both here: How do you know if a book is a living book?
We’re increasing our time spent reading in a day and focussing on covering multiple subjects with our books selections. An easy way to do this is by adding in a morning basket routine! It’s simple and easy and I can’t believe how much more my children are learning from this simple change.
You can read more about our morning basket routine in a guest post that I wrote for Encouraging Moms at Home: How to teach your kids MORE in less time with a morning basket.
I wrote a post a while back when we first started switching from a scheduled day to a daily relaxed homeschooling routine (Why I burned my daily homeschool schedule!!) sharing about our changes. And we haven’t looked back. However, we have made a few revisions since that time.
Currently in my house for the day to day stuff there is me, Izzy (9 yrs.), Mickey Blue (3 yrs.) and Little Lou (18 months). Our oldest son has moved out so it’s just the littler boys at home now. The youngest two due to age and personality still need a lot of supervision.
We are all morning birds – often waking before the sun has even risen. Except for Izzy, who over the past year has begun to sleep later.
During the wee hours the little boys watch nursery rhymes on the TV or play with toys while I start the morning chores. We make the bed, empty the dishwasher, start the laundry, and get breakfast on the go.
During my own childhood we spent many hours gathered around the table sharing meals and conversation. I want my children to feel the same about our kitchen table.
We eat together, we pray, and I read to them.
As soon as everyone is done eating we clear our table and move into our classroom (have you seen our new layout? Come take a look at Our Toddler Friendly Homeschool Room). Here we finish up our book basket reading.
During this time we read stories that cover a wide range of topics! Our current loop of books includes: The Book of Virtues for Young People, Little House in the Big Woods, Rocks and Fossils, Tell me, Tree, and The 10 Minute Bible Journey.
By following a loop schedule with our reading, when days get busy or our reading gets derailed, we don’t continually miss out on a certain book. Want to learn more about loop scheduling? Tauna, from Proverbial Homemaker has a quick workshop on setting up loop schedules for your homemaking and homeschooling and it’s fabulous!
Click here to learn more about her loop scheduling workshop and how it can benefit your home and schooling.
Outside time is really important to me and essential for my boys. They are all high energy kids and they need time to burn that energy off. And there’s no better place to do that than outside! And this is an integral time to our nature study.
I try to take opportunities as they present themselves to teach the kids observation. We take notice of our environment as it changes with the days and seasons. We look for bugs, snakes, and any other wild creatures we can find.
We’re lucky to have many many song birds! And we are constantly amused by the antics of our backyard chicken flock.
When lunch time hits we head back inside (this is whenever Little Lou gets tired and/or we get hungry). I put Lou down for his nap while the boys play together.
Once Lou is asleep I make lunch and then we are back to the table for math and writing lessons. I try to sit down one on one with both boys during this time. It is such a beautiful way to shape learning, side by side, learning together.
Izzy does a math lesson and either copywork, dictation, or letter writing during our one on one time. Mickey blue is moving into preschool activities like coloring, doing sticker books, water paint pages, and manipulative learning. (Want to see what this LOOKS likes? Check out Homeschool Preschool: Photos of A Typical Homeschool Day)
Once the clean up is done we are free to do whatever we want. A couple times a week we have planned extracurricular activities. On other days we plan playdates, take nature walks, or just head back outside to garden and play.
Our relaxed homeschooling has made our days much more enjoyable. It allows me to focus on my relationship with my children above all else. I can prioritize their needs over our educational list. And although it seems backwards, removing the pressure to complete these lists has helped us become much more productive in our days.
That’s my ultimate goal at Making Her Mama. To be an encouragement to you and to provide you with awesome resources! If you want to join our community you can use the form below to get our weekly updates.
So what is your homeschooling style? Come find out: Do you know what the best homeschooling style is? I’d love to hear from you about what your days look like! Leave me a comment and let me know how things are running in your homeschool.
This post was published as part of the iHomeschool Network Annual Back to HOMEschool Blog Party. Come and see this weeks posts and link ups on “Day in the Life” week. Do you have a post to share about what your daily homeschool life is like? Come join the link up and share!
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