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Fact 1: homeschool provides freedom to have your own schedule…
Fact 2: when there is no routine, everyone and everything is all over the place which may lead to chaos.
Many times friends and family ask me “how do you homeschool when you have 4 children?!?! You must be very organized!”- they tell me. Well, in a sense, I am organized when it comes to the routine I have set up for our homeschool based on what I see are the needs and goals of our homeschool. I look at our needs and goals and see (and pray a lot!) on what we can do to achieve those goals.
Recently I read in a book by Rachel Carman where she stated the importance in planning and setting up a routine for success in your homeschool.
Because after all, we are people of habits!!!
We strive with routine. Children, especially, strive when they know what is expected of them. Children and adults do well with routine, clear expectations, and everyone does better when they know what they are supposed to be doing.
Therefore it is very important that we set up a homeschool routine for success! It takes a little bit of planning on our part and going the extra mile, but with prayer and dedication, you will see your work paying off when your homeschool week goes smoothly!
11 Steps to Set Up a Homeschool Routine for Success
1. Set a Weekly Theme – what is a common theme in your lessons / read loud for the common week. Look through your homeschool books and see what the the unit will be about. What is one aspect that is tied into your lessons? What is an animal/place/thing that your children became interested in? Use what you see as a common theme to tie into different subjects. For example, our math book had a travel theme for a unit, so each day we talked about a different country based on what was presented on the book.
2. Plan read alouds – Set a time in your week for read alouds at the table over a yummy snack, poetry tea-time, or snuggling on the couch. Set a goal to read a book over a week’s time, then choose a new book for the following week. Imagination Station or Magic Tree House series have books that can be easily correlated to a theme.
In our bilingual homeschool, we have two main read alouds: one in Spanish and one in English. Plus many other books we read throughout the day on varied subjects.
In our history curriculum at the very beginning of the year, we studied about the Vikings: who they were and their travels. This book by Imagination Station was so fun to read while adding a living book element to our history lessons. This book is the first one in the series. As soon as we finished the first one, my kids were ready to continue with book 2.
Most, if not all, Magic Tree House books have been translated into Spanish. The books are very easy to read, the children are able to follow them well. If you feel you would like to read them in Spanish but are hesitant about comprehending the text, pick up a copy in English. Read a chapter in both languages to help you guide the discussion and pick up vocabulary the kids might need further assistance.
Overall, I have been very pleased with using Imagination Station and Magic Tree House series for read alouds. Both series are quite engaging, quick to read, easy to follow. I really like the non-fiction elements included throughout the stories. Very much like a living book.
Magic Tree House has been my go to series for reading chapter books in Spanish. My kids have enjoyed them very much to the point that whenever they find a Magic Tree House book, they always request it to be in Spanish.
3. YouTube Time: Take advantage of YouTube and travel around the world, visit museums, farms, learn about a new animal, etc. Tell your children to come up with a question or two each on something they really want to know about the weekly theme. Use this time to look up videos on YouTube that could help answer the questions. Then write a sentence or two as a follow up activity. Have some fun and learn something new together!
Related: These are some of our favorite YouTube channels in Spanish that we like to watch.
4. Nature Walk and Nature Journalying – Set a time for the week when you plan on going outside for a walk. Pick a day of the week that you intently go outside and observe animals, trees, bugs, etc. See this post with ideas on additional books and supplies for a nature walk that could help expand on this activity. Perhaps even use your Spanish during this activity. Go on a language Scavanger Hunt around your neighborhood.
5. Pick a Bible Verse for the Week– Pick a verse from a book like Psalms or Proverbs and read it every day. You may work at memorizing it or you may simply just talk about this verse daily. Take it a step forward and use it for copywork! We like to memorize a verse in Spanish to practice throughout the week. They each recite it at the end of the week.
Also use this verse to talk about vocabulary, attributes of God, and life applications.
6. Set a loop schedule – A loop schedule consists of a set of subjects that are taught every day in no particular order but that are completed daily. I am of the opinion that certain subjects should be taught every day such as Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Bible, and Spanish. There are other subjects and activities that I assign to a few days of the week like History twice a week even though it tends to happen more throughout the week which is great when it happens. We do Geography every day so that is also part of our loop schedule.
7. Chores – Part of our homeschool routine is to complete chores around the house. It teaches responsibility and basic entrepreneurship skills. Children receive an allowance for their completed work. Then they get to divide their money into three areas of money management: give, save, spend.
I strongly recommend reading this book by Dave Ramsey to teach money management skills from a young age.
8. Cooking – Cooking is a regular activity my children do throughout the week. Since a very young age, they each have been involved in helping with a meal like getting the ingredients, helping find a recipe, mixing and stirring, peeling, etc. There is so much of the Spanish language my children have learned from cooking with me!!! We take time to study about eating healthy and read books that will enhance our understanding of food. We also watch cooking videos in Spanish to get an authentic input of Spanish language.
Learning to cook is just as important as learning math or science. It is a life skill that will save them money someday when they know how to shop and what ingredients to get to be able to cook themselves a meal. My children have enjoyed cooking, they look forward to our time spent in the kitchen just as much as our read aloud time! I am quite fond of this =online course that teaches children how to cook basic meals, how to use an instanpot safely, how to use knives, and how to try to eat varied foods. Cooking is so much fun and allows them to become more creative and develop problem solving skills!
9. Extra-curricular: Any classes, activities that you have signed up your child outside of home. It could be music lessons, sports, art, language classes, additional tutoring, etc.
10. Co-Op: A once a day when children attend classes with other children. If you are in a season of hygge, use this time to connect with a smaller group at your own home.
11. Devotional – Grow together as a family when you gather to read the Bible and present your requests and praises to God. These have been my go-to devotionals for my children. I have yet to find a devotional book for them in Spanish.
Having a personal devotional book, allows each person to have some quiet time where they can read, reflect, pray, and interact with the text. When we gather for discussion, we take turns sharing about what we read.
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