What we do-
We love having a daily routine. Our time each day is planned so kiddos know what we are doing throughout the day and they know the order in which we do them. I ask what fun actives (going to the bookstore, library, splash pad, etc.) they want to do and we make sure to put them on our schedule.
Our routine helps us be most successful as a unit and both my kids and I thrive on structure and it's what works best for us.
There are certain times during our day where we have "school time." During those times we work on different subjects and skills. Among other things, we do letter tracing, handwriting, art, flash cards, math, history, science, agriculture, geography, workbooks, and puzzles.
All of these subjects are taught simply, slowly, patiently, and with a lot of discussion.
If I, as a teacher, am patient, my kiddos, as students, will learn to be patient with themselves as learners.
Learning can be hard and frustrating.
Example-I found that for my son, watching me make a perfect "A", while he struggled to get even one straight line of it had him angry with himself. If I had lost my patience with him while he was already struggling, he would have felt more frustrated and would be less likely to try again and succeed. Remember to be kind and allow them to figure it out / self-soothe if you will.
Somedays, we do multiple subjects. Somedays, we work on just one the entire day. I base this off of what skills I see need to be improved on, what skills need to be reinforced, and what skills are most important like reading, writing, and math. I also have to take into account what subjects they're passionate about.
There is a lot of talking in our type of homeschooling. I don't follow a set curriculum. I teach my children at their individual levels.
I keep a variety of workbooks, coloring books, and flash cards on hand so that the activities vary, but we can still work on the same subjects.
After a "lesson" (I'm using quotes because I like to teach with my kids. I don't talk / teach at them, I talk / teach with them. We learn together).
Reinforcement of subjects learned- I give them an activity to complete on their own. Sometimes, the activity can be a puzzle or a worksheet or a coloring page on the subject we just learned. I do this to help reinforce the lesson.
I allow them to do the reinforcement activity on their own. I don't watch over their shoulder. I don't hover. I simply allow them to complete it at their own pace, on their own, and give them positive reinforcement afterwards.
I receive a lot of requests on homeschooling, and it has taken me a long time to sit down and write about our variation of it, because what works for us might not work for everyone.
Like I said, our lessons are based off of what I feel they need to learn, and at the level that they are learning.
To me, that's the best part of homeschooling. It is so individualized that it has truly taught my son and daughter to love learning.
They know so much more than I did at their ages, as far as school subjects go, and I believe that because of the time I have taken to teach them, they will be more successful in their path to education than I was. At least, that's my hope!
Good luck homeschooling mommas. And remember to be kind to yourself. Give yourself grace!
Tips and tricks-
Keep learning material at eye level for your kids. That way they see it, and are more likely to point and ask "what's this?"
Label items in your home with flash cards. This helps with sight words / memorization.
Read. Read. Read. The more you read to your kids, studies have shown the better off they will be on so many different levels. Develop their love for reading at a young age. Encourage the heck out of it!
When they ask questions about "why" things are, answer them in a way that they can understand and retain the information. They are curious because they are trying to learn about the world around them, and it's our job to educate them while also encouraging them to retain that love for learning.
One last question-"How long you dedicate to home schooling each day?"
I have an hour dedicated in the morning to tracing, writing, and coloring. For us, this skill has been the one that needs the most focus.
I sit at the table with them and make sure to interact while they practice. Occasionally, they want some help, but mainly I sit and chat while they do their work. The conversation makes it seem less like work, and more like fun.
Then, later in our day, we have an hour long lesson. Though, I follow their queue. I might have an hour long lesson planned, but if they're really absorbing the info (and are focused), I keep going.
Lessons are then followed with a reinforcement activity of some kind.
I also do flashcards during breakfast and lunch. It keeps them at the table and entertained while they eat. Plus, it beats having them watch TV.
I make sure that our daily actives are lessons too. I talk them through all the things we are doing because nearly every moment is a learning moment with kids.
Gardening-we talk about how to grow fruits and veggies. We learn about seasons, climates, weather, geography, and simple biology (thanks worms).
Cooking- we learn about measurements, temperature, and simple chemistry.
Driving- we chat about directions, geography and simple history. Be careful with this one though. You might end up with a backseat driver like mine. He's four and already knows how to navigate me home. #MiniSiri
So, in conclusion, how many hours am I dedicating to homeschooling? I think it's safe to say I'm using as many hours of the day as my kids allow, and I kinda love it.