The first day of school came and I almost felt burnt out.
You know the feeling? More, more, more had to be done … if I could just fit this.one.extra.thing.in everything will be great.
I had a to-do list a mile long and only held enough patience to fill a cup of coffee. I was running on empty on our very first day. How is that for a mom fail?
Thankfully, God gives us second chances and he offers us grace in moments like these. So, with a deep breath I decided to do a little do-over and change up what I was doing.
I then decided that this Fall we were going to try something a little different in our homeschool. I was sick of worksheets and workbooks. I didn’t want dry boring facts. I needed something that reflected the reason we are homeschooling.
I needed to remember that it was about the learning and the connecting. It wasn’t about regurgitating knowledge but rather being able to form thoughts and to grasp the content.
I needed something that could simplify our homeschool day. I wanted my kids to show me what they learned. So, in the spirit of Charlotte Mason, we started notebook journaling. My idea is based on that of oral narration. (Oral narration is what happens after we read a chapter or a passage aloud – my kids tell me everything or anything about what they remember.) It is a simple idea that holds a lot of depth.
So everyday during school we start our morning off with Bible study and prayer. We then go about our different subjects: reading, history, science, math, and spelling for one child.
After most subjects they have some written narration to do. It is an open ended exercise that sometimes consist of them writing in a spiral notebook (I like 3 or 5 subject for this) or in a thick hardcover bound sketchbook. I found the one in the picture at Michael’s before the beginning of the school year for $5 a piece.
During the day I assign a little of copywork (we haven’t quite gotten the hang of dictation, yet). I usually assign the copywork from what the book they are reading independently. They can choose anything that stood out to them from the passage. I also sometimes assign poems that we are learning or Bible memory work. We do some free-writing a few days a week and that always goes in their spiral notebook. I also sometimes have the kids work on art projects, mapwork, or drawings of what we learned in history. That all goes into their sketch journal.
The mapwork is completed by tracing outline maps into their sketchbook – first onto tracing paper and then by coloring in the back of their paper with their pencil. Then flipping it back over to their drawing and recopying the map. They then label the country we are studying and usually I’ll ask them to draw the country’s flag and label important cities, rivers, oceans, etc. This exercise, in my opinion, is better than filling in a map. They are drawing and redrawing the outline of the map, the countries and other parts of the map so that they then begin to memorize where the places belong.
How to Simplify Your Homeschool Day
I have found this to be the number one thing that simplifies our school day. It’s a win-win for all of us:
- The kids know what is expected of them
- They are able to be creative
- I can tell if they are grasping what is being taught
- They aren’t looking for tons of binders and workbooks
- No losing random sheets of paper
- A beautiful creation at the end of the semester
Here’s What You Need:
- A Hardcover Sketchbook—>>>Pro-Art Pro Art Hard Bound Sketch Book,
- A Spiral Bound Notebook—>>>>Mead Spiral Notebook, 5 Subject, College Ruled
- My Favorite Pencils—>>>>Dixon Ticonderoga Wood-Cased 2 HB Pencils
- Colored Pencils—->>>>Artlicious – 50 Premium Distinct Colored Pencils
- Tracing Paper —>>>>Tracing Paper
What helps you simplify your homeschool day? Leave a comment and let me know!