Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 2nd Grade :)

Time to Make it Count

on August 5, 2014

2014-2015 Kindergarten and Preschool Schedule

“Does’t thou love life? Then do not squander time,

for that is the stuff life is made of.” Benjamin Franklin

How we shall plan to spend our time on homeschool days is a question that gnaws away at many of us before the new school year. We know we’ve got one shot at making next year count. And one shot at making our homeschool years all they can be for our children. Someday in the future, when the pre-teen years near, we know there will come a day of reckoning, with ourselves and the Lord, over the stewardship of our time with our children. The sun will finally set on the time of childhood, and hopefully we have done all we could. We’ve got one shot at training up our children while there is still time. Thoughtful planning of our daily time schedule is essential to making sure that this limited season of training time counts, and that our days go smooth and easy. Let’s make time to pray this month and draft up a schedule, as time is the “stuff that life is made of.”

A schedule will not automatically come perfectly together in the first year of homeschooling, and adopting someone else’s schedule just so that we have one, is not the best solution. Schedules that truly work with the flow and needs of our own family can take time to find, and then perfect. Our Jesus’ Precious Little Lambs schedule has grown more detailed and useful to us a little bit every year. To my surprise, our kindergarten schedule evolved out of our more basic preschool one, which still serves as the the foundation of our daily school schedule. Our first real homeschool schedule was drafted up by our second year of preschool, and allthough it was simple, it was Holy Spirit given because it has succeeded and remained.

All-day-long-learning has become a way of life for us. Its not like we refer to a schedule written up on the board or anything. Learning is just what we do, its just how we live. We didn’t just throw ourselves on this detailed schedule one day, rather, its been a slow accumulation of habits over the years. Its real life. A schedule that dramatically shifts the way you have been living your life will be difficult to follow. Don’t get me wrong, it can be done, but it will be challenging, and sometimes grueling. I encourage new homeschoolers to start up slow, and work up into that perfect schedule you envision bit by bit. As each newly added element becomes routine “life,” then add another one.

You will see on our schedule/life below how learning is intertwined all throughout our day (highlighted in bold), although school time is actually only from 9 am to 11 am. School time consists of mommy planned and led studies. I insist on strong habits of attention so that we can move quickly, and I pack a lot in. The rest of the day on the schedule feels leisurely, much more child-led and interest directed. Nobody actually thinks of it as “school time,” and yet its full of learning. We wouldn’t be well rounded without all the learning that occurs outside of “school.” Much homeschool learning should happen in the natural flow of life. So when we make a schedule for our homeschool, we can begin it upon waking and end it at bed time, since all day long we can be learning.

You know how if you pack a bag the night before a family day trip, rather than frantically gathering things together in the morning, the day will just go better? Well, preparing for a day of homeschool begins the night before too, rather than gathering everything right before 9 am when school starts. Every day in homeschool is an adventure, and if we shouldn’t go out for a day of hiking, swimming, or other adventures ill equipped without food and sunblock and what not, we shouldn’t try to embark on a day of homeschool adventures without preparing. Just like being stuck in the woods without a trail map or compass, a homeschool day is sure to include stress, disasters, and deficits without planning and preparation! Being prepared for each day ahead of time is the hardest part of homeschooling, but just like any other day trip or adventure, its so important to get ready the night before. (And all you who know me, know that I am preaching to my last minute self :)) Homeschool is a lot of work and dedication! But there is no other adventure more rewarding than daily investing 100% in our children’s lives.

How often does our family stick to our schedule? Well, we are imperfect people here, and most days we only “mostly” follow our schedule. The schedule is a snapshot of “the perfect day,” which doesn’t seem to happen regularly, but, if we didn’t have the snapshot vision, we wouldn’t have much to attain to. Also, we are moving from two days of school a week, to four days in Little Lambs this year, which will be quite a change for us. So the ante is definitely up! We will certainly give ourselves permission to take the day off here and there or skip a subject at times–its OK in homeschool, just like it is in school.

Let me be honest–it does require personal sacrifice to lay down our lives in order to homeschool our kids. What you don’t see on my schedule is a lot of outside activities, TV time, or “me time.” I try to run errands on weekends, or afternoons if I am blessed to find someone who can watch the kids, or even at night when everyone else is in bed. It may sound like a lot, but its the way we keep our homechool schedule flowing smoothly without too many interruptions. We also just don’t seem to have a lot of time or interest in too many extracurricular lessons, classes, groups, etc. Maybe someday we will do more, but with young children, I wouldn’t want to reduce their free play time, or masterly inactivity as Charlotte says, in order to have them play on a sports team, go to lessons, participate in clubs, and ride around a bunch in the car. Lots of free play time is the “stuff life should be made of” for young kids. I think that bouncing kids around from here to there in all their “extracurricular activities” (not to mention mommy’s) gives us all little down time just to think…….which results in shallower thinking, less creativity, and less imagination. A too full schedule produces results that are exactly the opposite of our family’s educational goals.

So on a lighter note…….isn’t it fun to look at other people’s schedules, see what their priorities are, and how much or how little our lives have in common?!? So go ahead, here is your chance to peep into my life! 🙂

Kindergartener Noah turns six mid year in Jan., Preschooler Faith turns age 4 in Oct. (and still has two years of preschool left), Baby Daniel turns 1 in Sept.

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Monday Through Thursday:

Night Before:

I spend time talking and praying with my husband about anything that came up during the day, we read from a book together if possible, and I also get ready for school the next day! I try to prep anything for breakfast, snack, lunch, and dinner that I can ahead of time, set out materials needed for the kids “mini lesson” at the breakfast table, set up preschool “centers” on the dining room table (play dough, math, puzzle, cutting practice sheet, word building, stamping, etc.), look over my annual curriculum plans and/or monthly lesson plans to remind myself of what we are trying to accomplish, and sometimes prep for a lesson that uses hands on materials such as a science experiment or art project. If all that happens, I can rest confidentally assured that tomorrow will likely go very smoothly indeed!

6:00-7:15 am    Mommy Devos

Daddy is gone to work. I nurse baby, get ready, cuddle with baby, do personal devotions (prayer, worship, Bible reading).

7:00-7:15    Get Ready

Kids get dressed, make bed, tidy room, put clean laundry away

7:15-7:45    Devos

We do a simple group devotion with prayer, worship, and Bible–we are currently going through the New Testament in my study Bible, only a couple paragraphs a day. I expound, use the study notes sometimes to shed light, and ask a lot of comprehension questions to make sure they are getting it. They are learning a lot this way. Then kids do personal devotions while I fix breakfast, and make their way to the kitchen when they are ready

7:45-8:15    Breakfast

Kids do a 10 minute mini lesson (any subject) while I finish cooking breakfast, or they help me make breakfast, and then we eat breakfast while we enjoy “the arts” (classical music, fine art, poetry)

8:15-8:35    AM Jobs

I clean up breakfast. Kids wash their own plates, brush teeth and hair, wash face, let chickens out, and then do some assigned service jobs like: put away clean silverware, vaccuum under kitchen table, clear kitchen table, wipe table, or any other assigned jobs they can squeeze in and not have to save for later at PM Job time.

8:35-9:00    Math Play or “Observe and Serve”

Pop the baby in bed for his morning nap. Play hymn CD, more classical music, or other spirit calming or happy rejoicing music, depending on our mood. Free math exploration time on the carpet for kids (playing, counting, sorting, adding our math manipulatives), which gives me time to finish cleaning up and get last minute school and household stuff done. On alternate days when we do “Observe Serve” instead of math, I set the timer for 30 minutes, kids look around the house to see what needs to be done, and then serve the family by dusting, vacuuming, doing dishes, wiping the table, cleaning the bathroom sink, emptying garbage cans, cleaning floorboards, etc. During “Observe and Serve” I don’t tell them what jobs to do because its supposed to be an opportunity to serve from their heart.

9:00-10:00    Circle Time

School officially starts. Circle Time on the living room carpet includes opening prayer and song, hymns, Bible (Gen-Deut study), history, geography, and character development (habit training). Preschooler Faith will be encouraged to stick around as long as she can hang.

10:00-10:30    Center Time

Baby wakes up. Kids can run 10-15 laps around our backyard lawn for exercise and to get some energy out. Then I nurse the baby while guiding the kids through somewhat independent activities at “Centers” laid out on the dining room table. Do math lesson and word building with Noah, then he can join Faith in selecting any center of his choice that is laid out at the table. Baby plays….. or clings.

10:30-11:00    Handwriting and Closing Activities

Move both kids back into the kitchen to sit at the kitchen table by the chalkboard. Do handwriting, pledge of allegiance, a patriotic song, and then eat snack while reading and reciting memory verses, doing calendar, updating our 100’s chart, practicing recitation of a selected poem, and then sing a closing song. School officially ends.

11:00-1:00    Outside and Lunch

Outdoor play and exercise time, nature study, and lunch (outdoor picnic often). On all nice days we go to the nature park or other parks, play in front yard or backyard, or visit/help neighbors. Draw and write in Nature Journals when a natural treasure is discovered (optional for Faith). Daniel eats dirt and studies nature too. Play indoors when too cold. When we are home, kids sometimes listen to nature stories or literature stories on libravox.com while I make lunch, and other days, they just keep playing in the backyard during lunch prep. Lunch is a wonderful time as the kids like to make up stories off the top of their heads together, and lately, we take turns re-telling favorite Bible stories to each other to see how many details we can remember. Its great fun!

1:00-2:00    Book Time

Clean up lunch, get ready for nap/quiet time. Nurse baby, put baby to bed. Independent SSR (silent sustained reading) while mommy reads to one child at a time (library books and books from our family library), Noah reads to me from a reader, and then we do group “storytime” (mommy chosen literature book). Sometimes we stay outside for book time, or forego book time altogether to keep playing in nature.

2:00-3:30    Quiet Time

Preschooler naps, kindergartener does quiet time. Prayers and sometimes cuddles from mommy. Quiet time involves setting a time aside to meet with the Lord, drawing/writing in a prayer journal, sleeping if needed, handicrafts (mostly child initiated), looking at more books, and independent play time in room. On especially beautiful days (like in spring and fall), Noah is allowed to do quiet time outside in the backyard. I try to meet with the Lord too, take a quick nap, read a book, have baby and me time, or get household/school stuff done.

3:30-5:30    PM Jobs and Free Time

Daddy comes home in late afternoon. Kids do any assigned jobs that didn’t/can’t get done during AM jobs, play inside or outside separate or together, do self initiated projects, handicrafts, have time with daddy. I fix dinner. Nurse baby what feels like again and again.

5:30-6:30    Dinner

I attempt to serve dinner promptly at 5:30 pm so that I can get a lot of clean up done before “family time.” If I am not prompt, I try to let the dishes sit until the kids are in bed so that I don’t miss out on family time (I think my presence is especially important at family Bible time. Wouldn’t want the kids receiving the message that dishes, or any work, is a higher priority and good reason to be excused from time with the Lord). It wouldn’t be family time without mommy there.

6:30-7:30    Family Time

Literature read aloud, sometimes games, sometimes play, Bible (reading all the way through), and Bible commentaries. Nurse baby, put baby to bed usually during this time slot.

7:30-8:00   Kids Bed Time

Cuddles, prayers and blessings

8:00-10:00 pm   Hubby Time and Prep Work

Time to start over again with “Night Before” work! Sometimes I run an errand or grocery shop when necessary. I actually look forward to this window of time to work alone.

Fun Fridays with Friends:

We used to do school from 9am to 12pm because I would squeeze in a fun project at the very end of the school day, after a short outside time. Well, I came to realize last year how much the kids thrived on longer time spent outdoors, and so I let “group project” time go a whole lot, since I had a tiny baby to care for anyway. So rather than continue to try to drag kids back inside, and squeeze projects into small time slots, the new idea this year is to devote an entire day to fun projects! So the God idea of “Fun Fridays” was born, and I think we are going to love it! We will work hard in homeschool Monday through Thursday so that Friday can be set aside for fun and enriching “extras”. Rather than do a weekly park day with a homeschool support group, or attend co-op classes, we would prefer to get together with our beloved homeschool BFF’s in the area. We will get together to go on a field trip, OR do fun projects such as arts and crafts, cooking, making books, science experiments, service projects, and/or nature studies. Fridays are also our family movie night with kiddos at home, which we all really look forward to. (Yay for Little House on the Prairie!!)

Saturdays and Sundays:

Family field trips and adventures!

 Love Noah’s American Flag Painting

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Poor Baby Campin’

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 Lush Samuel P. Taylor

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Talk About Multiplication

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Adventures on the Creek, and Barely Escaping a Bee Hive

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“Wee This is Fun Noah!” ” Yah, Lets Trade Spots.”  “No.”

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Cheesier Every Year and Lovin’ It

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Due to Cancellation of The Singing Flag Show 😦 !!!, a Homemade Show Instead

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Sweet, Sweet, Spontaneous Summer Morning Lesson With My Little Ones

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Having a Blast Playing in the Mud (Especially When Faith Started Rolling Out Poops, Which I Quickly Put an End To, Ahem)

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You Light Up My Life Sweet Girl

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Noah Driving a Humungous Tractor!

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Playing So Well Together With Faith’s Critter Camper

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We Have Not so Pretty Moments Too

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Volcanoes Have Been Hot Topic of the Summer With Noah

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A Really Fun Day Playing at the Park

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Daniel is Finally Ready to Join In Too

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An Oak Tree Swing in the Hills at Clayton Community Park

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And a Huge Cross Beckoning All Hikers

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Father’s Day with My Dad

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And a Special Train Ride From Grandma and Grandpa for our Graduate Noah

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Daddy’s Dinosaur Plate and Grandpas Space Shuttle Plate

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Little Yosemite at Sunol Valley Regional Wilderness

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 Fed This Pet Frog Crickets, and Kept Him for a Month

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Noah Wanted to Paint His Paper Airplanes

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Little Inchworm in Our Garden Lettuce Was a Timely Treasure to Find

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Our Inchworm Made a Cocoon (And Emerged as a Moth)

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Annual Butterfly Festival at Coyote Hills Regional Park Was a Perfect Educational Celebration to Close Our Month of May Butterflies Theme

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Mission Accomplished!! Thrilled I Found a Butterfly Egg (on a Milkweed Plant in Coyote Hills’ Nectar Garden)

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A First Harvest of Zucchini

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Daniel and Faith So Cute in the Bike Trailer

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Swim Days at Home with Tayler

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Good Bye Froggy Friend, We Hope to Meet Again

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Chicken Girl

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Daddy Makes Noah’s Rock Climbing Dream Come True

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Three Rosy Chubby Cheeked Cherry Pickers

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2 responses to “Time to Make it Count

  1. missmarymcgee says:

    Thanks for sharing your schedule and all that you do! I am always inspired by your dedication! You’re right that it takes a few years to get to the point of the master calendar!! I look forward to Fun Fridays as well! What a wonderful year it will be!

    • Miss Lynn says:

      Thanks Miss Mary!! It surely will be a wonderful year! Now if only we could fit in getting together for a homeschooling mom’s Bible Study or something…..:) That would be great.

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