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Schedules & Routines for 2015-1016 School Year (Learn & Play Link Up)

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Our plan was to start our new school year July 1st, 2015.  We did start for a week or two, and then we took another break.  Summer has been so much fun this year with the kiddos being old enough to enjoy so many different activities.  I didn't want them to miss out on anything, so that meant streamlining our summer learning time plans.  The kiddos did follow a basic morning routine, ate breakfast and did their morning work.  They took science classes at the library.  Princes, Sunshine, and Bulldozer took gymnastics all summer. Dinomite took swimming and horseback riding lessons.  We swam at least once a week.  We went to the drive-in, water park, and so many other places as a family.  It was wonderful.  And now our summer must officially come to an end.  We can delay our school year no longer.

Jason and I have been discussing our school year routine for months.  You'll definitely note a few changes from last year.  And for those already wondering, our wake up time is not one of the changes.  We've enjoyed late nights and sleeping in with the kiddos this summer, but have found it IMPOSSIBLE to get anything done around here.  Plus, we REALLY like our alone time without kiddos in the morning.  It might be different if they'd go to bed on their own, but they won't.  So, both of us (Jason and I) are elated to get back to our early morning routine!

Some changes you WILL see:

1.  Each kiddo is participating in two weekly extra curricular activities during the school year.  (I don't count piano lessons because I teach them at home.)  Dinomite is continuing swimming lessons.  His horseback riding lessons end October 1st.  At that point he'll choose another activity.  Bulldozer is continuing with gymnastics and taking tennis lessons.  Princess is starting Kung Fu and will continue with gymnastics.  Sunshine will also participate in gymnastics.  When we feel she's ready to add a second extra curricular activity we'll do so.

2.  We've added nightly family centered evening activities to our schedule.  Family Home Evening, will now be held on Sunday nights, due to Princess' gymnastics on Monday.  Tuesday will be our Family Bowling Night.  A local bowling alley hosts a $2 Tuesday deal ($1 per game and $1 for shoes), which makes this quite affordable.  Bulldozer really wanted to be sure to continue bowling.  This option was cheaper than signing him up for a league.  Wednesday nights will be our library night.  The kiddos love checking out new books and movies.  Thursday is our Family Game Night.  I'm so excited the kiddos are finally getting into board games.  Friday night is our Family Movie Night.  It seems to be the best night to catch movies that are already playing on TV. If we don't see something we'll like, then we're sure to pick up a new movie at the library or movie rental store.  If other plans come up on a Friday night, we just move our movie night to Saturday and it's no big deal.

3.  The kiddos have daily chores!  We started this at the beginning of the summer and it's gone so well.  First I gave each of them just one, then we progressed to two.  I'm almost ready to add a third chore.  The chores rotate weekly.  The pairings go as follows:  bring down dirty laundry and fold napkins, sort recyclables into their bins and pick up yard, put DVDs away and sort clean laundry, and last, sort shoes into their bins and sort and match up socks.  I wanted to be sure that even Sunshine could accomplish each task with minimal assistance.

As far as religious activities go, the kiddos gather in our room each morning and evening for family prayer.  Scriptures are read during dinner, so the kiddos are more apt to pay attention.  Family Home Evening is now on Sunday nights, which works out better, because Sunday tends to be my baking day.  The kiddos LOVE this.

The only time I use to work on learning time printables and blogging is first thing in the morning and during the kiddos' media time.  I can not wait to get back to this schedule.  It's amazing what one can accomplish in the quiet hours of the morning with no distractions.

As I've said in the past, our weekly schedule is always the goal.  Sometimes we're behind. Sometimes we're ahead.  It depends on so many factors.  I don't own a watch.  Checking the clock is something I do very rarely.  When it comes to choosing work over 8 hours of sleep, 99% of the time I choose sleep!
(click HERE to view PDF version)

Breaking down our daily routine, I thought I'd go into a little more detail about our learning time routines.  At this point, the kiddos do an amazing job working independently.  They may need some assistance, but have come so far compared to where they were when we started our homeschool journey.  When the kiddos are finished with their morning chores, they immediately go into the learning time room and start an activity on the shelves or their morning work.  They continue to do this until about 11:30 AM when we put our work away and gather together for instruction time, songs, and calendar.  With so many activities on our shelves now, it's impossible to give instructions on all of them one day a week, like we'd been doing in the past.  Instead we divide instructions into four parts:  core subjects, the arts, therapy activities, and tot school activities for Sunshine.  Core subjects are introduced on Mondays and put on the shelves for Tuesdays.  Art and music activities are presented on Tuesdays and placed on the shelves for Wednesdays.  Therapy activities are presented on Wednesdays and placed on the shelves for work on Thursdays.  Sunshine's activities are presented on Thursdays for work on Fridays.

I decided to design our calendar around our monthly themes this year.  Be sure to check back each month for a new printable!  This month's FREE Universe Calendar Printable is available below.  All months are included in the printable, so you can use the universe theme any time of year you'd like.  After instruction, we say the Pledge of Allegiance, go over the date, talk about upcoming events, and recite a scripture or Article of Faith.  From there we head to the table for prayer, lunch and read aloud time.

Source:  For your free copy of the Universe Calendar Printable, click HERE.  

I'm so excited about this year, especially with my husband home to help out.  Things should run so much smoother.  If you're following this year's syllabus, you'll notice we're quite behind with our extra summer break.  Be rest assured, we'll still be covering everything there.  Weekly themes related to Disney World will be done in the form of busy bags for our trip as well as in the form of visual schedules etc.  The monthly unit, "I Can Stay Safe in My Community" will be presented over the course of a few weeks during Family Home Evenings.  I'll be sure to share all the printables and activities I create!  

For more details about our family's routines and schedules, you can check out last year's post!  

If you're online at 4:30 AM, be sure to look for me starting next week!

I'm super excited to feature a few other posts about routines and schedules, for those who are looking for ideas.  Every home and family in these features is very different.  You're missing out if you don't visit them all. 
Calendar Time:  Back to School Set Up from Tiny Tots Adventures

A Week in the Life of Unschoolers from Unschooling Blog

Learn & Play Link Up Every Thursday

Now it’s time for this week’s link party! This new link up is for all blog posts that include learn and play activities and hands-on education for kids. We are excited to read your blog posts and to see what you have to share! Please link up below and grab our button to display on your blog.
If you are a blogger, share your family friendly posts here. We are looking for things which include:
  • Montessori Education
  • Homeschool
  • Sensory Play
  • Tot and Preschool Trays
  • Fine and Gross Motor Activities
  • Kids in the Kitchen
  • Healthy Recipes for Kids
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Natural Living
  • Free Educational Printables
  • Family-Oriented Activities
  • Healthy Living
Your post will be shown on each host’s blog where we will individually pick features every other week. That means there is more of a chance that you will be featured!
Everyone, please meet our link party hosts:
learn and play party hostesses
Guidelines for Linking:
  • Please link up 1-3 posts
  • Follow each of the hosts on social media
  • When you link up, please add our button and place it at the bottom of your shared posts or link back with text link.
  • By entering a link, you’re giving us permission to feature an image on our blogs. Proper credit & links will ALWAYS be given.
  • Please visit a couple of shared posts and leave a comment for them
  • Remember that you must link back in order to be featured
Christian Montessori Network

1 comment:

  1. Your Blog is just amazing, Renae. I love that you get up at 4:00 AM. I know that is crazy early, but you are so much productive work and reflection gets done in those first waking hours! Your home sounds so fun! Busy, creative, learning all the time. Reminds me of the days we homeschooled in the 1980's-90's...there were years when we didn't need a clock. If you haven't lived that way it is just hard to imagine or understand, but I cherish those times so much. And, our library day was Tuesday when the children literally ran to the library doors and carried piles of books out. They SO enjoyed that excursion among the many other extra curricular activities we had arranged. Thanks for such a great post. I am not exactly sure where my topics would fit in (Music, Arts & Outdoor Classroom) but I am determined to start linking up. I hope that is OK!