One of the biggest misconceptions about homeschooling is that it takes all day. After all, kids in school are there seven or eight hours, so the assumption is that if you do school at home, it takes the same amount of time. But that assumption ignores all of the time in a normal school day that is spent on discipline, administrative issues, transitioning between activities, and just the additional time that things take when you are managing a large group of kids. When you take out all of that extra time and are working one-on-one, you can get a lot of learning done in a small amount of time - which leaves a lot of time to explore personal interests, do things as a family, and participate in community activities.
Last year, I shared about how we organize our homeschooling day around the 5 Rs: Redemption, Recitation, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. Now, a year later, with our daughter in 2nd grade, it is still working. We have tweaked it a little bit, including adding two more "R"s, so I thought I would give another overview here, and then for the next several days, I will devote some time to explaining each one a bit more and share what specifically we do in them.
We have been using the timer on our microwave, but I was at a friend's home recently and saw this timer, which I LOVE and will be using in the future.
Redemption: This is our time in God's Word. It is not a devotional time. That is separate from and before our lessons begin. It is made up of Bible reading, Bible learning (understanding the structure of the Bible, the content of the different books, the plan of redemption, etc.), and Bible living (character development).
Recitation: This is our memory work time. During this thirty minutes, we work on our Classical Conversations memory work of the week for Timeline, History, Science, and Geography. We also work on Bible verses for American Heritage Girls and AWANA.
Reading: We divide this into Learning to Read (phonics and oral fluency) and Reading to Learn. We read about a different subject area each day, delving a little deeper into the CC memory work. Monday is literature, Tuesday is free choice, Wednesday is history, Thursday is Science, and Friday is Geography/missions. Sometimes we follow it up with a Reading Response time in her journal.
Writing: This is divided into Learning to Write (cursive and spelling) and Writing to Learn (copywork, letter-writing, and Presentation Preparation). We also do our CC memory work for Latin and English Grammar during this time.
Arithmetic: Fairly straightforward, we do our CC math memory work, followed by our Saxon math lesson and, sometimes, independent practice online.
Recreation: These are extra projects, life learning, fine arts, domestic arts, activities to earn badges for her American Heritage Girl troop, and community activities. They are just as important as the book learning we do, and they are not always done at home. Weekly sports practices count as this, as does children's church choir.
Rest: This is there to remind me to take breaks - the five minutes between topics, for starters, but also to send my kids outside to run around and play, to just have time to curl up with a book that isn't for school, to have fun. I am more of a quiet "let's stay inside" mom, not naturally bent toward "let's go play outside", so this reminds me that my kids need that - and so do I. It doesn't "count" as school time, maybe, but it is still important.
So from start to finish, our school day may take about three hours, plus a little time for our breaks and a recess time. Sometimes it gets spread out, too. Recreation might be done at church and Recitation in the car. Arithmetic might be done with Grandma while I am with our son at speech therapy. The flexibility of homeschooling is one of the things I love about it.
In case you are wondering if these Rs cover all of the required subjects - the answer is yes. Of course, reading, language arts, and math are covered. Science and social studies are included in our CC memory work and reading time, and we also spend an extra thirty minutes on a science experiment or activity during our weekly CC community time.
Check back in tomorrow and I will begin sharing more of the specifics of how we flesh out each of the Rs and what curriculum we use for each one.