August 1, 2007

Homeschool Open House 2007

I am so excited to participate in the Homeschool Open House 2007! What a great idea to get a peek into other homeschools. I am really looking forward to reading everyone's posts.

I decided that I will revise and update this post frequently rather than rewrite our schedule and curriculum plans when I have completed my planning for the year, so don't be surprised if you see quite a few changes. I will link to the curriculum and schedule in my sidebar when the Open House is finished.

My husband, Rob, and I have been married 15 years and have four wonderful children: two sons and two daughters. This will be our eighth year homeschooling; we homeschool all four of them. They are going into eighth, seventh, fifth and third grades. You can read this post if you want a brief synopsis of why we homeschool. This post explains how I organized last year's binders. I will be changing some things this year, so look for an update on this soon. If you would like to see how I used Tapestry of Grace last year, read this post. We homeschool year-round, but summer is very light and sporadic. This post details my 2006/2007 evaluation and 2007 summer plans.

2007/2008 Curriculum Plan

I am still working on studies for this year, but this is basically what we will be doing. Just in case you think I am some kind of slave driver, we don't do everything every day! I use Homeschool Tracker Plus to schedule everything, and I love it!


I will try to outline a typical day for us, but I have to admit that we don't always have "typical" days! I have a basic schedule, but I keep myself flexible so that I don't get overwhelmed and worried about "not getting everything done." Our homeschool day generally lasts from 9 AM to 2 or 3 PM. However, that doesn't mean that we are all working the entire time. There are also some days when we get involved in projects (like this one) and go later. These are basically the times that I make myself available for homeschooling, meaning I don't answer the phone (except for prayer requests) and I try not to get too involved in housework or other projects. Many times there are exceptions, like when we are involved in large church projects, but we have enough "typical" days that everything balances out. Here is an ideal typical day in time blocks:

Kids rise, make beds
feed dogs and fish
breakfast/read Bible and pray together
kitchen clean-up
morning hygiene
kids have personal Bible time

Spelling Wisdom: Jordan, Allyson
Wordly Wise: Nathan
Handwriting Without Tears or copywork: Kathryn


independent TOG work for the day (we spread most of this out over the week, so it isn't as much as it looks):
~ timeline for Nathan & Jordan: M
~ mapwork: M-Th
~ writing: M-Th
~ history reading/questions: M-F
~ literature reading & worksheet: M-F
~ hands-on activities for Allyson & Kathryn: M, T, Th, F
~ worldview when scheduled for Nathan & Jordan: T, Th
~ history & literature discussions with Nathan & Jordan: F
piano lessons for Allyson & Kathryn: W
lunch prep for mom

Trial and Triumph read-aloud: M
TOG read-aloud: W, Th, F
kitchen clean-up

group studies:
~ group math activity: M
~ Bible Study/notebooking: M, W, F
~ science/notebooking: M, Th
~ TOG hands-on activities: Th
individual writing instruction as needed for next week: F
art class 1 day/month

Kids: chores, typing, computer time, instrument practice, free time
Mom: church work (M, T, W), medical transcription (Th, F)

dinner prep
last-minute house straightening
feed dogs and fish

kitchen clean-up

Evening ~ church or other activities, free time, family time, etc.
Remember, this is a typical ideal day with no instrument lessons, church functions, sports, etc. Not every day of the week will look like this; this schedule shows our most productive days. Most weeks we have 2 to 3 days like this. We work on chores, laundry, housework and cooking throughout the day.

My schedule is necessarily somewhat rigid because of other commitments. I work about 6-10 hours a week as a medical transcriptionist. My husband and I coordinate a weekly children's ministry and a few annual children's outreaches. We also lead our church's youth ministry. I am only adding this because I don't think that such a stringent schedule is necessary for everyone, and I wouldn't want someone to try to replicate it in lieu of a more relaxed schedule just because it looks good. As homeschoolers, I believe that it is very important to prayerfully consider our time commitments and schedules and seek God for what is best for our own families.

Location of Studies & Materials

Our front room is set up with lots of bookshelves, a couch, a round table, chairs, an old laptop and a white board. I guess you could call it our "school room," although we don't do a lot of school work there. I call it the library because I've always wanted one. A couple children usually do math in there while the others work in the kitchen. We usually read the Bible at the kitchen table or in the family room (back room). Read-alouds are in the family room. The kids do some work at the library table, kitchen table and even their bedrooms. I also have a round table set up in our family room. I am hoping that a couple kids will do worksheet type work out there so that I can keep the kitchen table clear. We'll see.... The majority of our school books are in the library, but not all of them. I recently installed wall shelves in the kids' rooms (my new favorite for saving space). I also have some books in the basement that I go through and pull out when needed. I have a craft and sewing area set up in the basement.

Here is a written picture of the bookcases in the library from left to right if you are interested in how I organize them:
1 ~ History series books, history spines that span more than one time period, a master binder of some notebooking page templates, some miscellaneous history resources and a cupboard at the bottom of the unit that holds games.

2 ~ Nonfiction history books and historical fiction organized chronologically.

3 ~ Geography, science, nature study.

4 ~ Math textbooks, literature, games and manipulatives; art supplies and art books; some science supplies in plastic drawers.

5 ~ Bible study materials, some homeschooling books, one shelf of picture books.

6 ~ Language arts materials, including phonics, grammar, spelling and foreign language; reference books; some titles from "The Harvard Classics;" and a cupboard at the bottom of the unit that holds games.

7 ~ This bookcase is dedicated to current curriculum. The top shelf has my TOG curriculum binders (these will begin to go into a second shelf this year). The second shelf has books that we are using for the current unit. The third shelf holds the kids' TOG binders, writing binders and any other notebooks or binders that they are using. The fourth shelf holds library books. Right now the bottom shelf has the overlay maps that Nathan was working on last year and my master binder of last year's work. (Oops! I have to get that stuff filed!) I need to work on this shelf and get it organized for our upcoming studies.

8 ~ Miscellaneous literature: fiction, fairy tales, poetry and anthologies.

Teaching Style

In the early years, I focus heavily on reading. As soon as my children can read, they begin to be independent in many of their studies. I usually have to explain math topics to them. I also teach them whatever writing topic they are working on for TOG. They do their history, literature and geography with little help from me. I try to go through everything that they have done independently daily, or at least weekly, depending on our schedule. We do Bible, science and some read-alouds together. Now that Nathan and Jordan are both in "junior high," I will be doing history discussions with them together. I guess we use a combination of instruction, independent work, group activities and discussion in our homeschool.

You've probably read more than you want to know about how we homeschool! Feel free to ask specific questions - I can always use material for future posts!



  1. Thanks for sharing your day! We also encourage our children as they get older to do more and more work on their own without huge amounts of instruction except when they can't figure it out.

  2. Thanks for inviting us into your open house!! It is so nice to be able to read through your schedule for the day!! I know how it goes though - our days rarely go according to schedule!!

  3. I love your blog and need to spend some more time looking at your old posts :) Your schedule looks great - with everything in there, yet still flexible.

    I'm so glad you opened your home to us :)



  4. Hello! Your blog looks great! Thanks for sharing your homeschool with us. I also have an Allyson (spelled the same way) =)

    Have a blessed day,


    #14 on the list

  5. Thanks for sharing. I've been looking into Tapestry of Grace lately and it looks really good.

  6. Thanks for sharing you school days!

    God Bless


  7. Great open house! It's fantastic when our children begin to do more work on their own, isn't it? Still, I like learning along with them!

  8. Thank you for participating in the Open House! It has been such fun putting it together and this is the icing on the cake for me, visiting you all! Wonderful post!

    When you get a chance please email me so I can get some gifts to you! :-) Please put "Top 20" in the subject line of the email!

    Hugs & Blessings,


  9. Thanks for sharing your homeschool with us. We also encourage our children to do as much work without us. My dd still needs my attention on alot of things, but she still does a few things on her own.

    Have a blessed week.


    Lynn (mcgyver95970) Camelot Homestead Academy

  10. Enjoyed your LOVELY blog and your open house entry.

    :-) Blessings to you and yours.

  11. Andrea,

    What a lovely blog you have! Thank you for inviting us to your open house. How do you keep records, grades and especially how do you determine when one term ends and another begins. Do you have a guide to help figure out grading?



  12. Thank you for sharing your homeschooling :) I've enjoyed gleaning information from others!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving me your uplifting comments. I have missed visiting blogs between vacation time and now computer problems...but I am trying to catch up a bit.

    Have a wonderful week!


  13. i have really liked reading the 'open house' blogs. i think that is such a good idea.


  14. Your blog is just beautiful, thank you for having us over! I enjoyed hearing about how you homeschool, thank you for sharing your tips and ideas with us!


  15. homeschoolingmommaof4August 2, 2007 at 10:33 AM

    I really enjoyed getting a glimpse into your homeschool. You sound very organized.

    Have a great year!


  16. I am having so much fun visiting everyones homeschools. I'm glad that you shared yours with us. And, I hope to one day have a "library"or "schoolroom" of my very own. (Although we would still probably choose the couch anyway) Until then I'll just have to hang out at yours. LOL


  17. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Thank you for inviting us into your homeschool. I have had a delightful visit! I have enjoyed reading through your homeschool details. ;o)

    And thank you for sharing how your bookshelves are organized. I've been wanting to do that for years! Thanks for the ideas.

    Thank you, also, for visiting me.

    ~ Christina

  19. Thanks for the very informative look into your homeschool. You are very organized! God's blessings to your homeschool.

  20. Thanks for sharing. You have so much here ! I will have to spend some time really reading your blog more. You have very similar interests and similar books that I have also.

    PS: I have put you on my friend list so I can come back (0=

    In Him<><


  21. Thank you for sharing your homeschool! :)

    ~Lynn #60 on the list.

  22. Wow. What a lovely blog and what an organized homeschool you have.


  23. You are very organized!! I continue to try getting my schedule together in hopes of having something to fall back on! My cousin is using Tapestry of Grace this year for the first time. I love how all these programs use very similar book lists. That is encouraging!

    Have a great year!


  24. Thank you for sharing with us. I love your blog. I have wanted to try Tapestry of Grace but unfortunately could not afford it. I have enjoyed visiting.

    Hope you can stop by soon.