Last week, I shared a sample curriculum for a biblical classical education for little ones. Our family includes two early knowledge-stage sons (3 years and 7 years), a late knowledge-stage daughter (nearly 10 years), and an understanding-stage son (12 years). While routines and schedules will vary for each family, depending upon ages, temperaments, and family needs, I am often asked to share ours. I highly recommend you also compare the sample schedules in Teaching the Trivium; they include more oral reading, which is to be desired.
All times are approximate. We live by routine, not by schedule.
6 am Mom rises
to drink coffee (awful diet!) and to write; children begin waking and doing chores.
7:30 Mom or daughter makes breakfast.
8:00 Bible time – memory verses, sometimes a hymn, and a chapter of Scripture.
8:30 Academic read-aloud and discussion. Currently we are reading Revealing Arithmetic (a biblical understanding of math concepts) and Signs & Seasons (biblical classical astronomy). The three-year-old plays happily on the floor with his toy soldiers.
9:30 Mom exercises in privacy and gets dressed while older three finish chores, practice their instruments, and/or begin academics.Three-year-old plays in the backyard with sticks, screaming that since he is a Roman soldier, all the barbarians must die.
10:30 I give one of the older three a music lesson (they each take piano and violin/viola). The Roman soldier streaks by, wondering if I have seen the “rocket men.”
11am I sit at the kitchen table with the three older children while they do their pencil work. They hand me their folders with completed papers, and I check their math (Saxon), grammar (aBeka), and logic (Critical Thinking Press). I answer questions and correct misunderstandings here. The Roman soldier may wander into the family room beside us and look at picture books. If I am caught up with grading, I’ll join him.
12pm The famished family puts aside learning for lunch. While we eat, I read aloud. Sometimes classic literature, sometimes a biography, sometimes from The Book of Virtues, sometimes something silly.
1pm Rest time. Silence. Everyone to their rooms, to their beds. Little Roman soldier sleeps; everyone else may read, finish studies quietly, or sleep. I read for an hour (rotating assortment of review books/book studies doing with my children/classic literature/home education/something interesting from the library).
I’m doing two book discussions – one with my daughter, and one with my oldest son. So now is when I’ll take a half-hour so to chat about our reading. Daughter likes to meet over tea
and cookies (stupid diet!); son likes to lay in the backyard and discuss while throwing sticks.
2pm Rest time, still. I write some more.
3pm The hoards begin to break forth. If they have finished their responsibilities, they may play. Oldest son finds work around the house to complete his “two hours of hard manual labor” for the day; both he and his younger brother are working for the neighbor, too. I finish up some correspondence.
4pm House Honcho. No one escapes – all must help tidy the house for Dad’s arrival and do the day’s housekeeping tasks.
5pm Finish my to-do list/practice my instruments/rest/collapse in my recliner ….
6pm Begin dinner. Sometimes my daughter cooks. : )
7:30 Daddy arrives/dinner time
8pm Bible time with Daddy around the dinner table, then BED TIME!
This is a “normal day” (what is normal?) with no illness, no errands, no visitors, no interruptions, no educational trips. So, in other words, this never happens. But it is the basic routine.
On days we run errands or plan an educational trip, we attempt to begin the routine up to the time we leave the house. Sometimes we take studies in the car to do, but I’ve found that counter-productive. No one learns well, we all get car-sick, and good conversation about life events is squashed. Since we are year-round learners, we don’t feel the pressure to get papers done every day or meet any deadlines.
I am constantly tweaking our routine. As children develop responsibility, children are born and grow, illness comes and goes, and other changes come into the family, the routine should be flexible for the needs of the day. As the mother, my job is to make sure the routine is our servant, not our cruel task master.
Keep it fun! Let the learning lifestyle fit the family God gave you.