Have you ever wanted to get a glimpse into a day in our homeschool life? Well, today I’m going to give you just that! Welcome to Roberts Academy! As I mentioned before, we’re living la vida apartment here, so homeschooling in a small space is interesting to say the least. We definitely make it work though! Let me take you on a quick tour of our homeschool space…
Our Homeschool Room
Yep – this is it folks – this is our homeschool space! I would have cleaned but, I like to keep it real here. This is what it looks like normally. In fact, this is pretty clean if I’m being truly honest! We don’t have a fancy room with cute things hanging on the walls or desks or chalkboards that we can hide out of the way. But that’s the beauty of homeschooling – you don’t need any of that! You can still totally rock homeschooling without it and I’m going to show you exactly how we do it!
The School Shelf
This is where I keep anything I have that’s educational. I have reference books, curriculum, supplies, manipulative’s, flash cards, the “school box” (complete with the planned lessons) and so on. Since we don’t have a good homeschool space (someday!) I have to keep things at a minimum and as organized as possible. I’m going to be honest with you, I HATE having this bookshelf in my living room! At the end of the day I like to retreat out here to a school and work free zone so I can relax, but we are running out of space to hide everything in the bedrooms and keeping it in the bedrooms was making life difficult. Plus, I kept forgetting what I had! So I finally caved and moved everything here. It’s messy and ugly looking but it’s more functional so I have to just deal with it. My OCD self is always screaming on the inside with this one 🙂
This is where we keep all of our art supplies, paper, etc. We’ve got a ton of different types of papers, notebooks, scissors, paint brushes, paints, glue, glitter, stamping sets, rulers, and all kinds of other random supplies like googly eyes, pom poms, pipe cleaners, and so on. We also keep an old plastic table cloth that we can use to cover our table when we want to use paints or something else that could ruin the table. Since we don’t have a craft space, and since I’m OCD on my house looking clean and uncluttered, I refuse to let the kids ruin my kitchen table! (Yeah, I’m not always a “fun” mom). Our kitchen has a ton of cabinet space for being as small as it is, and I LOVE it. Since the kids love art more than anything else, I wanted to have everything where they could easily get to it, so I picked a cabinet low enough for them to be able to easily get into, that was close to the table, and that wasn’t really being used for anything important, and voila! Art cabinet! This has made my life a million times easier! Anytime they want to get creative, they have everything right there – and they’re not dragging wet paint and glitter all over the place! It’s all right there close together on a floor that can be easily mopped up when they’re done!
The computer is kept in my bedroom, and honestly right now my room is the worst in the apartment. Sorry no pics of that crazy mess! You know how it is – mom and dad’s room is always the most neglected – am I right? Plus, I don’t think my bedroom needs to be on display on the internet personally. Anyway, anytime they need to do computer work they go back into my room and work there. That way it doesn’t distract any of the other kids (or mom). That is also where I run my jewelry business and do any other business type things that need to be done.
And that’s basically it for the homeschool space! I wanted to share this because I wanted to show people that you absolutely do not need to have some grand designated work space to make homeschooling work. You don’t need any of the frills at all! We’re doing just fine without them, and, it saves me a ton of money not having to worry about it! Now, lets talk about how our day works exactly.
As a Missouri homeschooler I have a unique set of laws I have to follow. In a nutshell, I have to log 1000 hours between the dates of July 1- June 30 (600 core, and 400 of those have to be in the home) and keep records of our lesson plans, portfolio of finished work, and periodic evaluations. Click here for more information about the Missouri homeschool laws. I’ve tried to find the perfect planner and logging sheet, but I couldn’t find one that had enough space to put down everything I needed. So, I made my own! Using open office [free version of Microsoft office – I’ll never pay for Microsoft Office ever again!], I created two documents in excel that helps me keep track of anything I need to keep track of! Today I want to show it to you, and SHARE it with you!
The School Box
I started a new system this year, inspired by Kristi over at Raising Clovers. Basically I am trying to plan 36 weeks of lesson plans so that my entire year is already mapped out. I wish I would have started this at the beginning of summer. Unfortunately I found it a week before school, so right now I only have about 2-3 weeks planned out in advance. I’m trying to work on it a little here and there until it’s all finished. If the system is successful for us this year then I will start planning the next year in the summer so that I don’t have to worry about it the rest of the year! Wouldn’t that be nice?! Anyway, back to the point. I have the hanging folders divided up into week 1-36 (1-5 so far). In each hanging file I have 4 folders, one for each of the kids and myself. They are color coded so that every week we know which folder is who’s. Inside their folder is all of their worksheets for that weeks lessons, and the weekly planner that breaks it all into days (which I’ll talk more about in a second). My folder is for finished work or teachers guides. On Sunday night, we prepare for the next week of school by getting our folder out for that week, and stuffing them into their binders…
Each kid has their own binder with pocket dividers inside. We put their lesson plan for the week in the front of the binder so it stays neat and doesn’t get lost. There are 5 pocket dividers – one for every day of the week. They put Monday’s work into Monday’s pocket, and so on. This is great because all they have to do is grab their binder, pull out their worksheets for the day, and get to work!
This is where I plan exactly what we’re going to do for the week – one day at a time! I have a space set up for each of the 5 core subjects, a misc core space, and a non-core space. I’ve labeled each week, which kid the schedule is for, and it has the day of the week and date as well. I prefer to type the lessons in so that I can fit more in the space, plus it looks cleaner (again with the OCD here). You can also print out a blank copy and fill it out as you go if you like. At the end of the day, I check their work to make sure everything was completed, and mark it off to show its been finished. Usually when I plan my week, I try to make each subject as close to an hour as possible (usually its closer to 45 mins or so). If the lesson takes more than an hour, I’ll write in how many hours that lesson was total. This makes it easier when its time to log hours. If we ever do more than was originally planned, I just write it in as we go. It’s basically my diary for the entire week. It took me forever to create my documents because I’m not an excel pro, but I finally figured it all out. Because I know what a pain it can be to create your own copy, I’m sharing mine completely free for anyone who is interested in using it.
At the end of the week I use the weekly lesson plan to log my hours for the week. This makes the whole hour logging thing super simple. And to make it even MORE simple, I created my own excel sheet that does all the math for me! Yay for excel formulas! At the end of the form there’s a spot to record your attendance for the month. Since we also have to keep record of progress reports, I also included a space on my hour log to type in some quick notes about each child’s progress. So, by using the hour log, and weekly planner, I’m tracking everything that I need to track. Only thing left to worry about is a portfolio, which I work on once a week throughout the year.
But, what do you log for hours?
Okay, before I go into this please remember, I’m still new to this! I’m still figuring this out as I go, but I’m learning there are so many things to log that count as educational hours. Last year alone I learned about so many different things that I could log! So, I’ll list some of the things that I could have logged that I didn’t know about!
Some of the things I logged this year include:
- educational TV shows
- field trips
- co-op classes
- independent reading (even if not reading educational books, but only with younger kids who are still mastering their reading skills, once I feel they really know what they’re doing, I’ll stop logging this unless its educational material they are reading)
- Church (if you’re learning about biblical times – its history! Go Core! If you’re just doing worship, then it’s considered non-core bible study)
- listening to music in the car (I’ll do a quick lecture about the genre of music, or maybe one of the musicians the kids like to listen to, then I’ll download their album and play it while we’re out running errands, or there are lots of educational songs on CDs for kids that my kids love too – this counts as music class!)
- Extra curriculars (like sports practices/games, dance, gymnastics, music lessons, etc)
certain board games or card games (our favorite these days is Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego, and scrabble. Think of the problem solving skills they’re learning when they’re young, and critical thinking skills!)
- Educational games on the computer or iPad (We LOVE stack the states on the ipad, and abcya.com on the computer, just to name a couple)
- documentaries you watch on TV
- read a book for literature that has a movie and then compare the movie to the book
- Have a garden? Let your kids help!
- Raise butterflies and create a journal documenting the experience
- Go on a nature hike and collect things for a nature collage, or document your findings in a journal
- Geocaching (for trying to learn directions and how to read a compass)
- Road Trips (talk about the geography and how it changes along the way, are they reading in the car? Log it! Stop at historical spots along the way. It’s like one big field trip!)
I could seriously keep going but this post is soooo long! If you could add anything to this list, please comment below so others can read through the comments for more ideas. Plus, I’m sure I could learn plenty more from all of you!
So there you have it. This is the ins and outs of The Roberts Academy. This is a new system for me, and so far it truly is working! This is the most organized and well-put together I’ve felt since I started homeschooling 4 years ago. If you decide to download my documents I’ve shared for FREE above, I hope they will work for you too. If you download them and use them, please come back and let me know how it’s working out for you!
You don’t have to live in Missouri to use these forms. They may not satisfy your own state laws but you’re still welcome to use them even if only for your own knowledge and use! I don’t keep grades yet because my kids are older, but in a few years I’ll come up with my own grade book document as well.
Please feel free to share your homeschool, system, ideas for logging, etc. I’d be thrilled if this post because an awesome resource to other homeschool moms (even moms who aren’t in Missouri!)