• Simple Homeschool Schedule - our simple three part homeschool schedule and routine for the summer
    homeschool planning,  minimalist homeschooling,  real homeschool stories,  unschooling

    Simple Homeschool Schedule: the simple homeschool rhythm we are following

    We have hit our groove this summer with a very simple homeschool schedule.

    I know this schedule definitely won’t be involved enough for some people but it has been working really well for our family!

    I’m totally planning on pulling this rhythm/routine/checklist into the fall.

     

    Simple Homeschool Schedule - our simple three part homeschool schedule and routine for the summer

     

     

    My free Unschooling with Intention Workshop.

    My kids’ YouTube Lego Show: The Adventure Kids

     

    Simple Homeschool Schedule - our simple three part homeschool schedule and routine for the summer

     

    OUR SIMPLE HOMESCHOOL SCHEDULE

     

    So, what I have done is create a very easy three-part checklist for my kids for each day.

    I have intentionally kept this simple so there will be space in their days to explore interests and just have time to be bored (thus hopefully spurring on more creativity).

    When thinking about which three things I wanted them to do each day (well, I really only have the checklist for weekdays), I thought about the things I wanted them to work on and I also looked at the goals they set for the year (I’ll be sharing those soon, probably later this week or next!).

     

    Simple Homeschool Schedule - our simple three part homeschool schedule and routine for the summer

     

    #1 READ FOR 15 MINUTES

    Making my kids read each day is important to me because you can learn so much when you are reading.

    Books are very much the spine of our homeschool and learning so it’s important for me to give them time each day to spend time reading on their own.

    Now, I may be trying to be a bit sneaky here. I know my kids and they both enjoy books, but sometimes the hardest part of reading is just getting started.

    So, I want them to read for a minimum of 15 minutes each day, in hopes that they will want to read longer.

    And, let me say, it’s been working. So often I will tell them the time is up if they want to be done and they’ll ask to just finish that page or chapter – winning!

    My kids have each chosen a list of books they want to read this year and I am picking books for them as well. I plan on having those book lists up in the next couple of weeks (the first one should actually be coming later this week)!

     

    #2 READ & WRITE THE BIBLE

    Okay, this second thing is actually different for each of my kids.

    My daughter (going into grade five) is reading through the Bible this year. She is using the Read Scripture Bible reading plan and has been doing really well. She is on track and we’re nearly done 7/12 months!

    So for her, the second thing on her list is to make sure she has done her Bible reading for the day. Some days she does two portions one day and then skips a day, I’m fine with that. The fact that she is nine and is reading through the Bible in a year when I only did it for the first time last year (at the age of thirty-three!) I’m really proud of her.

    She also reads/follows the plan on the weekend but I didn’t include the weekends on the checklist, I just make sure to verbally check in with her and make sure she’s done it.

    For my son (going into grade two), he needed a bit more practice with his writing so his second task is to write.

    I printed out some Bible verses for him to copy out (in a fairly large font so it would be easier to follow along) and then I highlighted different sections. Each color represents a day.

     


    mushroom spore print from a mushroom from our backyard

     

    #3 WORK ON A PROJECT

    This one is the most open out of all the items on their daily list, I just want them working on something different.

    I told them this could not be just building Lego because they do that every day all day anyway, I wanted it to be something else.

    They have been doing really good with this and so far they have:

    * used some Draw So Cute videos to draw a family:

     

    Simple Homeschool Schedule - our simple three part homeschool schedule and routine for the summer

     

    * planted a bean in a cup and watched it grow:

     

    Simple Homeschool Schedule - our simple three part homeschool schedule and routine for the summer

     

    * made a spore print

    * writing stories

    * making Lego videos. They have actually created a YouTube channel and are creating YouTube Lego shows, it’s been so great to see them decide what each episode is going to be about, film it all on their own, edit the videos on their own and learn to upload them to their channel.

    You can check out their channel here.

    This is my favorite episode so far (they have plans to try to have a new episode up each Saturday morning):

     

     

    This project section is my favorite, I am always working on a number of different projects myself and I like giving my kids time and space in their day for these kinds of things while still pushing them a bit when it may be easier just to do nothing.

     

    I know this little homeschool rhythm will seem to simple for a lot of people but this has been working really well for us!

    I will share our goals for the year as well as the kids’ book lists for the year soon.

    In case you missed it last week you can check out our list of family read alouds for the year here.

  • Homeschool Mini Planner - includes monthly planning sheets, weekly record sheets, unit study planner sheets and book lists sheets! Perfect for eclectic and minimal homeschoolers
    homeschool planning,  homeschooling as a lifestyle,  methods & philosophies,  minimalist homeschooling,  real homeschool stories,  relaxed homeschooling,  resources

    The Intentional Homeschooling Mini Planner

    Today I’m excited to share something with you that I have been thinking about for quite some time: a homeschool mini planner!

    I am a planner girl through and through but traditional planners and most homeschool planners don’t work with our relaxed/minimal/homeschooling as a lifestyle ways.

    I like to have a little bit of planning but also a fair bit of just documenting what we did.

    I also knew I wanted there to be prompts for different areas of our homeschool because sometimes I forget how much the kids are learning as we go about our daily lives.

    Enter the Intentional Homeschooling Mini Planner:

     

    Homeschool Mini Planner - includes monthly planning sheets, weekly record sheets, unit study planner sheets and book lists sheets! Perfect for eclectic and minimal homeschoolers

     

    I am super excited about this planner because I made it functional for the way we homeschool and I can use it year round, making my year end homeschool report to our school division a lot easier.

    Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?!?!

     

    WHAT YOU’LL FIND IN THE MINI PLANNER

    Curious about what the Mini Planner all entails? Read on!

     

    Homeschool Mini Planner - includes monthly planning sheets, weekly record sheets, unit study planner sheets and book lists sheets! Perfect for eclectic and minimal homeschoolers

     

    MONTHLY PLANNING SHEETS

    There are monthly planning sheets for each of the 12 months. I like to go into a month with a bit of a plan and on the monthly plan page I’ve included space for you to write out:

    • encouraging words
    • your theme for the month
    • habits you want to work on
    • upcoming field trips
    • goals for the month
    • resources you want to use/may need to request from the library or friends
    • books you want to read that month
    • space for gratitude – because I always need a reminder to stop and be grateful

     

    This type of planning works perfectly for me and I know it will also work for my rebellious homeschool sisters who like to have a bit of a plan but don’t follow a strict schedule or routine. This type of planning helps me be intentional with my homeschool without feeling boxed in.

     

    Homeschool Mini Planner - includes monthly planning sheets, weekly record sheets, unit study planner sheets and book lists sheets! Perfect for eclectic and minimal homeschoolers

     

    WEEKLY RECORD

    My favorite pages in the mini planner are the weekly record pages. Not only is there space for the typical subjects but I also have a section titled “questions we explored” because my kids’ questions take us on so many great tangents. Another one of my favorites is the “best quote” space – because kids are always throwing some great quotes out there!

    Here’s exactly what you’ll find on the weekly record pages:

    • top priority
    • best quote
    • read alouds
    • extracurricular
    • English
    • science and technology
    • math
    • history
    • independent reads
    • games played
    • friends we saw (you know, in case people ask you how the socialization is going 😉)
    • highlights
    • geography
    • the arts
    • other
    • questions we explored

     

    I like to have this weekly page out in a high traffic area so I can use it to jot down questions as they come up and other things that I can document.

     

    Homeschool Mini Planner - includes monthly planning sheets, weekly record sheets, unit study planner sheets and book lists sheets! Perfect for eclectic and minimal homeschoolers

     

    UNIT STUDY PLANNER

    One area I would like to try to do better in is doing some unit/theme studies. We’ve enjoyed them when we’ve done them but they take more planning than I’ve been doing lately so I created a unit study planner to help me with this!

    The unit study planner includes space for:

    • the unit you want to study
    • dates you will study them
    • fun fact you learned
    • relevant field trips
    • books
    • videos
    • other resources
    • projects

     

    I hope to be using the unit planner in the very near future!

     

    Homeschool Mini Planner - includes monthly planning sheets, weekly record sheets, unit study planner sheets and book lists sheets! Perfect for eclectic and minimal homeschoolers

     

    BOOK LISTS

    No planner can be made by Chantel if it does not include book lists.

    I think that’s a rule. So, there are some book list printables!

    Included is a simple “Books to Read” page that has a section for picture books and chapter books as well as a “Books Read” sheet where you or your kids can fill out a mini review on books you’ve read, the mini review includes:

    • the book title
    • author
    • publication year
    • your rating
    • and a few lines for a review/favorite quote/summary/whatever else you want to include there – I think this will be really nice to look back on and see what you’ve thought of the books you’ve read.

     

    SEE IT IN USE

    Curious how we are using the mini planner? Here are a couple of sample pages, I’ll add more as time goes on!

     

    Raeca has been using the book review sheets to record her independent reads. She’s got some really cute reviews going on:

    Homeschool Mini Planner - includes monthly planning sheets, weekly record sheets, unit study planner sheets and book lists sheets! Perfect for eclectic and minimal homeschoolers

    Homeschool Mini Planner - includes monthly planning sheets, weekly record sheets, unit study planner sheets and book lists sheets! Perfect for eclectic and minimal homeschoolers

     

    A small peek into our weekly record, I’ll share more of these soon!

    For the Mama Who Thinks She Couldn't Homeschool *Insert Subject Here*

     

    And that’s the Intentional Homeschooling Mini Planner

    I hope you enjoy this freebie!

    Happy homeschool planning my friends!
  • Minimalist Homeschool Room Tour - Intentional Homeschooling
    contributor,  minimalist homeschooling,  real homeschool stories

    Minimalist Homeschool Room Tour

    Today I’ve got a guest post from Rochelle Garrison Cocomello, she is going to show us inside her minimalist homeschool room. If we had a designated homeschool space I imagine it would look similar to this. Enjoy the peek inside their homeschool room! – Chantel

     

    One question I often get asked is “how do you actually DO homeschool?”. After I blabber on for (too long) excitedly about curriculum, I realize that generally what people actually want to know is “what does homeschooling LOOK like?”. They want a visual.

    So I am here to take you on a short tour of our simple space. We live just outside of Montreal and are fairly new homeschoolers (my oldest is 6 – we’ve done preK and kindergarten at home). This space has greatly contributed to us settling into a daily rhythm.

     

    A Minimalist Homeschool Room Tour - Intentional Homeschooling

     

    My office is our dedicated “classroom” though generally only our table work takes place here (math and language arts). This room was recently renovated (the previous owners smoked heavily and the tar-covered wallpaper definitely needed to go). I am drawn to crisp, clean and bold decor so I chose black and white paint colours. I keep the walls empty which helps us with concentration (the rest of my house is chaos but this is the one room I’ve managed to make uncluttered and minimalistic and I love how it feels. #progress).

     

    Minimalist Homeschool Room Tour - Intentional Homeschooling

     

    We used a combination of hand-me-down furniture and Ikea items to furnish the space.

    This is our activity shelf. Here I keep markers, our feather collection, a tin of crayons and some educational toys/activities for my 4 year old. We haven’t started any formal schooling with her yet, so she will either pick an activity from this shelf or a book to keep her busy (and quiet-ish) while I work one-on-one with my son.

     

    Minimalist Homeschool Room Tour - Intentional Homeschooling

    Minimalist Homeschool Room Tour - Intentional Homeschooling

     

    For our math and language art demos, I use a whiteboard that I purchased from Walmart. It sits on top of the shelf along with our latest art or history project (displaying only one project at a time keeps the clutter to a minimum plus adds a bit of continual visual interest since we change it up often).

    The one item we have on the wall is a calendar the kids work on together every month.

     

    Minimalist Homeschool Room Tour - Intentional Homeschooling

     

    My desk is from Ikea (Linnmon table top with two Alex drawer units). Approximately half of the drawers are dedicated to homeschooling materials and the other half to business supplies.

     

    Minimalist Homeschool Room Tour - Intentional Homeschooling

     

    Here is the breakdown of the left drawer unit:
    Top drawer: Basics (tape, binder hole-punch, etc).
    Second drawer: iPhone tripod (I do a lot of YouTube videos and Facebook Lives for work).
    Third drawer: This is what I humbly refer to as my “homeschooling junk drawer”. It houses any piece of paper that I’m unsure of what to do with (extra art or worksheets that I can’t decide if we should keep).
    Last two drawers: Business items (branded stationary, customer forms, etc).

    And here’s what is in the right drawer unit:
    Top drawer: Note books (I use these for work).
    Second drawer: Batteries, label maker and printer ink.
    Third drawer: Stamps, envelopes and art paper (we have a craft cupboard in the kitchen that houses the rest of our art and craft supplies).
    Fourth drawer: Laminator and laminator sleeves (such a homeschooling staple right?).
    Fifth drawer: Printer paper (our printer is wonderfully out of sight in my husband’s office in the basement).

     

    Minimalist Homeschool Room Tour - Intentional Homeschooling

     

    This is a Kallax Ikea shelf. My husband lifted it (so it wouldn’t cover the air return) and added the trim to make it look more like a built-in unit.

    The top row holds both of our PreK and K curricula. We use a mix of Bookshark, Build Your Library and The Good and The Beautiful programs. Overall, our style of homeschool follows a Charlotte Mason/literature-based philosophy so hence why all the books.

     

    Minimalist Homeschool Room Tour - Intentional Homeschooling Minimalist Homeschool Room Tour - Intentional Homeschooling

     

    These seagrass baskets are also from Ikea (Knipsa baskets). I put all of our manipulates in the first two (clocks, beads, letter games, science supplies). The second two baskets hold anything techie (USBs, wires/cables/cords, camera gear, etc).

    I have an Usborne book addiction (no affiliation) but thankfully so many of their books tie in well with our homeschool and/or provide great entertainment for my 4 year old while my 6 year old and I do table work. I keep all of our educational books here for that purpose.

    We have one section of the shelf housing empty binders dedicated to a French curriculum not-yet-purchased. Quebec laws require some schooling to be done in French (the homeschooling laws have recently changed here so we’re waiting to see the official requirements).

     

    Minimalist Homeschool Room Tour - Intentional Homeschooling

     

    The kids’ desk is also from Ikea and we use two simple folding chairs (I hope to upgrade the chairs at some point to something more sturdy).

    And that wraps up the tour. I hope you enjoyed getting an idea of what homeschooling can actually “look like”. Thank you so much for stopping by 🙂

    MORE ABOUT ROCHELLE

    I am a mom of two living outside of Montreal, Quebec.

    Our family is striving for a slow, rich life. Not necessarily in monetary terms (though I would never resist wealth should it come our way . I want our life to be rich in time and flexibility and improvement and beauty – through homeschooling, entrepreneurship, green(ish) living and renovating a disastrous foreclosure house.

    The slow is a nod to the pace at which we seem to be accomplishing things (patience is a hard lesson I’m learning). But also the pace we are trying to set for ourselves. We have one life, let it be rich and not a race.

    You can find Rochelle online on HER WEBSITE & INSTAGRAM

     


     

  • The Seven Best Homeschool Art Supplies - great for minimalist homeschooling
    art,  minimalist homeschooling

    The Best Homeschool Art Supplies for a Minimalist Homeschool

    I enjoy working on creative projects and probably because they see me creating all the time they are constantly wanting to work on something too.

    My art supply wishlist is miles long, I’m always hearing about fun new supplies. But even though I’d like to have all the art supplies I do try to keep our art supplies to a minimum, after all, I have the desire to be a minimalist homeschooler.

    Today I wanted to share our seven favorite art supplies, these are currently must-haves in our homeschool art cart.

     

    The Seven Best Homeschool Art Supplies - great for minimalist homeschooling

     

    THE BEST HOMESCHOOL ART SUPPLIES
    FOR A MINIMALIST HOMESCHOOL

    SKETCHBOOKS

    While we’ve almost always used sketchbooks for our art, I did make the realization a few weeks ago, after I had been cleaning up dozens of pieces of paper that sketchbooks are so great at reducing the paper clutter that so often occurs in our house.

    When it comes to sketchbooks I would suggest trying out a variety of different sizes and styles and seeing what works best for your family. The ones we use right now are fairly large and work well for at home but wouldn’t be so great for taking on a trip.

     

    The Seven Best Homeschool Art Supplies - great for minimalist homeschooling

     

    WATERCOLORS

    We have a couple of different watercolor sets, while I’ve only really been using watercolors for the past year they’ve really become one of my favorite art supplies. The kids use this set and I use this travel set.

     

    ACRYLIC PAINTS

    Okay, truthfully, I have a love/hate relationship with acrylic paints and kids. I don’t like that they don’t wash out of clothes and I always try to remember to get the kids to put old clothes on before they use them, but you really can’t beat the color vibrancy and variations for such cheap bottles.

     

    PAINT BRUSHES

    Any old paint brush works in my books, I have tried cheap ones and expensive ones and found that it can be hit or miss either way. I’ve tried cheap ones that worked great (and some that didn’t) and expensive ones that were awful (and some that were great). I obviously don’t have a specific recommendation here but when you find some you like, buy a few!

     

    COLORED PENCILS

    I used to think pencil crayons (that’s what we call colored pencils up here in Canada) were all the same, until I tried some Prismacolors. Turns out there is such a thing as really good quality colored pencils, and they are worth the extra money.

     

    OIL PASTELS

    Okay, so I wouldn’t say that every family has to have oil pastels but they are a lot of fun and are so unique I had to include them on this list. They are kinda like crayons in a tiny way but so much more vibrant.

     

    The Seven Best Homeschool Art Supplies - great for minimalist homeschooling

     

    BLACK SHARPIES

    We use a lot of black Sharpies in our sketchbooks, the extra fine ones are our favorites. We use them to draw the outlines of our project and then color the insides with watercolor, colored pencils, etc.

     

    And there you have it! What I would consider the best art supplies to have for any homeschool. Admittedly, we have more than this but I am actually working on reducing the number of supplies we have and if I got it down to only these seven items we could still do a lot of creating.

  • Decluttering Books - Minimalist Homeschooling
    minimalist homeschooling,  real homeschool stories

    Decluttering Books – Minimalist Homeschooling

    In case you’ve missed it, we love books around here. I think the idea of being able to justify buying a bunch of books may have sparked my initial interest in homeschooling.

    I love seeing what other homeschooling families are up to, especially the novels and picture books they are reading as well as the encyclopedias and resource books they use. But it hit me lately that there are a number of books I’ve acquired because I like the idea of doing what other homeschooling families are doing but we will never actually use them in our homeschool.

    I follow a lot of Charlotte Mason homeschooling families on social media and love how their days look, just full of learning from living books and lots of nature study and so I’ve bought a lot of the books those families use and recommend.

    Then last week I finally realized/admitted to myself that even though I love a lot of the idea of a Charlotte Mason education, it really just doesn’t suit our (or my) personality, I am definitely more on the side of a/n eclectic/digital/unschooling homeschooler.

    With this realization also came the epiphany that I’ve purchased many books to suit the homeschool in my head but that’s not the homeschool we are living.

    Much to my amazement, once I realized this it was easy for me to pick out the books that I was holding on to with good intentions but we would never actually use.

    I’m guessing there are others out there just like me that have books they could get rid of if they were honest with themselves.

    Tip on Decluttering Books for a more Simplified, Minimalist Homeschool

    THREE QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
    WHEN DECIDING WHICH BOOKS TO DECLUTTER

    HAVE WE EVER USED IT?

    Now, there is nothing wrong with buying books in advance for a year or two down the road if you find a good deal, but take some time to look at each of the books that are on your shelf right now and are suitable to the ages of your homeschooling children. Are there books there that you have never used? Um, I definitely had some books in this category that I let go.

    Read to Me Digital Books with Epic

    DOES THIS BOOK FIT WITH OUR TYPE OF HOMESCHOOLING?

    One of the books that I got rid of was The Handbook of Nature Study, one that I have heard so many good things about and have looked up multiple ways to use but when I was honest with myself I realized we are much better off being unschooled when it comes to nature study and just studying things that come up naturally. We still have some good resources in this area like Nature Anatomy and The Practical Naturalist and local bird books that we can refer to when we have questions.

    IS THERE AN ONLINE RESOURCE THAT CAN REPLACE THIS BOOK?

    I really appreciate the digital age and how it can help me cut back on physical clutter. I had a couple of fairy tale anthologies that I got rid of and have some Kindle books that have replaced them instead. We do still have a couple of workbooks but I think I will shortly be replacing our math workbook with Khan Academy. In addition, I also like having Epic to help reduce our picture and chapter books.

    Using these three questions I’ve been able to get rid of a number of books in our house that were just taking up space instead of being useful. And having less books (and stuff) helps reduce the amount of cleaning we need to do (score!).

    How about you, do you have any books you’ve been hoarding that you can get rid of?

  • Simplifying Our Homeschool Schedule - Minimalist Homeschooling
    minimalist homeschooling,  real homeschool stories

    Simplifying Our Homeschool Schedule – Minimalist Homeschooling

    In the beginning of December I started to realize our homeschool schedule was not working very well for us.

    I would plan our day and rarely would we get to it all. It wasn’t because I was planning a whole lot in the day, but every time I mentioned what we were going to do next it would be met with groaning (with the exception of poetry tea time, that is always met with cheers). Math, which Raeca has always enjoyed, became something she dreaded.

    I hated that they were hating it so it was time to switch things up. (Major pro to homeschooling: flexibility!)

    At one point I came across a blog post on a minimalist homeschool schedule, I don’t even know if I was looking for scheduling ideas or how exactly I got there but as soon as I read it I knew it was something I wanted to try.

     

    2020 EDIT: we are now following a different, even more simple homeschool schedule, you can check it out here.

     

    Our Simplified Weekly Homeschool Schedule - minimalist homeschooling

     

    Previously we had a bit of a daily routine: Bible, math, language arts and then either science, geography or history (depending on the day) and then squeezing in art and a few other subjects here and there. It was very much the schedule of a school, and not a schedule for us.

    A few weeks before Christmas we decided to start our new weekly schedule and we all just loved it.

    Using the idea I found we try to do something each day for the head, heart and hands.

    The “head” is usually the academic part, the “heart” is something Bible related; memory verse or character development and the “hands” include art, handiwork and music.

     

    Our Simplified Weekly Homeschool Schedule - minimalist homeschooling

     

    We are still moving things around a little bit but right now our week looks like this:

    MONDAY

    I intentionally made Monday a bit of a relaxing day so we can ease into the week and do any catch up (like cleaning) from the weekend.

    main lesson: language (Spanish and sign language)
    heart: scripture writing and memory verse
    handiwork: art journal
    * bread making in the morning

    TUESDAY

    main lesson: math
    heart: memory verse
    handiwork: our choice
    * our church community group in the evening so often it’s a cleaning/baking afternoon

    WEDNESDAY

    main lesson: science or history (alternating weeks)
    heart: memory verse & character study
    handiwork: our choice
    * poetry tea time

    THURSDAY

    main lesson: language arts
    heart: memory verse
    handiwork: our choice
    * fencing class

    FRIDAY

    free day/catch up/errands/swimming

     

    UPDATE: We actually haven’t been using this schedule for awhile and I want to get back to something similar. This summer I am planning on heartschooling the kids and hope to use a combination of that and the idea behind this schedule to create our plan for the fall.

     

    Our Simplified Weekly Homeschool Schedule - minimalist homeschooling

     

    Most days our handiwork is whatever we feel like doing that day. Monday’s will generally be art journals as we begin our new memory verse for the week we will usually write it down and paint around it.

    Other handiwork we will be working on:

    • music (piano & recorder)
    • knitting
    • embroidery
    • weaving
    • card making
    • candle making
    • painting
    • sewing
    • jewelry making
    • games

    As I mentioned before, math was usually Raeca’s big complaint, every day she would whine that she didn’t want to do math (even though she enjoys it). But now she knows that Tuesday’s are (official) math days and even though we actually end up doing more math in one day than we used to get done in a week she doesn’t complain any more. (And I just don’t tell her all the other math stuff that we do throughout the week without her even noticing.)

    With our previous schedule our last subject of the day always ended up getting cut short but now, since we are pretty much only doing one subject a day there is always time for it!

    I am sure this kind of schedule won’t work for everyone and it might not even work for us in the future but right now it is working extremely well.

    What kind of schedule works for your homeschool and family?

    Linking up with the Homeschool Nook Link Up.