Do you have a routine or a schedule?

Teaching Tip:

Do you have a routine or a schedule?

I am a scheduler by nature.  Yet, the more years I have taught, first in the classroom and then at home, I discovered a routine is more important than a schedule.

How does a routine differ from a schedule?

A routine is a consistent flow to the day that easily becomes a pattern.  A schedule can feel random and pattern-less, requiring more concentration and energy to implement.  A routine becomes something you can do without thinking. A schedule often leaves you constantly referring to a written order of things.

Can a schedule become routine?

I always make a time schedule for each of my boys and myself.  For my schedule to become a routine, the most important part is the order in which things are done. I have my boys keep the same order of subjects each day.  Following the same order allows my boys to memorize their schedule until it becomes “routine.”

What are the benefits of a routine?

A routine makes it easy for me to check on my boys and see how far along they are in their day.  A routine takes less thought to implement.  It allows the child to really find ways to make the day flow more smoothly.  Following the same order also makes gathering books and supplies easy. This is because even very young students begin to know which books they’ll need when. If you are constantly changing your schedule, you may never truly reap the benefits of having a routine.

Try developing a routine!

Try keeping the same order of subjects in your day for a month!  See if you notice an easier flow to your day as your schedule becomes a routine.

Blessings,
Carrie

PS: If you want a more in-depth look at creating a routine, have a look at this blog post:

Please Explain How to Set Up a Routine Instead of a Schedule

A defined space helps your little ones listen better.

Teaching Tip 

A defined space helps your little ones listen better.

Do you have little ones with whom you’re doing school? If so, it really helps to define the space in which they need to sit and listen while you read.

What is a simple defined space for a 2-4 year old?

When my little ones were between the ages of 2-4, I usually had them sit on my lap.  Then, I held the Bible in front of us to read the story for Little Hands to Heaven. If you have a child who is a “wild wiggler” and doesn’t sit well on your lap, then move on to my next suggestion!

What can you use as a defined space if you have a “wild wiggler” or multiple little ones?

If you have a “wild wiggler” or multiple little ones, use carpet pieces or large, foam floor puzzle squares to define space instead.  These pieces or squares can be used to delineate the spot where each child should sit.  This becomes the defined space in which your child needs to remain during the Little Hand’s Bible reading. As you read, hold the book up beside you with the pictures facing your child.  Read from the side, so you can show the pictures as you read.

What is a simple defined space for a 5-6 year old?

For my Little Hearts for His Glory kiddos, I move to sitting on the couch.  I “anchor” my child beside me with my arm around him/her while I read. If you have two kiddos doing Little Hearts, it works well to anchor one child on either side of you!

Try defining your child’s space today, and see if your reading time goes better.

While these sound like simple suggestions, having defined boundaries for your child during reading time can make a big difference! Try it today, and see what you think!

Blessings,
Carrie

Don’t overthink Drawn into the Heart of Reading

Teaching Tip: 

Don’t overthink Drawn into the Heart of Reading.

In getting started with Drawn into the Heart of Reading, I would encourage you NOT to overthink it. Instead, I would boil down starting DITHR to the following quick, easy steps.

Try these easy steps for a successful experience with Drawn into the Heart of Reading!

1. Choose which genre to do first with your child. Typically this should be a type of literature your child likes/loves to read. This will encourage a good start!

2. Open up your Student Book to that genre.  Decide how many books your child will read for that genre. To keep it simple, start with the fewest amount of books feasible. Often this is 1 or 2 short books at the younger reading level and 1 book at the upper reading level. Keep the readings short.

3. Fill in the calendar with the pages to be read each day. The calendar is in the Student Book behind the genre description sheet.

4. Choose one simple kick-off idea from the first day of plans for that genre. Keep it simple, so it goes quickly. Later, once you’re comfortable with DITHR, you can choose to do a kick-off up big. For now, keep it short and sweet.

5. Begin the next day. Then, just do a day of plans each day. If your child bogs down in the writing, write for him/her. Or, write part of the page and have your child just copy one sentence from a markerboard. The focus is on the reading and discussing, not the writing.

6. When you get to the project at the end of the unit, give your child a day off from DITHR.  Use that day off to pick a project from the 3 project options right during your normal DITHR time.

7. When working on the project, do not let the time go too long each day. Just cut the project off each day in tiny bite-sized pieces. If the project goes over 5 days, wrap it up.

8. When you get to the start of the next genre, give your child another day off from DITHR.  Then, do steps 1 – 4 above right during the school day during your normal DITHR time. This way, there is no prep. or planning in the evening.

See if these simple steps help you start Drawn into the Heart of Reading successfully!

What are you waiting for? Follow the steps above and get started on DITHR today!  Many of my boys favorite books, projects, and discussions came from our time in DITHR.  So, get started today!

Happy reading!
Carrie

 

PS: Interested in Drawn into the Heart of Reading? You might like this blog post by Julie too!

Drawn into the Heart of Reading: A Multi-Level Reading Program That Works with Any Books

Alternate inspirational and disciplinary subjects.

Teaching Tip

Alternate inspirational and disciplinary subjects.

When scheduling your child’s day, Charlotte Mason advocated alternating inspirational subjects with disciplinary subjects. This makes a lot of sense to me and is something I try to consider when scheduling my kiddos.

What is the difference between disciplinary and inspirational subjects?

Disciplinary subjects are those that are skill-based, while inspirational subjects are those that are content-based. Subjects often are not exclusively in one category or the other.  They may fit in both categories depending on how the subject is taught. However, typically a subject will lean more in one direction than the other.

What are some examples of disciplinary subjects?

Disciplinary subjects will often be subjects like mathematics, phonics, reading instruction, geography, handwriting, dictation, English/grammar, composition, copywork, research, timeline, drawing, and foreign language.

What are some examples of inspirational subjects?

Inspirational subjects often include history, poetry, Bible, read alouds, literature, science, picture study, composer study, and art appreciation.

What are the benefits of alternating different types of subjects?

Alternating differing subject types keeps learning fresh.  This is because disciplinary and inspirational subjects call on different parts of the brain. Try alternating the disciplinary and inspirational subjects found within your HOD guide.  See if you notice a difference in your child’s focus and concentration!

Blessings,
Carrie

Consider your child’s personality when scheduling artistic subjects

Teaching Tip

Consider your child’s personality when scheduling artistic subjects.

Do you have a child who loves to take his/her time when doing any assignment that requires drawing?  If so, you may wish to consider placing subjects that require drawing or artwork as the last subject.  One of our sons really enjoys doing each art-related assignment meticulously. While this results in beautiful work, it can also make this mama want to constantly hurry him along! This results in stress for both us.

Schedule art-related subjects last in the day.

The solution for me was to schedule any art-related assignments within my son’s HOD guide after lunch.  This was when he did his last subjects of the day.  In that way, my son could take as long as he wanted to complete the assignment.  He’s on his own time then, and I am not rushing him. This is because I try to be done with most formal teaching from his HOD guide by then.

Various assignments can fall into the artwork category.

Notebooking assignments and lab sheets for science often fall in this category.  Timeline entries and Draw and Write entries fall in this category for us too. The painting assignments in CTC, the composer study in Rev2Rev, and the nature journal in MTMM are also in this category.

Even if you don’t have a child who is artistic, any assignment with drawing typically takes more time.

Once you figure out which drawing assignments are taking more time, consider placing these last in the day.  This will help keep the rest of your schedule on-track. And, when your child is on his/her own time, he will be less likely to drag an assignment out.  Try a schedule redo and see if it helps your day run more smoothly!

Blessings,

Carrie