Homeschooling has been a somewhat-constant part of our lives since our oldest hit pre-school age four years ago. I’ve learned that my style is very relaxed, and I’ve schooled my daughter as it fit our family. She’s been placed in public school for half of the year two times now (because, life) and now that we’re moved into our new state and settled into work-at-home life, we’re getting back to it after finishing the last five months of first grade at the sweet little elementary school across the street.
I’ve been pulled back to my original reason for homeschooling, and since the older boys are now school-age and Brian is no longer working a normal 9-5, we’re going all in, and we’re pretty excited about it.
We’re not diving straight in though, even as my social media feeds are full of back-to-school photos and Target is pushing pencils and notebooks on us and the season is starting to slowly cool down. Normally, I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person, but in this season of our family’s life, it just hasn’t felt right. However, it also didn’t feel right to do no school yet. The kids are getting antsy and Brian and I have work to do during the day, so some structured school tasks would help everyone out. That’s why we decided to do what we’re calling a soft start.
What a soft start is
Rather than diving into all our curriculum like we normally would, we’re only bringing reading, writing, and art into our days. We’re doing this until the first week of October, at which point we’ll get into the other subjects.
How it works day-to-day
We’re doing a four-day school week (Thursdays and Sundays are our days off both work and school), and we start the school day with a family devotion and prayer time over breakfast.
Afterward, the kids do art class while Brian and I get some work done. They only need to do one twenty-minute lesson, but they end up going through three or four lessons. They LOVE art, and it’s the reason we included it in our soft start. Nonnegotiable for our little herd!
After we all get together at the table for lunch (the goal for each day is to eat all three meals as a family), we spend about 30-45 minutes reading aloud to the kids. One of my main goals in homeschooling is to give the kids a love of books, stories, and adventure. Sometimes we read aloud again in the evenings.
At this point in the day Hudson and the baby take naps, and the older kids have quiet time while Brian and I get some more work done.
We wrap up the afternoon with some copy work to practice writing, and we have the rest of the day (it’s usually only about 3:00 at this point) to run errands, hang out, or go explore.
We do school outside sometimes to change it up, and that keeps the kids really busy. I bring my laptop with me on those days and get work done on-the-go, so I’m not getting behind for the sake of a change in scenery.
Our soft start curriculum
Book/Plan – Leading Little Ones to God
We’re currently reading Little House in the Big Woods, but we’re following the book list from Ambleside Online (Year 1 & Year 2)
Art Hub for Kids & The Doodle Academy
We have the younger kids practice their letters and basic words, and Bella writes out Scripture/poetry/positive quotes that we choose randomly.
How we’re liking it
I am so happy with our decision to start this school year out “soft”. It’s provided so much peace to our family. We’ve had a crazy year moving cross-country, moving from our temporary condo to a house, the start of our businesses and the transition out of Brian’s job… I could go on but I’m stopping there so you don’t think we’re insane!
It’s just been a very intense year of change for our family. The last thing we needed was any more extreme changes. This just fit us for this year.
Another perk is that we got into a rhythm immediately. Normally it takes a couple weeks (or more) to get out of summer mode and into school mode. I think because the school load wasn’t overwhelming, we found our rhythm right away. When October comes and it’s time to take on the other subjects, we’ll be well-rested and prepared – both the adults and the kids.
Do you homeschool? Have you ever done a soft start?
Stay tuned for more details on how we spend our homeschool days, how we run two businesses from home and homeschool, and the rest of our curriculum for this year! Subscribe to stay in the know.