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Hour-A-Day Homeschool and Minute Math

Now that we are staying home due to shelter-in-place, my family has been working on some of those projects that we would always dream of immersing ourselves in if we had the time. Well, time is plentiful and we are deep into these fun things. My daughter and I are using this time to plow through our Pinterest list of activities which I am learning is just a TON of mixing processes. Now we have a seemingly permanent mixing station in the kitchen for all of her science projects. My son is reporting on his latest online gaming challenges. I am quiet impressed with the diligence and organization of his creative challenges. One of the things I am learning is that their explorations are filled with opportunities for learning the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. I am even more impressed with the depth and complexity I am seeing in their processes.

Still, there is this ever-pressing need for me to do some schoolish-ness and touch base with MY personal education plan for them. I learned early on that I cannot press into their processes every time I see a teachable moment. My interruption was not only rude, it often disrupted something very critical they were learning for a very small and pointless gold star in my teaching book. However, there are things that we all agree we need to work on and that is why I have limited my "homeschooling" to hour-a-day sessions. My daughter has been asking me to teach her how to read and my son has been asking for help learning to do more difficult math. I personally do not know how to support these things without doing some sit down at the table curriculum, and so we have decided to work on that together. Every day for an hour, I get to play teacher and sit with them individually. Here is what that looks like:

Writing: My daughter and I work on her penmanship and write one letter each session. Sometimes, she opts to write a letter to a friend instead which is a LOT more challenging.

Reading: My daughter reads me a book or tells me a story. Then I read to her and the baby.

Music Break: We take a "Laurie Berkner" break and listen to some of her songs on YouTube. My son often joins us with this.

Minute Math: My son is learning his multiplication facts. So we have decided that every day he will try to complete a worksheet or list of facts in one minute.

Family Time: We then finish up with a family walk, cooking project, board game, card game, or exercise.

The most important thing I have learned is how little direct instruction my kids really need. They are some of the most creative and excited learners I have ever seen. The part that is craziest of all is that feeling that there still isn't time enough in these long days at home. I could actually do with less than an hour and watch them create all day. They are able to create so many wonderful projects for us to do especially as they watch their peers on YouTube and Zoom. I hope this helps calm some of you other parents out there who are trying to find your new normal and adjust your homeschool life to staying at home. I encourage you all who have lost your routine to see what you could do in an hour or less!

-Laurie Gracia-Alikhan, The Homeschooler Post editor

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