Today we’re talking with Brittney of Mom’s Heart. Brittney is a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew this year with me and I thought it would be nice to get a glimpse into her home and life and find out how she homeschools.
Kemi: Tell us a little bit about your children’s ages and grades?
Brittney: Currently our two oldest children are the only ones old enough to homeschool. The boys are 8 and in 2nd grade, and a 5 year old Kindergartner. We also have a toddler and a baby on the way, both girls!
Kemi: What homeschooling method do you use?
Brittney: We are Relaxed Homeschoolers . . . with a Charlotte Mason influence. For our family, that means I don’t stick to a specific method just because I love the philosophy of it, but I incorporate many aspects of the CM method into our routine because they mesh well with our often delight-directed approach. For us, it’s about doing what is best for each child at any given point in their development. If you’re interested, feel free to read a little more about what Relaxed Homeschooling looks like in our home.
Kemi: Can you give us a peek into your typical homeschool day?
Brittney: I’m not a morning person, so the kids get some free time before and after breakfast while I get myself moving and motivated. I try to start on a few household chores, and ideally we start school around 10:00 AM if we’ll be home all day. I work with each of the boys doing math and language arts, while the other plays with the toddler or chooses a solo activity.
Then we break for lunch, free time and chores. Afterwards I round them back up for Spanish, and all the “other” subjects, which are currently done through interest-based unit studies. We choose a topic together, and then I develop a small unit study utilizing living books, nature study, cooking, art, science experiments, and any other hands-on activities that I think they will enjoy and that will enhance the study. I throw in an occasional worksheet for our portfolios. Doing unit studies together like this allows the boys to work at their individual level, but we still get to do our learning as a family unit.
Once school is finished, the kids are allowed plenty of free time in the afternoon and evening, which allows them to follow their passions. In nice weather, we’re often outside playing or taking nature walks. Inside, I find the kids building LEGO, drawing, building robots, or looking up places on Google Earth, and everyone loves a good book!
After dinner we tidy up, enjoy some time with daddy and then settle down before bed.
Of course, this is an ideal day! I don’t follow a strict schedule and it doesn’t take into account the days we need a break from our regular routine, or the days we have homeschool classes.
Then there’s the fact that we’ll be adding a newborn to the family soon, and I know that will change our family dynamic, and of course our routine!
Kemi: So you know that Homemaking Organized is all about homemaking or the details of home. We love to find out how others keep their homes. Can you tell us about your own homekeeping and how you manage to fit it in with homeschool?
Brittney: This is my weakest area. I am not a disciplined housekeeper. I know it, and I fully admit it. I will say that when I utilized Motivated Moms, I was much more consistent and motivated and it really did make a difference. My biggest hurdle right now is decluttering and removing all the excess “stuff” from the house. But as I do, I feel like the house is slowly becoming cleaner and more organized. I am also working with the kids, giving them age appropriate chores, and as they become more independent with them, it is really helping me out! Some of the chores I hand out (aside from cleaning up their own belongings) are unloading the dishwasher, feeding the pets, emptying smaller trash cans, running the vacuum cleaner, and helping with laundry.
As far as meals—if I know early in the day what we’re having for dinner, things usually go smoothly. I just have to make sure the kitchen is clean after lunch so that it’s ready to use when I start dinner. If I know we’ll be busy on certain days, I plan a big meal the day before that has leftovers that are really easy to “revamp” into a new meal. I also utilize the slow cooker frequently on busy days. Since we have a new baby coming soon, I’m also planning some freezer meals to stand in for when I would normally cook. I’m not great at meal planning; I just need to know what I have in the pantry and freezer, and have a few ideas for the week in my head, and I can usually make it work.
Brittney is a happily married momma to 3 (soon to be 4) beautiful and spunky kids that she homeschools. She blogs at Mom’s Heart about homeschooling, field trips, vacations, children’s books and a lot of other random things related to parenting and family.