A Day in the Life of Homeschool Mama Cindy West
Hi! I’m Cindy West of Our Journey Westward. This is my EIGHTEENTH year of homeschooling. Yes, I’m tired. Yes, it’s been worth every minute. I’m a momma of three, but find myself homeschooling only one for the first time in a lot of years. My 11yo is a 6th grader, while my oldest two are successful college students. (Hallelujah. Homeschooling really does work!) Eclectic Charlotte Mason is our main learning style with lots of twists and turns like occasional unit studies, lots of field trips, and all sorts of interest-based experiences. One of my main goals is and always has been to instill a love for learning in my children. Besides math, I think I’ve been pretty successful! (Hint: The secret is to enjoy learning yourself.) I can’t wait to share a day in our hectic life with you tomorrow. We live on a busy farm, too, so who knows what adventures we’ll have together.
Fun-Loving Lifestyle of Learning
Hey there! I’m Cindy from @ourjourneywestward and I can’t wait to hang out with you guys here today!
These are my kiddos – Mahayla (21), Caleb (18), and Eli (11). Y’all, I’ve been doing this homeschool gig from the very beginning! This is our 18th year and I’m down to a classroom of one. It’s definitely bittersweet when big kids fly the homeschooling coop. But I’m not gonna lie – I’m partying over here homeschooling only one this year.
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I’ve been an eclectic Charlotte Mason momma for as long as I’ve been homeschooling. It has served us well! I’ll never regret the living books, short lesson philosophy, nature study, or focus on good habits. (Among many other things!)
I’ve also been blessed with some gifted/talented kids, so we’ve always made lots of room in our homeschool for opportunities to explore passions. That has often played out through unit studies, project-based learning, field trips, student-led studies, and training with professionals.
If I could only offer you one bit of wisdom today, it would be…create a fun-loving lifestyle of learning in your home.
Let’s chat in the comments about what that fun-loving lifestyle of learning can look like!
Morning Time for Two
Even though it’s just the two of us this year, we continue a daily morning time ritual. That’s always been my favorite time of the day!
Morning time activities rotate daily, but always include Bible time, memory work, and at least one brain training game.
Other activities might include poetry, picture study, geography practice, vocabulary practice, math flash cards, trivia games, timeline cards, MadLibs, current events, or critical thinking puzzles.
We generally rotate through 4-5 morning time activities a day. Besides Bible time and working on this term’s memory work -Colossians 3:1-17 – we are playing Spot It and Geography Pix, practicing Latin and Greek Roots with English From the Roots Up cards, doing picture study using “The Wreck of the Ole ‘97”, and reading some Shel Silverstein poems today.
Whats your very favorite morning time activity?
Nature Study is so Important to Our Family
Nature study has been such an important part of our homeschool over the years. I mean really important.
It’s not only an excellent way to teach real science through hands-on exploration, but it allows children (younger and older) some much-needed benefits. The fresh air, sunshine, and exercise are great for general health, but also for getting the wiggles out or regrouping when bad attitudes arise.
We’ve learned SO much science through nature study, y’all. And my kids have never complained because who doesn’t want to do school outside? (OK. Maybe they complain every once in a while when it’s sweltering outside.)
I’m still in awe how nature study helps our children to make amazing connections in other subject areas – even upper level sciences like chemistry and physics. Once I started to realize its power, I started to call nature study our outdoor science lab. –
I hope you enjoy these photos from our early fall nature walk in KY. On this particular walk, we didn’t have any particular focus other than noticing things that remind us of autumn.
We typically do nature study once a week, but there are weeks when the weather is especially nice that we go more often.
If you need ideas for nature study, I’ve written several resources and curriculum for you. The NaturExplorers curriculum series is the most in-depth, while 100 Creative Nature Walks and 40 Nature Walks: Science Labs On-the-Go are a little easier to grab and go. I even have curriculum for those of you who hate to (or can’t) go outside. It’s called No Sweat Nature Study. Feel free to check out all my resources.
Learning with Gifted Kids
Do you have inquisitive learners? Smart kids? Bored kids? Kids who are struggling learners? Give them opportunities!
Just in homeschooling 3 kiddos, I’ve dealt with giftedness, talents, advanced learners, learning disabilities, ADHD type behaviors, joyful learners, and frustrated learners. (Yes, more than one issue can come from the same child.)
In every scenario, allowing my children opportunities to learn in new ways, follow their interests, and develop skills in their strong areas made a world of difference. Sometimes, it just took a fresh approach to an old problem to solve the whole thing. –
It can take some creative thinking, or more likely a little time, to find things that stretch and grow our children, but it’s always worth it.
In this photo, Eli is dissecting a starfish. He’s not a huge fan of science in general, but give him a hands-on task with meaning and he’s ON IT. (Another reason nature study is important in our home!) He was not only excited to find all the parts and learn about their functions during our STEM class, he’s since done research and watched documentaries to learn more.
You’ll notice two opportunities there. The first was the chance to be in the STEM class. That takes MY time and a little money. (Totally worth it.) The second was the space to research and learn more. I granted him that space in our school day even when I had other things planned. (Again, totally worth it.)
Where can you make space for life-changing opportunities in your homeschool?
P.S. My book, Homeschooling Gifted Kids, can help you figure all this out.
Thanks for Joining Us Today!
It’s been SO lovely spending the day with you on Instagram! Thanks very much for your hospitality.
I want to leave you with one last thought…Love the job you’ve been blessed to do. –
Homeschooling is an amazing opportunity. You get to set the stage for life and all the possibilities ahead for your sweet children. Love them well. Have fun along the way. Don’t be afraid to say yes.
In the end, you may be a little weary, but you’ll turn around to see incredible people standing in front of you. And, oh my, you will have great memories that will truly last a lifetime.
I’d love to keep up with you and your successes over at @ourjourneywestward!