Our Relaxed Homeschool: 3rd Grade and 1st Grade {2018-2019}

homeschool 3rd grade, homeschool 1st grade

Inside: Are you going to homeschool 3rd grade or 1st grade this year? Check out the third grade homeschool curriculum section of this post for our core resources, and the rest of the post for additional resources we are using for the 2018-2019 school year for both grades.

Even though I am writing a curriculum post for the 2018-2019 school year, we are technically year-round homeschoolers.

I suppose you could consider our annual standardized test – as required by the state of North Carolina – the marker for when one school year ends and another school year begins. I typically administer the test in July or August each year.

While we don’t have an official “back to homeschool” day, we are starting a new tradition: an annual “NOT back to school” day!

I’m generally not bothered by the fluid nature of our homeschool days and years, but I know that my kids might need/want more special days to mark the years by.

Going out for ice cream (something we never do), playing board games and watching movies together all seemed like fun and easy ideas for an annual back to school day. Now to pick an official date in early September!

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10 Signs Relaxed Homeschooling is Your Homeschool Style

Inside: Is relaxed homeschooling your homeschool style? Read these signs to find out – you might be surprised! 

Relaxed homeschooling is a homeschool style that gets lost in the shuffle. It’s often used interchangeably with unschooling and eclectic homeschooling and minimalist homeschooling, partly because everyone’s definition of relaxed homeschooling is a little bit different.

While I am a minimalist, and minimalism does influence my homeschooling, I’ve never felt comfortable adopting the label “minimalist homeschooler”. I always identified much more strongly as a “relaxed homeschooler”.

And all of these signs that you’re a relaxed homeschooler? I nod along in agreement with every.single.one.

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I Ditched Charlotte Mason Narration: The Results Shocked Me

Inside: I thought my kids hated Charlotte Mason narration, so I quit using it. Two years later, my kids started narrating spontaneously and without prompting, but this kind of narration was different.

I was introduced to Charlotte Mason narration through the University Model school my daughter attended two days per week our first year homeschooling. During orientation, I listened to the director talk enthusiastically about the beauty of a Charlotte Mason education.

It sounded amazing! Living books, nature walks, character development: it all sounded idealistically lovely.

And it was lovely. In fact, I still love many of Charlotte Mason’s core teachings:

  • Learning through literature (not textbooks)
  • Being in and observant of nature
  • Art appreciation
  • Teaching spelling and handwriting using literature

I’m so very far from a Charlotte Mason purist, but most of her teachings just make sense to me as a parent and as an educator. All except one.


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24 Benefits of Homeschooling Your Kids (from a reluctant homeschooler)

Inside: Save these 24 benefits of homeschooling your kids, for the days when you wonder is homeschooling is really the best choice.

I put up this sign the other day, words from an Etsy sign I love, and hope to be able to buy one day. For now, my letter board will have to do.

“You were born to blaze new trails, pioneer great adventures…”

My husband noticed the sign and chuckled. Defensively, I asked him why he was laughing. I loved those inspirational words!

He remarked, “Well, you’re not really a trailblazer. You prefer the beaten path. You love the beaten path, actually. Do you know how hard it is to blaze a new trail? To make a trail where there has never been one before?”

He’s right you know, about the beaten path, which is probably why I wonder so frequently whether homeschooling is really the bestchoice.

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A Day in the Life in our Relaxed Homeschool {with ages 8, 6, 4, & 2}

relaxed homeschool day in the life

Inside: A day in the life of our relaxed homeschool. Get a glimpse of what relaxed homeschooling is really like (though every day is different!).

I am excited to be linking up with Simple Homeschool today for their annual “Day in the Life” link-up!

I open my eyes. Laying next to me is my crazy, very attached toddler, sleeping soundly for once. I look at my phone: crap. It’s already 9:30 a.m.

Time to get up before the day gets away from me.

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Our Unconventional Big Family Homeschool Schedule (for when yours stops working)

big family homeschool schedule

Inside: Is your big family homeschool schedule just not working? Instead of giving up, use our unconventional homeschool schedule to think about your schedule creatively, so you can make homeschooling a big family work for you!

It’s 10:30 a.m, and your little cherubs? They are bouncing off the walls.

Your homeschool lesson plods along in 5 minute intervals with interruptions galore, and you are convinced you are going to lose your mind!

There are far more kids to teach than there are of you. It’s impossible to read with one side of your mouth and shush yelling boys with the other.

Oh, and did you mention that the toddler has JUST THIS MORNING figured out how to climb bunkbeds?

Is this really your life?!

You just can’t picture your homeschool life continuing on like this for two or three or four more years.

Homeschooling multiple kids is just too hard. Even if you’re only doing formal lessons with just one, getting that one to focus and “miss out on all the fun” feels like climbing Mount Everest.

If any of that sounds familiar, you are not alone!

Figuring out a big family homeschool schedule is tricky and frustrating and takes a lot of trial and error.

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FREE Printable Homeschool Planner Pages (perfect for relaxed homeschoolers!)

free homeschool planning pages

Inside: These beautiful, free printable homeschool planner pages will help you capture not just the “school” things, but all the learning in between!

Starting in August, you probably sat down with your amazing, beautiful (read: anything BUT free) homeschool planner and dreamed of all the amazing things you were going to do with your kids this year.

Or maybe you pulled out that curriculum guide – laid out SO nicely without you having to lift a finger – and thought, “They make it so easy! This is going to be a piece of cake!”

You just transfer it all to your planner, nice and neat: done. Ready to go!

And maybe it started out that way. September can tend to make you feel like a Homeschool Mom Rockstar.

I can practically hear you ticking the boxes in your planner every single day.

Check! Check! Check! It’s a beautiful sound. 

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Relaxed Homeschooling versus Unschooling

relaxed homeschooling

Inside: Answering the question, “What is the difference between relaxed homeschooling and unschooling?”

When you first dip your toes into the homeschool world, you’ll quickly realize that there are these things called homeschool styles. It can be a little intimidating at first. You have no idea who the heck Charlotte Mason is, didn’t even know unschooling was a word, and classical homeschooling sounds SOOO intimidating!

Eventually you find your tribe, the ones who understand your homeschool language and why you do what you do.

But one homeschool style you probably won’t hear much about is relaxed homeschooling, and that’s because it is the hardest homeschool style to actually define.

In fact, relaxed homeschooling is often not acknowledged as a legitimate homeschool style at all.

It’s time to change that.

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Our Relaxed Homeschool: Second Grade & Kindergarten

Inside: Are you going to homeschool second grade this year? Get ideas for second grade homeschool curriculum from our second grade homeschool plans (with a kindergartener along for the ride!). 

It’s almost time for another homeschool year! I can’t believe how the summer has flown by. I don’t feel ready, but whether I’m ready or not, school is coming.

We will have one child in second grade and one in kindergarten, but the majority of my homeschool plans, curriculum, and schedule are focused on our second grade daughter. We have four kids (three boys), and I often choose homeschool curriculum that can be adapted and used with a variety of ages.

I hope our second grade homeschool plans help you make the best choices for your family and homeschool style.

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The Number that Completely Changed How I Choose Read-Alouds in our Homeschool

how to choose read-alouds homeschool

Inside: Read-alouds in our homeschools are often dictated by book lists and curriculum. One number caused me to leave the beaten path and completely change how we choose our read-alouds.

Choosing the perfect read-aloud can feel like an awful guessing game. You do your research, get all the best reading treasuries, and listen to “the experts” who give you extensive lists of all the books you should read to your kids.

Some are great, but some of them are dreadful flops. They bore you, for heaven’s sake! No wonder your 7 year-old is yawning and distracted. You can forget having that meaningful conversation and connection you dreamed about.

Still, you persevere with your list, determined to finish every single one just because you should.

Can I tell you something? My year started with that same fierce determination, but after multiple “just ok” books, I realized something had to change. In my search for a new method of choosing read alouds, I came across one number that changed everything.

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