When my children were at home, I think everyone’s favorite part of the academic day was “group time.” We would gather for our morning devotional, pledge, and work on as much together as differing ages and such would allow. Here is a very general outline of what it entailed.
Poetry-No big plan. Just pulled a book of the shelf and read one or two poems. Sometimes they were nonsense; sometimes they were a more serious work. Nothing morbid/too deep for early learners. Not everyone will love poetry, but everyone should be given the chance to hear it.
History reading-A passage from whichever book we are currently using. This was often accompanied by a book with great illustrations/photographs to help the visual learners. Often they would color a picture as I read. (Dover coloring books-doverpublishing.com-were great resources for this.)
Character or ethics study-We would discuss manners, courtesy, heroes, or whatever Mom felt she needed to address in a non-confrontational format. Sometimes I would use a picture book or fable. Sometimes we would pull things from the scriptures or history. A VITAL part of our school day!
Drill-3×5 cards are a must for the way we schooled. Classical education requires foundational concepts be memorized, and flashcards are one of the easiest ways to do that! States/capitols, presidents, phonograms, Latin and Greek roots, scientific facts, you name it. Younger children often memorize more quickly than older ones, so this can be a great time for them to shine!
Memorization work-Poetry, scriptures, music, quotes. Fill their bucket with the words and images of those who can help them in good times or bad. What will they sing as they watch the sunrise over the mountain for the first time? Whose words will come to them as they face the next mountain?
Literature reading-Picture books. Chapter books. Great literature is sometimes best shared as a family. Some books we read for fun (see blog on our favorite read-aloud books). Some we read as part of our academic studies-and for fun. If your children have a hard time sitting still as you read, try allowing them to color, or build with legos, or dance. If they are kinesthetic, they will learn more that way!
Hands-on activities-If you are going to make a mess, you may as well involve everyone! Try to have something for each child to do so that they can all contribute.
Whatever Mom wants to throw into the mix-The above list is in no way comprehensive. Add life skills, other academics, or whatever you feel would benefit your own children. After all, you are the Mom!
Once group time was over, everyone needed to finish their individual lists. I have included the subjects I assigned for each level. (For more information on learning levels, check the archives on this blog.)
Individual work for discovery learners:
Basic grammar study
Hands-on math and science
Reading-with Mom or individually
Art or music
History, math or science bio
Chores with an older helper
Individual work for analysis learners:
Penmanship book with quotes or poetry
Reading for history, science, literature, etc.
Art or music
Latin or other language study
Individual work for application learners:
Upper level mathematics
Continuing logic study
Writing, writing, and more writing
Reading, reading, and more reading
Prep for the SAT/ACT
Primary source history