Our Simple Schedule: Part 4 (Geography, Science, and Written Narrations)


This is Part 4 (and the final post) in an impromptu series I'm doing in response to a readers question about our schedule.

Here is her question:  
I know this was a while back, but I really love the simplicity of that schedule you shared (the picture in the other post of your school schedule). I'm curious what resources you're using for things like math and dictation (are you using Spelling Wisdom or just choosing something each week, etc.). Anything in particular for Bible, memory, poetry, etc or just choosing as you go? What about geography and science? And, written narrations ... are you just letting Ella choose what she will write from? Thanks so much! You really know how to simplify and make it feel calm (or at least appear that way). :) 
Here is what we've covered so far:
Part 1: Math
Part 2: Dictation and Spelling
Part 3: Bible, memory work, and poetry

And in this post we'll cover geography, science and written narrations.  So.  Geography.  Mark is really much more into geography than I am, so I asked him to make our lesson plan last year.  He made a GREAT one, having the kids draw world maps, label oceans, continents, rivers, mountain ranges, etc.  They loved it.  Then he moved to local geography, then back to each continent for a closer look.

We started well and then faded into nothing.  TOTALLY my fault.  And really more of a management thing- he had the lesson plans on the computer, I never printed it out or had it with me, or I'd look and be confused about what I was supposed to do so we just ended up skipping it a lot of times.  :(  Which just means we'll be doing some repeats this year.  Fine by me.  I plan to be much more organized- everything printed out and ready to go and discussed with him beforehand.

Science.  We've spent years doing only nature study and we love that--  examining things growing and living around us, drawing, labeling, and reading about them.  This past year I thought we should maybe explore other science stuff so I ordered an Apologia book and we did that once per week, in addition to nature study.  I didn't really like the textbook approach, although we all liked the information we learned.  Generally I would look ahead, print out some coloring pages (specific to whatever animals we'd be reading about), and the kids would color while I read aloud.  I'm still undecided about what we'll do this year.  I just ordered this book--

-simply because it seems right up our nature-study-alley, and I thought it might give us some fresh inspiration.  We'll decide soon what science will look like next year, but I'm leaning more toward a nature study approach again.

Written narrations we do once a week- and again, much like dictation, I select a passage from one of our books: whatever we're reading at the time (history, read-aloud, one of the kids' own books, Shakespeare, etc).  I read it aloud ONCE while they listen, and then they summarize it for me in written form.  If there are places or names that are unfamiliar to them, I will put them up on the dry erase board for them.

I am ALWAYS surprised by how much they write.  I expect a paragraph, and they will easily give me a page to a page and a half.  I love reading these narrations.

A written narration requires a bit of time (about half-hour) and little to no interruptions, so honestly?  I skip this more than I'd like to admit, because it's just difficult to have such quiet around here!  But that's how we do it when we do it!


Next up:  School Planning 101


  1. We love nature study for science and, though I own several of the Apologia science books and use them for reference, I've never been brave enough to commit to a textbook for science. We love The Burgess Animal Book for Children that we read through all last school year. We read one chapter a week and we took a separate day for the kids to sketch the animal we read about. I was amazed at how much they gleaned and how much they enjoyed the simple approach. This year we are moving on to The Burgess Bird Book for Children.

    1. Kristin-
      Yep. That sounds like us. :) We have both of those books, and have used them in years past. I'll have to pull them back out for our little ones who are unfamiliar with them. Thank you for reminding me of them!


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