Theme for the Day

Most homeschool moms plan to do it all, but most weeks, we fall short or “fall behind”.  My secret to fitting in most of the extras in our curriculum is to  do “One More Thing” after our basic school subjects.

We have a ~

Theme for the Day

Our homeschool mornings start at about 9:30am after chores, farm rounds, milking and breakfast.

Every week,  I plan to cover all these areas in our school work ~

Overview Year Planner ~ My version of the a Home Model by Clay & Sally Clarkson “The Wholehearted Child“Our first lesson is Discipleship Studies with a short Bible Study, review our scripture memory, sing a hymn and end with prayer.

Everyone settles down to Disciplined Studies ~ short lessons (+ 10 minutes to 15 minutes each)

  • Maths
  • Spelling
  • Language Arts & Dictation (which is also Handwriting practice for the younger kids)
  • Afrikaans (our 2nd language)

We take a short tea break, some jumping/ skipping/ play with balls or a moment to play with the puppy …

Back to school and we do our core curriculum.  Although this is the major part of the Discussion Studies, it is much more relaxed because it mostly involves my reading aloud while the kids keep busy hands.  In winter we snuggle up in a sunny spot, in summers we sit under a shady tree.

By then it is nearly time for lunch.  We usually fit in “1 More Thing” on the Discovery Studies and my wall chart works  so well ~

  • Monday ~ Main Core = More research on the topic, read additional books, get going with a project or a lapbook, sometimes just catch up on reading.
  • Tuesday ~ Timeline & Science = add details to timeline chart/ Book of Centuries and a lesson from our Exploring Creation Zoology books with a quick notebook page/ minibook element
  • Wednesday ~ Wonderful World = Geography study/map work/ and our regular Nature Study activity
  • Thursday ~ Tea & Poetry & Shakespeare = we simply read and listen and enjoy
  • Friday ~Fine Arts = Famous Composer and Famous Artist of the month. Simply appreciate his music or an artwork.  We sometimes do an art activity or Sketch Tuesday while we listen to the musician.

Now for our reality – we live on a farm very far from any town or shop, so we always take a whole day off to go to town.  That means we always miss one day of the week.  Seldom, if ever, do we stick to every theme on every day, but it is there to remind us what we need to cover each week. I always have to catch up!

I simply join 2 themes and “Do 1 More Thing After Lunch” on another day and catch up.  Some themes work so easily together ~ core & timeline/ Nature Study & Science/ Shakespeare & Fine Arts.

In a nutshell ~ 3 days we do “1 thing after core” and on the 4th or one other day we add “1 more thing after lunch“.  It works for me!

Here is my free Theme of the Day chart for you to download ~

Theme for the Day 2012

For more online inspiration ~

Hope this inspires and encourages you.  If you have some more ideas that work, please share in the comments below. Any questions? Please just ask – other readers may also be wondering …


35 thoughts on “Theme for the Day

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  7. Nadene…I have a 9th grader and a 6th grader. I am having such a hard time getting away from the “traditional school” approach. How can I do more delight centered learning, especially with my 9th grader, and still be able to get all the subjects covered that they need to? Here is one of my biggest issues…I am a product of the US public school system, and the only thing I have is book style learning…read…answer questions…memorize for the test…move on…forget… That of course in my education in a nutshell, and I know that I do not want that for my children. However, I always seem to revert back to textbook style learning because I don’t seem to know how to teach it any other way. I would love suggestions on how to implement more delight-centered learning in my school. How much time and what sort of scheduling would you suggest for a high school. any help would me appreciated!


    • @holmancentral, the “teacher-in-me” has taken a long time to learn to relax and trust that my children are learning without textbooks and formal lessons!
      Firstly, may I encourage you to give your children more freedom to be delight-directed perhaps in even just one subject; maybe Fine Arts? My eldest child chose to go the textbook route for her high schooling and we both hated the dry, dead and dreadfully boring approach. She joined the younger 2 and me for Art and Music every Friday and we loved our informal times together. Perhaps Nature Study, perhaps Science or some handwork project? History is a great subject to learn with living books versus textbooks. I suppose that I am referring to a Charlotte Mason approach here.
      Secondly, high school changes most things, especially as one approaches the final 3 years and need to comply to graduation standards and university requirements. We found it harder to continue with our CM education and still meet these requirements, and in the end, we opted for a formal curriculum. So, enjoy the young years!
      Finally, I think that as one approaches high schooling, it becomes more collaborative, and the child must decide what subjects and what future goals to work towards. In essence, this could be where delight-directed learning should aim. Once a child is keen and positive, we need to be their facilitator and assist them to learn and discover for themselves. The trick is to find the balance between their freedom and real academic knowledge! I would far rather feed an enthusiastic high schoolers quest for knowledge because they love the subject or topic than try stuff them full of facts and kill their delight with endless test and exams. It is tricky to find the right fit for each high schooler. Blessings to you as you navigate these decisions and choices.


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  10. Hi Nadene… Okay, putting it all in play now, but wanting to understand. Sorry for my slow learning curve! After the 3 R’s and Bible, you do “History” every day for 1-2 hours, then 1 more thing from the Discovery Studies and your wall charts, for another hour or so. Then, after lunch, if you need to, you do another 1 more thing from the Discovery Studies. Do I have it? 🙂


    • @Mary Jane, we mostly do all as you describe before lunch (3R’s and Core), and some days when we do “One More Thing” after lunch if we haven’t done it before lunch. It seems like you have an extra after lunch which we don’t do. It helps to try gradually introduce the subjects. We add a subject each week, until we are in the full schedule. Blessings as you find what works.


  11. Oh… and also… do you just do your “core” 1 day out of the week? So, if you get started with a lap book or project in History on Monday, do you not touch that again until the next Monday? Or Science in Apologia one day out of the week, but not read again from that until the following week? Any information you have will really help. I’ve been home schooling for 17 years!! But for some reason, with my final two (ages 8 & 11), I’m just struggling for a schedule that will work for all of us. I believe there are answers here, just need to understand. 🙂 Thank you! MJ


    • @Mary Jane, good question! It does take a while to find your rhythm with each child or age & stage.
      We do our core (History) every day and use the Social Study day to do more in-depth work, or finish reading a chapter or write narrations or do a hands-on activity in the afternoon. We found that it was best to continue with big projects (like lapbooks or projects) daily and focus on the other extras in the afternoons. So, yes, we do Apologia Science on one day and do the whole week’s work in that day. Somehow we immerse ourselves in that theme for the day and do the whole week’s readings and activities in that session.
      Generally I found that we did more work this way than when we did a little every day. Often some “minor” subjects got left out!
      I hope you find what works for your final two! Blessings!


    • Hi @Mary Jane, we do about half an hour to 45mins on the 3R’s (Bible, Handwriting, Language Arts, Spelling and Maths) and then do our core studies for the rest of the morning which normally takes about 1 and a half to 2 hours. After lunch we continue with about an hour of the “One More Thing”. Some days we find that we can fit that in before lunch and the kids have a free afternoon, which they love! It is possible for the young kids to do all our work in the mornings and fit everything in 3 hours. My middle schooler and high schoolers often have to do the extra work in the afternoons. Hope this helps!


      • Hi Nadene! Thank you so very much! I think I understand now and plan to put it all into action next Monday, with a lot of GRACE till we find our rhythm. I am curious to know how much prep time you put into each week and if you plan out your semester a week at a time, or year at a time. I seem to have a broad idea of what I want to cover, but not good at “seeing” the small details that far down the road. I really appreciate your heart for sharing what God has laid on yours. Blessings!! MJ


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  20. Reblogged this on On Planting Seeds… and commented:
    I just LOVE this graphic! I’m very visual, and this organizer is PERFECT, not only because it captures why we homeschool (education is more than the bottom left circle, after all), but because it also helps me determine the kind of product to expect (the joy of discovery, an animated discussion, a life experience, or a perfectly executed work sample). This is terrific! Thank you for sharing.


    • @Bugsandstuff, thanks for the reblog! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the graphic. I think it sums up the “Wholehearted” approach we should all strive for. That’s also why I needed to “add 1 more thing” Theme of the Day -I tend to get stuck in the Disciplined Studies circle and loose sight of all the rest.


  21. Thank you for this post. I am working on our plan for kindergarten next year and this gives me some fun ideas. Heck – even though my son is in preschool this year, we may institute a few of those ideas this year to get into the habit. No time like the present!


  22. Nadene – I admire how you your organize your days – and name them! I adore alliteration 🙂 Like you, we also enjoy Sketch Tuesday sometimes during our composer study. Thank you for sharing our Hodgepodge of extras. The ‘one more thing’ idea really helped change my thinking and was an encouraging way realize we truly could enjoy all those enriching subjects.


    • @Tricia, your posts have encouraged and confirmed my homeschooling ideals! One doesn’t have to “do it all” – just add a little extra to the basics and it makes such a profound difference!


  23. Thanks for linking to mine! I love your chart graphics. Did you draw them? We don’t usually get all five days done either, but it keeps me accountable for the things that typically fall through the cracks.


    • @Amyswandering, thank you! Your charts are so much fun! Yes, I drew and painted mine. It was fun! I think that the colors and simple visual concept, along with alliteration keeps it fresh!


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