Homeschooling Ideas – Couch Curriculum
For the first few years of homeschooling I had babies and toddlers. This involved spending lots of time on the couch feeding whilst lessons were on. At first I used to try to fit the feeds in between the lessons, often getting up mid feed to attend to something. However it didn’t take me long to work out that I needed to find some homeschooling ideas to combine these activities if possible.
I suppose that was when I began to do couch homeschooling, and for the next ten years we spent at least an hour and a half a day doing our lessons on the couch. At first I often had a little baby wrapped up feeding (or sleeping) whilst the rest of my little students snuggled next to me, but over the years things progressed. We all got used to our couch curriculum and made new routines.
Couch time wasn’t a set time every day, although it was usually before lunch. Chores and most of the individual homeschool lessons were done before we began our couch curriculum. We tried to finish most of our work so we were ready to sit for an extended period. All the kids would get something to do whilst on the couch. They might get out some drawing and a folder, some clips and brushes to do my hair (I loved that), knitting or crochet; sometimes my boys would sit on the floor just next to the couch and quietly play LEGO.
Here is a list of curriculum homeschooling ideas that I found worked well on the couch.
- Prayers and Bible Study – this is how our couch time usually started. A Bible and often another Christian literature resource such as Hero Tales or Leading Little Ones to God was used. We also had a short discussion. See our Christian Children’s Story Booklist
- Literature Unit Studies– Our first introduction to this was with Five In A Row. This taught me how to use picture books for conversational learning. Australian Book Traveller was also used. I learnt that one picture book can inspire a great many lessons as you look at the art, the ideas and the story.
- Reading Lessons – I used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy lessons for three of my children. That was a great couch curriculum. There was a small portion of reading required and that was quickly done on the coffee table after the reading lessons.
- The Classics– You can read these stories, listen to audio books or watch a DVD. My children have enjoyed many classics in this way – including reading Shakespeare plays and poetry.
- Science and Nature – I’ve never felt the need to use science textbooks in the early homeschool years. I found that children’s science books and nature stories provided many of the scientific details that young children required. To keep their little hands busy the children would often draw pictures on notebooks with pencil as we read the stories. DVDs can also be good but choose wisely; many science documentaries can be very graphic and I know sometimes I’ve regretted particular programs, some are also full of evolutionary ideas that you may or may not agree with.
- History – As far as I’m concerned you can’t beat historical fiction and biographies for teaching children history. We almost always were reading about some exciting person or event in history.
- Geography – Travel DVDs are valuable resources for the couch – especially on those days when you feel like you’re going to collapse.
- Maths – can you do that on the couch? What about math drill or even a living math book.
- Music – for us this was probably background music and I may have even slept but it’s still a good option for couch curriculum.
- Art – picture study was also easy to do on the couch.
An Atmosphere of Learning
Using couch curriculum for us wasn’t lazy; it was one of my practical homeschooling ideas that worked well for the whole family.
I found that when I took the pressure off locking my homeschool students to the table to do their school work I felt one million times more relaxed. I’d lost the churned up inside feeling (of trying to be in two places at once). I was able to enjoy teaching my gorgeous students and little ones together.
These days I only get to have a little couch time with my two youngest but I still enjoy it. However all of my children still love the couch for their lessons. Our couch time was a peaceful and relaxing time in our day. It was a family time and I will always treasure this period of our homeschooling journey.
This post is part of the ihomeschool network Not Back To School Blog Hop – Curriculum . I know Aussie homeschoolers are in the middle of their school year but you may enjoy some inspiration from these bloggers. You might also get some ideas for next year.