Saturday, September 14, 2013

Our Current Homeschool Schedule

This year I am homeschooling Nation, 7 years old [2nd grade] and Solomon, 5 years old [Kindergarten]. Our schedule usually looks like this:
Monday: 1-2 hours of school before noon then 3 solid uninterrupted hours while Heaven naps from 12-3
Tuesday: My sitter comes from 10-3 and watches the younger two while I school, and helps around the house [like laundry]
Wednesday: 1-2 hours of school before noon then 3 solid uninterrupted hours while Heaven naps from 12-3
Thursday: It's CC "school" day. Class is from 9-12, lunch/recess lasts till 1:30, we sometimes do a little school that afternoon [my sitter stays at home with my younger two]
Friday: Get a few hours of school in before my sitter helps from 2-7 watching little kids while I finish up any school left for the week, and helps me clean before small group
My sitter helps us about 15 hours a week, plus a date night, so if you ever wonder "how I do it", she's the Ace up my sleeve. She loves my kids and they love her. She's been working for us for over two years regularly and knows where my socks go, what I buy from the grocery store, and where everything in my house belongs. I am blessed. I have done it without her, and I could do it again if we had to, but for the time being, it's nice. I can focus on schooling for a few hours a week uninterrupted while my little ones are being paid attention to by someone loving.
We don't mind the cost because it's our version of a "mother's morning out" or "preschool" for little ones. Anyone can cook, clean, and do laundry, but, for our family, we feel I'm the one called to teach my kids. I'm so thankful she steps in and helps me during this season of lots of little ones so I don't burn out or get tired of not having clean undies. I know many moms do not have this luxury, and it is, a luxury, so hats off to you, I definitely don't "do it all" alone.
Our children usually wake up between 7:30-8:30 AM and go to bed between 8-9 PM. For the time being, I take the morning to: workout [this happens rarely, but hopefully more often], get dressed [just me, kids are known to be half dressed], nurse the baby, change the baby, make a hot breakfast [my boys need protein or you can forget school focus], take care of the other 17 things that usually arise [spills, butt wiping, a txt, cleaning up what the toddler got into, discipling, an email, discussing heart issues, you name it].
If we start school around 10 or 11, it's a good day. We have lunch at around 1, then back to school work. Solomon usually is done before Nation because he's younger so his work load is a lot less. The boys currently do Bible, History, Art, Language Arts, Science, and Read-Alouds together. They do separate Reading & Math. The state requires 4 hours of school a day, we easily do this with our curriculum as well as reviewing for Classical Conversations [CC]. I do expect a lot less out of my current Kindergartener than I did the first time I taught Kindergarten. First of all, he knows more just from listening to older brother be homeschooled. Second, I realized [like most first time homeschoolers] I over did it, and required too much from him. It's Kindergarten! So I try to cover the basics, and make it fun. It's an introduction to how amazing learning can be, not a time to create divisions in your relationship or show off to your friends how psycho you are with your 5 year old. 
Moses, my 3 year old, will have spent some of that morning time hanging out with me, and then during our school time if he can't sit quietly in the room with us, he might: go play in the backyard, play wii, play the iPad, watch tv, play in the playrooms. Anywhere he is I can either see him from the school room, or see him on a camera. Occasionally he does get into trouble, do I even have to say that? He doesn't seem to mind the independant time at all though. He rarely naps, if he does, he has trouble being tired at bedtime. In general my rule of thumb with him is, if he's behaving and happy I let him be, if he's grumpy and getting into trouble he has to having resting time in his bed at 3 for 1-2 hours even if he doesn't sleep. He's smart, he's figured this out and in general behaves to avoid this.
Heaven is almost 1 years old. She is very mobile so this creates the biggest homeschool challenge because if she's not getting into a cabinet, or eating something dangerous, or sticking her finger in an outlet, or climbing up the stairs, she's distracting her brothers from school with her cuteness. So for now, she plays at our feet, or walks around in the walker where I can see her, or sits in the high chair and has a snack. Someone suggested bringing in the pack n play which I might have to do soon. She's very good and isn't fussy, but her brothers do love her so much they can't seem to keep their eyes off her. Still, in that 1-2 hours I am able to get some things accomplished with her.
Daddy usually is off work between 5 and 6 and we spend the next 2-4 hours playing with him, eating dinner, attending activities and picking up before bed. Charles loves to do school with the kids too so a few times a week he will sit down with all of them, or one of them, and teach them.
Something new I am trying is to not let the older two have any rewards until their responsibilities [chores & school] are done. Rewards include: TV, wii, iPad, playing, or going outside. I'm still ironing this out as they are use to "morning cartoons" and maybe some TV around lunch or play breaks. I am currently testing some different scenarios. Seems like the little media and outside breaks were making it hard for them to want to let go and come back to school, even if only for a few minutes, so I'm trying to decide how to give them mental breaks without letting them do something so wonderful and distracting they have terrible attitudes about returning to their school work. But sometimes you just gotta go outside because the weather is so nice! Or let them watch TV in the morning because you were up with a teething baby!
Charles and I usually spend 9-11 together, usually talking. We are both night owls, but we also are both trying to get in the habit of working out in the morning so we are trying to go to bed earlier more often. During this time, I wish I wrote more blog posts, or read, but usually I find something to clean, or something to do online. I suppose theirs also hours of unrecorded comforting, listening, organizing, loving, preparing, scrubbing, and child training involved. That's a brief overview of our schedule. Of course, things do come up, and it's not uncommon for me to squeeze two days worth of work into one so that we can go on a field trip or have a playdate. I highly value both of those. We are flexible, but I always make sure we accomplish all of our work for the week. Not only do my children deserve that, but it's the law, and thus it's honoring to God.

What's your schedule like?

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