What do people do all day – people work and people play. We are a family of champions in the play department but this post is all about the work schedule so don’t expect masters of perfection here!!!
Trust me this is a rough schedule… with time limits flexible and distractions numerous… not to mention wanderings after interesting topics that have nothing to do with “school” and everything to do with learning.
About the only thing that is consistent time wise is mealtime: we all need a food and fuel routine! Everything else slides around, but we follow the same order of doing things everyday. Hard followed by easy, “carrots” for getting through tricky bits and heaps of down time because I really think that it takes time to process all the facts they absorb. So lots of time to dream, stare into space and just general idleness.
That being said, if work is marked off and scheduled for a day it does get done. And food is our motivation! Finish your math before a snack, finish your file before lunch, finish your chores before supper and so on. It works and only once per scholar have I ever had to go further and finish work that didn’t get done on a Saturday morning and miss doing something with the loved and adored father person. I don’t know, maybe when they are older it will change but so far so good.
Also, I don’t mind if they take half an hour or the all day to do their work and different personalities do it differently. But they must not expect me to sit with them the entire time – I am the mother person not the entertainment and they are one of many and know that I will always help with a problem but if they waste my time then meals run late and then nothing goes well!!! I really never knew how much we were about food till we started blogging.
So here we go in Se7en Steps:
- Step 1 – Reading Session the First:
We have an understood house rule: When you wake up in the morning you read until almost everyone is awake… I get up with the first kidlet in the morning, usually Hood #7 and head for the couch. She “reads” and I work on my blog for the day for about an hour before other kidlets start trickling through.
And this year, now that Hood #3’s reading is at a competent level of reading Chapter Books with ease, she will do her Bible reading as well. When my little guys get up I pop on the couch and do the Bible Readings from their Cores with them. And I help Hood #3 through her history and science reading. I need their science read before we start morning school because they can only fill in their science sheets once they have done the reading!
Chores at 7:30: Most people are up and about (sometimes there will be a late sleeper – never disturb a sleeping child!). We do a couple of chores: Clear the dishwasher get the laundry going, beds made and such like.
Breakfast at 8:00 am. During breakfast we have a discussion on what they read in their Bibles, History and Science everyone gets a chance to speak and I don’t usually have to ask leading questions – knowledge flows!!! Hood #4 is always finished first and while everyone else is catching up and getting their dishes to the dishwasher I do his reading lesson one on one.
Then everyone dashes off to brush their teeth and here I can easily lose the whole day. It is hardest for me to get them back to the table. So I have a “carrot”.
- Step 2 – Free Writing For Everyone:
We always start the day with some sort of creative writing project. Sometimes I give them a writing prompt, sometimes they get to draw a picture of that weeks poem, they may write any letters that need writing, sometimes I have crept into their journal and stuck a picture for them to write about. The list of ideas is really endless here. They love it and so do I. We spend about half an hour on that. Even my littlest guys join for this because they all want to do some school – so drawing picture or whatever helps them to feel part of the family but isn’t burdening them!
- Step 3 – Math:
Then we move onto math – some people agonize through it, some people grind through it and some people breeze through saying “dunnit!” as they go. For all this they all perform pretty much the same. I never offer help. I am present – hanging out the laundry, getting bread going for lunch. It is their school, if I sit with them I tend to do a lot more than I should and they tend to do a lot less than they should. If they need help of course I am there, but I like them to be able to plod along. My presence is more for policing than for teaching. You know, telling some one to stop reading a book on the sly and refocusing wandering minds. At this stage my little guys are not very far off – they may be washing dishes or doing play-do or even playing with math manipulatives (someone has to use them!!!).
As soon as they finish their math we have our mid-morning snack. If someone is lingering they don’t snack – generally they finish!
- Step 4 – Language Arts and Reading Session the Second:
I need another carrot to get them back to the table. So I read someone’s poetry and just work through the poetry pile, a book a day through the week. By now my little guys will have wandered off during the snack and will have got involved in their own game. The big guys start with any spelling or vocabulary project that they are working through. Then they move onto grammar goodies and the language art sheets in their files. I am preparing lunch and will give anyone a hand if they need it.
Sometime later in the morning Hood #7 will take a nap and the little guys will come with me to the couch and we will read their history and science then.
- Step 5 – Science:
Once they have finished their language arts they are rewarded with their science. The Quiz sheets are in their file, they fill them in and write any notes that they want to write in their science notebooks. New definitions or some interesting factoid. Or illustrate something they learnt. Also if we are working through science experiments then this happens now quickly before lunch.
- Step 6 – Reading Session the Second:
Everyone heads to read for a quiet hour. The older guys read their readers and read alouds. Everyone reads their own thing for an hour, even I do. Some people may or may not pass out and have a nap – including me!
At the end of the hour the musicians practise for about 20 minutes and I read the little guys their readers and read-alouds.
That’s it school’s out. And the afternoon is theirs: they usually cycle or swim or skateboard for about an hour and play furiously the rest of the time – it may be the last day of play – ever, ever, ever!!!
- Step 7 – History and Reader Journals:
The carrot at the end of the day is something arty. A famous painter, a tuesday art task, watercolors, famous musician, a science scavenge. Followed by the all important snack!
Once I start cooking everyone wants to be in the kitchen and generally they congregate there (just in case they get fed again!!!). At around five pm I start supper and they work in their history journals alongside me – write some notes, stick in timeline stickers. Or if they have finished their reader/read-aloud then they do a book review. And work on things I have printed off the web for them. At this stage my little guys need to do something fiddly and requiring a bit of focus – it keeps them out of the end of the day squabbles if they are busy doing something on their own. The generally play in the bread bin – with whatever is lurking there that week.
That’s it – pre-supper chores (tidying and laundry away) and supper, showers, bed!!! Sometimes the big guys will leave any coloring till then – they like to do it in bed. And it is pretty much read whatever you like until lights out. Little guys all get a library book of choice read to them.
Lunch At Last – we eat between 12 and 1 pm. And I do our daily family Bible Reading and if we are reading a family read aloud (not a school one – there lots of books that my children need to absorb but they aren’t amongst their school books) I do it then and we clean up together.
That’s it a day in the school life of us…
Next week I will go through exactly what we do subject by subject and journal by journal. I will demonstrate that we do stuff in a jiffy! We work smart not long!
I am also accumulating se7en common school questions I get:
- How do I keep little people busy?
- How do I read through all the books?
- How do I cope with interruptions?
If you want to ask something: how to get your kid to sit there, how to cope with the volume of stuff whatever ask away and I will post a post once I have se7en questions good to go… so ask away!
I popped this post onto the Works For Me Wednesday Site – go and have a look there for all sorts of tips on absolutely anything.