Anne, how do you fit in “together time”, individual time, and your other subjects that I read about? Do you do all those subjects every day? I am having trouble figuring out how to get it all done.
I’m so glad you asked this question. After doing a new school year with my kids for a couple weeks now, I’m absolutely positive I don’t have it all together. That’s the frustration of the Internet. It always looks like everyone else is managing, when in fact, anything looks easy on “paper” (or online).
But let me see if I can give you a couple ideas anyway. Honestly I can wear out really quickly. Sometimes, like now when I’m pregnant, I can have a rough week or two when I just don’t have much energy. So I have some days each week scheduled for “together time” and some days scheduled without it, so that I’ll have some flexibility.
Our “together time” is planned three days per week, when I attempt to do subjects such as Bible, Hebrew, music, poetry, reading from chapter books, history, science and grammar (whew!). On days we don’t do “together time,” we just do Bible. I try to do Bible every day. (I don’t always succeed, but it’s our goal.)
I sometimes get up at 7 a.m., but if I’m not feeling well, I sleep in. Either way, we eat a good breakfast, and that takes a while to make, then we try to at least have the kitchen cleaned up and all our bedrooms neatened up before school starts, so realistically, it’s 9:30 or later before we start. I aim for 9:30, but if we don’t make it, well, we just start when we can.
It takes us about 2 hours to get through “together time,” or about 20-30 minutes for just Bible on the lighter mornings.
After that, my older kids work independently as much as possible. That’s my goal. (I do drill math for about 10 minutes, but only 2-3 days per week. Ideally, I’d drill them daily, but I just can’t fit it all in. I also have little ones who can’t read yet, so I have to save some energy for them.)
I make up “assignment sheets” for each student in the summertime, and I print them and put them in their 3-ring binders. This gives them a checklist that they each work through every day.
For instance, my 5th grader knows to do one lesson each day in Arithmetic. She knows to work on copywork each day. If she has a question, she knows to come ask me. We also review school during the day. For instance, I hang charts on the fridge and try to remember to help them memorize the prepositions, helping verbs, pronouns, etc., as we’re doing dishes.
Same with spelling. Each day of the week I gave her a different assignment, such as alphabetize the list one day, write half the words in a sentence one day, have her sister quiz him another, etc. The test is always on Friday, and sometimes her sister gives that to her. Sometimes I do. But her assignment is in her 3-ring binder, and she doesn’t need my help to work on this each day.
For reading, I just listed all the books I wanted her to read for the year in a list, and she reads a story a day. When she has finished what I’ve assigned, she gets to pick out chapter books from the library or our bookshelf and read a chapter a day for the rest of the year. That’s as fancy as my planning gets here. Sometimes at supper, we’ll have her tell Dad about her story for the day, just to be sure she’s reading it and understanding it. This has worked for us.
And so it goes for the other subjects.
So I guess the moral of this story is that I want my kids to work without my help as much as they possibly can. I give them a checklist of all their subjects, and they work through this checklist each day. We all sit at the table together (me with my laptop, working online) so they can ask me questions and I can keep them on task. But outside of those “together” subjects 3 days a week, they work on their own. We try to start at a consistent time, but when we finish each day just depends on how well they work. Some days are great… other days are SLOW. They’re pretty normal kids! 🙂
I hope all this made sense!