Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Our new "full time" school schedule

Some ladies in a homeschool group I read have been posting about their daily school schedules. I love reading about other folks' days. Probably because I'm nosy. But anyway, I'm gonna jump in and participate. I've done this before, but with two kids that are old enough for "real school" (and one in middle school, eek!) things have changed some. Here's what our day looks like:

I wake up at 5:00. I drink coffee, check emails, etc. for half an hour. Then I get to work - shower and dress, start some laundry, clean somewhere or another. I get as much done indoors as I can while it's still dark out and the house is calm and quiet.

The kids get up at 6:30. They have their own set of morning chores - straighten rooms, make beds, get dressed and wash up, etc. Each kid has a chore that revolves each week, along with their regular ones to be done at this time. Breakfast goes on the table at 7:00. It takes my children an hour to eat their breakfast and rinse their plates, even with my perpetual nagging. At 7:30, I give up the nagging, and retreat to my bedroom for half an hour of Bible study, where I
askbeg God to grant me the patience to get through the day without yelling.

Outdoor chores start after that - milking, feeding and watering animals, pulling weeds in the garden, harvesting and cleaning veggies, cleaning pens, filling troughs, whatever needs to be done. The girls work til 9:00, and get an hour of free time to run and play. I work until 9:30, either outside or in the kitchen, then have another cup of coffee and remind myself that patience is a virtue.

10:00, school starts. We do math first - about an hour. Littlest One (2nd grade) does a page of seatwork while I do a lesson for The Oldest (6th grade.) Then The Oldest does her workbook pages while Littlest One gets a lesson with me and finishes her workbook. We're using aBeka for the youngest, Saxon for the oldest. Right now, they are both working really well. If either of them finishes early, they get to play a math-related computer game. I use that as bribery to actually get their work done, instead of dawdling and staring at the wall. Sadly, it's not a very effective bribery tool, and it doesn't work all that often.

After math is Language. Littlest One does her phonics workbook and activities while The Oldest gets a lesson. Then we switch - Littlest does her reading aloud and reading workbook while The Oldest does her written lesson. We are using Rod & Staff for the second grader, aBeka for the 6th grader. Littlest is loving R&S, and I am too. The Oldest is learning to diagram sentences in aBeka. She finds this as useless as I do. I try not to show it, because I'm sure it's good for her. At least, I think I'm sure. Anyway, a fair amount of, "Focus on your own work," and she gets it done by noon.

Lunch is prepared and served at noon. I have started setting the timer and giving them 20 minutes to eat, because quite frankly, I don't have time to wait another hour for them to eat a pb&j. While we eat, I read through my favorite verses on patience.

Forty minutes of indoor chores - folding laundry, cleaning the floor, vacuuming, etc. and then we pick back up in the school room at 1:00.

This is our favorite time of day. KONOS. Can't tell you the love affair I have with this curriculum. It's Bible, Character Study, Science, History, Art, Handicrafts, and so much more, all rolled into one gigantic book. Each day is different, but it usually involves some kind of fun hands-on activity that my kids don't want to be over. But when it is, we settle into the sitting room where they color and I read aloud - sometimes a biography, sometimes a "living book" that goes along with whatever we are studying. I try to wrap this up around 2:30.

From 2:30 to 3:00, we do whatever "revolving subject" I've decided to focus on at that moment. Typing, foreign language, music, artist study, educational computer games, free reading. It's different every week. If The Oldest has 4-H work to catch up on, she does it at this time. This is usually a self-guided time, so I work on cleaning but am always nearby for questions. Or reminding them that it's not play time, and threatening to separate them.

From 3:00 to 4:00, the kids get an hour of free time. If I'm feeling really energetic, I'll spend some time with them doing something fun. If I'm not, I say a prayer of gratitude for having gotten through the day, drink more coffee, and stare mindlessly at my computer for awhile. Or, on really bad days, I lock myself in my bedroom, call my best friend, and cry as I admit to her how badly I've failed. Thankfully, those days aren't too common.

From 4:00 to 6:00 we fix dinner, eat it, and clean up the kitchen. Unless I'm feeling lazy. Then I ignore the dishes altogether until the next morning. Around 6:00 we go back outside and work in the garden, tend the animals, play with the dogs, get the mail, ride the horses, or whatever else sounds good. The Daddy is home in the evenings now, so we're going to have to see how that plays into our evening routine.

During the summer, the kids are in bed by 8:30. The Oldest gets half an hour of reading/crafting time in her room before Lights Out at 9:00. During the winter, when we are indoors longer in the evening, I read to them, usually a few chapters from a book I deem worthwhile, and we call this Literature. Either way, I try to be asleep by 10:00.

We do school four days a week. Usually we need a day in The Big City for running errands - that day often changes from week to week. If we're lucky and don't have to go down there, we try to do a hike or something else fun, or just enjoy a free day of crafting and playing games and such, or catching up on cheese making.

Saturday we rest - we do a Bible study, we have some special activities that are only for Saturdays (like arranging and rearranging the porcelain doll cabinet, which can make my kids happy for hours at a time.) Again, The Daddy is home on weekends now, so this could change. And Sundays, if we get to stay home, we spend deep cleaning the house, organizing, and doing other general upkeep because there are mysterious mess-making elves that destroy things like linen closets and playrooms while we sleep every night.

So that's what our days look like. It's a far cry from what it looked like a couple of years ago, when the kids were younger. School takes most of each day. Some days are great, some days are rough, but I'm enjoying this new "full time" stage of homeschool with them, for the most part. I could do without the nagging, if we're being honest, but it seems like a fair trade for watching them grow up into the smart young ladies that they are!