Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Day in the Life Homeschooling Ages 6, 8, 11, and 13 (Updated)

We complete one set of subjects on Monday,Wednesday, and Friday, and another set on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with some overlapping. Today I'll share our Mon-Wed-Fri schedule, and later this week our Tuesday-Thursday schedule.

A Word About Vision and Goals

You might notice we don't have any extra-curriculars scheduled. We aren't big on them because they tend to crowd out family devotions and family dinners, which are what we feel strengthen families and provide kids with rock-solid foundations--something peers and extra-curricular teachers can't do for us.

If one of my children happened to be a gymnastics super star, or an exceptionally talented soccer champ, we might feel differently about extra-curriculars, but our children's God-given strengths and interests don't happen to be in organized sports or lessons. They play sports in the backyard with each other, which makes them happy. Free time is important to them.

Additionally, my children have each other to play with, whereas smaller families may need more outside stimulation. Each family has unique needs, and each home-managing couple has to find ways to meet those needs the best they can, in ways that uphold the family's vision statement (or philosophy).

Friday Changes On Friday afternoons things are different than what is scheduled below. We schedule two hours for art/crafts or baking, and then we go to the library, though this is subject to change if something special is going on at the library on another day. But generally, Friday works best.

One or possibly two of my children have dyslexia, and another has dyscalculia and dysgraphia. The All About Spelling and All About Reading programs both address those special needs. Also, I have one case of ADHD. two cases of OCD, and one case of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. My youngest has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. All of these needs together make it necessary to stick to a structured schedule. Everyone is happier with structure here--structure with room for creativity.

If there are doctor's appointments to schedule, I try to make them after 2 PM, but not too close to dinner. Appointments tend to be at least once a week between the arthritis and other needs.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 
For our Tues-Thurs Schedule, click here.

7:30 - Wake-Up 

I'm up at 7:30, in the shower at 7:40, after inserting a load of clothes. I dress, comb and scrunch my wet, permed hair, apply make-up and make my bed, and help the six-year-old with her bed.

The kids trickle out between 7:45 and 8:10, with Beth, age 6, often up first. They make their beds, get dressed, put their pajamas in the hamper, and then play with Legos, Hot Wheels, board games or whatever. It's basically free time until 8:30, but no computer.

Bible - Boys (If they get to bed late the night before for some reason, I let them sleep longer, and in that case they read the Bible before ending school for the day. They have a check-off sheet for each subject, and that has to be checked by me before they're finished for the day.)

8:30 - Breakfast & Devotions

We eat oatmeal or Cheerios or Shredded Wheat, and then we all rinse our bowls and gather for devotions in the living room. I'm reading from the Miller Family Series, currently in their Proverbs book called Wisdom And the Miller's, to which we all look forward.

After the reading we all take turns praying about our upcoming day, about the Proverb we learned, about various needs, after first giving thanks. 

The children will brush their teeth next, and I will fix the girls' hair.

9:30 - Quick Write Journals

They write in their journals for 15 minutes, with the kindergartner either using the Draw Write Now series of books, or working with me on Handwriting Without Tears. The kindergartner will often keep working into the next segment.

9:45 - 10:30 

All About Reading Level 2 - Mary (age 8) and Mommy 

Teaching Textbooks Math DVD program Level 7 - Peter (age 13)

Sonlight Literature Reading from World History Part 1 (Core G) - Paul (age 11)

Puzzles, Painting, PlayDoh, or Drawing - Beth (kindergarten)

10:30 - 11:15  (Everyone switches from the subjects above. The boys use the same curriculum so they have to rotate with some of the resources.)

All About Reading Level 1 - Beth (Grade K) and Mommy (She can only concentrate 30 minutes tops, and that's pushing it.)

Teaching Textbooks Math DVD  program Level 7 - Paul

Sonlight Literature Reading from World History Part 1 (Core G) - Peter

Puzzles, Painting, PlayDoh, or Drawing - Mary

11:15 - 11:45  Snack and Break

Children might do crafts, such as make up a miniature puppet theater, or get out the construction paper/scissors/glue, or play board games or cards after having a quick snack. If they're highly involved in their creations, this can go 20 to 30 minutes longer, but usually we stay on track.

I shuffle laundry throughout the day, including at this time. I also try to unload and load the dishwasher during this half-hour.

11:45 - 12:30 

Writing - Boys and Mommy

Making Books at Writing Center - Girls

Split Week - The segment below, 12:30 to 1:15, is split for the girls. Monday and Friday the girls do Saxon Math at this time, and on Wednesday they do All About Spelling. This splitting gives them 4 days per week of Math, and 3 days per week of spelling.

12:30 - 1:15 (Monday and Friday Only)

Saxon Math - Girls and Mommy (Beth, the K student, doesn't work the whole 45 minutes.)

Easy Grammar Workbooks - Boys

Paul plays the piano after grammar. He's teaching himself with piano books, with the goal of being able to play music at Christmas for his family, or hymns for his family devotions. 

12:30 - 1:15 (Wednesday Only)

All About Spelling Level 1 - Girls and Mommy 

Easy Grammar Workbooks - Boys (same as Monday and Wednesday for boys.)

1:15 - 2:30 Lunch Break 

If we need milk from the dollar store or have to go to the pharmacy window, that will usually happen at the end of the lunch break. I buy five gallons of milk once a week (2 jugs nonfat and 3 jugs 2%), but we need one additional milk run before a week is up.

2:30 - 3:00

All About Spelling Level 2 & 3 - Boys and Mommy 
We switched to All About Spelling this year. It's recommended that you take older students through all the levels so they don't miss any of the spelling rules. Level 2 is too easy so I try to cover both 2 and 3 at the same time, only covering words from Level 2 that are needed to illustrate the spelling rules they don't know well.

Free Time - Girls (Without interrupting Momma's spelling lessons with the boys.)

3:00 - 3:30  Read-Aloud

Mom reads aloud from the girls' Sonlight Core B read-aloud list. My husband reads aloud to the boys later at night from their Sonlight Core G read-aloud list. However, the boys also enjoy listening to the girls' selections. They're highly funny, engaging books! We just finished Owls In the Family by Farley Mowat, and now we're into Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary. On Fridays we read from Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

3:30 - 3:45 Afternoon Clean-Up

We tidy up the house. I wipe down the bathrooms or sweep, and finish up kitchen chores. The kids put away anything they've left out during the day. If it gets way too messy before this, we do five- minute pick-up segments during the day.

3:45 - 5:30 Free Time 

Free time inside or out, depending on temperature and precipitation. In other seasons, they're outside during snack break and lunch break also.

Or, complete any unfinished school work.

5:30 - 6:30 Take Turns in Shower and Free Time 

Mom makes dinner, sometimes with kids' help, while also shuffling laundry and conditioning the 6-year-old's hair. Kids clear off table for dinner.

6:45 Dinner

Husband joins us when he arrives home at 7:00 PM. Having dinner this late isn't ideal, but it works for families in which Daddy works late.

7:30 Family Devotions & Prayer

We're currently working through Leading Little Ones to God, recommended by Sonlight as part of their Core B package.

8:10  Take vitamins, chronic-condition medicines, and brush teeth. If there are a lot of clothes in the kids' individual laundry baskets, they fold those and put them away after teeth brushing.

8:30  Daddy reads to boys. Mom reads picture books to kindergartner, and most often the 2nd grader cuddles with us too.

8:50 Bedtime for girls

9:20 - Bedtime for boys

I do the dishes, sometimes with my husband's help, but he often has to talk on the phone with his 92-year-old father, who lives alone in Florida by choice. I also check for any last laundry loads to shuffle.

Before bed the Bible, get teaching materials ready for the next day, pay any necessary bills, research any curriculum or methods or books, order school supplies, or read blogs and/or write a blog. If there's a major news story ongoing, I read about that (we have no TV signal, so online news is all we have). I tend to stay up late because all of this takes time. My husband is on his feet all day, so he generally goes to bed by 10 PM. Two to three times a week, I also go to bed early.

My days are full and fabulous, despite the difficult health conditions we deal with. I couldn't be more grateful for this lifestyle. Being together so much strengthens and grounds us, and prepares us to serve God with joy when we go out into the world, at church, at the library, in the neighborhood, at appointments, on errands. We pray for each other and share each other's burdens, and remind each other to give it all to God. Even when things are messy and some are in bad moods, it's still all good, all building toward a stronger character as we stumble but keep trying to be like Jesus.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.


Anonymous said...

Goodness you are busy non-stop.

Terri H said...

Thanks for sharing this! My school schedule with one in second (doing some higher-level work), and one in pre-k is simple in comparison right now. As I look at adding a SL core in the fall (P 4/5 on a slow schedule) and a new baby before that in the spring, it's always nice to see how others make it all work. :)

Christine said...

Being busy keeps me out of trouble.:)

Terri, I'm so excited for you! You must be about 6 months along now? Keep us posted, please?

Terri H said...

I am 25 weeks now. Baby boy number three will join us in May and we are excited. :)

Lisa said...

You are one busy lady, Christine. And doing a great job with your children. :)
Love and hugs!

Christine said...

Thank you, Lisa. I sure appreciate the encouragement. Thank you for the taking the time to stop here and speak to me today.