Before you read this post, please note that this schedule represents an ideal....it is what I aim for in a given day, although very few days ever actually turn out as planned! I do find that just having a plan in place, which we are all working toward accomplishing...is necessary ~ and enough ~ to keep my family on track, however imperfectly!
Peeking into the days and routines of other homeschooling families is one of my all-time favorite topics to read or talk about. My family is constantly changing as each child grows older and acquires new abilities and needs; and I am always looking for new ideas and better ways to manage our schedule.
So I was excited this morning to read about the link-up over on Courtney's blog, Women Living Well. Homeschooling mamas will be writing posts sharing their school-day routines - I'm sure this will be a great source of inspiration, ideas and encouragement for us all!
Here is what our school days currently look like. I say 'currently' because, as I mentioned, my family seems to be constantly changing...and often the schedule I write up for one month needs to be completely revised the next. We have four children - a 5th grader, 2nd grader, two-year-old and a ten-month-old. The little ones also make it a bit challenging to stick to a regular schedule, since they do require a lot of their own attention during the day and nap-times can be unpredictable.
I chose all of our curriculum this year, to fit the individual needs of my kiddos, so I suppose you could define our homeschool as eclectic. I wrote a post at the beginning of the year outlining what we'd be using - so if you're curious you can read more about that here!
5 am... My day begins early so I can (hopefully!) have a few hours to myself before the kiddos wake up. Many days baby Peanut will join me, as he instinctively seems to know when Mama is awake! This is when I have my devotion and prayer time, type up blog posts, check my email, manage our budget, exercise and squeeze in my shower (not all in the same day!).
8 am... The kiddos are (supposed to be!) up by now and we begin the day with morning chores - beds made, everyone dressed, teeth brushed, rooms straightened, dog fed & let out. I get the laundry started and make the day's list of cleaning chores and independent schoolwork for General & Rose to do.
8:30 am... Breakfast time & Bible time. If we are having cold cereal, General & Rose prepare the meal for everyone; everyone helps cleanup.
9 am... General and Rose take their checklists and get started on the schoolwork I've assigned, which they know how to do on their own (usually things like penmanship, reading for science or history, daily writing exercises, etc.). Once their schoolwork is done, they bring their work to me for grading, approval, and for narrating their reading back to me (Charlotte Mason-style). Then they move on to their chores for the day (usually something like vacuuming, washing a bathroom, taking the garbage out on garbage day, etc.) They are not allowed to play, read any other books, goof around, etc. until the checklist is completed. If they finish before lunch (which almost always is the case), they are then free to help me with the little ones (Rose's favorite thing to do!) or pursue a personal project/interest that is educational or creative (legos is usually General's top choice).
Meanwhile, I keep the little ones with me - both to prevent them from distracting the older two from their schoolwork, and also to give them the Mommy-time they need. They work along with me/help me in whatever I need to do - usually cleaning, laundry, cooking (if I need to get dinner prepped early), baking, or budget/other paperwork, etc. Some days we just play, or I will do a special project with Little Monkey.
12 noon...Lunch time. LM & I prep lunch while G & R clean up toys, school things, etc. Then G & R clean up while I put LM & P (hopefully!) down for their naps.
1 pm... Afternoon schooltime. We save math, spelling, phonics and grammar for this time, when the house is quiet & little ones are sleeping. These subjects require me to work one-on-one with G & R, and so I'll alternate lessons with one child while the other works on whatever homework is assigned. The goal is to be done by 3 pm... although it doesn't always work out that way!
3pm... Snack time and free time. There is no TV until after dinner...so the kiddos can play with toys, play outside, or work on a project. Lately we've been having a lot of fun using this time to work on practical skills together, like our carved slate tiles...or sewing, or cake decorating, etc.
6 pm or later... Dinner chores (straighten house, set table, help mom in kitchen), then dinner & the kiddos cleanup the kitchen. Then freetime.
8:30 pm... Some nights we read a chapter of Character Sketches with Daddy. Then its bedtime for the kiddos!
One thing that really makes a big difference in the success of our schooldays is that I really do try to completely stay home at least four days per schoolweek. It is difficult for me to run fast errands with the little ones, so I find that even a "quick" trip to the grocery store or Target can really disrupt the flow of our day. I do my best to save all my running around for the weekends, especially when Hubby is home & I can get out alone! The exception here would be any outings related to our homeschooling, which I then count as school - field trips, get-togethers with our homeschool support group, or shopping trips related to school projects (which then become learning opportunities for the kiddos)...but even outings like these I try to limit to one day per week.
Can't wait to read about your school-schedules! Have a blessed day!