Thursday, February 6, 2014

Homeschool Q & A: A typical day and schooling with a toddler

For the first Q&A post see here.

I started this series to answer some questions for a friend. Since they are questions I get asked often I thought I'd write my answers out here for anyone else interested.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you while homeschooling and what do you do with Jackson during school? 

A: Because of our extra-curriculars everyday looks a little different, but I try to keep some schedule and routine for our actual schooling. 

Although I'd love to run everything Von Trapp style with time lines and whistles, life really just doesn't work that way. (smile) I go by a To-Do list and organize from there. I try to get up before the kids for quiet time, but this can be difficult with kids who still crawl into my bed half-an-hour before I plan to be up. I've learned to be flexible and remember that this is a short season. Abiah is up at 6:30 for Bible reading. The rest of the kids are almost always up before that, but I'm trying to train them to stay in their room until 7 so I have time to finish my devotions and shower.

Our mornings are started with kids getting dressed, chores getting done, piano practice, breakfast, and breakfast clean up. Most days HH is home for breakfast so we get to eat with him. 

I try to get us started with school by 8:30, but it's usually more like 9 or 9:30. First I get Abiah going on the subjects he does on his own. Then I spend about an hour working with Amelia and Jackson. Really this time is to give them some special time with me. Amelia is my main focus scholastically, but Jackson is her tag-a-long so we find things for him as well.

This is just one room. And it looks like this everyday. They have to have it all cleaned up by the end of the day. And then they start over as soon as they wake up. :)

When they get done and I send them off to play I do school with Hazel. Her curriculum takes 1-1&1/2 hours to do. Of course everything takes a bit longer because I'm working with children who have a mind of their own, a will of their own, and a bathroom schedule of their own. There are lots of interruptions, to put it plainly. 

Hazel was upset and refusing to do her math because there was a girl apple that had four worms in it and that was disgusting and unfair to the girl apple. Also, the girl apple should have been at the top of the page. Her least favorite memory verses are the ones that talk about rotting bones. She generally puts up a fight about rehearsing those ones. But, obviously, she's a princess and princesses shouldn't have to talk of such things... Oy vey! Puberty is going to be thrilling.

Though I aim to train my kids to show me and each other respect by allowing me to work with each one individually, really this is just part of being a family. Kids have to pee and poo. They need to express their ideas and thoughts. And they need remind you they have a will of their own every now and again five seconds later. 

After I finish with Hazel we have lunch. I usually make lunch while Hazel finishes up a writing task or puts her books away. Amelia and Jackson are usually cleaning up toys and Abiah is finishing up the subject he is on. After I've eaten I read aloud to the kids. Abiah has scheduled read-aloud books with his curriculum so that's what we read. Afterward we clean up from lunch and I settle Jackson down for a nap. 

While he's napping the girls play quietly-ish and I do school with Abiah. Depending on the day, scheduled lessons, and Abiah's work ethic we can be done anywhere from 1-5. I try not to carry work over to the next day, but sometimes it is unavoidable. 

Abiah is in a music class on Mondays and Hazel is in one on Tuesdays. The class is at 3 so we aim to be done with school in time to leave for class. Wednesday is a rather busy day for us. I only do school with Abiah and Hazel on this day. After school in the morning, we go to our homeschool group at 1:30, come home for dinner, and then leave again for mid-week church by 6:45. Thursday is a quiet day usually, and it is also our last day of school for the week. HH is off for the weekends beginning Friday morning so we spend Friday with him. Our curriculum is mostly scheduled for a four day school week so we just do any Friday work on Thursday.

I've found that our schedule has seasons because we have seasons. Last year looked very different. I like this year way more than last year, but the kids are a little older and are getting the hang of the routine a bit more.

One of the things that helped me relax about our daily school routine and my need for it to be perfect was a comment I read in our curriculum. The author was sharing their family's daily schedule and she used the phrase "we've trained our kids to..." a few times. I realized if I want my kids to follow a routine I have to train them to. And because they are still so young I can't just expect them to know on their own. So a lot of what I do is training. This year, thankfully, I don't have to do so much of that with Abiah. It's been a breathe of fresh air especially since I have three others who still need so much of my time in that area.

We have good days where I think we've finally, finally figured it out. And then we have no good very bad days when it feels like we have so far to go. Honestly, most of that depends on my hormones, though. I've learned to be aware and make adjustments in my attitude and our work load, if need be.

I hope this encourages you.

Do you have a question about homeschooling or about ours specifically? Leave me a comment and I'll add it to my list!

Blessings, ya'll!

No comments: