Do you ever wonder what “doing school” looks like for other families? Sometimes I wish I could be a fly on the wall of some of my homeschooling friends, just to see what their day is like. I have a feeling I could learn a lot from my homeschooling friends, they all seem to do so well at it. I bet they have their moments, too, though. We all do. Still. It would nice to be a fly for a day. 😉
Our school day hasn’t been the same from one year to the next. Shucks, sometimes it changes from one MONTH to the next. I suppose that’s the way of it, when there are littles underfoot. I like to switch things up as the needs of the family change. When there were naps that needed to be taken, that was a great time to do school with the older ones. Now that a certain four year old rarely ever takes naps anymore (INSERT GIANT SOB HERE), and seeing as how I can’t ignore him all day long, it seems the best way to get school done is try to include him as much as possible and allow him to wander off for solitary play as he sees fit. It also means answering “when are they going to be done so we can play” about every hour.
Over the years though, there have been some constants. Those are:
- We *have* to do a certain amount of morning chores before starting on school. I mean, make your beds, clear breakfast, get a load of laundry going. That sort of thing. Otherwise we’re just starting our day in chaos and then marinating in it for the rest of the day.
- The earlier we get started on our day, the better. There have been times when we’ve tried to save school for afternoon and knock it out between lunch and supper. Well.. you CAN.. but for us at least, once we’ve spent half our day reading or watching tv or playing outside, the kids seem to put up a much bigger fight when it’s time to start school. Much better that we go ahead and get going on in soon after breakfast and get it done.
- Toddlers MUST have something to do or they get into mischief! Up to a certain point I’ve kept old preschool books on hand for my toddling kids to scribble in and pretend to do school alongside their siblings until they lost interest. Then I’d redirect them other books, playdough, paint with water books, dry erase lap board, whatever they wanted to do to stay busy in a positive way. Once they tired of pretending school, they’d usually feel satisfied to play quietly in their room for a little bit or lay down and watch a movie. But they need their attention, too! (And besides, they usually end up picking up some smarts along the way!)
Most recently, we’ve had a structured routine in which we begin school about 9, take a 15-30 minute mid-morning break at 10, eat lunch at 11:30 and have a snack break at 2:30. When our new school year officially begins and I’m doing the same science and history curriculum with all three kids, our schedule will look roughly like this: bible & math during our 1st hour, then an hour of language arts after the mid-morning break, following by an hour of “quiet reading time” (aka “I HOPE THE 4yo FALLS ASLEEP WHILE THE GIRLS READ” time) after lunch, then an hour to an hour and a half of either science or history or something else Mom has planned for that day. I’m REALLY looking forward to the new school year so we can start doing all those history and science projects that we’ve never planned enough time in the day for!
Of course, before we can do that, Princess has to finish up her science & history for this year, which she should have done by the end of the month. And then there’s the whole “Mom hasn’t ordered anything yet” issue, but let’s not go there! I already know exactly what I want!
As for where we “do” school, I recently wrote a post about our little “one room schoolhouse” – Big Daddy’s office. We’ve taken over a corner out there and it has it’s definite advantages. One of the biggest advantages over the dining room table (aside from space) is that I can sit the kids separately from each other, and facing away from each other when they need to quietly work. LOVE. IT. I would love to have an entire room dedicated for school but I haven’t talked hubs into giving up his office yet. In the meantime, this is working well and we like it.
How long our school day will take is always anybody’s best guess, but even if the oldest is still wrapping things up I’ll send them all outside at a certain point so I can start on supper. I’ve learned (the hard way) over the years how important outside play time is (there’s a reason for Recess you know!) and I’ve also learned that the kids don’t care about the weather nearly as much as I do. Sometimes Princess has to finish up after supper and I finally came to the conclusion that that’s okay, too, because you know what? Thousands of kids across America come home with homework to work on, too. It happens.
Things I want to work on next year, as far as our school day goes include: Making sure we start each day with prayer – because we NEED IT!, making sure we get our morning chores done before starting and get an early start, making sure that we don’t neglect our planned breaks throughout the day because they really help with the kids’ attitudes, and committing to planning ahead so that we can do our history projects and science experiments in the afternoons when we’re supposed to do them. Every single one of those has to do with creating habits, did you notice that? MY habits, I might add. 😉
Now it’s your turn.
I want to know more about YOUR school day. How you decide what to do first, where you do it, how long you spend, etc. I want to know if I’m the only homeschool mom who planned the afternoon snack break at 2:30 so the ten year old can watch “Fetch!”? Or the only homeschool mom who has a toybox under the desk and a tv with headphones in the school area so the four year can watch movies or play with toys when he needs to. Well?? Am I?
Link up your posts (on this topic or previous ones) on Monday’s post and tell us all more about school at your house. You can also find Tuesday’s post here. Click here to read Thursday’s post about our curriculum.