Sunday, January 11

Homeschooling: How I Manage

I don't...just kidding...somehow, we manage to accomplish an awful lot in a small chunk of time. It doesn't always go smoothly, but there are definitely more great days than bummer days. Maggie is the only one in school full-time with me. Bentley is only required to do three things a day: a math activity, handwriting, and a mini-phonics lesson. He generally takes about 30-45 minutes. The rest of his morning is free play.

In the morning, before we get started, I write two lists in Maggie's agenda. One list is the things that I expect her to accomplish on her own. This list usually, but not always, includes: handwriting, independent reading ( a chapter a day), spelling (some days), practice math facts, practice her scripture memory, and write in her journal (a paragraph a day). The other list is the list of things that she must complete with me: Math lesson, History lesson, Science lesson, and her English/grammar lesson. There are days that these things can go her other list (test days), so I always make her lists in the morning before school.

We start school with Mags and Bent together for Bible. We have been reading the book of John together and reviewing the order of the books of the Bible. Then Maggie begins her list to do on her own. I work with Bentley, and Ellie plays around our feet. It usually takes 30-45 minutes for Bent. When he finishes, I stop Maggie, and we do calendar math together. I then teach Maggie her main subjects (a good hour or more some days), but I leave any side work (history maps, math practice, grammar practice, etc...) for later. I add these side activities to Maggie's do on her own list.

Meanwhile, Bentley and Ellie play around the room. They have a lot to do--a train table, books, coloring, blocks, a doll house, etc...They make a huge mess everyday. Bentley will also play on the computer every once in a while. I would use the tv, but I can't, because that is one thing that will truly distract Maggie. At lunch time, we clean up and head upstairs. We have lunch, Maggie finishes her list, Bent has quiet time, and Ellie naps. Maggie brings her independent work to me, and we go over it.

We are usually done shortly after lunch. I used to try and sit with Maggie for ALL her work, but I realized that it wasn't working for us. I was not accomplishing anything because the entire day was eaten up with schooling. She does better and takes more responsibility for her work when she completes it on her own. We have had a lot more success this way, and it frees up time in the morning for me to work with Bent and play with Ellie some. I also try and do a load of laundry as well since we are next to the laundry room.

I hope this helps you, Kim! Mostly, though, I think it's important to remember to do what is best for you. Just keep trying different things, and you will stumble across something that works well for you. I just have to suck it up and accept the fact that every toy they own will be pulled out each and every morning...they clean it up, so I have to let my orderly self not to be too neurotic over the bonus room mess each and every day.

And this currently works for me, but I know it won't always work--at some point, I'll have to sit back down, re-evaluate, and come up with another plan of action. Anyway, like I said--I hope it helps!


HoltonFamily said...

I have been meaning to ask you what your schooling schedule looks you have ESP? :) Thanks for posting this, it should come in handy next year when I start a few lessons with Zach...I am always wondering, what will I do with Renee??

Kim said...

Thanks. I think it would help if I encouraged Gracyn to start taking some of the load on herself. We pretty much do that with Math, except on new concept days. I'm working to get her to read on her own and narrate the chapter. She hates that and would rather read aloud to me. I do think that is an area we can work on. Currently, our house has little wiggle room for the small kids. I did take an idea from Crystal that I hope to use this week and see how it goes. I'm ready to turn the TV off and work these kinks out. Thanks for you help. I'm adding you to my blogroll! :)

John said...

This is your built in spell-check. Looks all good :)

Crystal said...

Hey amy and john! greetings from Thailand. I logged on from Kim's blog and I just have to say THANK YOu for these great tips! Pj isn't where your daughter is but I hope to remember what you've said. Thanks for really is helpful for those of us who are trying to figure this whole thing out! I think what you said is key, re-evaluate and see what will work.
Hope you all aer well. Please tell everyone from the team the Henrys say "Hi!".