Here's an example of our ideal homeschool day. By no means does this happen everyday. Rather, it is our general goal (which is sometimes, but not often, achieved).
Below is an example of the kids' "Assignment List" that they follow each day. The ones I've posted are from today. Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually the heaviest, assignment-wise, with Wednesdays being very short due to afternoon activities with our local homeschool group.
So here's our basic "ideal" schedule:
8:00—Roll out of bed. Attempt to wake the children. Jaden usually gets up after being called once; Jerah takes a little more coaxing to awaken.
8:10ish —The kids meander into the kitchen and fix themselves some breakfast, usually still dressed in their pj's. Jaden fixes himself a bowl of cereal, but Jerah changes her breakfast choice just about every day. She'll have anything from cereal to toast to oatmeal to waffles. Jaden finishes breakfast in about 10 minutes; Jerah takes about 45 minutes to complete her meal.
8:30 —I sit down on the couch (also in my pj's) while the kids are still eating. If Jaden's done with his breakfast, he sits on the couch with me. I read aloud our history assignment (every day), Heaven for Kids (Mondays), The Fallacy Detective (Fridays) or whatever read-aloud assignments we have for the day that do not require the kids to sit beside me while I read.
9:00—By this time, Jerah is usually finished with breakfast and all three of us can sit down on the couch together to do our Latin lesson (Mondays), science (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays), or Reading: Everyday Survival Skills, all of which require that they read along or write out something. Every other science day we're actually working online, looking up the internet-linked topics from our science book.
For an example of what we do for Reading: Everyday Survival Skills, yesterday we looked at what the words on clothing labels mean (such as wash colors separately, cool iron only, use mild detergent, etc.), as well as how to read and understand the directions on food boxes and in recipes.
After we finish everything that I do with both kids together, Jaden usually goes off into another room to do his independent reading (which usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour). With Jaden out of the room, Jerah and I work on things like her Wordly Wise 3000 vocabulary (when she needs the help), diagramming, math, or anything else she wants specific help with. When Jaden is done with his reading, he and I go over the same subjects together.
After I'm done working with the kids, they finish off their assignments independently. Jaden doesn't usually need much encouragement to stay on task when he's working on his own, but Jerah usually requires a good amount of refocusing.
The kids stop for lunch sometime around noon. After lunch, both of them usually work on their music practice (and although 30 minutes is assigned, they usually practice less than that). After their music practice, they go back to their assignments.
Both kids do their written work at the kitchen table, but they occasionally move to the couch to work. They don't have their own desks yet, so they pretty much find wherever is comfortable and work there.
Jaden is usually finished with all his work before Jerah, for the simple reason that he is not as distracted as she is. Jerah, on the other hand, usually has several things left to do by the time my piano students start arriving around 3 o' clock. If Jaden is done when my students arrive, he likes to either go to his room to play Legos, or play with my students' siblings in the "red room" (which is what we all our red-walled library).
Jerah usually has to stay at the table to finish her work during my lessons. But if she's done with all her work, she also likes to play with my students' siblings.
During the entire school day, Joely is likely to be found in any number of places. She could be in the "red room" watching a video, sitting on my lap listening to the history or science lesson, drawing at the table, or playing on the living room floor. When I have a break, I will sometimes get out the white board or a reading book and work with Joely. But more often than not, Joely comes up to me when I'm free asking to do "school." As I've mentioned in a previous post, we're doing a lot of "unschooling" with her, and she's learning just fine. She will be starting Math-U-See Primer next week, but phonics is still going well without a curriculum. In fact, today Joely asked me, completely out of the blue, what sound "ph" makes!
Arriving at a general "schedule" that works for us has taken a lot of trial and error. I've previously tried to schedule the whole day out (where math happens at this time, and science happens at exactly this time) but we've found that planning our day to that degree does not work for us. When we've attempted a strictly-defined schedule like that, I usually end up frazzled by the end of the day, especially if we don't fit everything into the schedule perfectly.
A more open-ended schedule like what I've outlined above has worked best for us so far. For us that is an ideal homeschool day. With three kids homeschooling at once, I've yet to find a different way to organize our schedule that works for us. With such freedom in our schedule, if the kids don't finish their schoolwork before my piano lessons, I don't have a problem with them doing "homework" in the evening. But thankfully, "homework" has become more rare lately as the kids are finally figuring out that if they buckle down and work on their assignments, they have more play time!
So I guess, as the old saying goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
A sort of open ended structure works best for us, too. I would go nuts if I tried a rigid schedule because I would be continually stressed about falling behind. But with four children and a husband working for the railroad, things rarely go according to plan!
Lego grandma says
Your daily assignments seem like a lot of work but truly I have seen the results in the kids and their ability to learn. Have you ever talked to Elizabeth about how she does it? Are you seeking desks for the kids or do you like them to be flexible and to use whatever space they can find? Looking forward to helping someday.
Michelle Miller (no relation) :) says
Wow!! Kudos to you!! We loved our year at home, but couldn't do another. After reading your entry today, I realize maybe my rigid schedule was my problem. I even recorded grades and printed report cards. Crazy…uh?! Few issues with public school. Fortunately the boys will probably be back in Christian school before the year is complete. Hunter on his own initiated the first ever "SEE YOU AT THE POLE" day for Fort Sam Houston Elementary School. About 30 people turned out. The principal has since asked me to be on a site based decision making committee for the school. I'm praying this will be an opportunity to shine the light in the dark. I have had to bathe my boys in prayer this year! Hope to get to see ya'll soon!
Your child says
I think that you were funny when you said that I take 45 min on eating. And by the way on 8:30 you spelled coach instead of a couch.
by by Jerah