This year I'm changing things up a bit.
Last year, my aim was to get school done in the morning and then have the afternoons free for the kids to play. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, I found that a few things happened:
- School dragged on right until lunch because my son has a habit of dilly-dallying.
- I was neglecting the housework because I just can't seem to handle more than one thing at a time =) We would either have a clean house or a good homeschool day!
- The 'extra' fun subjects like music, art, etc. weren't happening because it took too long just doing the basics (dilly-dallying again)
- The fun play time that I envisioned with the kids in the afternoon never really happened because they have nap/rest time from 1-3pm and after that I was always scrambling to get dinner made and the house picked up.
I knew that there had to be a better way. A new idea hit me just a few weeks ago and I'm excited to try it out! I'm going to split our school day between the morning and afternoon (which I had never before thought of for young children). That way there is purposeful time each morning for housework (me) and play (kids).
I am a ducks-in-a-row kind of girl, so the hardest thing for me is accounting for variables like visits to grandparents, co-ops, and extra curricular type lessons. After a ton of (over?)thinking and a full page chart, I think I have it figured out!
- Review memory work
- Read (History or Science depending on the day)
- Notebook page (History or Science depending on the day)
Something that I loved from last year was reading to the kids while they ate breakfast. It keeps them focused on sitting at the table and eating and also saves time. I usually would read to them for about a half hour from a living history book, which my son loved, and then review things from our memory box. I'm planning on keeping that the same this year, with the exception of alternating history and science days.
Get Ready Time
- Get dressed
- Make bed
- Tidy room
- Brush teeth
- Chore (with the option of an extra chore to earn a coin)
We worked on getting those first four items down to a habit last year. The kids can say them without even thinking . Sometimes now, my son will come find me in the morning and tell me that he's already done them. Yeah! The thing I always need to work on is being more consistent in making them do a chore every day.
- Completely free play time (kids)
- Dedicated clean the house time (mom)
This is what is new this year. Previously we had jumped right into school after getting ready, but this year I'm going to try letting the kids play so I can do basic housework. I always get stressed when the house is crazy, but also never saw the time to fix it up. I'm hoping that this half hour each morning will help create peace for the rest of the day.
- Mondays - gymnastics lessons (swimming later this year)
- Thursdays - visit to my parents
- Fridays - once a month co-op
- Days we don't have anything scheduled: mom play with kids (puzzles, games, etc., music time, art lessons and appreciation, extra history projects, etc.
This is also new this year. Yes, we did things like visit grandparents and have lessons before, but I always felt like they 'messed up' our school day (I just really like to follow plans =) This year I've got time scheduled in the plan for them! I really think this will work well, setting my mind at ease and also allowing for more fun in the morning!
This is also where we can solve the problem of not having time for those extra, fun subjects! My kids are always asking for them, and now we will have the time. Doing an extra history project or an art lesson is just as fun for my kids as playing a game, so it's not like those things would be eating into their 'fun' time.
Lunch and Rest Time
- Eat lunch
- Read aloud before nap/rest time
- Nap time for my daughter, rest/read time for my son, blog time for me!
This is a pretty well established pattern already. My son loves our reading time before his rest time. Right now we have been reading (affiliate link) "Little House" books. Some times my daughter joins in. Other times she goes straight to sleep. I hope to include her more this year, especially as her need for a nap decreases (she is 3 1/2).
This part of the plan will only change a little on days that we visit my parents or have co-op. We will eat lunch with my parents and at (once a month) Friday co-op, so usually we get home a little after 1pm and rush to naps, cutting out the read aloud time.
Twice a month we have an afternoon co-op which will mean that we will not get nap/rest time at all. I'm a little nervous about this, but we are giving it a shot because it's a great chance to get to know people at our new church better!
- Language arts (grammar, spelling, reading, copywork, etc.)
This is a huge change for us. We've never even thought of doing lessons in the afternoon before. I'm hoping that everyone will be fresh from rest/nap time and ready to do a little more work!
Mackenzie will be having reading lessons and writing practice. She also will do basic math for the first time! Trevor will also do math and work on grammar and spelling, etc.
While I am helping them will their lessons, hopefully I'll be able to also work on getting dinner ready and any last minute housework before my husband comes home.
If we (mostly my son) can be diligent and stay focused, and get that done in an hour, then there will be time left again for playing before daddy gets home. While the weather is still nice, I'm sure the kids will use this time to play and ride their bikes outside!
Want to see how hundreds of other homeschool families plan their days? Stop by the iHomeschool Network's Not Back to School blog hop!