One of the most often asked questions I get is “How do you actually do it? How do you get everything done for three kids in a day?” The question isn’t a hard one, but it isn’t a simple one either. Every day is different, but we have a basic plan that we use as a pattern for our days.
My morning begins with a whine. My puppies in the kennel need letting out. It’s my husband’s job to get them out and if I ever feel a twinge of guilt all I have to do is remember how short puppyhood is compared to the years I spent nursing and rocking the midnight hours away. I soon follow him to the kitchen where we drink coffee and talk, check the computer and calendars and synchronize our day.
(6:00 am to 7:30 am)
The kids stumble out of bed. They can have screen time before 8:00 if they wish so they usually get a few games in along with breakfast and getting dressed.
School is officially starting so screens go off. We go over the calendar and I tell them what to focus on in each of their five subjects: Language Arts, Math, History, Science, and Spanish. I’m very flexible with what they work on as long as they have something for Friday presentations from each subject. Every Friday night they do a show-and-tell with their dad. This keeps him up to date, helps the kids review, and helps me see if there are any weak spots that need emphasizing the next week.
I spend my time helping where needed and when things are running relatively smoothly I do reading time with my youngest. We curl up on the couch or on her bed with books I read to her and books she reads to me. We cover history, science, and language arts lessons in one lump.
(Noon or there about)
Lunch and an educational show. We rotate between documentaries and PBS shows but I have been known to break out the Wii on very cold days. Video games that cause them to break into a sweat can be a treat and help them to burn off some energy.
We tie up anything left undone and begin projects. Projects can be structured science projects or unstructured lego building. Board games are also allowed. I spend this time usually cleaning the house and I usually recruit them for a few chores too.
School is done. This is more for me than them. On days when our lists have very few check marks, I tend to want to push the kids to work longer, but this isn’t good for them or me. It’s very important that we all feel free to relax. This is time for winding up chores and prepping for tomorrow a bit. I will make them practice their instruments now if they haven’t during the day.
This is the framework for my homechool that my husband and I worked out at the beginning of this semester. I wrote about it in the post “Regaining My Balance.” We often have field trips and classes scheduled in the middle of the day instead of just curriculum, but we always default to this schedule. So far, this has been working very well for us and I hope it continues, but I’ll take a moment to reflect and correct the system later. I have found that my systems won’t last much past a semester before both the kids and I get restless. I don’t think of this as a failing system, rather a system that has become stale. None of us like to be slave to a system and finding what works for us is one of my favorite things about homeschooling.