Usually on Saturday or Sunday nights, I fix the lesson plans on my big fat white board and make all copies of the papers and worksheets we’ll need that week (or at least I try to, sometimes I’m scrambling to make copies while the kids are working on other subjects).
First thing in the morning after I wake up is get down all of the white binders and books that we’ll need for the day. I put them on the table with our boxes or on the counter (if it’s cleaned off).
This is what my table looks like most mornings after breakfast has been cleared away. Then we have a prayer and just start. The mood of the day determines what subject we start with. If the kitchen is a wreck, I have them do the work they can do on their own. If they are fighting, I put one of them in the living room to work on math (that’s the room they usually do math in). If things are especially contentious, we start with scriptures, otherwise, we save that for later. If I can help it, I like Emma to get her stuff done first because she has a limited attention span and is much more cooperative in the mornings.
Here is Lucy working on her math while my laundry waits to be folded.
Emma is working on her super duper connect the dots skilz.
In the meantime, Spencer is playing with toys we reserve for school time. These are the little legos. They don’t get to play with them often, so I can usually expect to squeeze 20 minutes or so of quietish play out of him before I have to assign on of the girls to “baby duty”. But I have to be careful with the legos and playdoh. If I’m not watching, then the girls will wander over to play before their work is done.
When Jack is doing this:
And Spencer is doing this
I take the opportunity to take care of this:
Here is Emma working on her math
While Lucy has baby duty with Spencer
And Emma on baby duty
While Lucy reads Old Testament Stories to us
We may or may not finish everything before lunch… Most likely not, especially considering how often they take “breaks” to read to Spencer or write a story about a princess that they have just drawn. I stick everything they make (within reason) in the appropriate binder with the date written on the top. I’ll put the binders and books away as we finish with them. I like doing that because I have a visual aspect to how much is left. Ideally, by the time Matt comes home, the table is clean.
After lunch, the kiddos are all sent upstairs for quiet time. I’ll either catch up on chores, watch Star Trek or take a nap during that time. Jack still sleeps most of the time, so I can pretty much do what I want.
After quiet time is usually when we end up doing the rest of our list. More often than not, it’s the subject of the day and scriptures that we do in the afternoon. It’s just worked out that way.
Here are the girls making some posters about horses, which is the animal we have been studying in science this week. Lucy’s pretty good about sitting and listening, but if I want Emma to listen I’ll give her a related coloring page while I read out loud about horses (or whatever). At Emma’s request, we’ll be doing butterflies next week.
I love how her horse is saying “na”
For better or worse, by around 4:30 we call it quits for the day. That is when Matt comes home, when I need to start dinner and when neighbor friends come-a-callin’. Occasionally we’ll have a language lesson left, but those take so little time, that if we want, we can do it right before bed, or double up the next day (you know, a noun is… a pronoun is…)
Throughout the day I write down what each of the girls have done. I never know what state I’m going to be living in later on and I want to keep good enough records that I’ll be covered in even the high regulated states. I also write it all down because not everything has something tangible to show for the day’s work. Emma reading a book to Spencer, for example. It can take her 15 minutes to read a 10 page book. I know she’s working hard, just because it doesn’t go in her binder doesn’t mean it doesn’t count.
I just use a small spiral notebook for my records. I’ve tried all sorts of planners and other homeschool things that they have for sale and for free. But I have yet to find one that works better than my plain spiral notebook.
When I write it all down like this, it really seems like I spend ALL day teaching. What I didn’t mention is the fact that twice a week we walk down to the track with some friends. The kids play in the soccer field while the moms and I walk around the track. Also twice a week (thankfully on other days than the walking) we have a fellow homeschool family join us so that their mom can go to the pool to train for her upcoming triathlon. Then she comes back and takes over while I go to the pool. For the record, teaching with 8 kids in your home is very different from teaching with 4. On the one day during the week that we don’t spend at least a few hours with other people is usually the day I use to catch up on chores.
So yes, it does take all day, but only because we take so many breaks and play with our friends as often as we do. If we did it all at once school would be finished by lunch time. But I’ve tried it that way and it stresses me out. This is much easier in my opinion. And neither my children or I are starved for public interaction.