Its been such a wonderful blessing to have our years planned out for us with such a strong biblical foundation with My Fathers World curriculum. When we first began this curriculum I scoured the internet for other M.O.M.Y.S.(Mothers of Many Young Siblings aka Moms with Kids close in age) using My Fathers World. And while there are quite a few of us out there we tend to be too busy to blog about it. The one thing I love about My Fathers World is that it combines all of my children in 2nd through 8th grade in one nice package! But when I first looked at the Exploring Countries and Cultures grid I cried! It just felt like so “much” and I still had to teach each of the children individually in Math, Spelling, and English not to mention little ones on down the line in Phonics! Often times I felt overwhelmed and behind, like a chicken with its head cut off running from desk to desk trying to meet everyone’s needs. The more I asked around and searched the web I began to find some really great scheduling tips to make the homeschool year have a nice rhythm and the longer I homeschooled them the more natural it came to add one or two students each year. Its never been EASY just became natural over time. I’ll save you the time and searching by listing some of the tips and ideas for giving your homeschool some rhythm.
|This is a shot of my “schedule” made with Post-its so it can easily be changed when something doesnt work for us
1. Use your current routine as a guide. Most families by the time they begin homeschooling have some regular flow to their day, for us that would be breakfast at 8, lunch at 12, with nap immediately following, Dinner at 6, bed and bath at 8. A wise lady on a forum for Mothers of Many shared that she scheduled her school around these type of time posts and we latched on to that idea. Every school day we read our Bible and have Breakfast. At lunch we read our History and Science. At naptime we have Art, Music and Read Alouds. Between breakfast and Lunch we have our individual studies and between lunch and dinner we have chores and play time. Pretty simple! But remember as your children grow and change so can your routine.
2. Keep small idle hands busy! Small people who are not occupied with school work will get into a ton of mischief. Like the time a 4 year old let the 2 year old out of the house because “he wanted to play outside” in the cold winter and he was only wearing a DIAPER!. Things get broken, written on and strewn all over the house when Mom is occupied teaching the older ones. So keep them busy. Schedule their day by rotating activities. In our home that means little ones watch a preschool show after breakfast then come down stairs to play with some Laurie Puzzles or color quietly. Then just before lunch they can play in their rooms quietly. I just keep them rotated and a timer set to remind me to check in with them every 30 min or so. This is not a rigid schedule for them, just a natural flow from one activity to another. The timer is there for me so that I dont get wrapped up in what Im doing and forget to check in. Just teach them to stay quiet while you are having school.
3. Naptime or Reading Hour. Never ever give up naptime! Everyone needs a break from the 1 year old to the Mama! So if your not sleeping your in your designated spot reading or staring at the ceiling. 🙂 Its just a time to relax and kick up your feet. We begin Reading hour after our Lunch and Read Aloud session, clean up and Music, Art, Science time.
4. Mom Meetings! Every day I meet with each of the children for a Mom meeting. For my oldest its pretty short, just enough time for her to turn in assignments for me to grade and get her assignments for that day. Mostly a check in and Q and A time. Then I move on to each of the younger 4 in school spending 15-30 minutes with each one as they need help and instruction. My Kindie and 1st grader get a bit more time as they are still in the need-mom-next-to-me stage. My 3rd grade son still likes to show me each assignment as he finishes it. I usually briefly glance but do not “grade” it till our next Mom Meeting. I even have a Mom Meeting for each of the littlest ones. For the 1 year old who still takes morning naps thats a song and rocking before his nap. Then the 3 year old gets a preschool workpage and some letter/color/shape review.
5. Student assignment books. Each of my oldest three have a student planner where we write out their assignments for that day (during Mom Meeting). These are priceless as they KNOW what is expected and I REMEMBER to check what they have done the day before. We also write in when Co-op, birthdays or planned school breaks hit as they like to be kept up to date.
6. Bells and Whistles! I have an alarm on my phone that reminds me of important times through out the day. It rings at 6:33 a.m. when I need to get up and Matthew 6:33. It rings at 8:00 a.m. for Bible and Breakfast. It rings again at 11:30 a.m. when I need to come upstairs, wake the baby, check on the littlest guys and start our lunch. It rings one more time at 3:00 when everyone needs to get up from naptime and begin our afternoon chores. I also have an alarm preset for 20 min before Wednesday and Sunday Night church so I remember to begin to round up the troops and get out the door.
7. Light and easy Fridays! Usually we have school 4 days a week using Friday as an unscheduled light and easy day. On Friday we will do our Mom meetings only using the rest of the day for our Homeschool Co-op, Grocery Shopping, or play days. Sometimes we have school on Friday because another day needed to be light and easy for a doctor appointment that couldnt wait or other event that couldnt wait till friday and thats fine as well. Our schedule is set up in such a way that we accomplish a full weeks worth of work in 4 days and those 3 day weekends are awesome!
8. Be Consistent. The hardest lesson I had to learn was about consistency in homeschool. My first years I would base weather or not we had school that day based on how much I was up with the baby the night before or how pretty the weather was outside. And while that was a nice, laid back approach to homeschool it didnt equal much curriculum being covered or offer much confidence on the part of The Husband. When we did have a full school day it was often met with groaning. One day I just woke up to the fact that much like eating and sleeping, school was a necessary evil and in order for us to succeed we were going to have to be consistent. Homeschooling is my job and I clock in every day Monday through Thursday at 8 a.m. and clock out at 2 p.m. Once we began to look at school this way the groaning went away and I find less excuses to “not have school today”.