As anyone with small children knows, a daily schedule is a continual work in progress (whether you’re home schooling or not)! I am constantly revising our schedule and rearranging or eliminating things that just aren’t working for us. Our schedule has changed a lot more now that we are living in a new place and the boys are still trying to get used to all the changes.
The most important thing I try to do is get up before the boys so that I have time to exercise and read scriptures before the chaos begins. I find that if I don’t do this I feel like I am playing “catch up” the whole day. I have also tried to limit my computer time (I don’t watch tv but I do love my computer) to times when the boys are sleeping or having quiet time. This helps me to focus on them during the day rather than being sucked in editing photos or blog surfing all day long…(although I do sneak in some on my iphone from time to time!)
So…this is the schedule we *try* to go by. Some days we actually follow it and other days we just do whatever the boys feel like (which is usually riding bikes or digging in the dirt). I try to stick to the schedule for a week or two and then make changes if it’s not working for us. We follow this schedule four days a week and reserve one day each week for learning at a museum (we have passes that let us get into four different museums and I love supplementing their education this way). And if you haven’t seen my free homeschool daily planner yet-check it out here.
6:00 am mom read scriptures
6:30 am mom exercise or attend temple
8:00 mom and kids shower & get ready for day
9:00 to 11:00 structured school (more details below)
11:00 snack, outside time or errands
1:00 quiet time, read stories (CM literature) until they fall asleep, then mommy computer time
2:00 school time (something fun like nature study, science, music or art)
3:00 structured playtime (computer, blocks, art, reading, puzzles, etc…)
4:00 outside time, mom dinner prep
6:00 free time or reading
7:30 clean room, jammies, brush teeth, stories (library books) and prayers
8:30 lights out (I wish it were that easy!)
We used to do our devotional around the breakfast table, but have just changed to doing it at our child-sized school table as a way to start our day. Here is the outline we follow:
*Song (we try to sing songs they are learning in primary)
*Scripture memory and family study
*Article of Faith (my boys have learned them by listening to the songs from lds.org)
*Poem (we are working on Robert Louis Stevenson right now)
*Foreign Language (word a day or play language cd)
*Pledge of Allegiance (the boys love to take turns waving a little flag)
I have a devotional chart laminated and I use photos of the boys to show who is in charge of which part of our devotional. I’ve created these in Word so you can modify them to fit your own family, click on the image to download. Just print out a picture of each of your kids and use either magnets or velcro to attach the photos to the appropriate space. Thread ribbon through the top and hang!
If you look at our curriculum for this year you will see an awful lot of things on it and I’ve actually purchased several more nature books to supplement. We do not do everything every day and sometimes not even every week. I rotate the things I feel are most important each week and if we have time for the others, I add them. These are the things we try to rotate in each week during our 9 to 11 time we read our literature books and biographies during afternoon storytime and fit the others in where we can:
Monday: Math, History of the World, Nature, Burgess Bird, Character Building + copywork, Kindermusik
Tuesday: Math, History of the World, Nature, James Herriot, Artistic Pursuits
Wednesday: Math, History of the World, Stories of Great Americans, Great Composers, Library
Thursday: Math, History of the World, Nature, Paddle to the Sea, Drawing
While my older son is doing written work (math or copywork) I work with my three year old on reading (starfall and bob books). He also has a few preschool books he works in on his own. I also try to give them each time on the new Starfall More (absolutely the best site to help kids read early!) when they get their schoolwork done and if we have time they can choose to watch a baby can read dvd (although they usually just run outside to play). More on teaching small children in the next post…
Of course, all this is on a *perfect* day which doesn’t happen very often. If we can make it through math and history I consider it a success! I do struggle with my overly ambitious side wanting to teach them everything now versus letting them be kids and just play. So on those days when they just have too much energy, I just have to let go and play. Even if it’s not formal or structured, they do learn a lot by playing.
During structured playtime I usually play a cd that will engage their mind, either spanish, poetry, scripture mastery songs, articles of faith songs, or classical music. I also play these things when we are in the car. I am amazed at how well they are able to remember things when they hear them over and over. My three year old can recite the entire Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken and when my oldest son was three he could recite all 13 articles of faith. It really is the easiest way for them to learn things that you want them to remember.
During this time I let them play on their own and am usually in the kitchen baking something- it gives me time to think my own thoughts (plus I can’t live without fresh baked bread!) And, you may have noticed I haven’t scheduled much cleaning time…I try to clean up the kitchen as soon as I finish baking, and have hired a wonderful cleaning fairy to take care of the vacuuming, bathroom cleaning and such. It saves me a lot of stress (and back pain) and gives me more time to spend with my children (I don’t plan to do this forever- when my kids are older I will have them help out more- but right now I feel like my time is better spent elsewhere!).
Well, we’re never perfect at getting everything done, and I’ll probably overhaul my entire philosophy in a year or two…but I figure as long as we are doing the most important things like developing spirituality, giving them love and attention, the other things will come one day at a time…
And don’t forget! One more day to enter to win The Entitlement Trap! The winner will be announced Monday.