I am in a situation in which homeschooling our 8 yo is challenging with our 5 yo being who he is, and us keeping a very busy calendar of activities. But it is very important to me to feel that I am meeting all of the requirements. I will respond quickly with what I do:
- Establish a set bedtime and stick to it. Establish a set waking up time and stick to it, even if they are mad about getting up. Have an efficient and non-negotiable morning routine. Then get schoolwork done as early in the day as possible.
- Dump any curriculum that seems cumbersome and impossible. For the 3Rs, go with materials that are open-and-go, get it done, no teacher's manual, teach-on-the-page workbooks, and affordable. Personally I have resorted to buying Spectrum workbooks for our older son's grade level for math, phonics, language arts, and writing. They actually are not bad at all. I also use Spelling Workout, Scholastic Daily Word Ladders, and some Evan Moor books (Language Fundamentals and Vocabulary Fundamentals) although I will be switching to Spectrum for these. I also use Flash Forward Reading workbooks from Barnes and Noble - cheap and really great ! Not all of these every day; but enough variety to put together a nice packet of language arts work for every day that isn't always the same. MCP Math also has good workbooks. Singapore Math has good books for word problems. Critical Thinking Company has some good books for brain puzzles and pre algebra (Balance Benders).
- For history/social studies and science, buy materials that you can use to read aloud or together with both at the same time 1-2 days a week. I am going with Story of the World for history, along with the history maps from Knowledge Quest to work some geography in, and Real Science 4 Kids and Magic School Bus books for science reading. I am not getting into complicated projects in these areas with lots of craft activities or experiments. Those are great, but will have to wait until things are less hectic.
- Our state also requires PE/Health and Fine Arts. PE and Health are met by participation in sports and a weekly gym class for homeschoolers, along with an occasional library book on a health topic. Fine arts is violin lessons and practice. I am working on collecting some books on famous paintings and poems for kids.
This is a very basic, streamlined approach. For me right now this is what is manageable. It does not take more than a couple hours a day of focused work to keep making good progress in all subjects. When it is time for him to work, I keep him on task. Taking quick 5 minute breaks every 20 minutes or so really helps him chug along. When he is done with the work I gave him or lessons with me, he is really done for the day. We are not dragging school work out all day because that is totally exhausting and draining. This way I have time to take care of all the other stuff I need to take care of, spend time with the 5 yo, and be out of the house for whatever the activity is for that day. He is making good progress with this and staying on track. We don't stop for summer so I'm fine with his school day being shorter since we get about 60 more days in per school year than our public school does.
The other thing that helps me is tackling housework head on before others get up and keeping food simple. I am usually doing something involving dishes, laundry, and garbage at 5:30 every morning. If I don't get those three things under control, I feel overwhelmed by them. But they are easy to make a big dent in very early in the morning. I also don't spend much time on food preparation. Our meals are very repetitive and boring most of the time.
I hope some of this helps.
Edited by PGTlatte - 4/9/11 at 9:12pm