What does your day look like? Does this average homeschool day seem reasonable to you? My children love to spend a lot of time outdoors and I don't want to discourage it. At the same time, we barely have any time for out of home socialization or extra cirricular classes. Am I doing something wrong here? Input appreciated.
~Wake up and have breakfast (9am - can't do any earlier, I'm too darn tired from my toddler who loves to wake every hour on the dot).
~DC1 and DC2 sit down to do their maths and english work. This usually takes about 2 hours not including any breaks, as I like to go slow and there are constant interruptions from my younger two children (toddler and preschooler)
~Have lunch (it's now midday)
~Play outside for 2-2.5 hours (easily and I drag them back in kicking and screaming)
~3pm: Come back inside to work on topic of the day (we alternate - so geography/science/history) - An hour at least as it's usually filled with questions/further activities/exploration
~Art time (anything from drawing/painting/general crafts) - Completely child led so they choose what they want to do (they love arts and crafts as much as being outdoors)
~5pm: I need their help in minding the toddler so I can get started on dinner. I cook from scratch so it takes me a good hour at least. No playing with lego while minding him because the littlest enjoys swirling the peices around in his mouth!!
~6:30: Dinner time. Watch half an hour of TV (one part of a movie) while having dinner (yes, bad habit)
~7:00: Sit down with daddy for a little or bath/shower time.
~7:30: Tidy up their stuff and get ready for bed.
~8:00: Bed time.
My questions are:
When do they get to play with older kid toys (such as legos which they also really enjoy)? It feels like there are not enough hours in the day, unless I am not planning my day well. Should they sleep at 8:30 instead or even 9:00pm? They are night owls by nature.. Even when we do put them to sleep, it's still another hour or two of quiet giggling and shuffling about in the bed.
When do I make time for socialization? They always have something they want to do at home instead.
Our weekends are pretty busy. We visit family or family stays over or we need to do our weekly shop/farmers markets etc.
Our babies: and a coming in July
You don't say how old your older children are. That's going to make a difference. Are you doing this 5 days a week?
ETA: There are never enough hours in the day! Your schedule might use some tweaking, but I doubt you can eliminate that feeling entirely.
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
How old are your kids? Eleven hours between bedtime and wake-up sounds like a lot to me for school-aged kids. If it's taking them an hour or two to fall asleep, maybe that means they don't need to go to bed so early. If you let them stay up another hour or two, that would give them time to play with big-kid toys. And maybe some days you could let them play with big-kid toys instead of having art time. (Or instead of some of the academic time.)
Your day sounds perfectly reasonable to me, but it would also be perfectly reasonable to cut down the amount of official learning time, at least on some days. My kids (7 and 10) spend way less time than yours on math and English, and they're not falling behind where they would be if they were in school. You could make one day a week a socialization day, and if you couldn't fit anything academic in that day, that would probably be all right. Or if you spent most of the day out of the house socializing, the kids could spend an hour in the evening doing academics. They also don't absolutely have to have 2 hours of outside play time and an hour of art time every day. You could substitute an out-of-the-house activity like a class or homeschool get-together or a playdate with friends some days.
We don't do much formal schoolwork, so our schedule is quite different from yours. My kids have tons of free time, but we do have regular activities we do during the week: horseback riding lessons, various courses and activities, etc. We have two weekly get-togethers with other homeschoolers where we do group activities, go to the beach and swim, hang out, etc. I always try to leave at least one day where we have no plans out of the home for spontaneous activities or just to relax.
Last year I only did about 20 minutes of formal work with them, about 2 - 3 times a week. But my kids are both on the spectrum and have limited attention spans. Before that we were strict unschoolers and did no formal work. I plan to increase this time a bit next year and also introduce Project Time (a la Lori Pickert's Project Based Homeschooling) twice a week.
I deliberately limit our out-of-home activities as I know from past experience we can get burnt out. The whole point of homeschooling was to have a slow lifestyle, and I'm very pleased in that regard.
Homeschooling, Homesteading Mama to DD ('02) and DS ('04)
Yes, every family is different, every child is different. I too have four kids who were all homeschooled (though the teens are now in high school and college, so only one remains as a homeschooler at this point). I coped with the difficulty in focusing on seatwork with younger siblings around by simply opting not to do much seatwork. My kids did pretty much nothing during the day but play and socialize and chat and learn in self-directed ways. In the evening, when daddy tended to be available to help with younger siblings, or after they younger ones were in bed, we'd carve out a bit of time for one-on-one stuff, whether academic learning or reading together or project work. My kids are night-owls too, and it turned out to be a great time of day for things like math or music practicing or philosophical discussions or whatever. They had had a good meal, and a day full of imagination and physical activity, and they were ready to quiet their bodies and tune into their minds. An awful lot of math learning took place here late into the evening.
An 8 pm bedtime sounds really early to me too -- unless your kids are getting up hours and hours before breakfast. All kids are different or course, but my kids have typically needed 9-11 hours of sleep until mid-adolescence, then gradually a little less, so 13 hours seems like a ton to me. If your kids are typically taking more than 15-20 minutes to fall asleep it sounds like you could easily experiment with pushing their bedtime back by an hour -- or maybe further still. I agree with Daffodil about possibly using evenings for some of the things you're having trouble finding time for. Lego, reading, crafts, project work.
Also, you might consider finding some dinner recipes that you can prep the evening before so that you can just toss that in the oven at 5 pm, or into the crockpot in the morning, and give the older two back their pre-dinner hour for indoor play. For years I tried to double whatever recipe I was making for dinner, and put half in the freezer for a quick meal another day: maybe that's another possibility?
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
In lieu of the bedtime discussions I will add that my 8.5 year old goes to be around 10, we read a story, then I read my ebook by nightlight while he falls asleep. Generally he is out in less than 30 minutes, asleep around 11 or so. He wakes around 8:30. DD is 11 and goes to bed a bit later (they share a room so she comes in after he is asleep). She is usually asleep around midnight and likes to sleep in. Whereas DS needs only about 9 hours of sleep, DD prefers closer to 11. I myself need my 9 or 10 hours. ;-)
We are definitely a family of night owls, too.
Homeschooling, Homesteading Mama to DD ('02) and DS ('04)
Lots of wonderful replies and ideas here - Thank you!
Ages of the kidlets are 8, 6, 4 and 16 months.
It's good to know that there are other kids out there who are just as night owly as mine. I'm going to up the bedtime to 9pm and allow quiet reading time in bed from 9:00-9:30pm, but no later unfortunately. We used to do really late bedtimes (10pm - midnight) and both dh and I got burnt out.
Going up to 9pm will give one hour for quiet older kid play time from 8-9pm, so I can mark that off my list. I've noticed that my eldest also seems to thrive on doing work later at night too.. It's quiet, calm, mama is usually relaxed a little more and it's a good time to learn.. but I don't want to encourage her to stay up later than necessary and cut into time for dh and I. I'll have to think about this one a little bit more.
The 2 hours of work time in the morning is for teaching 2 subjects to 2 kids, so really it's half an hour of maths each and half an hour of english (comprehension/handwriting/spelling) for each child, every day. I don't want to cut back on that as I think it's the optimal amount for both kiddos.
The outdoor time allows me to spend some one on one time with the toddler who craves my attention at the moment. It also allows me to clean up the kitchen after breakfast and lunch.
I think I might have to try some batch cooked dinners for a couple of weeknights, every week. I have thought about cooking double and freezing half, but currently we consume one 6qt pot worth of food every night (usually soups/stews).. so I'd have to make 12qts in one go, which is a lot of work at once. I could probably do this on the weekend though.. Make a double batch of whatever we eat on Saturday and Sunday. We are a gluten free family, which really eliminates a lot of easy and quick budget dishes. :( I'm getting tired of making everything from scratch (breakfast, lunch, dinner) but what can you do?
"I deliberately limit our out-of-home activities as I know from past experience we can get burnt out. The whole point of homeschooling was to have a slow lifestyle, and I'm very pleased in that regard."
Same here! If we go out for two days in a row, we're all exhausted mentally and physically on day 3. So I'm thinking M and T at home, Wednesday out, T and F at home, Sat and Sun is a combination of out and at home (usually grandma/aunt/uncles house and shopping for food). If I can somehow change the schedule for Wednesday, then we can do an "out and about" day with playdates/meet-ups/extra cirricular activities on that day.
Thanks for mentioning Project based homeschooling. I'm looking it up right now and the concept sounds like a good idea for our topic of the day. I'm all for self directed learning but I need to come up with ways to implement it. I might change our schedule to combined geography/history on M and Tu and combined science/technology on Th and F.
Our babies: and a coming in July
Could you try some Crockpot freezer meals? The Mama Baby Love blog has a e-cookbook that has recipes and 95% are gluten free (and other allergens too). Not that you have to use them every night but it's nice to have on hand.
Do you feel like your kids NEED more time with others? Outside time seems like an easy thing to plan with friends. Plan a hike, meet at the playgroud or just having them play in the back yard with a friend who can come over.
Becky- Wife to DH, Mama to "Nani" (July '08) "Coco" (July '10) and expecting one very wiggly baby boy in May 2013!
Our children have usually playtime in their rooms in the evening from about 8-9:30pm. They play with Legos or other toys, read library books, etc. Lights go out at 9:30, sometimes later when I'm slow getting up there to do it.
As far as socialization and outside activities, we choose to homeschool year round so we can do more fun things and have breaks without me feeling like we're getting behind (though that feeling still does come, I think it's just part of life).
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds 10yo dd 8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds
Yes, we homeschool year round, too, and that's one reason we're able to be very relaxed about it. I sometimes forget not everyone does it that way, so it didn't even occur to me to suggest it as a way to free up more time in your daily schedule, but if you take summers off now, maybe changing that would be worth considering.
You know, come to think of it.. No, I don't feel like they need more time with others - At least not on a daily basis. Eldest DC asks to see her best friend (who is a public school kid), but I think we can manage this on Sundays and after school on a Wednesday. They've also expressed interest in ballet and art classes, so I'll have to work those in.
We homeschool year round too - I find it easier than working around terms and holidays. I suppose if I do this then we are "ahead" in a sense. We have a lot of catching up to do from last year so I guess I feel rushed and it's starting to show in my approach and time tables, but I think I need to scale back a bit and tell myself it's going to be okay. I've been doing a lot of reading on the project based home schooling website and it's definitely the inspiration I need to take it a bit slower and go in depth (instead of rushing through/glossing over everything to get to the next thing).
Thanks so much for the recc for the gluten free recipes - I will have to check it out!
I'm so glad I put this thread up.. all the advice has been so helpful!!
P.S Still working on my daily/weekly timetable, but I'm getting closer to incorporating everything without added stress on anyone's part.
Our babies: and a coming in July