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Okay here's the deal. I run a home daycare as well as have 4 kids of my own AND I do it all as a single momma. As much as I usually enjoy doing things on a whim and not having to stick to a rigid schedule, I think I need one!!! I have 6 kids right now, but may be getting another one soon. Anyway, they are split into thre ages. I have two newborns ages 2 montsh and 4 months. They are obviously not being schooled yet but are also not on a regular routine yet. Not together I mean. I am hoping to eventually get them both there so they will at least possibly nap at the same time. (one is FF and eats regularly but mine is BFing and eats whenever...but no issues with that as i can sling him and go about my day) I have a two year old and three year old whom i preschool and then a 4 and 6 year odl both of whom are kindergarten. (My youngets wanst to be a part of school with his brother and his brother is a bit behind so I am beginning him with kindergarten level for now. Anyway, hwo do I DO this???? Shoudl I try to split it up so maybe the older kids can have a hand in helping school the younger ones, like Montessori. I kind of like that idea.Or should I try sitting them all down together so I am not spending all day doing school? I am just feeling a TAD overwhelmed by all of this. Especially being a single mum I also need time to keep the house in order and being on a limited budget I make our foods from scratch, etc... It seems everything I do takes triple the amount of time and i need some ideas to help it all run smoothly.
 

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Wow! Just reading that makes me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: I don't have much in the way for suggesting a schedule -- do you have a specific style or philosophy you are leaning towards? I wonder if unit studies would be useful to you -- that way you can have everyone learning about the same general "stuff," and just gear the details towards the different ages. I don't know much about Montessori, but definitely the idea of the older ones helping the younger ones is good. My eldest loves reading aloud to my younger two, and it's a good skill to practise. He's also enthusiastic about narrating stuff in the context of explaining something we read to his younger brother -- I think that helps him a lot. For me, some of my best "studying" in school came from having to figure out how to explain something to someone else. I thought I knew it after just reading it through/looking it over/doing the work, but teaching it to someone else really adds another dimension.<br><br>
"Five In a Row" might be something else to look into.<br><br>
As far as scheduling is concerned, the first thing I would do would be to work on getting non-school routines down so there would be more time when you are free to help with school. As much as I love the idea of learning wherever, whenever and doing stuff on the fly, it's far easier for me to have a time set aside when I feel like it is OK to put all of my time and energy into answering those questions and doing activities, etc. And when the kids know there is a set time when nothing else is interrupting my focus, it's easier for them to wait when, say, we're bagging up an overflowing cart of groceries and the toddler is cranky and trying to climb out of the grocery cart and I really really have to pee and my ds wants to know how much tax he would pay for something that costs $4.49.<br><br>
If you have no schedule right now, I would suggest you start with your evenings. See what you can do each evening to prepare for the next day, and see what you can do to make dinner clean up and bed prep go more quickly. My kids are really motivated to get a move on in the evenings because it means more time for stories, and I like not having to deal with too much after they're in bed or early the next morning. I also have a rough plan for our school each week -- a few things are specific, but otherwise I just like to have an idea of what the kids are interested in and a fun activity to do, so I can pull out any materials we need, or print up information, or get a website ready on the computer. This makes our school time run much more smoothly -- we really lose momentum if I take 7 mins to pull together the stuff we need to do a craft or look up information about an explorer or something.<br><br>
Once you have your evenings running somewhat smoothly, I would work on mornings. I like to have people up by a certain time, though I am flexible with it. When my kids know what to expect in the morning, though, we move through the "boring stuff we have to do every day" (as we call it) so we can get to the fun stuff sooner. And I find that often, I'll just leave stuff that I can undone if we're running behind (let the oatmeal pot soak, leave the floor unswept, etc.) and catch up after lunch.<br><br>
An afternoon quiet time can be a real lifesaver when you're busy. I would work first on sitting there doing quiet time with the kids, so they learn what to expect, and to do it for a shorter time at first, and kind of build up their endurance, so to speak. Now that my older two (7, 5) are used to it, they can sit quietly for quite a while, doing something they enjoy -- my 5 yo is hugely into drawing, so he'll sit with a notebook and just burn through the pages; my 7 yo is currently working his way through a kids' encyclopedia set, so he'll often read that for quiet time, or work on his language arts book or a math workbook (he's into workbooks). This gives me a chance to clean up, especially if I'm catching up from breakfast, and often my toddler will nap then, or at least get a rest. Then the rest of our afternoon is just doing whatever -- going outside, playing games, running errands, watching a movie, catching up on work, doing crafts, etc. Summers are a bit different, as I like to be out doing stuff in the mornings, and then I'll set aside more time in the afternoon to be available to the kids for school-y stuff.
 
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