Way back in 2011 I posted about how we order our homeschool days. It’s one of my most popular posts. I think it’s because there is freedom in having a routine instead of a strict schedule to follow. Part of the beauty of homeschooling is that we can be more relaxed in our day, not to be confused with being lazy.
Years ago I read a scheduling book that said the best homeschool scheudule for big families was to schedule every thirty minutes. Well, let’s just say, that didn’t work for us. I don’t like watching the clock all day or running with that kind of intensity. I turned into a drill sargent. It was bad.
Since then we’ve not had a schedule- just a routine. I like routines. I like doing repetative tasks and I like not thinking.
Like many large families, we live in two worlds. One world is the teenage world with Boy Scout meetings, dance practices almost every evening, part time jobs, early college classes, drama performances and other teenager things. The other world is the world of a 5 year old who wants to be read to, do art projects and have a lot of time to just explore her world. That means that some days we are very teenage focused and some days we are very 5 year old focused but all days we try to make sure that everyone has their needs met. This requires teamwork and a lot of give and take but it’s worth it. We don’t want our teenagers to resent not being able to do things they love because we have a little one, nor do we want Esther to miss her childhood.
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Everyone is responsible for taking care of things that only they can do for themselves. Each person is supposed to wake up, make bed, tidy room, brush teeth and hair, get dressed, personal Bible reading, etc. Before breakfast is also the time for feeding the dogs and chickens. I try to keep my freezer stocked with pancake and biscuit mix to make the mornings go smoother.
Our together time starts about 9am most days. During this time we do Bible reading and will do a Greek and Latin Root word lesson. After this Gabriel and Phoebe will go start their independent work and Benjamin and Esther and I will work on Expedition Earth (2 days a week) and Christian Kids Explore Biology (2 days a week). On Thursdays we have co-op in the morning and on Fridays my guys mow so our together time will be when they get home and get cleaned up.
After our together time Benjamin does his independent work such as math, grammar, handwriting, reading, typing, music, co-op homework. I let each child decide the order each day as long as it all gets done. During this time I’m available to answer questions but I don’t actually sit and teach any of these subjects to my children. Some are on the computer and the others are pretty easy to understand. Most of the children do their work in their bedrooms, but I do have one that I have to keep at the kitchen table to help him not get distracted 😉
The morning is when Esther and I do her reading, handwriting and Five in a Row lessons. I just love kinderagarted!
After lunch Esther usually listens to an Adventure in Odyssey and has a rest time. The other children finish any work that wasn’t finished in the morning. Then they can have free time to do pretty much whatever they want for a while. On Mondays I try to do some baking for the week. On Tuesdays the older children have Drama and a dance class. I will probably work on extra crafts or Five in a Row stuff with Esther during this time. Gabriel drives so, I don’t need to take them. On Wednesdays we get ready for co-op. On Thursdays we will go to the library and grocery shopping since we’re already in town. Fridays will be free for whatever – ideally some sewing and other crafts will happen during this time.
About 4pm I have everyone stop what they are doing and take about 5-10 minutes to work on their assigned room. Everyone has a common room that they are responsible for keeping clean and tidy. This room has to be done before any evening activities can be done. We’ve tried a ton of different ways of dividing up the work and this seems to work the best for us right now.
For years, we ate dinner together every evening. Several evening a week one or more of my older children are gone during dinner. So my choice is to either wait for everyone and eat at 8:30pm or eat earlier and then let them reheat their dinner.
Because I want to get Esther to bed at a resonable time, we eat about 6:30 or 7:00pm and anyone who is not home will need to reheat their dinner. Carl and I stay up until all our children are home. Even Josiah who is in college and works until midnight.
After dinner we usually spend the time together either out in the garden or playing a game. Friday night is our most favorite night of the week… it’s pizza and movie night.
Keeping up with grading and staying on track
All during the day, when the children have finished something that needs to be graded or checked they put it in the grading bucket and in the evening I check all the work for the day. I only keep grades for my high schoolers. I also write notes on their work, such as “Show me your corrected work” or “Why do you think this is so? Let’s talk.” or “Good job, Love Mom.” There is no way I will remember any of this the next day so these are the reminders.
This doesn’t always work perfectly, but we have enough wiggle room to allow for things that you really can’t schedule, like cleaning up a half gallon of spilled milk, or finding a cool snake in the garden and doing an internet search to find out what kind it is.
How a few other homeschoolers order their day
The Homestead Lady – Why I Homeschool
Serving Joyfully – Our Homeschool Day
I Believe in Joy – Daily Homeschool Schedule This is for those of you who need more of schedule than a routine. You’ll need to scroll to the bottom to download it.
What about you, how do you organize your day? or do you?