Child, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend

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I love the Lord as much as a broken person can; love and loved by my husband; blessed by 5 amazing little people who have helped me to learn much about me; grateful to serve even more as God gives them to me; blessed every day to be a home school teacher; college student; I hope to change the world by loving as many people as possible, because there is nothing greater than loving another.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What our days look like, what we do, and a little of how we do it

This comes up a lot in home schooling conversations, so I'm pasting a response to a recent thread on the WTM Forum. You can go here to read the way others do it too. So many great ideas and encouragement that, YES! You CAN get it done!

We have 8 dc in grades 9,8,7,5,3,2,K, and 2yo. My scheduling solutions are 3 fold --- block teaching, a few DVD lessons, and choosing materials that lend nicely to independent work (always after instruction). The block teaching has been my saving grace, along with the organization of TOG! We also school 7 weeks on, 1 week off to avoid burnout (b/c we are doing so much with so many). This gives us 2 weeks off for Dec. holidays/Spring Break and a full month break in the summer.

We eat a snack before we start at 7am (bread of some kind + fruit) and we eat a solid breakfast and lunch around 9 and noon. We work 'til we finish, not until the clock says so. The dc know this, so they tend to work hard to finish and not delay so they can enjoy free time. We snack about 3pm have dinner anywhere from5-7 depending on extracurrics for the day. The toddler naps for about 2.5 hours after lunch. I do prepare breakfast in advance and freeze or we eat quickly prepared foods (hot cereal, oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, pre-made pancakes, french toast, sandwiches, burritos; lots of left overs for lunch; and I use the roaster or crockpot several times a week for dinner).

I spend Wednesdays with the Elders (dc in grades 7--9) going over Latin DVD, History and Science Discussions, Vocab, and teaching Writing (we Use Write Shop). The rest of the week, they work independently with a daily meeting where they can ask questions and have some daily accountability. 2 of those dc also need "periods" of time, so I set a timer for them throughout the day and sound the alarm that they need to move on to the next subject. On Wed, the Little League works on the computer doing drills and any independent work like reading. The ker has the day off. The Elders M, T, TH, F schedule is this:

The Elders

  1. math - 45 min (DVD programs) (1-lesson in LoF, Alg I; 20 problems in Alg2)
  2. vocabulary - 20 min (dictation, copy work, or original sentence writing for the same 4 words all week)
  3. Latin - 45 min (the program lends nicely to independent work, 1-lesson daily)
  4. Computer drill - 50 min (covering 5 subject areas)
  5. Science - 45 min. (schedule includes reading a few pages of text and/or living book; experiments, study guides)
  6. Writing - 45 min. (following 2-week schedule in Write Shop so it may be an editing or creating day)
  7. History - 45 min. (reading, answering ??, geography, etc. as prescribed by TOG)
  8. Elective - 20 min. (Logic varies by dc, but either 3 pages a day or 3 pages/2xweekly)
  9. Elective - 20 min
  10. Online PE/Health class - 30 min. (4 weeks per unit)
  11. Elective 20 min.
  12. HOMEWORK (anything they did not finish in their allotted time slots -- we do have to keep on track so we finish in our school year)
  13. Start at 7, finish by 4-5...yup, they have a very long day. The 9th and 8th grader do high school work, identical, save math. The 7th grader is a generally more diligent person than her brothers, so she's always finished by 3pm, and follows her own timeline. She also has less work, as appropriate for her grade level.

The rest of the week, I teach and spend time with the 5th, 3rd, 2nd and Ker. Our schedule looks like this:

Momma (LG = lower grammar 2nd, 3rd grade) (UG = upper grammar, 5th grader) The Ker joins in for sci/hist/bible
  1. 4:30 am rise and go to the gym w/ the Elders if they so choose)
  2. 7 am Bible/Hymns
  3. K phonics -- 20 - 30 min (includes phonics, handwriting, and read aloud)
  4. UG Teaching Block -- 1 hour (LA, math) (LG is doing computer work at this time)
  5. LG Teaching block -- until we're finished (LA, math, memory) (UG becomes independent at this point)
  6. History/Science rotating heavy and light days; heavy means lots with me, light means independent reading that will feed them a bit, but that I don't expect to be super in depth --- I am continually amazed, though, at what they remember.
The Little League (LG)
  1. bible/hymns 4 songs, 1 family devotion where the dc read aloud and we discuss
  2. assigned reading (we rotate b/t heavy history and science weeks, so the reading is the light week; about 5 pages per day w/ either sentence writing or narration after)
  3. computer drills (10min each: history/sci. vocab; math drills, geography, spelling....all games of some type using "our" stuff from other materials...all free too :))
  4. Language Arts w/ mom 15-30 min each: spelling (4-6 words 4x/wk, test Fri); grammar (teaching, practice); literature/writing (read aloud about 4 pages, activities like dictation, copy work, outlining)
  5. Memorization w/ Mom (5 min each inserted b/t LA: bible, poetry, history, misc)
  6. math w/ Mom (I don't have to teach every day b/c there are practice days built in. This means they each complete 1 Singapore lesson 4x/week w/ 7 Challenging Word Problems on Wed.)
  7. LA independent - finish anything we started together that I find suitable as independent work
  8. Math independent - after teaching time, they work on what I have already noted for them in their WB
  9. Memorization independent - 5 more min. on what was worked on as previously mentioned
  10. History or science w/ Mom - either way we read aloud; narrate/copy work/outline/ summarize; have vocab days; activities, games for about 40 min total (20 reading, 20 working)
  11. Bible Video w/ big sister in charge 30 min.
  12. They break once in the a.m. and once in the p.m. for some outdoor time.
  13. Breakfast and lunch get 30 min and about 20/day on cleaning up :)

We teach piano using Pianimals and currently, the 7th grader is teaching the LG boys every other day, where they practice what they did with her on the "other" day. After they finish Pianimals I, they are old enough to go on their own with Alfred's piano course.

We get it done using checklists for LG and planners for the 5th grader and up. The 2yo plays in sight and gets playdoh/fingerpaint, drawing, coloring, and outdoor play; otherwise, he just plays in the area next to the school table.

You can see our materials on the left side of this post; as well as, schedules and ideas for large family living (like meal preparation) in the topical index on the right. You can also see a Week in Review or two to see what we accomplish. People flatter me telling me we get a lot done, but it never seems like too much. We are diligent, but not stressed and we enjoy working....well, the teenage boys don't enjoy much right now except food and sleep, but I know they will grow out of that soon enough

It can be all done, you just have to commit to organization in all areas. It's a tough start, but once things are in place, you can quickly flow through it all b/c you're prepared and your family is self-disciplined and able.


Dee said...

Tina, I am constantly amazed at how much you do and get accomplished throughout the day. It is of no surprise to me that organization plays a huge role in how you do what you do! I continue to be impressed and learn from you.

I'm still interested in Write Shop for Adam.(please continue to post those completed assignments because they encourage me to press forward with writing) I'm doing all the research and may consider this for next year.

Now you have seriously peaked my curiosity with that Alfred's piano course, (hope I spelled that right) and I am off to research that as well as Josh has been seriously asking me for lessons.

Also, if you don't mind, even at a later date, could you let me know how those Florida Virtual classes are set up. I'm considering the Driver's Ed for Adam, but wasn't sure...

Many Blessings!

(sorry this is so long)

Tina said...

Dee, the FLVS is pretty easy. You register as the teacher and they register as a student. Then you "request" classes. The Dr. Ed (Drug and Traffic Safety, I think it was called) was pretty easy. You choose how long you want the class to take at maximum. We signed up for 18 weeks, but my ds finished in 6. The lesson planning is done and once a month, you have a quick (less than 5min.) conversation with the teacher. He had a "project" that was SUPER easy, like filling in blanks almost, finished a "lesson" and took the test. You can resubmit assignments multiple times, making the course nearly impossible to do poorly. DS finished with a 98.7% average and he is no honors student, just a regular dude ;) The HOPE class is taking a bit more work (exercise logs, 4-projects, reading and tests) but still not what I would perceive as difficult or out of range for average students. There are video tutorials for parents and easy to access counselors. They really make it pretty easy for us, particularly since we're used to doing it all on our own.

p.s. you never have to apologize for length of post on my blog...I'm the queen of lengthy!

Dee said...

Thanks so much, Tina! I'm going to consider this for our next semester, especially since it's only 18 weeks, that and the fact that Adam will be almost 16 by then and I think more mature for taking it all in.


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