In our house most of the schooling is completed in the morning. After lunch we go for a walk. Afternoons are usually spent at music lessons, dance class, doing history or science projects, or playing outside and with friends. Evenings are for free time, computer time, bathing, and reading with mom before heading off to bed.
For the school day I put together a daily task list for each of the kids. The lists are complete several months out for some subjects, and for the entire year in others. This was a huge undertaking, but has helped create a smooth flow to the day. The kids know what to expect and can see upcoming assignments. Because they know what to do they can start their school work as soon as they are ready.
My six year old's tasks are always the same. She has a list taped to the door and chooses five items from the list to complete each day.
- Silent Reading
- Reading to Mom (Mom chooses the book)
- Listening to Mom Read (She can choose any book from her shelf)
- Listening to one of her siblings read (The older siblings choose the books)
- Writing (she usually chooses to write a postcard)
- Math Games/Workbook
- Listen to Poems from A Child's Garden of Verses
- Salsa Spanish Video
- Practice Piano
My nine and eleven year olds get their task list via a spreadsheet. When tasks are completed they are highlighted. Their lists are much more specific. Click here to see a portion of this year's fourth grade spreadsheet which includes;
- Silent Reading (They can choose any book from their shelf)
- Silent Reading - History (specific books and chapters are assigned)
- Silent Reading - Science (specific books and chapters are assigned)
- Writing (They often spend 20-30 minutes free writing about an assigned topic. Here is one of their assignments. - Pretend you are entering Persepolis for the first time. Describe in detail what you see.)
- Math - Specific chapters, workbook pages, or activities are assigned
- Science Videos (They have been watching the Once Upon a Time Life Series in conjunction with our human body study.)
- History Videos (I attach links to youtube videos related to our history studies)
- Projects (We try to do a group hands-on history and science project each week.)
- Spelling (They spend about 15 minutes working on a Spelling Power lesson.)
- Poetry (Titles of specific poems they read with me are written into the spreadsheet.)
- Language - German, Spanish, French, Chinese (They both study German and Spanish, and both asked to study an additional language this year.) They have lessons assigned in Rosetta Stone, DuoLingo, Transparent depending on the language. Sometimes they read books in German or copy sentences in a foreign language. Sometimes they watch cartoons in the foreign language they are studying.)
- Piano and Violin (practice)
- Cursive (one workbook page per week - 9 year old only)
- Math Art (one lesson per week - 11 year old only)
- Cook Breakfast
- Read to six year old sister
The kids only do a selection of these tasks each day. Many of their assignments can be completed on their own. Having it all written down in a spreadsheet enables them to begin working without my help. I try to spend 30 minutes to 1 hour with each child doing one-on-one activities each morning, but that rarely happens. Usually I spend 1 hour with two different kids each day.
Scheduling the appropriate amount of activities is a real trick. My main goal is to keep them engaged, challenged and learning each day, while limiting book work to the mornings. Reading, writing and math are the priority subjects. The kids currently work diligently each morning and are slowly getting farther behind on their schedules. The problem is that I have scheduled too many things. In the past I've not scheduled enough. My plan is to leave a blank week or two to get caught up. The kids know that when the list is done for the year, school is done.
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Now it's time to see how the other writers taking part in the Homeschool Help Series manage their day.
See how Savannah at Hammock Tracks handles chore lists, meal planning, school work and extra curricular activities.
Bernadette at Barefoot Hippie Girl uses rhythm to stay focused.
Chareen at Every Bed of Roses has learned to balance tight schedules and flexibility.
Hwee's day at The Tiger Chronicle has evolved from one of formal schedules to loose structure.
This post is linked to:
True Aim Education
A Mama's Story
We are that Family
The HomeAcre Hop
Desire to Inspire