Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Another Homeschool Question

So a couple of days ago, a friend asked me "If school only takes around 3 hours a day, what do you do with your kids the rest of the day?" Normally my response would be, "Whatever the heck we want!" But I'm pretty sure that wouldn't satisfy my friends question and it's not really not an accurate response. We do what we need to and then fill in the rest with other stuff. Now I will elaborate on that statement. 
When we first started homeschooling I bought a book all about scheduling for homeschoolers. If I remember right the title of the book was Manager of Their Homes. Now this book does have a lot of really good tips and I do recommend it, however, I don't implement every aspect of it into my life. One of the tips I don't follow was to write out a detailed schedule of how you want your day to run. I did try and implement one, but stopped using it. Here's why I don't have a detailed schedule. Everyday is different for us. I workout everyday and each of those workout times is different. Sometimes I need to go to the store, we have co-op or history club, etc. And if I had a detailed written schedule and for some reason something didn't get done on that schedule I would feel like a big, FAT failure and fall into a deep depression. Alright, I might be slightly overdramatic, but really, I didn't like how I felt when something didn't happen on my schedule.  
Also, it seems like any homeschool schedule you look at, the mom gets up at 5 in the morning in order to be showered and ready for the day before her children wake up. Again, that is SOOOOO not for me! I happen to really like my sleep! And I'm pretty sure that if I woke up at 5, my children would sense that I was awake and that would totally defeat the purpose of waking up that early. So if you happen to be an early bird catches the worm type person, than by all means try their sample schedules, but I am NOT one of those people.
So what follows is more of what we do and what works for us. I feel like I say what works for us a lot in these homeschool posts because really it boils down to what works for you as a mom and your family. 
Anyways, here is what I do during our homeschool days. 
My kids usually wake up between 6:30 and 7:30. I do NOT make them wake up at a certain time. Their little bodies are still growing and sometimes they need more sleep. But they usually wake up around 6:30 and 7:30. I do NOT make them breakfast every morning and please don't call CPS on me! They get up and get their own breakfasts, because I have taught them how. They can make oatmeal, cereal, toast, frozen waffles, etc. and the older kids will often help the younger two. Does it always run smoothly? No! Is there sometimes fighting? Yes! But for the most part, they are pretty self-sufficient. I usually use this time to get myself ready. I try and wake up around 7:00, but if I had to stay up late working on something, then I might sleep in till 8. Most of the time I'm up around 7:00 though. Sometimes, I will bring my 2 year old in to bed with me to snuggle for a little while because I know that these moments are fleeting. 
After I am ready for the day, I go down and get my breakfast. While I'm eating my breakfast, the kids are getting ready for the day. Getting showered, dressed, cleaning their rooms, etc. The reason why I like this is because I can eat my breakfast in peace and quiet. I will read my scriptures during this time or catch up on an episode of Pioneer Woman. Hey! Don’t judge!
After they are ready for the day and I'm done with my breakfast the kids start on their independent work. I will work on laundry, cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, or any other household task that needs to be done for the day. I always make sure that I am available to help the kids if they have a question. Sometimes though we do our independent work during the afternoon when my baby is napping because I had a workout in the morning. So again this schedule is super flexible, which is how it needs to be for us.
Usually we do lunch around 11 or 12, depending on when the kids finish their chores and independent work or when I've finished with a workout class. Following lunch we do reading time. This could be a book of the month book, history reading, or just a book the kids want me to read. Sometimes all 4 kids will sit and listen and other times my toddler is running around the house being very sneaky and trying to coax her older brother into joining her mischievousness. Hey folks! Just being real here!
After lunch and reading I put Piglet down for a nap and the kids are expected to have quiet time. Sometimes Porkchop will turn on a movie . . . which I allow! GASP!
Sometimes the kids finish up independent work because they didn't have enough time earlier in the day, due to other activities that were going on. Other times the kids will go upstairs and read quietly or work on a quiet activity in their rooms. The key to this time of day is QUIET! Use this time to regroup. Sometimes I blog, sometimes I finish chores, other times I sit and eat a piece of chocolate and stare blankly into the great unknown. It really depends on the day. Today I am sitting at the kitchen island blogging, while the kids finish their work. Porkchop is seated next to me so I can observe his work and help him out. After about an hour to an hour and a half, again depending on the day, we might work on a lapbook, history project, art project, etc. Then around 3:00 we have a snack, myself included. Hey it's hard work homeschooling! :) After snack, I try and have the kids do a clean up so that the house is somewhat clean when daddy comes home from work. Sometimes the kids do harder chores during this time, but most times it’s just a simple quick tidy. After the house is tidy they can do as they like. Play outside, color, etc. 
Once dad comes home it's time for dinner. Sometimes I make dinner and sometimes my husband makes dinner. Again it depends on the day. After dinner and we've cleaned up, we either do family night, go to the YMCA, go to church activities, etc. As for bedtime we shoot for 7:30 with a lights out at 8:30. That doesn't always happen, but it's a goal. My husband and I really value our time together in the evenings and it is healthy for our relationship, so we stick with this bedtime. 

So as you can see we don't have a super strict schedule. Often times when the kids are getting ready in the morning they might start playing and I might let them continue to play for awhile just because they are being super cute and sweet and I want to savor that moment.
But it all comes down to how you are as a person and how you want to do homeschool. This works for us right now. But if it stops working for us then we will have to adapt and change. That's what’s great about school at home. You can change what's not working. One thing I want to try and implement is a scripture devotional time. I want my husband to be included in this but he leaves for work at 6 in the morning and I don't want to get up that early, much less wake my kids that early. So I'm still trying to figure that one out. 

So as you can see we are not lacking in things to do. So if we go back to the question asked, "what do I do with my kids the rest of the day?”,  I guess I COULD say "whatever the heck we want?", because we do. We still do our schoolwork and household chores, but if we want to pack up and go to the beach or park, we can. If I want to take them to the museum, I do! It's just finding those things that you want and love to do with your kids and then fitting them into the things you have to do.

Here are some things we do when we are not doing schoolwork:
Coloring (my girls love to draw)
Imaginative Play
Outside Play
Character Training i.e. chores
Art Museum 
Children's Museum 
Farmers Market 
youtube videos (might seem like a silly one, but the kids love it)-> this is a supervised activity
Playing the piano
Practicing their Tumbling
Listening to Music
The List Goes On...

Here's the thing to remember too. You don't need to entertain your children every moment of every day. If you'll notice some of these activities require my attention, but some don't. Find a balance that works for you, whether it's an activity a week to once a month. You'll find too that you can also do different extra curricular activities during the day that other kids wouldn't be able to do because they are in school. That might be music lessons, some sports, service projects, etc. So those are activities that can give you something to "do" with your kids. Really, I feel like there are not enough hours in the day to do all that I want to do. I think you will find yourself trying to eliminate things once you start homeschooling vs. trying to find things to do. 
Hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions!

1 comment:

  1. I just saw your comment on my deodorant recipe (from way back in March! Ooops!) over at http://keepcalmanddoityourself.blogspot.com/, and followed your blog link....after scrolling down I was starting to feel like you were probably a kindred spirit (my siblings and I loved playing Pooh Sticks as kids too :) ), but after reading this post I'm sure of it. :) My littles are almost 4 and 2, so we're not actively homeschooling yet, but are planning to as my husband and I were both homeschool K-12. I'm so NOT a morning person, and have a really hard time with the whole schedule thing too...thanks for the encouragement. :)



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