I have been reading a lot lately about organization, schedules, chore charts, meal planing, etc. Anything to do with homemaking, homeschooling, or family life and I've been researching it. With our growing family I realize there will be MORE laundry, MORE dishes, LESS time, LESS sleep, MORE responsibility, LESS money, etc. So, I'm doing all I can now to prepare for the arrival of the baby.
We have had somewhat of a schedule for our schooling. We always (almost) do things in the same order each day. This helps everyone to know what comes next. We don't have assigned times per subject...I feel that would be too much pressure for me...but we just do it in sequence. We do have a start-time goal of 8:30 a.m. and we go from there. Here is how we usually do it:
Bible study and music
Science reading and/or experiment
Geography/Art/Vocabulary (this rotates..1 day per week for each)
Health/Spanish/Creative writing(1 day per week for each)
Story time readings
We also have a reading program for both of the older kids that we will be adding in over the next week or two. I think we will do that at the end of our school day, as I need to work with each of them separately on this.
Corbin has been working in his 'workbook' each day while the older two are completing their writen work. We need to add the rest of his school, but I've been trying to get all the kinks worked out for the others before trying to do that. We are so close! :)
We have also had several days that we've had appointments or we've had to leave the house so the realtor could show it (for our landlord). Even though these have not been all day events, it does break up our day and makes it difficult to finish our work on those days. When this happens, we just carry that work over to the next day. Doing that helps me to feel less stressed, which I am very prone to do.
We have about 4 weeks until we move into our house, and I cannot wait! So, there will be more 'interruptions' in the weeks to come. But, it will be well worth it when we are in a house that actually fits us and our possessions. I know there will be several weeks of adjustment, but we plan to just keep working on the things we can...and we will get back to the extra things we don't get to once we're settled. I feel sure the winter season will provide plenty of hours for cuddling up and reading, as well as catching up on any subject in which we get 'behind'.
I am also looking into creating 'centers' for our homeschool area (our basement). I like this idea, as it will give any child who is waiting for me to work with them something educational to do while I am working with his/her sibling. Plus, when the baby is here and needs feeding, changing, holding these centers can be utilized then as well. I am thrilled with the fact that we should have room in the new house to do this. We plan to do school in the basement, and have most of the toys/games/art supplies there as well. So it should just be a matter of grouping like things together:
Audio center: cd's, cd player, headphones, audio books, computer, movies
Language center:Beginning readers, writing prompts, paper and pencils, poetry to copy and memorize, alphabet flash cards,spelling words to practice, list of spelling rules, spelling games
Math center::Number flash cards; addition, subtraction, multiplication, division flash cards; word problems
These are just a few ideas. I've found some web sites that have more complete lists of what to put in specific centers...I'll be referring to them when I begin putting our centers together. We are not trying to re-create the classroom at home by doing this...we really enjoy the flexibility homeschooling offers, and don't really want it to feel like a traditional school. The kids use all of these things at home already. I'm just looking to make it all more user-friendly, so I can tell them "go to the Language center and work on XYZ" and it will be easy for them to understand exactly what I mean. Plus, my hope is this will help reduce the 'downtime' we have between lessons and requests for tv watching...we already have too much of that, and I fully believe it reduces the effectiveness of our teaching time.
Another area we need to tweak is chores. The kids have things they are responsible for getting done each day, but we need to do a better job of following through(Mom included). We will change the way we do things when we move because many things will be different and change will be required in certain areas. We also plan to give each child a bit more responsibility in order to make things easier on us. We have a lot to get done each day, and their help is necessary to maintain a peaceful, clean home. I am not talking about spotless; that's not my goal, nor do I feel it's possible if I am doing all my other jobs properly. But we do need to eliminate the clutter as much as possible, keep up on laundry and the basic cleaning of the house. That way, we can relax each day, knowing we accomplished our goals. We will also be more likely to entertain, which we really enjoy doing, if our home is clean, peaceful, and virtually clutter-free. A girl can hope, can't she? ;)