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22 May 2012

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Kelly

Sorry, no help here. We usually do school from 7:30-9:30, take a 30 minute snack break, and then finish up by 11:30. Some of that is the children doing handwriting while I'm in the shower, or me running down to switch the laundry or something.

Cathie

Sorry, with all the scheduled activities, we have to start in the morning but we are often still going at 5, like tonight.
Now, if some of my kids had their way that is how we would do it, but the reality is there's just too much to plow through.

Carrie

We play all morning, and do school after lunch, and try to finish up by the time the kids want to play with their neighborhood friends...we do sometimes have a hard time buckling down after a free morning, though!

bearing

So for us, I have this sort of "ideal" school day in mind where we are up by eight, working by nine, and we stop at 12:30 for lunch. Then we have a nice long break until 2 and work until 3:30 (when we have snack) and then we're done. That's my *ideal.*

"We" means "me and somebody" -- I have four kids, so it's understood that there's a time in there when I have to put the toddler down for his nap (that I don't schedule), and a time in there when I'm working with my 8yo but my 5yo is basically free.

The 9 am start never seems to work in real life, except for about 6 weeks at the beginning of the school year when I'm still all gung ho about everything. (My eleven year old does fine, though -- he is a self starter and most of his work on these days is independent). Maybe I should just have lunch at eleven and screw the morning.

MelanieB

I don't have much to contribute but I'm eager to hear what everyone has to say.

Our kindergarten year has been kind of a non-starter. But the most schoolish things-- read alouds, nature study, science lessons-- were almost all done in the afternoon while the boys napped. Frankly, I'm trying to figure out how we'll squeeze schooling into the mornings when that is usually when I get household chores and errands done. Grocery day, for example, is an all-morning undertaking for us. As soon as breakfast is over, I load everyone in the car. The whole thing takes about two hours door to door (and our grocery store is only ten minutes away, by the way) and then I have to put away the groceries and then it's lunch time and then its nap time. How the heck do I fit school in? Either I have to become phenomenally more efficient-- not bloody likely during a pregnancy and newborn stage, which will comprise all of the coming academic year!-- I'm thinking trying to cram all our schooling into the afternoon is going to be my only hope.

Calah

I hate doing school in the morning, but I have to, because if I put it off until the afternoon we just don't do it. It seems that I lose all discipline after lunch-time.

Barbara C.

Well, when I only had one "school-aged" child, we did kindergarten work after dinner. I tend to keep formal kindergarten fairly light anyway (15-30 minutes tops).

But as more children entered the family, by after dinner I was completely worn out and in no position to patiently go over schoolwork. Even by 2 pm most days I am mentally too worn out to even think about having schoolwork lingering.

As a result, we start schoolwork by 10 am and finish most days by noon. But I also don't plan more than an hour and half of work for a third grader (about 1 hour for first grade, and then add about 15 minutes to each grade after) in keeping with our family's personal philosophies and goals.

Barbara C.

MelanieB:

It really becomes a matter of assessing and re-assessing priorities...for educating your kids and for housework... and readjusting routines according to those priorities.

I usually get up about an hour before we start schooling to have my morning devotions and get a few chores done. My oldest, who just finished third grade, can do more work independently so I can usually do some chores. But my kindergartner needs more hands-on attention. Then I have a preschooler, a toddler, and one due in August. So the laundry or dishes just have to wait an hour or two sometimes. The walls are usually covered in finger prints and the living room carpet is full of stains.

You might have to change the way you handle grocery-shopping, like go at a different time of day. Thankfully, my husband takes care of any kid that isn't still nursing while I grocery shop. As a result, the shopping is done quicker and cheaper. Then when I get home the cold stuff gets put away first, but sometimes the rest has to just sit in the bags until I can get to it depending on what other insanity is going on.

And to me, getting my kids' schoolwork done is a higher priority than housework or grocery shopping. But you and your spouse have to discuss what minimal expectations you each have for housework and how you BOTH are going to deal with meeting those expectations if homeschooling is going to be a realistic option for your family.

bearing

One thing I'd like to say about squeezing schooling into naptime: It seems like a good idea at the time, but when that nap goes away you're going to wish you'd developed strategies that don't rely on naps!

Fortunately (!) my #3 gave up her nap at 8 months and forced me to learn.

In my view, grocery shopping is a relatively high priority because how else do you eat? But we keep it on a fairly rigid schedule: one of us grocery-shops Wednesday evening, which during the school year coincides with religious ed at our church: drop off the kids, shop, come and get them on the way home.

Some housework is higher-priority than school: laundry and the necessary cleanup after meals (I just count it as part of eating). Other housework, not unless we expect guests. Once a month we spend about a half day on a whole-house pick-up/decluttering/room-tidying, right before the once-a-month cleaning service shows up to vacuum and scrub all the exposed surfaces before they can get cluttered again.

I think the key to prioritizing necessary housework is to schedule it into your day, week, and season -- but to start with how much time you have and THEN decide what's "necessary" based on what you have time for. That's the problem with FlyLady if you ask me -- she starts with the tasks you should do and then just assumes you'll be able to find time for everything. :-)

Delores

We aim to start formal academics about 9ish in the morning. We break for lunch and then a long break from about 3ish to 7:30ish -- we do midday prayers, housework/yardwork, dinner and cleanup in that time. Then if the older kids have not finished their schoolwork by that time, they are expected to finish up (independent stuff like math on the computer, reading novels, etc) in the evening after the little ones have gone to bed (after we have night prayers). I agree with an earlier poster -- if we don't do it in the morning, it just does not get done. That really means me. If I am going to actually teach something, like art/art appreciation/poetry/history/etc, then I have to do it first thing. Otherwise I just won't do it. Those are the subjects we do in large groups, not all the children, but a good portion are in each of those 'classes.' So while I teach that, the others are expected to be doing their own lessons.

There are times when I wish I could do things differently, but because of my husband's work schedule and our time at Martial Arts, this is just the way it is.

Barbara C.

I agree that FlyLady obviously doesn't homeschool. It is much harder to get everything done when you have kids constantly at home who make a new mess as soon as you clean up the first one and you have a in-home job besides housekeeping.

I have incorporated some FlyLady ideas, such as weekly zone cleaning. But the weekly zone cleaning lists are what I get to if I have time after looking through my daily and weekly priority housework lists.

I just see housework, including shopping, as things that can be done at almost anytime throughout the day. But for each family there only maybe certain times of day for the teaching parent and the kids that might contribute to as smooth of an education process as possible. So, the housework/shopping should be fit in around that rather than the school time around the housework or grocery shopping.

RealMom4Life

hmmm we pretty much school throughout the day. We start at 8:30 and I try to get individual lessons in reading and math in. Kids work on whatever they can do on their own. 30 min lunch and clean-up about 11:00. Recess 30-60 min. Rest time 45 minutes for EVERYONE (older kids can work on their lit or solo work). At about 2:00 I begin again and finish any solo work. Afternoon is also set aside for group classes like religion, science, etc. Younger kids get done earlier and have more playtime/chores.

So, while our schoolday goes from 8:30 - 4:00 most days it's not like everyone is busy the whole time (except me :) ) but this just works best for my family. Getting done by noon sounds great but I'm teaching 6 with 2 youngers as well. Group everything we can but can't group everything. Besides, I found when I shifted to this it became more a way of life than a task to check off. This workfs fr us...this year :)

Barbara C.

That is the key part of it RealMom4Life. What works this year.

I am due with baby #5 two weeks before the our usual fall semester start date (we follow my husband's college teaching schedule). In addition to a newborn, I'll be dealing with a 4th grader and a 1st grader and trying to make sure that a preschooler and toddler don't fall between the attention cracks. By September this past year's rhythm may be ancient history.

Jenny

I'm firmly in the schoolwork-at-afternoon-naptime camp... which should finish us up for this year (K for twins) anyway! Next year, I'll have two 1st graders and a new K (plus a 3-year-old), and I'm trying to figure out how to do morning schooling. I've got some ideas... we'll see how it works out!

One of my problems is that while *I* am a morning person (and could happily be teaching by 8 a.m.), the rest of my family are definitely NOT morning people. So while the baby gets up around 7, the bigger girls are sometimes not even up until nearly 9! And then we're slow to breakfast, dress, etc... next thing I know, it's lunchtime. If I want to do *anything* concerted in the morning (more than putting on flip-flops and going out to the back yard), it's a serious deal! They are SO not morning people!

We also do bath right after naptime, which means we don't do outside-time in the afternoon--so I'm reluctant to keep us indoors before lunch. I'm hoping to do science/map-skills/etc. in the morning next year, with the hopes that we can do those things outside some/much of the time.

Anyway, it's good to read about other folks' schedules... thanks!

Practicing Mammal

I homeschool in the morning, so that other than my highschoolers that I am done by noon-ish. However, when I am pregnant, I homeschool in the afternoon because I am busy lazing around and trying to eat something for the first five hours of the day. Truth to tell, when I am pregnant I barely homeschool at all, but anyway. When I homeschool in the afternoon, I apply the same "method" that I do attaching things to meal times. Normally we get up, I read to the kids at breakfast, we do a little tidy up and then I start their sit down work with them (one at a time). When I work in the afternoon, I trick them by doing THE EXACT SAME THING only its attached to the lunch thing.

Practicing Mammal

Um. Can't find a thingy to follow you. Technical assistance, please.

bearing

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