Jump to content

Menu

Expectations too high or doing something wrong?


Recommended Posts

This is my first year homeschooling my ds6th grade, ds4th grade, and ds1st grade. Here's what I envisioned: school for 5-6 hrs/day, and time for quiet "room time (where they would do 60 min of reading for pleasure and I would have an hour of blessed, blissful silence)," chores, playing, and piano practice before dinner (which has to be around 5:00 because of soccer practice). Here's what I live: school for 7-8 hours/day, I'm lucky if they have time to unload and load the dishwasher, soccer practice is all the playing they get, they practice piano for 15 minutes most - but not all - days, and there is NO quiet room time (thus no blessed, blissful silence).

 

I've already switched spelling and math curriculums because what I was using was taking WAY too long or was too complicated. I switched their day of science experiments to Saturday so that they can do it with my dh (he loves science, and I don't enjoy it at all) and lighten their load during the week. DS4th is repeating the Latin that he "learned" in his classical school last year, but doesn't remember. I'll tell you what I'm doing, but here's the thing: I don't want to compromise their education, so it's not like I can really drop any subjects. Also, Thursday is like a 1/2 day for us because we go to a Bible study for a couple of hours in the morning.

 

DS 1st: Bible M-F; Grammar MTW (FLL); Spelling M-F (just switched to Apples and Pears from Spell to Write and Read); Reading M-F (I read to him and he narrates; he reads a different book to me); Writing MTWF(WWE); Math M-F (Singapore); History MWF (SotW); Science F, Sat (Elemental Science)

 

DS4th: Bible M-F; Grammar MTW (FLL); Spelling M-F (A&P); Reading M-F (Drawn into the Heart of Reading); Writing MTWF (WWE); Math M-F (just switched to Singapore from Saxon); History MWF (SotW); Science F, Sat (Elemental Science); Latin M-F (Latin for Children)

 

DS6th: Bible M-F; Grammar/Writing MTWF Rod & Staff 6); Spelling M-F (Vocab from Classical Roots); Reading M-F (WTM's reading list, sometimes combined with Drawn into the Heart of Reading); Math M-F (just switched to Singapore from Saxon); History MWF (WTM's guidelines); Science F, Sat (WTM's guidelines); Latin online class M, W and homework (which sometimes requires quite a bit of my help) each day (Veritas Academy)

 

DS6th does a lot independently, but I still have to teach him what to do before he's off being independent. DS4th can do some on his own, but mostly needs me. DS1st obviously needs me to teach every subject. So I'm teaching around 20 classes/day...and then doing all the chores at night that I thought I'd be having help with during the day...and grading...and writing up the plan for the next day...and staying up way too late doing all of those things.

 

So were my expectations too high? Or are we doing something wrong?

Edited by tenoraddict
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have 3 boys. Boys! I only have two, but I imagine that one more makes the house no more quieter than with two.

 

I can't really comment on your schedule because I'm not that familiar with all of the curriculum that you are using. However, I will just give you the advice that I always give namely, are your boys getting enough exercise? Run them like a pack of wolves. I make mine do laps. That, my dear friend, is the answer to getting a few minutes of silence.

 

:grouphug:

 

And today is my day to :chillpill: because my younger is like a talking tornado.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funny, snickerdoodle! Yes, especially when they're unfocused (which is all the time for my ds1st, and we're working on getting that diagnosed) or have cabin fever. Last week, I made them run in the rain on the sidewalk outside the library before I would let them go in with me. They're like caged animals if they don't get enough exercise. It's nice to hear from someone who "gets" boys.:001_smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

History: SOTW. 1st grader--oral narration and that's it. 4th grader--one extra book at his reading level per lesson, a written summary, and maybe a project. 6th grader--one extra book, a supplemental spine such as Kingfisher to outline, an analytical paper (short) if he is ready for that. All you do together is read SOTW aloud. Bedtime is great for that.

 

Science: What I would suggest is Magic School Bus for the 1st grader, and RS4K Level I for the other two, supplemented with readalouds from Tiner.

 

Bible: I would suggest doing that separately for homework, but also having group Bible reading daily.

 

Copywork for the youngest should come from that subject area text material. Same for dictation for the 4th grader and outline/summarization for the 6th grader.

 

I would stop and think about what reading aloud you could do at bedtime, especially for literature for the group. My DD has always loved being read to. Shoot, my DH loves to be read to! You can read them an exciting, classic children's novel (Treasure Island?) or a retelling of a real classic (Black Ships Before Troy?) and discuss it as a group. You can also do the oral FLL lesson with the 6yo at bedtime. Increase your cuddle time and decrease your stress during the day!

 

If this doesn't work out as well as you want, you might want to look at a Stewardship unit study. That approach works great with biggish families, and your DC would be at good ages for it. You can do this!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll just shoot it out there, observations and questions....

 

Are you combining them for much of your Bible, science and history studies?

 

What are you using for each subject and how much time is each one taking? Maybe they are too time consuming or too mom-intensive.

 

Why do your 6th and 4th graders have "reading" as a subject? They can read for history, read for science - read to learn not learn to read. Yes, they should have required reading time but you can kill 2 birds with one stone if they are reading their subject areas.

 

I can't really say if you are expecting too much unless I know what programs you are using and how much time you are expecting each of them to dedicate to that subject.

 

There are often things in a classical curriculum that can cover more than one subject. For example:

 

If you were using Lively Latin I would tell you that any child in grades 2-4 could skip English grammar because it is included in that program at about a third grade level. After that point I would pick up English grammar again, but by that age it could be largely independent.

 

As stated above you don't need a separate reading program once they are reading well because they will be reading to learn their content subjects.

 

Most writing assignments can be responses to history or science in the form of summaries, narrations and notebook pages. A couple of times a week my Jr. Highers do a "writing assignment", Other than that it is tied to history. For a first or fourth grader I would be doing Writing With Ease which should take you only 5-10 min. 4 days a week and is completely adequate. They would also do narrations and/or notebook pages a couple of times a week but they wouldn't be as involved as the 6th grader's.

 

If you can give us more details maybe we can help more. I am just sort of shooting in the dark here and hoping it helps a bit.

 

Do they happen to have a lot of time when they are at loose ends because you are working with someone else? I have an idea for that if you need it.

They all do Bible together. The 1st and 4th grader do history together. They all do the science experiments together, but not the actual lessons.

 

I forgot to mention that my ds4th has dyslexia and has undergone vision therapy for visual processing issues (LOVE vision therapy! It made a huge difference for him, and DS1st is about to start next week.), so he will probably never be a fast reader. A WWE lesson - the ones with reading/narration especially, not to mention the ones that add dictation - can take us 30 minutes. The ones with just writing are completed in 5-10 min.

 

In an edit, I added my curriculum. They have Reading as a subject because SWB recommends it in TWTM. I'm using her reading list for the 6th grader, and it does correspond with the history he's studying. I go back and forth between DitHoR and narration in Reading for the 4th grader. I use a modified version of the 6th grader's list for the 1st and 4th graders.

 

When the 6th grader has a writing assignment or an outlining lesson for another subject, I count it as Grammar also. I really do try to "cut corners" without sacrificing content.

 

Concerning time allotted (keep in mind that this is my limit; it doesn't always take us this long): Bible 30 min; Writing 15 min ds1st, 30 min ds4th; Spelling 30 min ds1st & 4th; 15 min ds6th; Math 30 min ds1st (had allotted 60 for other boys because it was Saxon, but I expect Singapore to take about 30 min); Reading 45 min ds1st, 90 min for the other 2 (including 30 min mandatory "free" reading); History - about 45 min, maybe 60 for ds6th; Science - experiment day is about 90 min, lesson day is about 30 for ds1st and 45-60 for the other 2; Latin 30 min/day, plus 1.5 hours of class time for ds6th on M and W (does not always do 30 min of homework on a class day); Grammar ds1st 5-10 min, ds4th 30 min (when ds6th combines grammar and writing, it's about 60 min).

 

After we do Bible, I send the older 2 off to work independently while I get as much as possible done with the youngest. When one of the older 2 needs me, I let the youngest have a break. I teach the olders the lessons, but if they have independent work related to that subject, they do it later in the day (ie I teach the math lesson, but they do the problems later on) so that I can continue through my day at as rapid a pace as possible. If they absolutely can't do anything else on their lesson plans without my help, they practice piano or do chores. I'll send the youngest outside to blow off steam while the older two and I plow through the day.

 

To Carol - Thanks for the suggestions. What is a Stewardship unit study? We do Bible together because it's part of the study that we're all in, and I think it's good that we're discussing the questions together, etc. So I don't want to relegate that to homework. When they were younger and had the same bedtime, we did a family reading time (which did include Treasure Island), but they all have different bedtimes now. Plus, we have soccer 4 nights/week (between all 3, not that all 3 have soccer 4 nights/week!), so it's usually a rush to get home from soccer at 7ish and get the youngest snacked, showered, and off to bed. Evenings are anything but calm and conducive to learning.:bored:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is my first year homeschooling my ds6th grade, ds4th grade, and ds1st grade. Here's what I envisioned: school for 5-6 hrs/day, and time for quiet "room time (where they would do 60 min of reading for pleasure and I would have an hour of blessed, blissful silence)," chores, playing, and piano practice before dinner (which has to be around 5:00 because of soccer practice). Here's what I live: school for 7-8 hours/day, I'm lucky if they have time to unload and load the dishwasher, soccer practice is all the playing they get, they practice piano for 15 minutes most - but not all - days, and there is NO quiet room time (thus no blessed, blissful silence).

 

Personally, I think that, yes -- your expectations were too high, and yes, you are doing something wrong.

 

But I mean it in a nice way -- you're new at this, and I think you're thinking with a "public school mindset." Honestly, there's no way I can imagine most 1st, 4th, and 6th graders spending a grand total of up to 8 hours a day doing schoolwork (and I'm including the piano practice and quiet reading, because if it's a requirement, I count it as scheduled work time.) In addition to all of that, it sounds like your kids also have chores to do.

 

When do they get to have any fun? It sounds like they're working a fulltime job plus some overtime every day, just to complete their daily requirements.

 

Oh, and the blissful silence for you part? If you figure out how to get that, please let me know! ;)

 

Looking at your schedule, it doesn't look like you're asking the kids to do an unreasonable amount of subjects, so all I can think is that, perhaps, they have to do too many lessons in a day, or the work is too difficult for them, or they hate the curriculum so much that they dawdle, daydream, and complain instead of doing the work.

 

How much time are you spending with each child? I would think that you could combine some subjects for your 4th and 6th grader, and your 1st grader could have a much lighter workload than the other children (no more than 2 hours or so of school each day.) My ds9 is done with all of his schoolwork by lunchtime, and he's doing a full load of coursework.

 

Perhaps your kids just need some time to decompress from the "public school mentality," and you need to find a way to make homeschooling more engaging for them. I know that's asking a lot, as it can take a long time to figure out what works for your family, but right now, I can only imagine how exhausted you must be feeling, and how frustrating the L-O-N-G day must be for your kids.

 

When I first started homeschooling, I was a lunatic about covering every last little thing, because I knew my ds would be irreparably damaged if I didn't. Then I wised up and realized that a lot of the work children do in public and private schools is often nothing more than busywork to fill up a long school day. Perhaps there's a bit of that problem with your school day? (I have no idea -- I'm just grasping at straws!)

 

Anyway, I hope I didn't sound too critical. If I did, please know that it wasn't my intention. I know you and your kids will be fine, and that you'll work your way into a routine that works for all of you... but it probably won't happen overnight, and it may require quite a bit of compromise on everyone's part. Sometimes I think the best thing you can do is have a family meeting to figure out what the children are really feeling, and to explain your thoughts, as well. Then, take a bit of time to consider what everyone had to say, and decide if you need to make some changes.

 

Good luck with everything, and please keep posting to let us know how things are going! :grouphug:

 

Cat

 

PS. You just posted while I was typing, so I didn't see your scheduling until now. I don't think you need to allot so much time to each subject. I think 90 minutes is awfully long for reading for your older dc, and 45 minutes is an eternity to a 1st grader, unless he loves to read. Saxon Math shouldn't take an hour a day to complete one lesson. I also think 45 minutes may not be necessary for history, but I'm not sure how much you try to cover each day. If I had to generalize, I would suggest that you could probably cut all of your "class times" in half, and your kids would still be in great shape academically, and they might be more engaged in the lessons if they didn't seem to last forever. I can't even imagine allotting 30 minutes a day to a subject like spelling; it seems like overkill to me.

Edited by Catwoman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally, I think that, yes -- your expectations were too high, and yes, you are doing something wrong.

 

But I mean it in a nice way -- you're new at this, and I think you're thinking with a "public school mindset." Honestly, there's no way I can imagine most 1st, 4th, and 6th graders spending a grand total of up to 8 hours a day doing schoolwork (and I'm including the piano practice and quiet reading, because if it's a requirement, I count it as scheduled work time.) In addition to all of that, it sounds like your kids also have chores to do.

 

When do they get to have any fun? It sounds like they're working a fulltime job plus some overtime every day, just to complete their daily requirements.

 

Oh, and the blissful silence for you part? If you figure out how to get that, please let me know! ;)

 

Looking at your schedule, it doesn't look like you're asking the kids to do an unreasonable amount of subjects, so all I can think is that, perhaps, they have to do too many lessons in a day, or the work is too difficult for them, or they hate the curriculum so much that they dawdle, daydream, and complain instead of doing the work.

 

How much time are you spending with each child? I would think that you could combine some subjects for your 4th and 6th grader, and your 1st grader could have a much lighter workload than the other children (no more than 2 hours or so of school each day.) My ds9 is done with all of his schoolwork by lunchtime, and he's doing a full load of coursework.

 

Perhaps your kids just need some time to decompress from the "public school mentality," and you need to find a way to make homeschooling more engaging for them. I know that's asking a lot, as it can take a long time to figure out what works for your family, but right now, I can only imagine how exhausted you must be feeling, and how frustrating the L-O-N-G day must be for your kids.

 

When I first started homeschooling, I was a lunatic about covering every last little thing, because I knew my ds would be irreparably damaged if I didn't. Then I wised up and realized that a lot of the work children do in public and private schools is often nothing more than busywork to fill up a long school day. Perhaps there's a bit of that problem with your school day? (I have no idea -- I'm just grasping at straws!)

 

Anyway, I hope I didn't sound too critical. If I did, please know that it wasn't my intention. I know you and your kids will be fine, and that you'll work your way into a routine that works for all of you... but it probably won't happen overnight, and it may require quite a bit of compromise on everyone's part. Sometimes I think the best thing you can do is have a family meeting to figure out what the children are really feeling, and to explain your thoughts, as well. Then, take a bit of time to consider what everyone had to say, and decide if you need to make some changes.

 

Good luck with everything, and please keep posting to let us know how things are going! :grouphug:

 

Cat

 

PS. You just posted while I was typing, so I didn't see your scheduling until now. I don't think you need to allot so much time to each subject. I think 90 minutes is awfully long for reading for your older dc, and 45 minutes is an eternity to a 1st grader, unless he loves to read. Saxon Math shouldn't take an hour a day to complete one lesson. I also think 45 minutes may not be necessary for history, but I'm not sure how much you try to cover each day. If I had to generalize, I would suggest that you could probably cut all of your "class times" in half, and your kids would still be in great shape academically, and they might be more engaged in the lessons if they didn't seem to last forever. I can't even imagine allotting 30 minutes a day to a subject like spelling; it seems like overkill to me.

I know you mean it in a nice way. I opened myself up to comments, after all, so I'd better have a bit of a thick skin. :) OK, let's see...my kids went to a classical Christian school up to this point, and believe me, the work I have them doing is LESS than they did while in school. They would do about 5 hours of work in a 7 hour day (allotting time for lunch, recess, specials, and transtions), and then have up to 2 hours of homework (yes, in 3rd grade) at night (and piano and a sport). So they are pretty happy with what I have them doing, are engaged in the lessons, and there's not much dawdling or daydreaming. We've had family meetings and they've all expressed how much they prefer hsing to being at school.

 

My 1st grader could definitely be done by lunch, and usually is close to it. Sometimes he needs breaks because of focusing issues (I'm not going to label him ADHD until all other avenues are investigated, but that's what his behavior is like). We break the reading up into 2 sessions: I read to him and he narrates, and that takes about 15-30 min., and later he reads to me for 15 min. He's been reading for almost a year and loves it.

 

Saxon, unfortunately, takes my kids about an hour. Teaching the lesson is about 15 min, and then doing the problems takes about 45. We all dislike Saxon, and I'm hoping Singapore will be better and faster.

 

The times I listed for lessons are the maximum time I will let them spend on a subject. The lesson and work are frequently accomplished in less time. For example, my ds4th can usually get through an A&P spelling lesson in 30 min, but if we hit the 30 min mark and haven't finished the lesson (for whatever reason), we stop.

 

For history for the 2 youngers, we do the SotW reading (I read it), the comprehension questions, map work, and look up the locations on a map. Then they narrate; the 4th grader writes about 4 sentences himself, and the 1st grader dictates to me. The 6th grader follows TWTM history program: read, write key thoughts or outline, timeline, map. All of that takes about 45 minutes.

 

I appreciate that people are taking the time to help me figure this out. MTW are our hard days, but Thursday is really great (Bible study, out to lunch, half day in the afternoon). Friday is somewhere between Thurs and the rest of the week, and I try to do a fun event or service project on Friday afternoons, which they enjoy. It may just be a matter of my lowering my expectations. I've never been a "working mom" before, and it's hard for me to let go of things (the housework, decent meals) and harder still for the 4 males I live with to pick up that which I let go...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

but I also think you're doing GREAT! :grouphug:

 

I've been homeschooling for over 10 yrs and I feel that way every year - how can we fit it all in?? I only have one that I'm homeschooling now and it's still hard because my ds daydreams a LOT! Every year I schedule TOO much into our day and always need to simplify or rotate out one or two subjects/day. Math has always taken my dc one hour or more/day.

 

You have high academic expectations and that's OK but you don't have all the resources at home like the school so you have to be 3 teachers in one PLUS home manager! It's hard!! :tongue_smilie:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We switched from Saxon to Singapore this year for my 3rd grader, and while I am much happier both with the format/style and the content, I would emphatically NOT say that it's faster, although that was my original goal in switching too. :tongue_smilie: I don't say this to discourage you from changing, just wanted to let you know what our experience has been. Obviously, YMMV. :) All the best in this new endeavor, and I hope you work out your schedule to your satisfaction!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the encouragement, Mich elle.:) I know that my standards are high. I know what they're capable of, based on what they've done at school in the past...I just want the same results without as much work. Hmm...we'll see how it plays out.

 

Caitlin, what's YMMV? I think I won't be so frustrated with the time it takes for Singapore because I think it's a better program than Saxon. We'll see about that as well. Thanks for the reality check on the timing, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the encouragement, Mich elle.:) I know that my standards are high. I know what they're capable of, based on what they've done at school in the past...I just want the same results without as much work. Hmm...we'll see how it plays out.

 

Caitlin, what's YMMV? I think I won't be so frustrated with the time it takes for Singapore because I think it's a better program than Saxon. We'll see about that as well. Thanks for the reality check on the timing, though.

 

Your Mileage May Vary! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think your expectations are too high. How many days have you been schooling? I'm schooling our two girls (1st and 5th) and at the beginning it took from morning to night to school and then I still had to cook and clean and we go to church Wednesday nights. I was soo tired, but kept going.

 

Today we finished day 39 and teaching school is taking about 4 hours (including lunch) . My 5th grader often has homework, and it takes her about an hour to an hour and a half to finish on her own. I do the teaching and answer questions, the 5th grader does the written work on her own. I have time to get laundry, cooking, and cleaning done. The girls play outside for at least 2 hours a day in the afternoon. I do not run errands Monday thru Friday. We do our shopping and such on the weekends.

 

My 1st grader is doing: Rod & Staff Phonics/Reading/Math for 1st grade, Sonlight Core 1 science/bible/read-alouds/history, Daily Geography 1, AWANA, and choir.

 

My 5th grader is doing: Rod & Staff Spelling/Reading/English/Math for 5th grade, Sequential Spelling 1, Daily Geography 5, Daily Writing 5, Sonlight Core 5 science/readers/read-alouds/history, and Training Hearts Teaching Minds for bible.

 

We do attend P.E. Fridays from 11 to 11:45 AM.

 

I think you're doing an awesome job and that as time goes on, you will all find your groove.

 

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So they are pretty happy with what I have them doing, are engaged in the lessons, and there's not much dawdling or daydreaming. We've had family meetings and they've all expressed how much they prefer hsing to being at school.

 

Ok, I think I missed the entire point of your original post. If the kids are happy, engaged in the lessons, not dawdling or daydreaming, and are pleased with being homeschooled, I guess I don't know why you asked if we thought your expectations were too high, or if you were doing something wrong. I was under the (apparently mistaken) impression that you weren't happy with the way things were going, and were trying to do some troubleshooting. I apologize for misunderstanding you!

 

My 1st grader could definitely be done by lunch, and usually is close to it. Sometimes he needs breaks because of focusing issues (I'm not going to label him ADHD until all other avenues are investigated, but that's what his behavior is like). We break the reading up into 2 sessions: I read to him and he narrates, and that takes about 15-30 min., and later he reads to me for 15 min. He's been reading for almost a year and loves it.

 

I was thinking that the reading requirements were a bit much, but if he loves it, I wouldn't change anything.

 

Saxon, unfortunately, takes my kids about an hour. Teaching the lesson is about 15 min, and then doing the problems takes about 45. We all dislike Saxon, and I'm hoping Singapore will be better and faster.

 

It definitely sounds like you need a change! I hope Singapore works well for you. We used it when ds was younger, and it was an excellent program. It will be a different teaching experience for you, though -- Singapore is much different than Saxon.

 

The times I listed for lessons are the maximum time I will let them spend on a subject. The lesson and work are frequently accomplished in less time. For example, my ds4th can usually get through an A&P spelling lesson in 30 min, but if we hit the 30 min mark and haven't finished the lesson (for whatever reason), we stop.

 

We are using Spelling Power, and the lessons are considerably shorter. I have never used A&P, so I can't compare the two programs, but if you want to shorten up your day a bit, Spelling Power could be an option.

 

For history for the 2 youngers, we do the SotW reading (I read it), the comprehension questions, map work, and look up the locations on a map. Then they narrate; the 4th grader writes about 4 sentences himself, and the 1st grader dictates to me. The 6th grader follows TWTM history program: read, write key thoughts or outline, timeline, map. All of that takes about 45 minutes.

 

Have you considered using the SOTW audiobook? It will free up some of your time every day, and your kids might enjoy the change of pace. I wasn't sure if my ds would respond to the CDs, but he really likes Jim Weiss's narration. Jim reads the book word-for-word, so your younger kids could listen to the CD and your oldest might want to read along. We don't do too many of the activities, as my ds9 seems to be absorbing the information without writing sentences or outlining, but we do discuss the lessons, using the questions in the activity book. We also have the tests that go along with the book.

 

It may just be a matter of my lowering my expectations. I've never been a "working mom" before, and it's hard for me to let go of things (the housework, decent meals) and harder still for the 4 males I live with to pick up that which I let go...

 

Again, I apologize for having misunderstood your first post. I thought the issue was with the children, not whether or not you should lower your expectations of yourself.

 

Cat

Edited by Catwoman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It will take some time to find your groove.

 

This year, my day looks like this (I cover math, language arts, writing, spelling, penmanship, Latin, phonics, in other words, the skill subjects with each of them, during this time):

 

30 minutes with ds5

45 minutes with ds10

45 minutes with ds9

60 minutes with ds7

30 minutes with ds5

30 minutes with ds4

 

Then we break for lunch/quiet time for an hour.

 

Then it's time for group subjects: Bible, Geography & Memory Work daily, followed by History & Art on Tuesdays and History & Science on Wednesday and Friday. We're done by 2:30-ish, usually.

 

I used to alternate between kids, but found that it's most effiecient to work through all lessons that need me to teach 1:1 rather than jumping around. Ds10 and ds9 are quite independent and will work on what they can do without me while I'm with another brother. Ds7 & ds5 each have some work they can do without me, but they aren't exactly good at focusing yet.

 

Your workload doesn't seem unreasonable at all. I would suspect you just need to find the most efficient routine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The number of subjects your doing with each child doesn't seem to be too much to me. Can you cut down on the number of days you do each subject? For example you're doing grammar 4 days per week with your 6th grader. You could probably cut that down to 3 days per week and still finish the book by the end of the year. Perhaps spelling could be done 4 days per week instead of 5? For the younger ones, I would consider math 4 days per week and history 2 days as well. The 4th grader could do WWE 3 days per week instead of 4.

 

Also, are you assigning all of the written work in the 6th graders R&S book? That could be quite time consuming.

 

I would slightly trim subjects so that you're do a bit less instructing each day.

 

HTH, Stacy

 

ETA: Just as an FYI, I have a 7th grader and here's his weekly schedule:

 

Math (M-F) - Foerster Algebra

History (M,T,TH) - Little History of the World

Composition (3 days per week rotating) - multiple resources

Grammar (3 days per week rotating) - AG

Memory work (M,W,F) - Mom assigned

Vocab (M,W,F) - Vocab Cartoons

Spelling (M-Th) - Spelling Through Morphorgraphs

Lit (M-F) - Mom assigned

Logic (W) - Fallacy Detective

Japanese (T,Th,F) - Rosetta Stone

Logo to Lego, programing class online (F- with homework on T)

Geography (F) Mapping the World with Art

 

Ds typically works for about 4 hours per day. We school from 9:30 - 2:30 roughly. I have a 5th grader with a similar but somewhat lighter schedule as well. I will say that ds does not linger over work; he likes to pound it out as quickly as possible - sometimes too quickly for my preference.

Edited by Stacy in NJ
more
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have 3 boys. Boys! I only have two, but I imagine that one more makes the house no more quieter than with two.

 

I can't really comment on your schedule because I'm not that familiar with all of the curriculum that you are using. However, I will just give you the advice that I always give namely, are your boys getting enough exercise? Run them like a pack of wolves. I make mine do laps. That, my dear friend, is the answer to getting a few minutes of silence.

 

:grouphug:

 

And today is my day to :chillpill: because my younger is like a talking tornado.

 

:iagree: :iagree:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Today is day 47 for us...

 

What I meant by expectations was my expectations of what our family life would be like, not our academic life. I didn't think schooling would take so long, and I thought we'd have more time for extracurriculars and projects and fun. But I do need suggestions for either how to shorten the day, because if I can shorten it, I will. So, Catwoman, please don't apologize! The SotW audiobook is a good idea; I'll look into it. It would at least free me up a bit, if not them.

 

I think I'll try history on TTh next week instead of MWF. That would lighten up 2 of our heavier days.

 

No, I don't assign all of the work for R&S; could you imagine how long it would take to complete that?! And I think he's really only doing R&S about 2 days/week, because I count his days outlining and writing essays as grammar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an idea that would save you a lot of time and probably make school more enjoyable for all of you... combine your 6th and 4th graders for every possible subject, and focus most of your school planning on them. I would use the same programs for both in classes like history, science-- basically everything except reading, writing, and math, and just add more written work and research for your 6th grader to your studies. There are a couple reasons why I would do this: 1. Your 4th and 6th graders are closer in age than your 4th and 1st grader are. 2. Your older kids need the extras more than your 1st grader does, and need more of your time to work with them. 3. Separating them will allow your first grader to finish school more quickly, and focus more directly on the basics (reading, writing, and math.)

 

I would not do a second history or science program with my first grader... I would let him listen in on what your older two are doing together, and then read him some library books on that topic, maybe have him color or draw some pictures to go along with it if he enjoys that.

 

It's sort of like a trickle-down approach, and it works well for many homeschooling families-- put the most emphasis on supplemental subjects for your older kids, and let your youngers piggyback off that.

 

That way you're only teaching one history class (2xs/wk., one science class (2xs/wk), one Bible time daily (not sure if you're doing this already), etc. Personally I would even do Latin together, starting them both at the 4th graders level and moving quickly up a level or two.

 

So it might look like this:

 

6th grader-- reading, writing, math, grammar (2-3xs), spelling

 

4th grader- reading, writing, math, grammar (2-3xs), spelling

 

1st grader- reading, writing, math, grammar (2xs), spelling

 

All of that could probably be done before lunch. Your first grader would probably not need much more than 1.5 hours in the morning, so he'd have free play time in the morning while the other boys work. Then after lunch, you could do:

 

Latin with your two older boys together, then alternate either history or science together. Done this way, you could be done by 2:00, which could be your quiet time. At 3:00, the kids could practice piano. My kids do their chores (which take about 30 min.) first thing in the morning, at 8:00. We start school at 8:30. So by 3:00, your kids could be done with everything they needed to do for the day, and have free time.

 

This is basically what we do, and it works really well for us. My kids are in 8th, 3rd, and 2nd grade, so I group the younger two mostly. But when my kids were younger, I used to focus on my oldest and let the younger two just listen in. They learned a lot!

 

Hope something here helps!!

Edited by Erica in PA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That sounds like a great plan for a lot of families, and I wish it would work for mine...but my older son "plays up" academically and my 4th grader has learning issues. The 6th grader is doing 7th grade Latin online, and the 4th grader is repeating 3rd grade Latin and still struggling with understanding it (I started him on the 4th grade level, and quickly realized we'd need to repeat last year. He got an A in Latin at school last year, but clearly just memorized and didn't learn. We took a break from Latin for several weeks this year, and are going back into it very slowly.)

 

My 6th grader is a "classic" student, and my 4th grader has dyslexia and visual processing issues. He's also struggling with "getting" math. So even though they're only 21 months apart in age, they're at least 2 years apart in academic ability. He's a v-e-r-y slow reader, but he enjoys it and his comprehension is way above grade level. I often read lessons to him (SotW, WWE, etc) to speed things up for him.

 

I already am only teaching 1 history class 3x/wk (switching that to 2x/week next week to see how it goes), and one science class 1x/wk (dh does the 2nd class). Ds6th only does history with me when he does outlining, because he is still learning that skill.

 

I like the idea of doing some chores before school, like unloading the dishwasher or even piano practice. We try to start at 8, but could start a bit later. It would save me the frustration of having dirty dishes pile up in the sink all day...visual rap music. :ack2:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That sounds like a great plan for a lot of families, and I wish it would work for mine...but my older son "plays up" academically and my 4th grader has learning issues. The 6th grader is doing 7th grade Latin online, and the 4th grader is repeating 3rd grade Latin and still struggling with understanding it (I started him on the 4th grade level, and quickly realized we'd need to repeat last year. He got an A in Latin at school last year, but clearly just memorized and didn't learn. We took a break from Latin for several weeks this year, and are going back into it very slowly.)

 

My 6th grader is a "classic" student, and my 4th grader has dyslexia and visual processing issues. He's also struggling with "getting" math. So even though they're only 21 months apart in age, they're at least 2 years apart in academic ability. He's a v-e-r-y slow reader, but he enjoys it and his comprehension is way above grade level. I often read lessons to him (SotW, WWE, etc) to speed things up for him.

 

I already am only teaching 1 history class 3x/wk (switching that to 2x/week next week to see how it goes), and one science class 1x/wk (dh does the 2nd class). Ds6th only does history with me when he does outlining, because he is still learning that skill.

 

I like the idea of doing some chores before school, like unloading the dishwasher or even piano practice. We try to start at 8, but could start a bit later. It would save me the frustration of having dirty dishes pile up in the sink all day...visual rap music. :ack2:

 

Okay, I see why it works better for you to do Latin separately. That makes sense. Is your 4th grader actually closer academically to your 1st grader than to your 6th grader? If not, you might have more success combining him with your oldest than you think-- not for the core subjects, of course, but history and science. SOTW works very well as a textbook for 6th graders-- in fact I am using it right now at our co-op, for 5th grade through 8th graders. The older kids are just given more writing and additional work to flesh out the program. Even though your 6th grader is doing his history and science independently, it seems to me that having all three of your children doing history and science together would make things easier on you, as well as more enjoyable for them. One of the great things about homeschooling, that gives an advantage of traditional schooling, is that families can learn together. Doing those content areas together can be a great family time, as well as helping the kids learn more than they would if they were working alone.

 

My second graders spends about 1.5 hours per day, my 3rd grader about 3 hours, and my 8th grader about 5 hours, just to give you an idea of how long we take each day. I probably spend about 3 hours daily directly homeschooling, myself.

 

Anyway, these are just a few ideas to try to help you get the most out of your homeschooling, in as brief a time each day as possible. You will figure out what works best for you as you go. It's hard at first, but eventually you will grow to love it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 7th grader started to be more independent starting in 5th grade. My 3rd grader is already partly independent. Different kids, you know. . .

 

But my suggestion is to see what subjects they can be independent on. The way we do it is to have a printed schedule for each child.

 

Ds12's (7th grade) schedule goes like this:

 

Breakfast Read-a-Loud: 3rd Grade history reading (they are on the same history rotation ("Age of Discovery" this year so ds12 can still benefit from hearing Dd7's read-a-louds)

 

Morning Chores - 1/2 hour

 

History - Read p.X - XX. Answer questions.

Math - Ex. X p. XX

 

Snack Recess - 15 min. (put on a timer)

Grammar - Look over lesson with teacher (that's me!) Do Ex. XXX

 

Lunch Recess - 20 min. while I fix lunch

Lunch Read-a-loud - I read

 

Latin - Look over lesson with teacher. Do Ex. XX

Today- art - both children will do an art lesson off of the computer - a step-by-step drawing program. It has more detailed instructions for the older kids.

 

1 hour off for quiet time

 

Science - Read p. x - xx. Do experiment.

Music - I do a short lesson today (once a week) - most days it is music practice at this time.

Handwriting - Do Lesson X

 

DD7 (3rd Grader)'s schedule is shorter:

 

Breakfast read-a-loud: Any questions or narration is done by dd since this is technically "her" history and not ds12's

 

Morning chores

 

3rd grade Math - I work with her more than with ds12 though I alternate between the both of them and the kitchen cleaning

3rd Poetry - we read the same poem for one week. By the end of the week she can say at least half of it by memory.

3rd Spelling: Do p. X (fairly independent except for pre-test and final test

 

Snack Recess

 

3rd Handwriting: mostly independent

3rd music - short lesson by me on the recorder 1x a week - rest of days independent music practice

 

Lunch Recess

Lunch read-a-loud: Dd7's history again.

 

3rd Science - Read together, answer questions, do notebooking or experiments together.

 

3rd grade done for the day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When they were younger and had the same bedtime, we did a family reading time (which did include Treasure Island), but they all have different bedtimes now. Plus, we have soccer 4 nights/week (between all 3, not that all 3 have soccer 4 nights/week!), so it's usually a rush to get home from soccer at 7ish and get the youngest snacked, showered, and off to bed. Evenings are anything but calm and conducive to learning.:bored:

 

I hear you on the hectic evenings! I moved our read-aloud time to lunch time. Most days, we are home for lunch, so when we are, I read a chapter while we eat. I lost my MP3 player :glare:, but before that I had a lot of memory songs and chants on there, and we could listen to those or books on tape in the car when we were out driving around. We all miss that... we'll be buying a new MP3 player as soon as we can afford another one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 3 are in grades close to yours, 6th, 3rd and 2nd. The older two came out of a rigorous classical school last year. At the start of this year some of our days were taking 7 -8 hours, longer days than last year. I too struggled with whether my expectations were too high, our subjects track pretty closely to yours. None of my children were complaining, but I was struggling.

 

Here's what I have discovered, for what it's worth, maybe some of it will help you.

 

1. 6th grade takes longer than 5th did! The math is longer, the grammar is more difficult. Even with a good student there is just a big step in work from 5th grade to 6th. I found the same from 2nd to 3rd. Combined that has added at least an extra hour to our days from last year.

 

2. Starting the day with chores helps our household run more smoothly. We start our work around 8:45 and everyone is expected to have their chores done (between us we have beds made, dishwasher and sink, emptied, first load of laundry in and bathrooms spot cleaned).

 

3. As I focused on our time I found that we were losing lots of time in transition from one subject to another. My kids have a list each day of assignments, and can choose their order (constrained by my availability to teach one at a time). My boys were taking sometimes 10 minutes to go from one thing to another. When they/we realized how much time that added up to each day (and how much faster they could be outside if they shortened it even in half) things sped up.

 

4. I find with my boys that a mid morning run around break greatly increases focus for the rest of the morning. We take 10-15 minutes where they go outside and shoot hoops, ride bikes or something else active. That alone has made our days much more pleasant and shorter.

 

5. Crock pot and plan ahead meals! By having a dinner plan that I can follow I can either throw something in the crock pot in the morning or have things prepped so dinner can be cooked in less than 30 minutes later in the day. This has helped with the "can I school and still feed my family well? blues"

 

Lastly, we added a co-op class for gym one afternoon a week this year. I realize now that that missing afternoon has caused me to load up the other days more than I had in the past.

 

Now that we have settled in, we are closer to 6 hours which I am pretty happy with. The youngest is closer to 4-5 and the middle is somewhere in the middle. That is the time it takes us to cover the material we think is important. The kids are happy and excited about learning. They still have lots of time to play and do things they want to do. I have learned to let other things go and focus on my job of educating them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've already switched spelling and math curriculums because what I was using was taking WAY too long or was too complicated. I switched their day of science experiments to Saturday so that they can do it with my dh (he loves science, and I don't enjoy it at all) and lighten their load during the week. DS4th is repeating the Latin that he "learned" in his classical school last year, but doesn't remember. I'll tell you what I'm doing, but here's the thing: I don't want to compromise their education, so it's not like I can really drop any subjects. Also, Thursday is like a 1/2 day for us because we go to a Bible study for a couple of hours in the morning.

We are out of the house for a 1/2 day on Thursdays as well. We go to coop. Thursday is the one day that I trim way down, with as little as possible. Reason being, the interuptions and starting/stopping interfere greatly w/my son's concentration. I could have him do more on Thursday, but it isn't a great learning environment for him to do so. So, here are my recommendations, for what they are worth:

DS 1st: Bible M-F; Grammar MTW (FLL); Spelling M-F (just switched to Apples and Pears from Spell to Write and Read); Reading M-F (I read to him and he narrates; he reads a different book to me); Writing MTWF(WWE); Math M-F (Singapore); History MWF (SotW); Science F, Sat (Elemental Science)
I would drop the spelling on Thursday and drop the reading as well on Thursday. At his age, it may be a bit much. He may not be able to concentrate well & this would give you time w/the other kids. If you don't drop reading, choose 1 - either you read to him or he reads to you, but not both. That would leave him with Bible, Possible reading and Math. Thursday is also the day that ds has to catch up w/assignments earlier in the week - they all must be completed and corrected no later than Thursday dinner.
DS4th: Bible M-F; Grammar MTW (FLL); Spelling M-F (A&P); Reading M-F (Drawn into the Heart of Reading); Writing MTWF (WWE); Math M-F (just switched to Singapore from Saxon); History MWF (SotW); Science F, Sat (Elemental Science); Latin M-F (Latin for Children)
Again, I'd concentrate primarily on Thursday. Drop spelling. Drop or decrease reading; can he drop one day of Latin? Keep math & Bible. Consider using Thursday for make up work and corrections.

 

DS6th: Bible M-F; Grammar/Writing MTWF Rod & Staff 6); Spelling M-F (Vocab from Classical Roots); Reading M-F (WTM's reading list, sometimes combined with Drawn into the Heart of Reading); Math M-F (just switched to Singapore from Saxon); History MWF (WTM's guidelines); Science F, Sat (WTM's guidelines); Latin online class M, W and homework (which sometimes requires quite a bit of my help) each day (Veritas Academy)

Working on Thursday again: drop spelling/vocab; Reduce or eliminate reading. Keep Bible, Math and Latin Homework from Veritas (or Latin Homework and Veritas Homework, I'm not sure if the Latin class is through Veritas or if he has a class w/Veritas in additon to the Latin). At his age he should be able to handle a little bit more work on Thursday afternoon. Consider having him get caught up with his work and do corrections for work earlier in the week.

 

DS6th does a lot independently, but I still have to teach him what to do before he's off being independent. DS4th can do some on his own, but mostly needs me. DS1st obviously needs me to teach every subject. So I'm teaching around 20 classes/day...and then doing all the chores at night that I thought I'd be having help with during the day...and grading...and writing up the plan for the next day...and staying up way too late doing all of those things.

What are your kids doing when you are not working with them? Are they busy doing schoolwork in other subjects or are they off doing their own thing? If they are off doing their own things, then have them do a short chore like empty the dishwasher, sweep the floor, move load of laundry through. You can have a short list for what needs to be done that day, they just go to the list and do the next thing on it.

 

Can your 6th grader help your 1st grader by listening to him read? Does he have time for that? That may save some time & allow you to work with 4th grader.

So were my expectations too high? Or are we doing something wrong?

I can't really answer that, but my expectations are always too high! For some reason I end up having to make a lot of adjustments at this time of the year and then again towards the end of February. I've heard different people call October Homeschool Burnout Month and others have given the same title to February. I think it's both for me! I say that just to let you know you're not alone!

 

ETA: I almost always manage to get an afternoon nap on Thursdays!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steward Ship is a homeschooling family business selling short, multi-age unit studies in social studies and science. Jennifer (I think) Steward is the mom of the family, and I saw her speak a year or two ago and was impressed with her materials. You might want to try one to see whether it would enable you to get all of your children onto the same page for one 4-6 week period, and see how you like it.

 

The unit studies do not cover math or foreign language, but the other course work is largely drawn from them. They collapse teaching time by starting with read alouds that the whole family listens to.

 

They are not purely classical, but to give you some respite they might be worth a shot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No ideas for your scheduling issues, I'm listening for ideas when I'm teaching two! (My 4 year old just does a bit now and then when he wants to, the only thing I do daily with him is a few Bible memory verses.)

 

But, your 4th grade son might has some success with my online phonics lessons. He could watch them on his own.

 

You could also try Webster's Speller with him and your 1st grader combined (you could use it for spelling for your 6th grader as well to combine more things.) My dyslexia page explains why Webster's Speller with its focus on syllables can be helpful for dyslexic students.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your 4th grader has some learning issues, perhaps you should ditch Latin for this year and concentrate on his math skills and reading speed. You could always use something like the Prima Latina DVDs, which would probably be relatively easy for him and would give him more confidence in Latin (because it would likely be mostly review) -- and you could use the same program with your 1st grader, either now or next year, depending upon how your 4th grader would feel about working at the same level as his younger sibling.

 

Obviously, if Latin is very important to you or if your son really enjoys it, my advice won't work at all, but if you're mainly using it to help him with things like word roots and vocabulary, there are other (easier) programs that could be very effective for your 4th grader. Latin is no day at the beach for most kids, and if you hold off on it until your ds improves in other subject areas, it might be a good way to shorten your day and eliminate some stress, as well.

 

Cat

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...