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How do you keep life from interfering with school?


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This is our first week back after Spring Break. I had big plans and they have really fallen through. We've gotten math and grammar done every day, and a bit of history. That's it. Blech.

 

The problem is that we are having a super busy week. I taught at church tonight. DD is in charge of her Girl Scout meeting tomorrow night, so we have to work on that. DS's Webelos crossover is Saturday night. While we won't be there, I did promise months ago to get some things ready for it. Then, on top of everything else, I am organizing my sister's 50th birthday party for Saturday night.

 

Whenever I have a week like this, I cannot seem to concentrate on school, even if the time is available. I am unable to multi-task and it completely derails me. And, though I try my best to keep our lives simple, these types of weeks pop up way too often.

 

And I don't even want to talk about the state of my house right now!

 

How do I keep on track, even when life gets hectic? I keep saying, "when X is over, we can get serious again". Then X is over, but Y pops up. Ugh. I am so frustrated! I want to be consistent in getting school done, but it isn't happening.

 

Help!

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:banghead:

 

As a first year homeschooler I find this to be such a huge challenge. I finally realized recently that because of our lifestyle and priorities, year round school is going to have to be a must. We're going to take two week breaks every three months. Hopefully there can be some dedicated time to organizing during the break along with some fun and rest. Other than this, I don't have any helpful suggestions. I will be interested in what others have to say in this thread.

 

For those of you that have this down, please help!

 

Blessings,

Lucinda

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I'm always beating myself up because I feel like I can't commit to the time I need to homeschool. And not just the time to homeschool, but what about planning?! I still need time to plan, schedule, read ahead or whatever!

 

I still get sidetracked, but I have tried harder to make the commitment. I have to remind myself that hsing is my full time job and just because we *can* take off, doesn't mean we should. If I worked somewhere else, I couldn't take on another outside responsibility. I need to say no to outside things that will affect our school time and take our education time seriously. And I need to make that known to other people who ask for my time.

 

I also, have realized we just need to school year round if we are going to get anywhere. Even that doesn't follow through as well as I'd like, but we keep plugging away.

 

Would love to hear more ideas if people have them. I fear I get so sick and tired of being home all day that it's severely tempting to get out and go do something.

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I usually never let anything interfere with school. Or that's my plan, anyway.

 

We took off last week for spring break, and this week has been almost a bust. We've gotten everything done except my dd13 hasn't done any algebra all week! Why?

 

I teach it to her, so she can't do it alone.

 

On Monday, we unexpectedly had plumbers in and out (being able to bathe is high on my list, too!). We can barely focus on days when it's just dd9 and the dogs yapping, but we just can't concentrate with plumbers traipsing in and out, and wanting to talk to me. So, no algebra on Monday.

 

On Tuesday, we usually don't do math anyway. We have co-op, and this week we had a luncheon & party afterwards. So nothing on Tuesday.

 

Today, we had to cut school short for a dr.'s appt. that was supposed to be last week. We could have done math this morning, but we did everything else instead.

 

Tomorrow, we do math for 2 hours! No more interruptions! Or heads are gonna roll!

 

 

As far as planning, I do that on the weekends. Really, you have to guard your time like a hawk. It's hard!

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before NOON.

 

That time is for me to be focused on the kids & their learning. Phone goes directly to voicemail so I don't hear it ring. Computer is OFF so no temptation for me to wander away to read blogs & boards. During that time I also try to not do chores, or go to 'just put in a load of laundry' etc etc. I try to really focus on them. (I do sometimes work on planning during this time. They often don't really need me there, just like me to be there, so I use the time to plan and schedule the weeks ahead, make lists of books & resources we'll need etc.)

 

Every once in a while there's some field trip which requires us to give up our morning but I really keep it down to the minimum - prob less than once a month. It's too easy to become over scheduled. I've found that keeping our mornings as our homeschool time & leaving the afternoons for the outings/trips/classes (& these I try to keep to 3x week or less) has kept me sane these past 8+ yrs of hs. After a while it's just automatic to say "we're not available in the morning".

 

Oh & I've tried in the past to make it 'afternoon' but I found that after we returned from an activity there was very little motivation on anyone's part to actually get to work. So now my rule is just 'do it first'.

 

hth :001_smile:

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This is my biggest struggle as well. We hadn't planned on taking off time for Spring Break, but that is exactly what we have done this week. There has been so much happening lately. We've done a few subjects this week but certainly not a full schedule. We plan on doing year-round school as well then I won't feel like we are behind if we miss a few weeks here and there.

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This is our first week back after Spring Break. I had big plans and they have really fallen through. We've gotten math and grammar done every day, and a bit of history. That's it. Blech.

 

The problem is that we are having a super busy week. I taught at church tonight. DD is in charge of her Girl Scout meeting tomorrow night, so we have to work on that. DS's Webelos crossover is Saturday night. While we won't be there, I did promise months ago to get some things ready for it. Then, on top of everything else, I am organizing my sister's 50th birthday party for Saturday night.

 

Whenever I have a week like this, I cannot seem to concentrate on school, even if the time is available. I am unable to multi-task and it completely derails me. And, though I try my best to keep our lives simple, these types of weeks pop up way too often.

 

And I don't even want to talk about the state of my house right now!

 

How do I keep on track, even when life gets hectic? I keep saying, "when X is over, we can get serious again". Then X is over, but Y pops up. Ugh. I am so frustrated! I want to be consistent in getting school done, but it isn't happening.

 

Help!

 

Sometimes you can get a lot more done in the summer simply because you don't have scouts and all those activities to run to. An hour or two on a Saturday morning never killed anyone, either (well, they squeal like they're being killed, but they're still breathing!)

 

I clean my house early every morning, just doing the basic stuff. When we take breaks from school, I spend the first part of the week doing a major clean out and declutter. That way, when it's school time, I can just *maintain*. We also all clean the house from top to bottom every Sunday evening. The kids don't do such a spectacular job, but it's decent enough (and good training, no matter what the age!). I have to start my school week with a clean house, or I'm just not right all week.

 

Another thing that has helped me in the past to get enough school time in was to start at 8 am. I wish I could get back to that now - but next year, with a high schooler again, it's going to be imperative. You just cannot afford to lose that kind of time in high school, but I wish I had sort of seen that when mine were little. We would have taken SO much more time off then, when we could, kwim? We did take Fridays off until about 2nd grade, but after that, I was working them too much. I wish I hadn't stressed over it then, and saved my energy for later. If I had known the kind of schedule we'd have to keep from about 7th grade and up, I'd have reserved my energy a little, relaxed a little more about the amount of time spent on school.

 

It sounds like you have a ton of extra activities this week. This would have been a good week to take off - which is why I detest these scheduled breaks for no purpose, just because the calendar says so! If you have a busy week coming up with lots of celebrations in the future, why not just declare that a 'break' week?

 

If you look at your calendar with birthdays and events filled in, maybe you can get a good idea of when your optimal time off should be.

 

I am also unable to multi-task, which is why I try to block everything else out. Still trying on that one!

 

If you give yourself permission to do school on Saturdays, in the summer, or even a little in the evenings, it might help you to relax. It is overwhelming to try to juggle everything. If you sit down and look at it, it's nearly impossible. And yet, somehow we do it!

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Arg, I'm with you. We just came back from the beach. I am hostessing a dinner party because a candidate for pastor is visiting the church. Then a week later, DH's Mom is coming to live here - for months, probably. She's a nice MIL who is not interested in inspecting my drawers and cubpoards, but I feel a compulsive need to have every square inch of this house tidied up and organized before she comes. THAT would take weeks and weeks of non-school.

 

Sigh.

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we school year round, with no holidays, that way we can take a day or two off when life gets in the way, like last week my 14 year old had the whole week off to help my husband rip up the old kitchen, and lay a new floor. etc. etc. .... this way we fit everything into a year fairly easily.

the only problem with schooling year round is the children aren't in any particular grade, , as soon as they finish one book, the go straight into the next.. so they are are all over the place as far as grades go.

MelissaL

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As a first year homeschooler I find this to be such a huge challenge. I finally realized recently that because of our lifestyle and priorities, year round school is going to have to be a must. We're going to take two week breaks every three months. Hopefully there can be some dedicated time to organizing during the break along with some fun and rest. Other than this, I don't have any helpful suggestions. I will be interested in what others have to say in this thread.

 

We are just beginning our 3rd year of hsing. I feel like I should have this down by now.

 

We are also moving towards a more year round schedule. 6 weeks on/1 week off.

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I still get sidetracked, but I have tried harder to make the commitment. I have to remind myself that hsing is my full time job and just because we *can* take off, doesn't mean we should. If I worked somewhere else, I couldn't take on another outside responsibility. I need to say no to outside things that will affect our school time and take our education time seriously. And I need to make that known to other people who ask for my time.

 

I find it easy to say "no" to the big things, but the smaller things are a bigger problem. I say "yes" to so many of those, that they add up to a big thing. Now, my sister's party is a huge thing, but it's going to mean so much to her that I have to do it.

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As far as planning, I do that on the weekends. Really, you have to guard your time like a hawk. It's hard!

 

I was better about this last fall. I didn't even answer the phone in the morning. I've really slacked off, though, so I need to get back to that. Thanks for the reminder.

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before NOON.

 

That time is for me to be focused on the kids & their learning. Phone goes directly to voicemail so I don't hear it ring. Computer is OFF so no temptation for me to wander away to read blogs & boards. During that time I also try to not do chores, or go to 'just put in a load of laundry' etc etc. I try to really focus on them. (I do sometimes work on planning during this time. They often don't really need me there, just like me to be there, so I use the time to plan and schedule the weeks ahead, make lists of books & resources we'll need etc.)

 

Every once in a while there's some field trip which requires us to give up our morning but I really keep it down to the minimum - prob less than once a month. It's too easy to become over scheduled. I've found that keeping our mornings as our homeschool time & leaving the afternoons for the outings/trips/classes (& these I try to keep to 3x week or less) has kept me sane these past 8+ yrs of hs. After a while it's just automatic to say "we're not available in the morning".

 

Oh & I've tried in the past to make it 'afternoon' but I found that after we returned from an activity there was very little motivation on anyone's part to actually get to work. So now my rule is just 'do it first'.

 

hth :001_smile:

 

Leaving the house in the morning is a recipe for disaster.

 

Computer off?! Off?! What a radical idea. :) Really, though, a very good one. I do occasionally need the computer during the school day, but turning it off would still be an excellent idea. I'm sure that little thing would help tremendously. I think I'll give it a try.

 

Thanks for the ideas.

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Sometimes you can get a lot more done in the summer simply because you don't have scouts and all those activities to run to. An hour or two on a Saturday morning never killed anyone, either (well, they squeal like they're being killed, but they're still breathing!)

 

I clean my house early every morning, just doing the basic stuff. When we take breaks from school, I spend the first part of the week doing a major clean out and declutter. That way, when it's school time, I can just *maintain*. We also all clean the house from top to bottom every Sunday evening. The kids don't do such a spectacular job, but it's decent enough (and good training, no matter what the age!). I have to start my school week with a clean house, or I'm just not right all week.

 

Another thing that has helped me in the past to get enough school time in was to start at 8 am. I wish I could get back to that now - but next year, with a high schooler again, it's going to be imperative. You just cannot afford to lose that kind of time in high school, but I wish I had sort of seen that when mine were little. We would have taken SO much more time off then, when we could, kwim? We did take Fridays off until about 2nd grade, but after that, I was working them too much. I wish I hadn't stressed over it then, and saved my energy for later. If I had known the kind of schedule we'd have to keep from about 7th grade and up, I'd have reserved my energy a little, relaxed a little more about the amount of time spent on school.

 

It sounds like you have a ton of extra activities this week. This would have been a good week to take off - which is why I detest these scheduled breaks for no purpose, just because the calendar says so! If you have a busy week coming up with lots of celebrations in the future, why not just declare that a 'break' week?

 

If you look at your calendar with birthdays and events filled in, maybe you can get a good idea of when your optimal time off should be.

 

I am also unable to multi-task, which is why I try to block everything else out. Still trying on that one!

 

If you give yourself permission to do school on Saturdays, in the summer, or even a little in the evenings, it might help you to relax. It is overwhelming to try to juggle everything. If you sit down and look at it, it's nearly impossible. And yet, somehow we do it!

 

I've already warned the kids that we will be doing school this summer. We've talked about it quite a bit and they seem okay with it. Saturdays, though, would just cause a major revolt. :) It definitely wouldn't kill them, though.

 

I'm making out our new schedule (6 weeks on/ 1 week off) and I'm definitely trying to make the weeks off coincide with times I know will be busy (birthdays, holidays, etc.). I figure we could use those weeks for appointments, decluttering, etc., too.

 

Good ideas. Thank you!

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Arg, I'm with you. We just came back from the beach. I am hostessing a dinner party because a candidate for pastor is visiting the church. Then a week later, DH's Mom is coming to live here - for months, probably. She's a nice MIL who is not interested in inspecting my drawers and cubpoards, but I feel a compulsive need to have every square inch of this house tidied up and organized before she comes. THAT would take weeks and weeks of non-school.

 

Oh, goodness. I love my MIL, but that would totally stress me out.

 

when things mound up & the schedule starts filling I find myself needing to chant the moral from this Aesop tale: "Slow & steady pace always wins the race." It helps me.:) It does help. :)

 

I think I'll post that on my fridge. :)

 

we school year round, with no holidays, that way we can take a day or two off when life gets in the way, like last week my 14 year old had the whole week off to help my husband rip up the old kitchen, and lay a new floor. etc. etc. .... this way we fit everything into a year fairly easily.

 

MelissaL

 

Oh, you just reminded me that our new bathtub is going to be delivered on Saturday. That means my time is going to be taken up with that renovation project. DH depends on me to take care of a lot of things because "I am home". And, if DH takes time off to work on it, it completely destroys my school schedule.

 

Argh. See what I mean? Life!!

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I think there are several ways of looking at this--here are two--

 

Because we are homeschoolers doesn't mean we have to do "school at home." We can fit the more academic subjects around our lives because we don't have to follow a strict schedule. So, if "life" happens, it's not necessarily seen as an interruption of school, but rather as part of school--or, better, school is seen as part of life. This is kinda the unschooler's approach (at least partly), where learning is an everyday, ordinary occurrence. There are no real interruptions, since it's all on a continuum. Everything that happens in the day is a teaching opportunity, and every "family thing" or errand we need to do is just part of the curriculum. Errands teach organization skills, shopping helps teach $ skills, helping others teaches compassion, etc.

 

Another perspective would be more of a "protect the time" deal. This would be setting aside several hours (whatever you feel is the need) sometime during the day that you safeguard from interruptions by doing things like turning off the phone, scheduling all appts after or before this time, doing outside activities after or before--you get it. To my mind, this puts higher priority, not on learning, but on book/curriculum-based learning. People with this view seem to have a sense that school is school, and life other than school may be great for learning, but it is not the primary means of learning that which they wish to teach. When school time is over, they feel a sense of accomplishment and release. Other activities reinforce what the curriculum has presented, but they are not the curriculum.

 

I don't honestly think anyone is really strictly one way or another, but it seems to me people who lean towards the first approach are less inclined to be stressed by interruptions or life happenings.

 

For me, it's a combination. I happen to be more on the "protect the time," "school-y" end. I need an orderly approach to tackling what I see as a "laundry pile" of skills and knowledge that eventually has to be folded neatly and put away in dc's "drawers," so she can pull out what she needs to "wear" for her life. (Ok, maybe that's a stretch in the analogy dept.!) On the other hand, I don't keep a rigid schedule, and just have a very high tolerance for the "life interruptions," somehow feeling it will all get done eventually.

 

I do take precautions against our time slipping away unproductively--if I have to be gone, I give the kids work to do while I'm away (as I had to be with Sky's situation, rather frequently). I use curricula that allows this. I thought I could view teaching homeschool as my job, but it turns out I am not a very good employee from that perspective--I don't show up on time every day, I don't always plan, I am far too spontaneous. On the other hand, I'm ok as a mom. I love my kiddos, want them to enjoy learning, seek out what I think will help them learn best (I'm a great seeker-outer!)--and that makes my homeschool work.

 

I guess you need to see what your perspective is on your homeschooling experience. Sometimes all it takes to feel satisfied about what you are doing is to shift your view slightly.

 

Hth.

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I have 365 days to complete 180 days of school, so I let life get in the way. I know most kids, who attend school away from home, don't learn meaningful info every hour that they are gone. Homeschoolers are able to cover most of the same subjects covered, in conventional school, in half the time. We are not dealing with 18+ kids at one time, learning to stand in a straight line, waiting for the other kids to calm down, etc. It's quality over quantity in my book.

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I just make mornings from 8am to 1pm school time, and woe betide anyone who tries to disturb me during that time. My husband works from home and it took me ages to train him not to disturb us whenever he felt like someone to talk to, poor thing. Hes very good now, and even takes guests out of earshot so as not to disturb us.

I also rarely take on evening things because I need sleep, or it wrecks my next day.

It took me ages to learn, but I treat homeschooling as the most important part of my day, and everything falls into place after that. I do think its a case of priorities and not trying to be everything to everybody else.

Maybe its easier for me because I dont have a lot of other commitments, but once or twice a year I do week long retreats away from my family. I do take serious time for myself, and I plan it in. I am in a band, which takes up weekend time.

Its your first year. you will get the hang of it. Its really quite a lifestyle change.

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I've started looking at homeschooling like a job. I mean, if I were a teacher, I wouldn't call off! We also homeschool 4 days/week, so I do feel the need to get those four days in every week. I protect my homeschooling hours VERY well!!! I don't make appointments, I don't let people into my house (repairmen, friends, etc). The few exceptions I do make to this is: church, sick children, and out of town guests (very occasionally!).

 

Good luck finding your balance.

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My job, that's how I've had to explain it. 8-2 all we do is school. Make it your job, priority and number one goal and it will get done. I had to actually write it on a sticky and slap it on the phone. "No, I'm sorry, that would interrupt our school time." Now it just comes out of my mouth. But...life is going to throw things at you like your sister's birthday. Enjoy that and make time for it.

 

If I'm on the computer or doing laundry, that means my students are working their lesson. I teach each lesson and then they finish it independently. We don't have any combined lessons, but it's work with one, then the other. Then when they are busy working...I'm either working on the house or reading a bit here.:grouphug:

 

AND for the record...NO is not a dirty word.

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Yep!

 

I'm very close to rebelling against the stupid calendar. In fact, I called and canceled our allergy shot appointments this afternoon and laid out of church last night so I could spend some time with my youngest, who is completely Mama-starved right now.

 

We're getting schoolwork done every day but we're sleeping late, resting in the afternoons and trying to eat three nutritious meals a day. I'm afraid that's all I can manage right now, along with some fresh air every evening.

 

We only have one evening activity next week and we plan to stay at home as much as possible. Maybe that will give me a chance to re-prioritize. Hopefully, you will get everything worked out soon as well. :) Hang in there!

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How do you keep school from interfering with life;) Somehow I think MFS would have an answer to both of those questions. Or Dy. Dy is good at accomplishing school amidst life and life amidst school.

 

Not that I'm any kind of expert on that (far from it), but I think it has helped me to have a less rigid idea of what "school" is. If I could do away with the idea of school completely and just look at life as one big learning experience and the world as my classroom, I would. I need some structure, though, or we'll do a little of everything and nothing thoroughly or well. Instead, I keep some basic goals in mind and try to roll with life's punches.

 

Here are some examples of our basic goals and what I'm using to give us structure this year.

1) Prairie Primer - Finish all the Little House books before next September. (We started late, but have caught up and will be done by the end of May.) Do the acitivities from the Primer that appeal to us or fit in with other goals. There are a lot of activities we are skipping entirely. Some of the activities (particularly science) we'll work on over the summer and just recall how they fit in with the books. The states and presidents and a some history mentioned in the Primer or in the books themselves are the bulk of our history this year.

2) Math - Dd finished Saxon 76 in the fall and has started Algebra 1/2. Since she's ahead anyway, we are working through it s-l-o-w-l-y. If we need to skip a day, we do. If she is missing too many and we need to spend a few days reviewing and re-doing problems, we do. She's on lesson 35 now, and will just continue working through until she finishes the book. There is no way she'll be done by May, and that does not worry me.

3) Spelling Power - She's a little below grade level here, but we are approaching it the same as math. We just keep plugging along. Some days we miss spelling--usually because something comes up or I forget. I'm seeing improvement on the tests and in how she spells in other subject areas, so it's all good.

4) Outside reading - This dd has never enjoyed reading before this year. I took her to see the Nancy Drew movie last summer and now she's hooked on the series. She's working her way through the books, is excited about reading, and I see her speed and comprehension increasing. I make sure she spends about an hour a day reading on her own.

5) Science - We have a few texts that I'd like to finish up by the end of the summer along with some of the activities in the Prairie Primer. We haven't done much science during the gymnastics season, but we'll catch up. I like to have large chunks of time devoted to doing science activities to allow us to really get into it and have fun with it. To me, that's more meaningful than spending an hour a day every day at it.

6) Writing - This is another weak area, but she is slowly building confidence. That's the big issue with her--just getting her to write without breaking down. We'll be devoting extra time to this subject over the summer.

7) Grammar - We're working through the G.U.M. series, just plugging along.

 

Now when life interrupts, I have several strategies. If we have to take my mom or one of the other kids to the doctor or dentist, dd brings her school work along and does what she can. If I need to focus on a project and can't oversee her work, she does what she can. If we have a gymnastics meet on a school day (like the state meet this Friday), we don't worry about the school work and just pick up where we left off when we can. There are times when we seem to have a lot of interruptions all in a row, but we just keep going, picking up where we left off last time when we can. If we aren't getting anything done, I need to re-evaluate our committments and scheduling and make adjustments or we may need to take a week off and do extra work to make up later.

 

I do think it's important to make the most of the opportunities (or interruptions) that come your way. Last year we spent a lot of time taking my mom to various doctor appointments. She needed to get a lot of things squared away before her hip replacement in July. We took her to have some skin cancer removed, and youngest ds and dd got to learn about that and even watch a little. We read posters in the doctor's office and look at model joints and skeletons and whatever they have around. They listen to the doctor, we ask questions sometimes, we talk about it in the car on the way home. Hey, guess what? We did science that day. I think that sort of thing sticks with them longer than reading out of a textbook anyway.

 

Yesterday we took dh and oldest ds to the airport. If I would have been really good, I would have made that a field trip, but I didn't feel up for it. I'm sure we'll hear stories about California when they get back, though, and today we'll be doing a little research of our own on the state. It will help dd who is really missing dad and big brother!

 

Like I said, I'm no expert. I know there are others who do it much better than I do. I try to make sure we are doing the best we can with "getting it all done", but I try to be flexible and learn what we can from what life presents us. My biggest goal in teaching my children at home has always been to ensure a love of learning and a desire to know more. I don't ever want them to be finished just because they are finished with the current grade level or finished with high school or college. I try not to fall too far behind, but I'd rather fall behind than kill that desire with my rush to finish textbooks by a certain date.

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I don't commit myself to much, outside of the home, we school year 'round, and try to stick to finishing 'sit down' academics before noon or 1 o'clock. (Yes, even for my 8th graders)

 

I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but only doing *thismuch* formal 'school' daily frees up a lot of time, not only for the kids, but *me*, too. And if we're going pretty much all year 'round, doing half days doesn't put us behind. (Usually. Much. :-)

 

We have a lot of life happen. Moves, babies, surgeries, sicknesses of loved ones, death...and we have to roll with the punches. This approach has kept us homeschooling, and kept me (mostly) sane.

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This isn't to say that I don't let them take days when their friends are on Spring Break, or whatever. But one day, as opposed to a week makes a big difference. I don't usually need a week off at Christmas...but I might need one in February. Or April. We might vacation in January.

 

But as I said, low amount of time spent doing work daily usually means that we don't find ourselves "needing" big breaks.

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I don't commit myself to much, outside of the home, we school year 'round, and try to stick to finishing 'sit down' academics before noon or 1 o'clock. (Yes, even for my 8th graders)

 

I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but only doing *thismuch* formal 'school' daily frees up a lot of time, not only for the kids, but *me*, too. And if we're going pretty much all year 'round, doing half days doesn't put us behind. (Usually. Much. :-)

 

We have a lot of life happen. Moves, babies, surgeries, sicknesses of loved ones, death...and we have to roll with the punches. This approach has kept us homeschooling, and kept me (mostly) sane.

 

I'd be interested in knowing how many subjects you cover at one time. By the time our breaks roll around, my kids are DESPERATE for a break, and I don't really feel like I push them that hard.

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How do you keep school from interfering with life;) Somehow I think MFS would have an answer to both of those questions. Or Dy. Dy is good at accomplishing school amidst life and life amidst school.

 

 

I've read this kind of stuff on MFS's blog before. I think I'll go and look around there. Did MFS or Dy come across to the new board?

 

Thanks for the other thoughts, too.

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After 20 years, I still struggle with this. My biggest problem is that dh wants to pull the kids off to do useful things like vaccinate the cows. Or, we'll have a lambing wreck that will take hours. Or, the sheep shearer will rearrange my week! I plan for a certain number of "animal" days in the spring--they're going to happen anyway--might as well get used to it! I plan the week, and stuff that doesn't get done, gets moved to the weekend. And I don't answer the phone during the day, especially if it's my mil! It only took her years to figure that out...

 

We are about to start a bathroom renovation (see? LIFE!) and DH will probably take time off work. I've already decided that if DH is home, we are going somewhere else to do school (park,library, Barnes & Noble, Starbuck's :D). That will work better than trying to do school with him here.

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You can't keep life from interfering in school.

 

I've been homeschooling 9 years and life has always interfered. Today, we have a snow day here. It rarely snows here period much less in Spring. But the kids are making snowmen and clamoring for hot chocolate. That is more important right now. This afternoon I'll have them do a lesson in math each.

 

I try to keep certain school hours sacred. I don't answer the phone during this time. That means that my house isn't always spotless (its usually an hour away from extremely tidy at all times). In 365 days a year, a child can get a good education. We work far into summer most years and it probably won't get any better since we are entering high school.

 

The great thing about life interfering is being able to model real life skills to kids. When grandma is sick we deal with it. We also try to do our core work during this time. Just like I have to throw a load of laundry in and do dishes.

 

I've had so many crises happen and my kids are still doing great. If you see a particular weakness then make that a priority. Make sure you are homeschooling in a way that benefits your kids and you and not following someone else's paradigm of what homeschooling should be. Homeschooling isn't easy but it is so worth it even when it seems like its one step forward, two steps back. I think we forget often that its normal for kids developmentally and even for adults to learn in spurts. Its not always streamlined and neat.

 

Anyway, I haven't read the other posts and my kids are bugging me to see their snow designs. I hope I've helped a little.

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I've read this kind of stuff on MFS's blog before. I think I'll go and look around there. Did MFS or Dy come across to the new board?

 

Thanks for the other thoughts, too.

 

Yeah, I know I've read several of MFS' blog posts that would answer the OP. I don't believe she did make it to the new board.

 

Dy is DIY-Dy now for Do It Yourself since the new board wouldn't accept just "Dy". I don't know if I remember any posts that address this specifically, but Dy is amazing, and if you read her blog you can see how she fits life and school together and gets it done.

 

Maybe we need a different kind of heroes post? I don't know, though. That list would be pretty long. I know a lot of heroes on this board;)

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I'm making out our new schedule (6 weeks on/ 1 week off) and I'm definitely trying to make the weeks off coincide with times I know will be busy (birthdays, holidays, etc.). I figure we could use those weeks for appointments, decluttering, etc., too.

 

Good ideas. Thank you!

 

Just a thought...I found that when I sat down and wrote out the schedule for the whole year that just guaranteed that I would be using an eraser soon. Inevitably like would get in the way and I'd find myself stressing over keeping the almighty schedule. I feel much better when I schedule a week at a time. Because of this (and life getting in the way), I won't finish our schoolbooks this year. I've decided that's okay. Basically that's what happens in public school. They might get new books every year, but they spend almost half the year reviewing what they learned the previous year. I just try to make sure ds learns the basics and is challenged. I am firmly convinced that most kids can start studying for their diploma/GED at about 15 and learn it all in just a few years. So I don't stress when we seem to go slower than I orginally planned. Life should get in the way. Flexibility is great "plus" to homeschooling.

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I do not have any suggestions for you. I have the same problem...you would think that after six years of homeschooling, I would have found a way to be super organized about it. :glare: Between days off for my Dh, piano lessons, PE with our homeschool group, field trips, things going on at church, ect, I feel as if I am lucky to get a good full day of school in. I try to make up for it by schooling year round, so we feel free to take days off, when something comes up. However, I still stress out when I do not feel like we are getting enough school done.

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I keep saying, "when X is over, we can get serious again". Then X is over, but Y pops up.

 

Are you being asked to do things outside the home based on the assumption that homeschoolers can do whatever, whenever because they don't really have a schedule to follow?

 

Perhaps you need to set aside one day per week for outside activities? Make medical appointments and such only on Tuesdays (for instance) and only accept outside responsibilities that fall on a Tuesday. Only agree to play dates or library outings on Tuesdays. If something comes up that must be done, such as a dental appointment for which the office is closed on Tuesdays, switch schooling to Tuesday for that week and adjust your plans to fit the change.

 

I've had to place restrictions like this because we had too many people wanting to stop by and chat or call on the phone when we needed to be doing school. Obviously I make allowances for friends in need or for emergencies. Some of the folks who abuse our preference in this area the worst are fellow homeschoolers who aren't very ... hmmm ... how to say this delicately? They don't appear to be as focused on the freedom and excellence available through homeschooling as they are on the option of being lazy 90% of the time.

 

We homeschool year-round, taking time off in good weather for walks and other outings which are, truly, educational in themselves. We save bookwork for the cold of winter and the heat of summer. Ugh!

 

Oh, and what planning I do is done on Saturday or Sunday for the coming week. :) I have an overall plan with goals, but I don't break it down any further than that except on a week-by-week basis.

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This isn't to say that I don't let them take days when their friends are on Spring Break, or whatever. But one day, as opposed to a week makes a big difference. I don't usually need a week off at Christmas...but I might need one in February. Or April. We might vacation in January.

 

But as I said, low amount of time spent doing work daily usually means that we don't find ourselves "needing" big breaks.

 

This is what I'm starting to figure out for our family. Thanks for clarifying.

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I'm always beating myself ...

 

I still get sidetracked, but I have tried harder to make the commitment. I have to remind myself that hsing is my full time job and just because we *can* take off, doesn't mean we should. If I worked somewhere else, I couldn't take on another outside responsibility.

 

I also, have realized we just need to school year round if we are going to get anywhere. Even that doesn't follow through as well as I'd like, but we keep plugging away.

 

Would love to hear more ideas if people have them. I fear I get so sick and tired of being home all day that it's severely tempting to get out and go do something.

 

I don't have a d@#n clue. I've limited our times out but still...:banghead:

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This isn't to say that I don't let them take days when their friends are on Spring Break, or whatever. But one day, as opposed to a week makes a big difference. I don't usually need a week off at Christmas...but I might need one in February. Or April. We might vacation in January.

 

But as I said, low amount of time spent doing work daily usually means that we don't find ourselves "needing" big breaks.

 

I think you might be on to something there, Jill. Our days are just too long. Way, way too long.

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Life has taken over this year - big time. This has been my solution:

1. school year around.

2. some weeks we do one week's worth of school but spread it over 2 weeks.

3. on "vacation" days or weeks we will still often do one subject/assignment. My dc don't mind setting aside 1/2 hour to do an assignment on a vacation day - we often do it during our "quiet time" when the kids get a bit bored anyway.

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I'll say that I cover these on a daily basis for my older kids (8th), but that doesn't mean I do it religiously, lol...(one might get skipped for a day, etc.)

 

Science

History

Writing

Algebra

Vocab/Latin

 

Maybe half an hour, each.

 

The vocab/Latin will change to Spanish next year, and we'll also pick up logic again (Art of Argument). P.E. is covered by things like memberships to the indoor rock climbing gym, and regular outdoor activity (bike riding, etc.)

 

Writing is incorporated into History and Science. (They take notes, and choose from those when writing compositions). Art of Argument will be incorporated into writing. That's one way we streamline subjects.

 

They rarely do the experiments in Science (Apologia). Next year, they're taking a Physical Science class in tandem with studying Apologia's Phys. Sc. at home, and they'll take care of lab stuff there. (Experiments and such aren't my strong suit; much better for me to outsource).

 

One child studies piano, one child is an artist. Each pursues their individual study/practice during non-school times. Not something I enforce, although I try to guide, when it comes to resources, and I pay the tab, when it comes to lessons. (They'll keep track of times during high school, for credits).

 

I set aside an hour of 'school time' for each child to read whatever literature selection we have going. (It's usually, but not always, tied to History, that's why I didn't list it as a separate subject). Discussions about that take place at various times. In the car, at the table...this also informs their writing assignments.

 

I dropped formal grammar study this year, but we may go through Rod and Staff 8, just to be sure. (It was a big deal for me to let it go). For kids the ages of your children, I'd absolutely be doing that, but it doesn't have to take more than 20 minutes or so, if you do some orally, diagram on a whiteboard, and only do a certain percentage of the exercises.

 

I hope that clarifies some, about our day...I'm sure I've forgotten something...

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I'm happy if every day we do:

 

Math

Latin

Grammar (just grammar, no spelling)

Greek

Phonics and beginner math for the littles (4 & 5)

 

I'm ecstatic if we manage to get to:

 

History

Science

 

I sit down and weep with joy if we squeeze in:

 

Art

Music

Reading aloud

 

Five kids, one of me, and the oldest is 10. We just stay on track the best we can, and make up for the rest during the summer.

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They practice piano, they read to me, I read to them (subject matter varies), we do math, they do narration/copywork and maybe some spelling (ETC)...and that's it.

 

They draw, they spent lots of time outside, and honestly, they only do roughly three days of school a week. (At 6 and 7). I read about a school (Highland Latin? Maybe?) that only had kids up to second grade doing three days a week, and that kind of reassured me about less weekly work for Littles. (Not that I wouldn't have done it anyway, lol, but I was doing it by default before, and decided to do it purposefully, after learning this).

 

The rest of the time, they're following their bliss. And their bliss seems to serve them well. :-)

 

Next year (7 and 8yos), we'll add Spanish/French, and the reading time will be focused on history and science stuff. (It is most of the time, now, but they get a lot of choice as to the paticulars; I'll guide more next year).

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I work fulltime and homeschool. I never intended to do this, and it is very difficult and stressful. I feel guilty most of the time, because I know how good a homeschooler I could be if I could put more time into it.

 

One thing that I'm DEATH on is skills work. DD clearly understands that every day she has to do math, grammar, spelling (if we are near her computer), typing (ditto), quartermile math (ditto, and we have 5 CD's of this, so any computer will do), reading, and writing.

 

I make sure that she has history, vocabulary, and science work that she can do when we have time, and I keep a rough eye on our progress without scheduling it too strictly. DD is well grounded in those--she know far more history, Bible, and vocabulary than most of her friends, and we are focussing more on science this year to beef up that area. So I don't feel that I need to make those happen every single week.

 

When I need a light week or we have to be in lots of places for some reason, I make sure that I have work for DD that advances her learning but is portable or independent. And I don't tie this to the circumstances. I make it sound like I planned this all along. So, for instance, Mind Benders and Editor in Chief are reserved for ride along work. Sometimes I will tell her that I want her to read a long book and compare it with another one, just around the time when I can't work with her on grammar for a couple of days. I ALWAYS have many books in mind for her to read, so telling her that it's time for a book break is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

 

We also school year round, so if we need to take a little time off it works out OK. And I almost never commit to a regular morning class for DD unless it is part of an all day unit studies class. Mornings are for skills work.

 

We work ahead on weekends when I am more free.

 

This is not the lifestyle or homeschooling style that I want, but it is the one that I have. And we are making it work.

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I went to bed thinking about the idea of getting all of our schoolwork done in one 4 or 5 hour stretch of time, instead of all these breaks. The more I thought about it, the better it sounded. So I made up a new little schedule to try today. It had everything organized in switch-hitter fashion and was scheduled in 15-minute increments.

 

I saw where all of my wasted time was going. Not liking to be interrupted, I was previously trying to finish one thing at a time. While my dd13 can do a lot on her own, my younger one cannot. Plus, I want to be able to have a lot of 'face time' with both.

 

I reorganized my day to do more hopping back and forth, and keeping everyone busy as much as possible. A 15 minute break around here turns into 45 without anyone even noticing. And we'd often get sidetracked just by *talking* - next thing I'd know, an hour has gone by. We can work first and talk later! Or at least keep our meandering conversations short.

 

We have not only gotten used to taking loooong breaks, but starting too late and not really following a schedule....chaos reigns. It's all because my oldest went to school this year. I never realized that the entire time we've been homeschooling, she's been the one keeping us on track! She'd always wake me up early in the morning with, "Mom? Mom, are you awake? I've already done everything I can do by myself, and I'm ready to do my math lesson. Mom! It's 7:30 already!! I want to get my work done!"

Well, with her around, we stayed on track and finished early every day, lol!

 

And this year, we just sort of fell apart on our schedule. But not today!

 

We got so much done in 5 hours! Even with trying to do a solid block, we still were able to take a few very short breaks, but dd13 stayed on track, knowing there was an end in sight! And dd9 got plenty of breaks. The best part was having an afternoon free again!

 

We did 9-2 today, but I'm shooting for 8-1 starting next week. We've had to shorten just a few things, but I'm fine with that. Shorter lessons really are better - before, we'd finish each thing no matter what, and we were burned out by Monday night. We were causing ourselves to be less productive, not moreso.

 

I really want to school for around 3 or 4 hours a day this summer (although dd13 will be gone for about 4 weeks total, it will still pay off and she will still get her summer vacation. Sort of.) The prospect of this relieves the stress of finishing the day and staying on track so much.

As opposed as she is to the idea of doing school in the summer, we're going to have to. I think having shorter school days during the actual year will sweeten the deal, though.

 

It's so nice to be able to accomplish things other than school in one day, and not feel off track because that was the original plan. So thanks, Jill and Peela for putting this in my head! And my kids thank you!

 

And - they were very, very focused today, knowing we were going to stay on track. There wasn't much choice in that!

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How many times did I use the phrase 'on track' in that last post? You can see where my head is - the bottom line!

 

But - but, BUT - the advantage to this concentrated lesson method is that we will have time to enjoy learning, explore ideas and have wonderful conversations. The entire rest of the day!

 

Gee, seems like I've heard this all before. :) I just never would have thought it would be possible for even older kids, but it is. IT IS.

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