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what types of routines, rules, habits, arrangements help you to keep your school day running smoothly?

 

I thought it might be helpful to have a thread where we could share how we each handle these types of things.

 

I'm dealing with a 10 and 14 year old, so my challenges might not be the same as others. Currently I'm struggling to organize everything---our day, week, school work, schedules, etc.

 

For example, do you require all work to be completely where you can see it being done? I know some have had kids who go off to do work and are so easily distracted that they don't come back for the next subject.

 

Do you make certain areas of the house off limits b/c they tempt Dc to goof off?

 

Do have a rule that Dc must check in with you after completing each subject or independent assignment?

 

How do you store books so that they are easily available to you, yet also for your children?

 

I know there are more things that I'm not even thinking of. Basically, post your best tips for how you keep you and Dc on track with school throughout the day.

 

One of my biggest issues: where to store the books? I hate having them all over the place and I need them where I can easily get to them if I need to look at them. I bought Ds a cube bookshelf from target last year, but I think it actually makes it harder to find books instead of easier. Books and binders don't fit if stood up, so they have to be set in lying down. Then we can't easily see the titles and pull out what we need. *I* think they eat up more space b/c the structure of the cubes take up so much space. I think I need to clear some shelf space somewhere for them, so they can be lined up in a row with spines visible.

 

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yes- reading only... because i have a rising 2nd grader and k-er as well as an almost 2 year old and i feel like all i do anymore is search around for threads or blogs or ANYTHING that will tell me the best way to run my life. i have in NO WAY figured it out and feel like i flounder most of the time. i'll keep :bigear:!

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Ok...I'll bite.

 

We have tried to use a schoolroom....doesn't work for us.

 

We kitchen and livingroom school. I use our pantry as our school closet. I only have 3 kids I am still homeschooling. I use a modified workboxes system even for my olders. I use sets of those plastic drawers, but just use them for each subject, not each day. In those drawers are the text book or notebook and supplies for the subject. Some of dd's texts will not fit in the box, so just the supplies are in there and the text is on the shelf above...

Like her math drawer has a graph paper notebook, scrap paper, teaching cd lectures, compass, protractor, calculator etc.

Her science drawer has the lab book, notebook, colored pencils, etc.

 

Each child gets a clipboard from me each day. My youngest likes his worksheets on the board....the older kids like to keep their workbooks intact. On the clipboard is their daily assignment sheet and any loose pages they need for the day.

 

We begin our day with family read aloud time...Bible, Poetry, and history read aloud....then the kids go have breakfast and start their daily work. I work from home, and my office is open to the kitchen and the livingroom so I can see my kids and answer any questions the kids might have.

 

As the littles finish an assignment, they bring it to me...I check it and if there are errors I will either send them back to the table to figure it out, or reteach a concept. The older kids save their assignments until the end of the day and we go over them together then. I tend to teach Algebra at night...so my teens will do their problem set during the day and new lesson at night.

 

Those drawer thingies were a lifesaver for me. They help keep everything together...kids can get a subject at a time....and put everything back. They have their assignment sheet and also know when they get to the bottom of the drawers they have done all their subjects. Even my high schooler likes the way this is organized.

 

I keep all my teachers manuals, editions, keys etc in a milk crate next to my desk. I have my OWN pen holder, take, stapler, post-it's etc that are HANDS OFF.

 

I also have a grade sheet and check everything off as we go....it is my own check list and I either check or put a percentage.

 

Academic table time is 1/2 hour long per grade level....PLUS our family school and other school projects that may take extra time. I aim for dd (14 in 9th grade) to have 4-6 hours of actual sit down paper and pencil schoolwork plus another hour of reading and an hour of music/art practice.

 

I keep all schooling kids in the kitchen for table time. No exceptions and I make sure they are respecting each others study time. My younger kids finish sooner than the olders and are released to go play, explore or read something. NO SCREENS AT ALL during table time. NONE. We save research, videos, extra computer time, tv or whatever for after all kids have finished table time. It is too distracting otherwise.

 

Hope some of this helps....

Faithe.

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This year I am giving them the day differently. Our set up is a desk for each, with a short bookshelf to the side that is desk level. Over the top of that on the wall I have a 2x4 corkboard vertical. Each have their own. They have a calendar pinned to that, and can attach any notes or whatever. I have tiny white boards that are hanging from a hook. On them I make the days list. I put a symbol next to things they can do all on their own without me. DD has a heart, DS insists I just write an "I." He's no fun attall.

 

For the daily work I am putting it all into one bin on top of the bookshelf. Everything is easy to find and on the check list. They can check things off as done and then it gets wiped clean for the next day.

 

I keep all of my teacher manuals in one place, and the night before I mark the pages with a bookmark.

 

I don't keep a tight schedule. I can't. I either start off with math, and then break, or with everything else, then break, then math.

 

Last year every single thing we did required one on one. I'm changing that a bit this year.

 

And I am using binders with notebook paper this year for individual subjects, except math because those are workbooks. I started doing it toward the end of last year and wished I had done it sooner. At the end of the year I had 10,000 papers to go through.

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I have a nice big storage closet in the dining room (aka school room) and store everything in there. Each child has a shelf. I have a few shelves for supplies and teacher manuals.

 

My issue this year has been managing time with all three. I put together a schedule using post-it notes so that I can move things around daily as the schedule changes. I need it to be visual because putting it on paper each day did not work!!! The schedule is more for me to tell me where I need to be and to navigate me through the subjects. Each child has a color and pink is the boys' subjects (it's what was left LOL!) that we do together. DD works on her own except for Algebra and a check-in at the end of the day for a progress update, paper editing, etc.

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The only thing that comes to mind at the moment is that I had to make a rule that they can't just go play while I'm working with the other one. They can read, choose an educational activity, or work on independent work. Pulling them back into schoolwork was like pulling teeth. We do take official breaks and they can play then.

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I'll give this a try.

I am the type of person that operates best with very little schedule. My oldest is the type that likes everything organized and rhythmic. I've tried to meet him in the middle with it all and that seems to be working. We all tend to function through most days relatively well anyway.

We have the same morning routine, get up, have breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth and make bed. Then they do up an assigned morning chore (one each) and start their math. Btw, I did some scripture reading while they were eating breakfast.

After math though things tend to be fairly relaxed on what order we do it in. I do have a list of things that need to be done for that day, but we tend to do them in whatever order we feel like.

Then after lunch we have a bit of routine again. They have quiet time/reading time for an hour. Head outside to play for about an hour. They do some cleaning chores while I get supper going. Once they're done their chores though they are free to do whatever their little hearts desire so long as it doesn't include killing or maiming a sibling, tormenting a dog, or digging in my garden.

 

Having the mixture of schedule thrown in here and there seems to work for us. My oldest basically does it all on his own now and I only have to help him when he is learning a new chore or learning a new concept. My dd is almost there too.

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what types of routines, rules, habits, arrangements help you to keep your school day running smoothly?

 

 

  • We have a start time.

  • We schedule our day by routine, rather than by the clock, meaning each child has a daily checklist that's completed in order and we just do the next thing until everything is finished.

  • We do individual lessons in the morning and group lessons in the afternoon. I'm not sure exactly what that will look like this year, since my oldest ds will be using different programs than the other two for science and history. I need to figure this one out.

  • Each child has his own shelf for school books.

 

 

do you require all work to be completely where you can see it being done?

 

Depends on the child and the subject. Usually, it's up to the boys where they work, but they typically prefer to work in the same room.

 

Do you make certain areas of the house off limits b/c they tempt Dc to goof off?

 

Right now they cannot work in the bedroom because the toys are too tempting.

 

Do have a rule that Dc must check in with you after completing each subject or independent assignment?

 

They bring the completed work to me and set it next to me for me to look at.

 

How do you store books so that they are easily available to you, yet also for your children?

 

We have an entire school bookshelf. Each child has his own shelf, and I have two shelves, one for current teacher manuals and resources and one for reference materials.

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The only thing that comes to mind at the moment is that I had to make a rule that they can't just go play while I'm working with the other one. They can read, choose an educational activity, or work on independent work. Pulling them back into schoolwork was like pulling teeth. We do take official breaks and they can play then.

 

I made that rule too.....then I had to enforce it!

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I have a 7 and 12 year old. They have no TV or computer time, unless it's for school work, Monday through Friday. This drives DS12 crazy, but DS7 doesn't care because he isn't much for passive entertainment. Both tend to put more into their schoolwork without the promise of TV, though.

 

Each have desks with a shelf above for their subject binders. Each subject is assigned a binder. The binder holds that subject's paperwork for the week and the subject's notebook. A bookshelf holds their books. Each child has two shelves. One is books arranged by subject, one is any materials they need that don't fit in their desk drawers. I also have a bookshelf in a basement storage room to hold the overflow. I rotate books in from that shelf as needed.

 

I try to keep my lesson plan updated four weeks in advance at all times. DS12 tends to stick pretty much to my plan, but DS7 often works through stuff more quickly so it's vital to have long range lesson plans so I'm not caught with nothing ready for him.

 

I get ready for the school week on Sundays. I look over the material I have and gather any materials I'm missing. I update the boys' computers with bookmarks for any online material for the week and update the Netflix queue with any movies they will be watching. Each Wednesday I go online and reserve any library book we need so I can pick them up on Saturday.

 

We have a pretty strict school day schedule. We start at 9am and finish up around 1 or 2pm, with a break halfway through. Each block is scheduled so one works on the subject he needs the least help with while the other works on something he is more likely to need one-on-one help.

 

I'm chastised occasionally by some of our homeschooling friends for being too rigid. One friend jokes that reason we homeschool is because PS is too disorganized. :tongue_smilie: DH and I both work from home so I have to keep us on a regular schedule and stay hardcore organized or nothing gets done!

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I have a nice big storage closet in the dining room (aka school room) and store everything in there. Each child has a shelf. I have a few shelves for supplies and teacher manuals.

 

My issue this year has been managing time with all three. I put together a schedule using post-it notes so that I can move things around daily as the schedule changes. I need it to be visual because putting it on paper each day did not work!!! The schedule is more for me to tell me where I need to be and to navigate me through the subjects. Each child has a color and pink is the boys' subjects (it's what was left LOL!) that we do together. DD works on her own except for Algebra and a check-in at the end of the day for a progress update, paper editing, etc.

 

I have one of these on my wall too. LOVE the post-it's!! Makes moving things around so easy. LOVE IT.

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Hmm, well, this is a huge topic!!

 

I feel like this year, things are going MUCH better than recent years, so I'll list some things that are helping, I think . . .

 

+ We have a communal school desk in the school room. Under it are book shelves. All "shared" school books fit here. As do MY books (teacher books, etc.).

 

+ Each kid has a (new) huge desk with loads of book shelves in their own rooms. All their OWN books that only they are using this year live on these shelves.

 

+ We have about 12 linear feet of floor to ceiling book shelves, broken up into 2 foot lengths, in our school room. All general reference books, etc live there, as do all not-used-this-year books. These were our only schooling shelves before the new desks were put in use. Each 2 foot shelf has a purpose -- SL cores each have their own shelf, one is math, a couple are science, one world history/geog, one Am Hist, one art, one music, etc, etc. This kind of shelving is ideal IME, for school shelving. The cubes are not handy for books IME. I use them for toys/bins, but not much for books.

 

+ We chose one loud pattern/color of duck tape for each kid this year. I slap a strip of it on each kid's binders/composition books/etc along the spine, so it is easy to see whose stuff is out.

 

+ At the end of the school day, all stuff that is out/dragged around the house, etc, goes back to its shelf/desk/etc. Having everything tidy at the start of the day really helps our days go smoother and avoid the long delays while kids search for binders, etc.

 

General rules:

 

+ I print out a list of all assignments for the week (sorted by day) at the beginning of the week (by Sunday) for each kid. This is THE guideline for the week. Very vital. HST+ has been a huge help to me! I LOVE IT!

 

+ My kids can do their school whereever they want, so long as it gets done. If they are goofing off, then I might make them sit with me whereever I am. If they are playing/chatting/distracting eachother too much, I will send them to their rooms or otherwise split them up.

 

+ No movies/TV/wii/etc until all school is done for the day. When it's done, that child is free to goof off, BUT . . .

 

+ No TV/Wii/etc on in the communal parts of the house before 4 PM, as before 4 PM, the communal level of the house is for schooling/working. After 4 PM, kids with work remaining need to go to their own rooms/desks to do it, so that kid(s) and grownups who are done can feel free to play/watch movies/etc. Before 4, the playing child(ren) have to go to their rooms or the basement or outside if they are doing anything noisier than reading or drawing.

 

Scheduling:

 

+ A set schedule is REALLY helpful to us. Much wiggle room leads to disaster.

 

6:30 - up & getting breakfast. School starts at 7.

 

7-9 AM is the first music block. All kids do their instruments during this time. This way, they are all mostly available the rest of the day (at least until 3 when ds begins his second 2 hour guitar block) to do things we need to do together/classes/etc.

 

12-1 is lunch/recess. No lunches or recess time outside this block. Otherwise, the lunch/recesses tended to take over much too much of the day, and one kid lunching or recessing would distract the others who were supposed to be schooling. It also makes for less mess. (Brief snacks can be grabbed other times, but no other recess/goofing off time until school is DONE.)

 

4 PM -- school should be pretty much done. Kids who aren't done need to evacuate to their own desks/rooms to finish.

 

Also, once all school is done for the week, the kid is free to goof off the rest of the week/weekend, so working ahead could allow for a longer weekend (say, starting at noon Friday).

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Ok...I'll bite.

 

We have tried to use a schoolroom....doesn't work for us.

 

We kitchen and livingroom school. I use our pantry as our school closet. I only have 3 kids I am still homeschooling. I use a modified workboxes system even for my olders. I use sets of those plastic drawers, but just use them for each subject, not each day. In those drawers are the text book or notebook and supplies for the subject. Some of dd's texts will not fit in the box, so just the supplies are in there and the text is on the shelf above...

Like her math drawer has a graph paper notebook, scrap paper, teaching cd lectures, compass, protractor, calculator etc.

Her science drawer has the lab book, notebook, colored pencils, etc.

 

Each child gets a clipboard from me each day. My youngest likes his worksheets on the board....the older kids like to keep their workbooks intact. On the clipboard is their daily assignment sheet and any loose pages they need for the day.

 

We begin our day with family read aloud time...Bible, Poetry, and history read aloud....then the kids go have breakfast and start their daily work. I work from home, and my office is open to the kitchen and the livingroom so I can see my kids and answer any questions the kids might have.

 

As the littles finish an assignment, they bring it to me...I check it and if there are errors I will either send them back to the table to figure it out, or reteach a concept. The older kids save their assignments until the end of the day and we go over them together then. I tend to teach Algebra at night...so my teens will do their problem set during the day and new lesson at night.

 

Those drawer thingies were a lifesaver for me. They help keep everything together...kids can get a subject at a time....and put everything back. They have their assignment sheet and also know when they get to the bottom of the drawers they have done all their subjects. Even my high schooler likes the way this is organized.

 

I keep all my teachers manuals, editions, keys etc in a milk crate next to my desk. I have my OWN pen holder, take, stapler, post-it's etc that are HANDS OFF.

 

I also have a grade sheet and check everything off as we go....it is my own check list and I either check or put a percentage.

 

Academic table time is 1/2 hour long per grade level....PLUS our family school and other school projects that may take extra time. I aim for dd (14 in 9th grade) to have 4-6 hours of actual sit down paper and pencil schoolwork plus another hour of reading and an hour of music/art practice.

 

I keep all schooling kids in the kitchen for table time. No exceptions and I make sure they are respecting each others study time. My younger kids finish sooner than the olders and are released to go play, explore or read something. NO SCREENS AT ALL during table time. NONE. We save research, videos, extra computer time, tv or whatever for after all kids have finished table time. It is too distracting otherwise.

 

Hope some of this helps....

Faithe.

 

Thank you Faithe! Lots of ideas for me here. I'm tempted by the plastic drawers and have been for a while, except that I hate the look of plastic and can't figure out where to hide them! I completely forgot that I had been contemplating instituting table time, so thanks for the reminder. Somehow I think it will help me feel more organized.

 

I'm not done looking at each subject yet, so I'm still figuring out how I'll handle the scheduling.

 

We already have the screen rule in place, but our rule is none until they ask dad and have finished piano practice. Dad then talks to me to see if everyone was cooperative and worked well.

 

I've been letting Ds complete his work up in his room. If I do table time I might change that. Thanks again!

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yes- reading only... because i have a rising 2nd grader and k-er as well as an almost 2 year old and i feel like all i do anymore is search around for threads or blogs or ANYTHING that will tell me the best way to run my life. i have in NO WAY figured it out and feel like i flounder most of the time. i'll keep :bigear:!

 

This.:glare::lol:

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1. Do not answer the phone.

2. Do not answer the phone.

3. Do not let your mother-in-law pressure you into scheduling anything during school hours.

4. Do not answer the phone.

 

Very good advice! I've got several people who try to pressure me into doing things during school hours, or even during times we need to keep open.

 

I'm determined this year to keep it under control. I'm already telling my mom not to expect me to do much during the day even during these last couple of weeks while I'm planning.

 

Today I had the elder at church pressuring us to start coir. I said no, not until our school routine is more established. He didn't look pleased. Oh, well.

 

I do struggle with finding a balance b/t taking advantage of opportunities that might happen only during the day, and still sticking to enough of a routine to make it truly 'routine'.

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We do not have a school room. Both girls work at a small table in our main living area. I have a small lap table nearby with one pile of "morning work" books for each girl. I sit between the girls and hand them books to work on. Loose papers get put in their pockets - in a hanging pocket organizer. Every few weeks, I take the papers, sort them out, and put them in their binders.

 

Time management - we do all LA and math in the mornings, then break for lunch, regroup, and do fun stuff - geography, Bible, science, etc. The girls do not eat lunch until all their morning work is done. We have to be done by 3 most days as Rebecca goes into Nashville for gymnastics. So this year, we've started a set start time. The girls wake up at 8 and eat, then I wake up at 8:30. Rebecca and I have coffee, they stretch, and we get to work.

 

The ringer on our phone is off.

 

NO computers, me included! I sometimes print off papers, but no messing around, and Rebecca uses her laptop for Latin lessons, but those are the last work she does.

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I've scheduled out in the past by week, but too many times we missed a day of school, so now I make the next day's schedule the day before. Then, each morning before dd's start, they are required to go to my calendar and write their personal assignments down into their own lesson plan books (I use Well Planned Day). In the past, I wrote it for them,but figure they're old enough now to be responsible for that themselves.

 

This past spring, I got 2 of the large Ikea Expedit bookshelves with desk attachments, and the best thing I am using to store their books for them to pull out easily each day are the magazine boxes. It holds everything upright, things don't get bent, I am in love with them!

 

I do wake my kids up, and they get started on independent work first. We do school in a finished basement, and if I am working with one and the other gets done with independent work, they have to stayin the basement (unless they're due for a snack). I do not let them go off and work where I can't see them because I wil "lose" them for sure! Routine works best at our house so everyone knows what to expect!

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We have a schoolroom, but it's going bye-bye since we have someone new on the way and I need the bedroom space. I think most of it will go into the dining room for now.

 

I have two of the 3x3 Trofast storage cabinets from IKEA. The green boxes are perfect for holding books, folders, papers, etc for each subject. I originally bought them with plans to implement a work box system, but that is SO not my style, so now they're just storage. I love it. I can say to my son, "go work on Latin" and he knows in exactly which box the books and DVDs are stored. I have enough boxes for all the subjects for my older two (we combo science and history) plus a couple of 'fun' boxes for my youngest to get into. I also have 2 shelves of a large bookcase dedicated to homeschooling books that aren't being used every day.

 

The biggest hard and fast rule here is: You must eat breakfast before starting schoolwork. I have one that would like to get up and race through some of his work before doing anything else. He'll get 1/4 of the way through a page of math and start melting down. So now, I insist, even when he insists he's not hungry :lol:

 

We try to do math first. Otherwise it's like pulling teeth. Other than that, I'm not super picky about what order subjects are done in. Though this year, I printed up a weekly schedule just so I could keep track of what subjects we are doing on which days and my 7 yo seems to think that she *must must must* do her subjects in that order or the sky will fall in or something :glare:

 

The most helpful thing we've implemented this year: We start the day with NO electronics privileges for anybody and they have to earn time (up to one hour per day) by finishing chores and schoolwork. This also eliminates the aforementioned issue of my son wanting to race through his work (because he wanted to get to the Wii part of his day :tongue_smilie:). We're still in the beta-testing phase of this, but so far it's been REALLY successful for us.

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I think it's too tempting to let kids to work unsupervised, so it's within the same room as me. NO screen time until after we're done (and I try to limit that too, but I'm not always as good at that as I'd like to be).

 

Exercise first, then math, then writing, then reading, then other subjects. Music practice is sometimes structured & sometimes up to them, depending on maturity. They show me each assignment in the event it's something they do independently. Independent, artistic, and home based projects in the afternoon.

 

We don't always do this, but I like to do small tests on Saturday morning (on the theory that AP's & SAT's are on Saturday). This is typically math or math enrichment, logic puzzles, spelling and vocabulary for younger kids; and for older kids practice exams.

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The routines depend on each kid. My oldest gets easily distracted by traveling around the house with her work so she stays at the table for her work but gets scheduled breaks after certain subjects are completed. My middle is very self-motivating; all she needs is a list of work for the day and a place do work and she will complete everything without much redirection on my part. My youngest gets frustrated with certain subjects so we do those first and together. We all start individual work after breakfast and around 11am do our group subjects (depending on the day either Science or History and reading out loud). After lunch they have time to finish any individual work they may have or time to play or do art. We try to keep errands to after school times and outside activities to after school times as well. This year we are balancing cello, violin, piano, and choir in addition to our subjects at home. HTH

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what types of routines, rules, habits, arrangements help you to keep your school day running smoothly?

 

I agree with:

DO NOT ANSWER THE PHONE!

Do not schedule appointments!

 

I'm dealing with a 10 and 14 year old, so my challenges might not be the same as others. Currently I'm struggling to organize everything---our day, week, school work, schedules, etc.

 

For example, do you require all work to be completely where you can see it being done? I know some have had kids who go off to do work and are so easily distracted that they don't come back for the next subject.

 

My kids are 13 & 15, so my answers may fit.

 

Yes, I let them work away from me. We do school in the family room downstairs. When they aren't working with me, they usually choose to work in their bedrooms. They have their own laptops and iPhones and there is a risk of them getting distracted, but they are both good about it. I'm sure they aren't perfect, but it hasn't been a problem.

 

 

Do you make certain areas of the house off limits b/c they tempt Dc to goof off?

 

No

 

Do have a rule that Dc must check in with you after completing each subject or independent assignment?

No, but we do check in regularly. For example, I do science with ds while dd does her lit & grammar. When I'm done with ds, I ask dd, "What did you do while we were doing science?" Ds then has 3 hours that I work with dd before lunch. Again, when we get to lunch, I ask "What did you do while I was with your sister?" He tells me the subjects, how long he worked on each and if any are still unfinished. Three hours is a new record long amount of time. Last year my max was 2 hours and the year before 1 hour, so they have built up to that.

 

How do you store books so that they are easily available to you, yet also for your children?

 

This depends on the type of books. The kids have bookshelves in their room. If it is a novel they are reading, it is probably on their bed or beside it. In our family room/school room, the kids have cubes on one side of the couch, I have bookshelves on the other. Their books that they use for subjects done with me are stored in their cubes. The TMs are on my shelves. I have a milk crate on its side on my shelves to help with storage of smaller items such as folders, answer keys, dvds.

 

I went looking for the cubes my kids have online and I can't find them. I got them at Target. They are large enough for large binders to stand upright. They each have 2 one has a divider shelf on it and half the space has a cloth drawer where they store school supplies, markers, pencils, protractor, ruler, whatever. The other half they each keep a binder laying down. It isn't impossible for our books to roam to the kids rooms or the living room, but usually we can locate them easily. They are where we use them.

 

We have a printed schedule for each week. It tells the kids when they work with me and gives them a to do list to work on whenever they aren't with me. Alternating times with me and away from me so that we check in often and I know what they are doing or when they aren't accomplishing anything is important. Also, having the list means they never have to come and ask what to do next. Saves interruptions for me and wait time for them!

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Small house, so no schoolroom. DD13 schools at the dining room table, seen from kitchen and home office. I do a weekly checklist, she gets to decide how to divide it up. She always does Math first though by her choice. She does not "check in", but if I know there are larger or difficult projects I ask her about them to make sure she is on track.

 

We start at 9 am, after breakfast and chores. Monday she works until 3:30 pm to get as much done as possible. The other days she can stop earlier if she wants based on how the work is going. She knows she must finish the checklist each week. We don't work on the weekends.

 

I confess there have been a couple of times she thought something was done that wasn't, and I didn't catch it until the next week going through papers. That's only happened 2-3 times in the last two years.

 

She breaks for lunch and can watch tv or computer during lunch. We watch the time though and only allow 30 minutes. Also if she wants to take a break after math or something, we set a timer for 10 minutes or whatever so the break doesn't get out of hand. (Previously I would look over and "are you still on break???") That really helped!

 

 

I have one of these in the dining room...

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcROJ-YZ4JmLtmMBCiP5kkaQCezNLo4B11QAf93QoEPhRSLnEQcwiA

This holds her text books and notebooks. In my office area I have books we are not using right now, answer keys, etc. Also in my office I have a hanging folder box with a file for each subject. Graded work goes in the file when finished.

 

That's it! We don't do other activities during school days, unless it is something REALLY unusual and special. That might happen 2-3 times a year. I just have to say, sorry, we do school that day...

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So people are viewing this thread, but not contributing. Hmmm, does that mean no one here has it figured out enough to give any tips???

 

I think it's really an ongoing process. Up until last year I had a school room - then my teenager decided she needed her own space so she moved into it. Now I have cupboards and bookshelves. The cupboards are in the main floor, just off the kitchen. We do most of our seat work at the kitchen counter (there are chairs there), the kitchen table, or in the dining room (for when someone needs to work alone). Each boy has a basket in the cupboard that holds all of his current curriculum. So, in the morning they can go and grab their baskets and, theoretically, everything they need for the day is in there. I have my own basket, too, for things that I do with them and for answer keys and whatever else I need. We have a book shelf in a living room (off the kitchen) where I put our current history books and lit titles.

 

We're out of the house a lot, so it's important that they are following the schedule - we don't have the luxury of making up for it "tomorrow". Last year, I drove the schedule. This year, I'm going to post it somewhere - and maybe make up check lists or something. When dd was in grades 5 - 8 I used a checklist system that worked really well for her. She would get a sheet of paper each week with rows for each day and then check boxes with tasks beside them for each day. When she finished her boxes for that day, she was done. If she completed the boxes for other days early then she could finish her week early. It really worked for her...I might try it with the boys this year.

 

I feel like I'm always tweaking our systems. That's why threads like this are good - fresh ideas :)

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what types of routines, rules, habits, arrangements help you to keep your school day running smoothly?

 

I thought it might be helpful to have a thread where we could share how we each handle these types of things.

 

I'm dealing with a 10 and 14 year old, so my challenges might not be the same as others. Currently I'm struggling to organize everything---our day, week, school work, schedules, etc.

 

For example, do you require all work to be completely where you can see it being done? I know some have had kids who go off to do work and are so easily distracted that they don't come back for the next subject.

 

Do you make certain areas of the house off limits b/c they tempt Dc to goof off?

 

Do have a rule that Dc must check in with you after completing each subject or independent assignment?

 

How do you store books so that they are easily available to you, yet also for your children?

 

I know there are more things that I'm not even thinking of. Basically, post your best tips for how you keep you and Dc on track with school throughout the day.

 

One of my biggest issues: where to store the books? I hate having them all over the place and I need them where I can easily get to them if I need to look at them. I bought Ds a cube bookshelf from target last year, but I think it actually makes it harder to find books instead of easier. Books and binders don't fit if stood up, so they have to be set in lying down. Then we can't easily see the titles and pull out what we need. *I* think they eat up more space b/c the structure of the cubes take up so much space. I think I need to clear some shelf space somewhere for them, so they can be lined up in a row with spines visible.

 

 

We have a furnished basement and that's where all things school belongs. I have the walls lined with bookshelves that hold all our books and resources. I have one shelf with nothing but the current years school text. I have a big table for working and a computer w/ printer there. I'm setting up a biology area with microscope, slides and supplies for that class so labs will be pretty easy.

 

We like working in the basement because it's comfortable. I put in lamps and great chairs and a futon. Got lots of quilts for snuggling up and reading. Lots of open space to work.

 

As for accountability--I do lesson plans for each subject on a weekly basis vs. daily. Our 14 year old has to have everything completed on all his class sheets by Friday evening at 6pm (test and quizzes included) We sit down and go over everything for all his classes on Friday night after dinner. That way if we have any issues it's cleared up quickly and if we had an problems with classwork we can fix it over the weekend.

 

We usually school from 9 to 5 daily with an hour break for lunch. This leaves plenty of time for discussing literature, working on art, and not rushing through stuff to just get it done. The only two subjects we do strictly together are algebra 1 and biology. The other subjects we go over together during the week and then again on Friday night.

 

I hope this answers a little of what you wanted to know. This is my last round of high school so I'm much more relaxed now and enjoying the ride. ;)

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I'm going to post here, so I can come back and find this thread. I read the first 3 posts, then got off to go clean and do some school, and then couldn't find the thread :tongue_smilie:

 

I'm really struggling, I'm not a schedule person, cannot keep one personally to save my life. I made a nice one last night, loose enough that I could manage, I thought- just some target times...and complete fail today. I need a personal schedule trainer or something. :tongue_smilie:

 

keep the helpful tips coming!

:lurk5:

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StephanieZ,

 

I love this!

 

"+ We chose one loud pattern/color of duck tape for each kid this year. I slap a strip of it on each kid's binders/composition books/etc along the spine, so it is easy to see whose stuff is out. "

 

I have different colored 3 ring binders for each kid, so they can find them, but the books are not coded, and this year I am going to insist they all put their school books away, they usually just leave everything on our big dining table and then I have to put it away for dinner.

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We have a small house, so I don't have to chase them all over and up and down levels. We have no separate school room, so we are all together in one space, with everything close at hand. We do most of our work in the living room, French in the kitchen (while I fix lunch), and Bible lessons in my bedroom.

 

We have a magnetic dry erase board mounted on our living room wall. Each night I put up the next day's schedule, with approximate start times for each part of the routine. Since I've listed our work with times, the girls themselves help to keep "things" moving (including their mother, LOL).

 

We try to follow a fairly consistent routine, at least for the first part of each day. That is, we begin each morning with:

 

  • Rise & Shine (get up, dressed, hair, make bed, neaten room, breakfast, teeth, etc.)
  • Chores (Sa = sweep kitchen, Ha = trash/cat, Ma = laundry with Mommy, in rotation)
  • Morning Chapel (Bible passage, Bible stories, Scripture memory work, hymns, devotional)
  • Math Hour (all three girls at once; budgeting a full hour has calmed me down ;))

 

After that, the routine changes (somewhat), depending on the day and what needs to get done. But I try to keep the first section consistent and predictable, because we become better at transitioning when the transitions are consistent/practiced. KWIM?

 

We spend time going over routines. I make the expectations clear, put on my Teacher Hat, and am rather business-like when I want them to move into the next part of the work. If I think it's getting a bit too structured or demanding, I put my Mommy Hat back on and hug them/snuggle. That sounds tough, doesn't it? But it isn't really. It's just that acting like a Down-to-Business Teacher helps them to act like Down-to-Business Students. But the Mommy in me wants to keep it soft and warm and snuggly, so we intersperse seatwork/tough stuff with lots of cozy read alouds, fun hands-on work, music, exercise, play time, and free time.

 

Sometimes I simply straight-out tell them to get moving, to focus on their work, to work quietly, to stop bothering each other, to not interrupt ____'s lesson, to play quietly in their bedroom when they are done with their work, to go to the bathroom now because we will not interrupt the read aloud, etc. Directing traffic? :tongue_smilie:

 

We use a timer for many things. Ex: Set the timer for 60 minutes. Ding! Math is done. Set the timer for 20 minutes. Ding! French is done. Set the timer for 10 minutes. Ding! Music practice is done. Set the timer for 30 minutes. Ding! Break/snack/outside-running-around-to-blow-off-steam is done. And so on.

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1. Do not answer the phone.

2. Do not answer the phone.

3. Do not let your mother-in-law pressure you into scheduling anything during school hours.

4. Do not answer the phone.

 

:iagree:

 

1. Do not get on the WTM Boards.

2. Do not get on the WTM Boards.

3. Do not let your mother pressure you into coming over with the kids.

4. Do not get on the WTM Boards.

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what types of routines, rules, habits, arrangements help you to keep your school day running smoothly?

 

For example, do you require all work to be completely where you can see it being done? I know some have had kids who go off to do work and are so easily distracted that they don't come back for the next subject. 10 yr old has a clock and a watch and is mostly responsible for switching subjects when it is time. She does a pretty good job of it. DD8 still needs me to tell her what to do constantly. I need the 8 yr old working where I can see her most of the time. But I will let her go to her desk in her room for short periods if she is working I have to walk in and check consistantly though.

 

Do you make certain areas of the house off limits b/c they tempt Dc to goof off? We have a small house. Nothing is off limits. At times I will tell dd10 not to work certain things on the couch because her writing is getting sloppy there, and she needs to sit at a desk.

 

Do have a rule that Dc must check in with you after completing each subject or independent assignment? dd10 no. I can easily ask her later how much she got done of something and what she has for homework. I fill in a journal of what we have done each day at some point. She keeps me informed. DD8, yes. She is still only 3rd grade.

How do you store books so that they are easily available to you, yet also for your children? We just use an open bookshelf. I keep it organized and each child has a shelf that has their current books, textbooks, and teacher's manuals on it. So if it is a subject we do together, they bring out all of the books, including mine. I have a saying, "No subject is finished until the books are back on the shelf." I repeat it many times when we start the school year, but they learn to pick things up when they are done.

 

I have other bookshelves in other areas of the house. One for texts not currently in use, but that I will use again. They have shelves in their room of chapter books, early readers (I have a niece that still uses those) science shelves, etc. I try to keep those fairly organized, but they can get what they want from those whenever they want.

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I'm reading this thread for ideas. We're still searching for a schedule/system that actually works for us (though this may be because I'm the one with the consistency issues :blushing:). I think I've figured out a system that will work, if I can stick to it, but we'll see how it goes this year. It might be a bit easier since it will be familiar to them from last year.

 

The most helpful thing we've implemented this year: We start the day with NO electronics privileges for anybody and they have to earn time (up to one hour per day) by finishing chores and schoolwork. This also eliminates the aforementioned issue of my son wanting to race through his work (because he wanted to get to the Wii part of his day :tongue_smilie:). We're still in the beta-testing phase of this, but so far it's been REALLY successful for us.

 

LemonPie, can you tell me how you implement this? What constitutes "earning" the time, and how do you make it so that rushing through the work is not desirable? Quality of work vs. simply being finished? Some other way?

 

Thanks!

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I'm still working on my day to day schedule so this may not be of any help. :)

 

I use a binder for each child (only two) and have insert pockets that have the assignments for the week (I refill these on Sundays when I plan my week). Each child has a milk crate for their binder and books. I have my own milk crate with my books. We all have a set of pens, highlighters, pencils and so forth. Mine are off limits to everyone.

 

My oldest goes to public school. DH wakes up, fixes breakfast for everyone. Most of the time, DD11 likes to run before breakfast and will run 1/2 a mile. The girls get my oldest dressed and ready for school. (I sleep in). I get up at 7:00, make sure my oldest is ready for school and leave with her around 7:30. Other girls tidy up after breakfast and do easy subjects (handwriting, Bible studies, spelling) until I return from taking oldest dd to school.

 

I bring my laptop to the sofa and we all sit in the living room and do school work. Sometimes they follow rabbit trails with science or history so I am online while they "play".

 

We are usually finished by lunchtime and I set dinner up in the crock pot or prep the items for dinner. We relax after lunch as we have lots of extracurriculars in the evening.

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I'm dealing with a 10 and 14 year old, so my challenges might not be the same as others. Currently I'm struggling to organize everything---our day, week, school work, schedules, etc.

I actually make a master plan of daily, weekly, monthly, yearly overview- It sounds like I'm a type A- I'm not. We just have too many people, 4 adults, 2 cars, live out of town, 22 yo working/schooling, house re-build with various time consuming projects. If I didn't have a master plan I would lose my mind.

For the kids I made a loose daily schedule. A weekly schedule that takes in to account the odd days (Tu and Fri), and extra curriculars, etc.

 

For example, do you require all work to be completely where you can see it being done? I know some have had kids who go off to do work and are so easily distracted that they don't come back for the next subject.

Ds 17 and I go over his work for the week on Monday and then he works fairly independently. Ds 12 and dd 9 sit at the kitchen table with me available. I make sure their work for Tutoring Center is done, I check their homework and remind them to do the next thing. This year with ds 12 (a rising 7th) we'll be working on more independence. He is a fine student and actually loves to study, but he is still learning how to organize himeself (he's actually naturally pretty organized) and he is still learning the difference between getting homework done and being prepared for a test. We do history, Xian studies, CD's etc in the afternoon together. We have a read-aloud going together, and ds 17 and I will do lit together.

 

Do you make certain areas of the house off limits b/c they tempt Dc to goof off? When it's school time the kids can be in different areas, but they are accountable for getting what I think is a reasonable amount of work done in the time I set or else they come hang out with me;) Ds 17 is fine on his own- ds 9 wants to be with me, so it's mainly for ds12. For math, latin, grammar (challenging skill concepts) they sit at the table unless it's a computer program.

 

Do have a rule that Dc must check in with you after completing each subject or independent assignment? No. But I'm on top of what they are doing.

 

How do you store books so that they are easily available to you, yet also for your children? We have a lot less books since our house fire. We have readers stored in a bedroom, functioning as a study, along with 2 computers, which they do their writing assignments, RS on, strategy games (they can do once school is done). We also have 2 built in bookshelves in our living room. But this year I went back to a tried and true method and got each kid a med sized rubbermaid bin and put ALL of their texts, cd's, etc in their bin. I made a master bin for me of stuff we are doing together, paperwork, etc. When my older girls were young I had their bins stored on a rolling microwave cart. The bookshelves just don't work for us- everybody's stuff gets mashed together. Ds12 keeps his Tutoring Center books together in his back-pack, ready for Tu and just gets them out and puts them back in there.

 

I know there are more things that I'm not even thinking of. Basically, post your best tips for how you keep you and Dc on track with school throughout the day. When Dad leaves (around 9) breakfast must be eaten, jobs done and we start school. We have a routine, it's been the same for years.

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:iagree:

 

1. Do not get on the WTM Boards.

2. Do not get on the WTM Boards.

3. Do not let your mother pressure you into coming over with the kids.

4. Do not get on the WTM Boards.

 

Maybe I should post this in large print in several prominent areas of the house right now. I'm supposed to be planning!

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We don't clean the table completely off every day. We stack things neatly at one end that we will use the next day. This makes the table look more cluttered but cuts down on the amount of time spent searching for something that we just used the day before.

 

We use a timer to time things that we have a tenancy to lose track of. Like breaks, or Khan Academy (my kids love it on there).

 

I spend as little time on the computer as possible till the end of the day. I am viewing homeschooling as a job.

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One of my biggest issues is the storage of Dc's books --mostly my 14 yr old Ds's. I often need to look at the books he reads from--not just the TE or answer keys. Sometimes he's just reading a book I assigned for a course I put together. I really need these books to be convenient to me so that I don't have to run all over the house to find them when I'm viewing plans for the next day or week. I have yet to come up with a satisfactory solution, though I might try keeping them all in the living room where I end my day normally. Maybe in a bin as laughing lioness mentioned--thanks! Then I'll have to make a rule that Ds always has to return the books to the bin and not leave them in his room where he was reading. And then, I'll have to enforce it. Stopping the great book migration is a constant struggle at our house! That's one reason I was considering enforcing reading on the first floor only. Hmmm...

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what types of routines, rules, habits, arrangements help you to keep your school day running smoothly?

Each kid has a weekly schedule that I write out on the weekend. I stagger mom intensive time in morning or afternoon blocks.

I use a timer for meals, laggers who are whining or wasting my lesson time i.e., " here is your 15 minutes of help".

This teacher goes off duty at 5pm.

The community area of the house is at normal noise level after 4pm.

 

I've found that for us we have to be home 4.5 days a week and school year round taking smaller breaks. This keeps the habits going and the stress level low.

 

I grade at the moment if I'm beside the child or daily and write correction pages on the next day's schedule.

 

For example, do you require all work to be completely where you can see it being done? I know some have had kids who go off to do work and are so easily distracted that they don't come back for the next subject.

I only did this for handwriting and dictation. They have levels of freedom they earn.

Level 1 would be next to mom for all work except pleasure reading.

Level 2 next to mom when I ask you to come for a lesson as long as your done with the exact list I give you in the morning and the afternoon.

Level 3 mom offers a lesson you can accept of decline but I don't have to offer again, you're done with each day's work by 5pm.

Level 4 you ask for your lesson on the day scheduled; your work is completed by the end of the week.

Level 5 plan your own weekly schedule meet the deadlines for papers, reports, test etc.

Level 6 (we're not here yet) plan your own semester goals. Level 7 design your own course syllabus

The 9 year old fluctuates b/t level 3 and 4, the 11 year old level 4, and the 13 year old level 4 on some subjects and level 5 on others.

These ideas aren't mine; they came from a homeschool magazine.

 

Do you make certain areas of the house off limits b/c they tempt Dc to goof off? depends on their level of independence

 

Do have a rule that Dc must check in with you after completing each subject or independent assignment?

depends on level

How do you store books so that they are easily available to you, yet also for your children?

 

Each child has a crate by their desk/or kitchen table area for most things. One nearby bookshelf is for books in use for the week especially chapter books more than one child is using. Another shelf is for my answer keys, teacher guides, extra practice materials etc. All work is turned into an empy box on the bookshelf.

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It has taken me about 3 years to figure out what works best for our family, but this is what we have settled on:

 

 

before school starts at the beginning of the year, I take all of the workbooks (grammar, math, spelling, phonics, handwriting etc) and tear the pages out. Each child has a set of hanging file folders in a filing cabinet with their name and each subject on it. The pages go in there according to the child and subject.

 

 

Then each of my 3 kids have a plastic magazine holder with 10 regular file folders in it labeled 1-10. I started with Mon.-Fri., but then when we missed a day of school for some reason, it got all messed up, so labeling 1-10 can mean it can take 10 days or 14 days to complete the work...depending on our life.

 

Every 10 days I fill the folders with the appropriate school work from the filing cabinet.

 

 

So each day the child will grab the next folder and go to a spot to do it. They mostly are indepenant, unless they have a question....my 8 year old needs more help than the others. When they are finished with that work, they know to place their work (which is inside the folder) in my grading tub (which has the TE in it). Later that day...actually ususally after all are in bed...I grab the tub and grade the papers. Then I put anything that needs corrections in the next day's folder along with the new work.

 

This works well for the workbook pages...then after that work is complete, we have quiet reading time and piano practicing. If there is time left over before lunch we will play a game or something. After lunch we have an hour of quiet, in your room time. Then finally we end up with Science or History...depending on the day.

 

Hope that makes sense...it works well for us.

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LemonPie, can you tell me how you implement this? What constitutes "earning" the time, and how do you make it so that rushing through the work is not desirable? Quality of work vs. simply being finished? Some other way?

 

Thanks!

 

Sorry, saw this earlier on my phone and it was too complicated to type out there, and then I forgot to answer!

 

We've kind of tailored it to each kid, but they get 15 minutes of screen time for a variety of things. For finishing chores, for a complaint-free school-day (the complaining was threatening to send me over the edge), etc. They can earn up to one hour. Earning more than an hour won't actually get them more than an hour, but they can accrue the "spillover" and earn some bonus things over time.

 

Last year, I didn't limit screen time as much. I just said that schoolwork had to be done before they could get onto the electronics (barring use of TV/computer for schoolwork of course). My son wanted to rush through everything and then he'd melt down when I'd point out that he'd done half his stuff wrong and had to re-do it. And then I'd end up taking screen time away when he'd freak out and tantrum.

 

Working towards *earning* it works much better for him than having the threat of *losing* it. I guess it's a positive vs negative thing. For whatever reason, it's gone much better doing it this way!

Edited by LemonPie
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1. Do not answer the phone.

2. Do not answer the phone.

3. Do not let your mother-in-law pressure you into scheduling anything during school hours.

4. Do not answer the phone.

 

I take no phone calls.

 

This is a biggie. I assume that I am at work for the day with my boys and I'll take personal calls and/or write personal emails later.

 

If we're all focused and involved in the day it always goes more smoothly.

 

This is a biggie for me this year. I struggle because I don't want my phone off because I want to make sure dh gets to work safely (he occasionally calls me broken down on the way to work), but a couple weeks ago, I had two people call me before 7am! I worry, but then they want to gab or beat me up over the phone! Oy! We are seriously considering a separate line just for dh because this is becoming such an issue. We've also had a lot of medical/health issues with close friends and family so far this year, so that's been a challenge, too. I want to bend over backwards to help, but our school time sometimes suffers as a result.

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What types of routines, rules, habits, arrangements help you to keep your school day running smoothly?

My number one rule is that *I* get up at 7:00 & have quiet time before anyone else is awake. I read my Bible, pray, eat breakfast, and drink a cup of coffee...sets a good mood for my day.:) Then I wake my dd11 and ds9 for their showers & I have some more quiet time (might check e-mails or FB) if my dd4 is still asleep. If my dd4 is awake, then I do some "schooly" things with her. When ds9 & dd11 are done with showers, they get their breakfast & check their workbox for the day. My dd11 does independent work in the morning while I read with/discuss books with my ds9, and then we "switch" afterward. (My ds9 is using the Further Up & Further In Unit Study and my dd11 is using Sonlight Core F - you can read more about planning & other curriculum we use on my blog, which is listed in my siggy. I might even write a "daily scheduling" post this weekend.;)) When one child is doing independent work, he/she is not allowed to interrupt my one-on-one time with the other child. If there is something he/she needs help with, especially in math, then he/she makes a note of it & we discuss it later. Our schedule is flexible, though, and we adjust it if we see fit.

 

Currently I'm struggling to organize everything---our day, week, school work, schedules, etc.

I have workboxes (in my case, a plastic basket) for each day of the week. Each basket has folders with my childrens' names printed on them. Any worksheets, activity sheets, etc. they need are placed in their folders. I make the copies on Sat. or Sun. afternoon for the upcoming week and place them in the folders then. As for our weekly schedule, here is a blog post I wrote: http://freeindeed-redkitchen.blogspot.com/2012/08/homeschool-planning.html

 

For example, do you require all work to be completely where you can see it being done?

My dd11 likes to do her independent reading in her bedroom, which is fine with me. I ask her comprehension questions (located in the Sonlight IG) to make sure she understood what she read. My children are free to do their independent work anywhere in the house (or outside). I will know by checking it or by discussing it with them whether or not they did it correctly.

Do you make certain areas of the house off limits b/c they tempt Dc to goof off?

No, but we have a "no electronics" rule until 3:00 p.m.

 

Do have a rule that Dc must check in with you after completing each subject or independent assignment?

No. I check all independent work daily, though, so I know if something is not completed correctly.

 

How do you store books so that they are easily available to you, yet also for your children?

I have bookshelves in every...yes, every...room of my house.:) The books are organized according to topic, subject, current studies, and Sonlight Cores. The books currently in use are placed on the dining room or living room bookshelves in the easiest to reach places.

One of my biggest issues: where to store the books?

Everywhere!;) See my answer above.

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I believe in keeping things as simple as possible. My kids (8yo and 13yo) are up at 7:00, watch tv while eating breakfast (don't shoot me), do their morning chore (folding a load of laundry and emptying the dishwasher), they start school work between 8:00 and 8:30.

 

They each have a large drawer in a bookshelf with their books and supplies. My things are in another drawer. They do all written work at the dining room table, in any order they wish, but they may not interrupt if I am helping someone else. I don't do a lot of actual teaching the older they get. They each have a basic weekly schedule to follow. I don't do detailed lesson plans, but I do make sure I am prepared for what's ahead in each semester. I start them each out on their math. I read and discuss: history, science, and a read aloud with the 8yo. Plus, I check (and they fix if needed) all work at the end of the school day.

 

The 13yo does all his work that requires intensive reading up in his room.

 

They have been zooming through their work this year. It may take longer when new concepts are introduced. The 8yo has been finished by lunch every day and the 13yo is done by 1. Lunch break is from 11 - 12.

 

Believe me, it has not always been easy. I've had to school with toddlers and reluctant learners before. There was a time when I was always schooling three and had another underfoot. I feel like I'm being blessed. I don't have any transportation during the day this year so we are doing very few extracurriculars, just piano for the 8yo.

 

They both do: Math, Grammar, Vocabulary, Writing, History/Social Studies, Science, Reading

 

The 8yo does: Spelling and Handwriting

The 13yo does: Keyboarding skills

 

We will probably add in Spanish again sometime in the next few weeks.

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:grouphug: What you are going through is so hard... sending lots of hugs.

 

I have been in your shoes, and it is incredibly painful! Wishing no one ever had to experience this pain!

 

I'm thinking this was posted in the wrong thread. Otherwise, I'm not sure what prompted this response. :confused:

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