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At the beginning of March I posted this. I was frustrated with how messed up this year has been and our inability to get into any sort of a good routine. I got a lot of good advice and we have been much more consistent with school over the last few weeks but things have still felt "off". I have spent some time mulling things over and just this morning it hit me, we have lost the joy in our homeschool. We have begun to focus way too much on box checking and not on including the things we enjoy. We've almost gotten to the point that our life feels divided into two categories, school and life. That's not what I wanted. I wanted things more balanced.

 
I feel like math, reading and language arts are non-negotiable. The subjects that should be most enjoyable, especially at my kids ages, like history and science, have begun to feel like we are doing them just to get them done. Very little enjoyment. No going deeper. I have not read aloud to them as much this year compared to previous years. We've done very little art. No poetry memorization. My oldest son and I were going to start teaching ourselves how to play the guitar, hasn't happened. We haven't spent as much time outside and have spent far too much time in front of screens. I wanted to do more baking and cooking with them, hasn't happened. Our school just feels flat, like there is no beauty, no richness to it. 
 
We live in MO and I have worried about meeting the hours requirement more this year than any other year before. I don't know why. I know that over the course of a whole year, if you were to count everything that could be considered educational that we would meet and probably exceed the 1000 hour requirement, because you know, as a kid just living your LIFE tends to be pretty educational! For some reason I decided after last year that my rather loose approach to planning and scheduling needed to change, that flying by the seat of my pants wasn't how to properly homeschool. That I was going to fail them if I didn't stick to a clearly laid out plan. I think I read one too many blog posts about planning your school year almost down to the second, at least that what they feel like. Almost every week I type up the plan for the coming week, of course then I feel locked into it and when we don't get everything done in a day I begin to feel stressed because we are "behind". I turn into a mom who yells, orders and harasses her kids into doing their work which results in anger, frustration and tears. Theirs and mine! I feel like this worry of mine about meeting hourly requirements has been a big part of the problem. 
 
I know that making sure we are doing the things we enjoy falls mostly to me. I've been stinking at it. I feel like we either can do the academic stuff or the fun stuff but not both. I know that there are homeschoolers are successful with doing both. How do you balance what you feel needs to be done as far as math, reading and language arts with the things that bring joy to you and your kids? How do you keep your plans flexible, but still continue moving forward? Help me help us get the joy back! Thanks!
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I know that making sure we are doing the things we enjoy falls mostly to me. I've been stinking at it. I feel like we either can do the academic stuff or the fun stuff but not both. I know that there are homeschoolers are successful with doing both. How do you balance what you feel needs to be done as far as math, reading and language arts with the things that bring joy to you and your kids? How do you keep your plans flexible, but still continue moving forward? Help me help us get the joy back! Thanks!

 

My two are older, so my thoughts may not be useful but I recently realized that if I want the kids to have fun with school I need to be having fun. That means that whatever we do I need to generate my own enthusiasm first before I can inspire anything. 

For less "fun" subjects like Latin and Math I work up my enthusiasm by doing them with the boys. By doing Latin with them I can point out things of interest or note areas where better attention will make things like translation easier. We also have a study session a few times a week with snacks in the evening. 

For math, I found enthusiasm in doing some algebra while the boys work on their math. I have lost count of the number of times I have been able to look at what they are doing and show them why they need to understand and learn it. The drudgery of learning how to factor was lessened when I showed them what I was doing factoring polynomials.

For language arts, the joy came in integrating what we were doing and in choosing a path in writing that I could embrace and make my own. Writing is now our favorite subject on the day (even on days when it starts out tough!) because I love teaching it. So much of our spelling, grammar, reading, comprehension, vocabulary and logic now comes from our writing day. 

For history and science I have now added a lot more study in the form of evening documentaries, tons of library books and a LOT more focus on the people and the ideas involved. Both of these subjects are a work in progress for me. History in particular involved sitting down with pen and paper and really thinking about how I want to learn history. 

 

I don't know that how I learn or want to learn is exactly how my boys learn or want to learn. But figuring out what makes things bright and interesting for me seems to be carrying over into making things bright and interesting for the boys.

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Not to be trite, but you need to find out from someone in your state what is actually legally required and not saddle yourself with more than is required.  If "1,000 hours" includes lunch time, etc., etc., then do you have to log that?  That's not even developmentally appropriate to do that much WORK.  Schools take lunch and recess.  You're going to have to come to a more generous way of tallying those hours so you're not unnecessarily burdening yourself.  That's thing one.

 

Thing two, this where did my joy go thing happens to everyone at this time of year.  Sit down and list out what you're trying to get done to finish the semester.  Set some goals.  Make a plan for what you want to do when you finish those goals (take a month for spring activities, garden and can through the summer, whatever).  Maybe short term goals of 1-3 month blocks.

 

Scheduling depends on your style.  You might find you like having certain things, say math, with that level of structure, and other things like history might be just as good for you freewheeling.  Just because someone is talking a lot who hyperschedules doesn't mean YOU have to hyperschedule.  Be a little more confident on these things!  

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Is your siggy up to date? Can you give us an idea of how long school is taking with those resources? 

 

We are using some similar things and I am not feeling that same time crunch, so I am wondering about your pace.  For example, how much time per week are you spending on history?  

 

Also, agree with OhElizabeth--except February is my self-doubt month. February is the longest short month of the year, or so I tell myself. So this may just be one of those phases. 

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I have told myself that I am going to specifically put some of the cool internet links from the front of each Math Mammoth chapter on our schedule next year. I find that I do better when I have a schedule, but I also start dropping some things if it is too much. Next year we are switching to Moving Beyond the Page, which has some great fun things included. 

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Not to be trite, but you need to find out from someone in your state what is actually legally required and not saddle yourself with more than is required.  If "1,000 hours" includes lunch time, etc., etc., then do you have to log that?  That's not even developmentally appropriate to do that much WORK.  Schools take lunch and recess.  You're going to have to come to a more generous way of tallying those hours so you're not unnecessarily burdening yourself.  That's thing one.

 

Thing two, this where did my joy go thing happens to everyone at this time of year.  Sit down and list out what you're trying to get done to finish the semester.  Set some goals.  Make a plan for what you want to do when you finish those goals (take a month for spring activities, garden and can through the summer, whatever).  Maybe short term goals of 1-3 month blocks.

 

Scheduling depends on your style.  You might find you like having certain things, say math, with that level of structure, and other things like history might be just as good for you freewheeling.  Just because someone is talking a lot who hyperschedules doesn't mean YOU have to hyperschedule.  Be a little more confident on these things!  

From what I understand, in MO it is 1000 hours, 600 of those have to be in the core subjects which are math, reading, language arts, social studies and science. The remaining 400 can be in whatever subject/activity you wish. Some people count literal hours, so if you did math for 45 minutes one day then you count 45 minutes towards math. Other people say that each time you do math then you can count it as an hour. I haven't found anywhere that specifically states which way is the correct way. The law is pretty vague. You don't have to turn in the record of hours unless you get prosecuted. Many people don't even record them. Some people fudge them. So I guess I just need to figure out what I want to do.

 

I think its been a slow slide into not enjoying it. The things that bring us joy have been slowly slipping out of our day for months. February just brought it all to a head. First thing I'm going to do is get more consistent with reading aloud to them! Goals for 1-3 month blocks sounds like a good idea.

 

Hyperscheduling is not working for us at all! I will never do that again. I'm not sure why I did it to start with, it is completely opposite to my personality.

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Is your siggy up to date? Can you give us an idea of how long school is taking with those resources? 

 

We are using some similar things and I am not feeling that same time crunch, so I am wondering about your pace.  For example, how much time per week are you spending on history?  

 

Also, agree with OhElizabeth--except February is my self-doubt month. February is the longest short month of the year, or so I tell myself. So this may just be one of those phases. 

I had to take a look at it! Yes its up to date. I'm going to list this out by kid, otherwise I can't keep it straight. The times don't seem very long, but once you add in all the fussing about everything, especially from my middle DS, it takes longer.

 

DS - 9

  • Math Mammoth/XtraMath: 1 hour
  • Assigned Reading: 30 min
  • Typing: 10min
  • WWE 3: 30 min
  • FLL 3: 15 min
  • AAS 3: 20 min

DS - 8

  • Math Mammoth: 30 min
  • OPGTR: 20 min
  • HWOT 3: 10 min
  • WWE 2: 20 min
  • FLL 2: 15 min
  • AAS 2: 20 min

DD - 6 (almost 7)

  • Math Mammoth: 20 min
  • OPGTR: 20 min
  • HWOT 3: 10 min
  • WWE 1: 20 min
  • FLL 1: 15 min
  • AAS 2: 20 min

Together

  • SOTW 3: 2-3 times/week 30-45 min
  • Science: just reading from books right now 2 times/week 30 min

We do WWE 4x/week, FLL 3x/week and AAS 3x/week. I don't really like that schedule. Around 2 hours for my oldest, close to 1 hour 45 minutes for my middle and 1 hour 30 minutes for my youngest. I don't generally have them working at the table at the same time, they just end up distracted by the others and it takes even longer. My oldest does XtraMath, typing practice and his assigned reading on his own and I work with another kid while he is doing those. We are usually doing school from 9 -12 and then again after lunch from  1-3. I spend a good deal of that time trying to keep them on track and dealing with the constant complaining and whining. Really we have plenty of time to get all this done and still do some of the things we enjoy. I think I'm just so wiped out after we get done with those things that I can't even muster up the energy to do the fun stuff.

 

 

ETA: Forgot that we don't do everything, every single day when I first added it up!

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My two are older, so my thoughts may not be useful but I recently realized that if I want the kids to have fun with school I need to be having fun. That means that whatever we do I need to generate my own enthusiasm first before I can inspire anything. 

For less "fun" subjects like Latin and Math I work up my enthusiasm by doing them with the boys. By doing Latin with them I can point out things of interest or note areas where better attention will make things like translation easier. We also have a study session a few times a week with snacks in the evening. 

For math, I found enthusiasm in doing some algebra while the boys work on their math. I have lost count of the number of times I have been able to look at what they are doing and show them why they need to understand and learn it. The drudgery of learning how to factor was lessened when I showed them what I was doing factoring polynomials.

For language arts, the joy came in integrating what we were doing and in choosing a path in writing that I could embrace and make my own. Writing is now our favorite subject on the day (even on days when it starts out tough!) because I love teaching it. So much of our spelling, grammar, reading, comprehension, vocabulary and logic now comes from our writing day. 

For history and science I have now added a lot more study in the form of evening documentaries, tons of library books and a LOT more focus on the people and the ideas involved. Both of these subjects are a work in progress for me. History in particular involved sitting down with pen and paper and really thinking about how I want to learn history. 

 

I don't know that how I learn or want to learn is exactly how my boys learn or want to learn. But figuring out what makes things bright and interesting for me seems to be carrying over into making things bright and interesting for the boys.

Yes, I need to be having fun. I used to have a lot of enthusiasm, especially for history, science and art. I think I just need to start going through our subjects one by one, figure out what I can do or change to bring back my own enjoyment of them and then start implementing it slowly, one at a time. The slowly, one at a time is probably the key. I tend to jump into changing all the things gung-ho and then crash and burn when it becomes too much to keep up with. Thanks for the ideas!

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Maybe switch your schedule around: together and fun things before lunch...individualized math and language arts in the afternoon. It takes more energy for me to read aloud and paint than to tutor one on one.

We might try that. I think that I will for sure move reading aloud to the morning. Part of the reason we haven't gotten as much done this year is because every afternoon when I sit down to read I begin to get very sleepy. Lol, I have fallen completely asleep several times!

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Around 2 1/2 hours for my oldest, close to 2 hours for my middle and 1 hour 45 minutes for my youngest. I don't generally have them working at the table at the same time, they just end up distracted by the others and it takes even longer. My oldest does XtraMath, typing practice and his assigned reading on his own and I work with another kid while he is doing those. We are usually doing school from 9 -12 and then again after lunch from  1-3. I spend a good deal of that time trying to keep them on track and dealing with the constant complaining and whining. Really we have plenty of time to get all this done and still do some of the things we enjoy. I think I'm just so wiped out after we get done with those things that I can't even muster up the energy to do the fun stuff.

 

So, is there any way you can gently explain this to them? Maybe spring it on them in a fun way - cancel school (as a surprise), take them to a science museum or a state park for the day, and *while you're there,* point out that you could do this a LOT more often if they could be more efficient (i.e., less whining) about the schoolwork? And then make good on your promise! Ditch anything you can (temporarily), get the "must-be-dones" done, and go HAVE FUN!

 

I don't think it's wrong for kids to understand that poor attitudes suck the joy out of things; of course, I don't mean to blame THEM for anything less than perfection, but honestly, they're not toddlers - they can understand these things. I think that for long-term success in a home school environment, working out the "style" of the team / the family / the unit, is CRITICAL. And at those ages, it looks like they're settling in to determine what kind of students they're going to be . . . which, of course, is ultimately their choice as a Free and Independent Human Being, but - you can lead the horse to water, know what I mean?

 

Cheerful kids who are willing to get their work done quickly benefit from a mama who still has energy to take them fun places & play board games & put on ridiculous history plays with home-made costumes.

 

(When I read over this, it sounds Pollyanna-ish; I don't mean it that way, but I can't figure out how to rephrase it.)

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I could have of written your post a while back. We were getting stuff done, but it wasn't fun like the younger years. In a nutshell, the one thing that we've always loved is reading. I did two things. One, I finally finished the sonlight core that we started two years ago and never seemed to have time for, and then bought the next one. We are current in it! 10 weeks done in just 10 weeks! I made the reading aloud a priority. I started at breakfast, did some after dinner, some in the car, squeezed in questions during the day, whatever it took. We are enjoying school more! We love our books and the discussions we have touch on topics we'd never other talk about. About once a week I have them take out their spiral notebooks and take notes on the history I read. I might suggest to them how to outline or what is important or they can draw. I don't want to overdo this, but I also want to develop the skill.

 

The other thing is I pared down our school to math, spelling, and IEW for them. Then they get to read five books a week for school, one biography, one history, one music or art, one literature, and one science. While I certainly don't want to see them first thing in the am laying on the couch reading, they do get to read at other times during the school day. If yours are not big readers or fast ones, then this might not seem special to your kids.

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So, is there any way you can gently explain this to them? Maybe spring it on them in a fun way - cancel school (as a surprise), take them to a science museum or a state park for the day, and *while you're there,* point out that you could do this a LOT more often if they could be more efficient (i.e., less whining) about the schoolwork? And then make good on your promise! Ditch anything you can (temporarily), get the "must-be-dones" done, and go HAVE FUN!

 

I don't think it's wrong for kids to understand that poor attitudes suck the joy out of things; of course, I don't mean to blame THEM for anything less than perfection, but honestly, they're not toddlers - they can understand these things. I think that for long-term success in a home school environment, working out the "style" of the team / the family / the unit, is CRITICAL. And at those ages, it looks like they're settling in to determine what kind of students they're going to be . . . which, of course, is ultimately their choice as a Free and Independent Human Being, but - you can lead the horse to water, know what I mean?

 

Cheerful kids who are willing to get their work done quickly benefit from a mama who still has energy to take them fun places & play board games & put on ridiculous history plays with home-made costumes.

 

(When I read over this, it sounds Pollyanna-ish; I don't mean it that way, but I can't figure out how to rephrase it.)

I explain it to them and things are good for a day, a week if I'm lucky and then it falls apart again. To be fair, the majority of the complaining comes from my youngest two. My oldest DS is a pretty laid back kid, he rarely puts up much of a fuss and it never lasts long. My youngest has really just started the complaining and whining since Christmas. Not sure what is going on with her, I'm still trying to figure that out. My middle DS just does not like school, period. He is perfectly capable of doing everything I ask, so its not that the work is to hard. I don't think he'd like any form of school.

 

I think the style of our homeschooling is changing. When they were younger they were happy to have me be in control of what we were doing and when. I was steering the ship and they were cool with that. I thought they would be okay with that for a little while longer, because they are still really young! But I'm starting to think maybe not.

 

It doesn't sound Pollyanna-ish, its the truth. Their constant complaining sucks the energy right out of me and leaves me little to do the fun stuff with.

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One last quick question and then I'm heading to bed. Right now we do spelling and grammar 3x each per week. Can anyone thing of a negative to alternating those subjects each week? For example, doing only grammar this week and next week doing only spelling, then back to grammar again. I wonder if being able to really focus on only one of those for a solid week would help us enjoy them more. We will move through them more slowly but I'm okay with that. We would still doing writing every week. What do you think?

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What about scheduling some subjects and not others? What about scheduling a time for child directed learning once a week or a couple of hours a few days a week or in the afternoons every day?

 

Here's the thing-many homeschoolers don't understand scheduling or its purpose.  There is absolutely no way you can schedule everything and do all of it.  That's not a problem or a failure.  Since there is no way to accurately predict the future 100% of the time, you don't have to equate not keeping up with the schedule with failure. I over schedule knowing full well there will be things I'll have to skip when the time comes.  Why doesn't it bother me?  Because I know there are far more things I would skip by default than if I were flying by the seat of my pants. It's easier to have it and not need it than it is to need it and not have it.

So, when I schedule SOTW and the Activity Book, (in the summer so it's ready by the first day of school) I know only some the library books listed for literature and non-fiction will 1) be available when I want them and 2) will be read if they are available.  There are more listed (Thank you God, for choices!) than most people could ever hope to read.  So, I have them in the plan of each week and I check out whichever ones are available when I go do my 3 weeks’ worth of library book checking out and I read what fits into my day each school day.  Some days I get a bunch read.  Sometimes I'm lucky to get 2 read.  Sometimes I have a long literature read aloud related to history going and sometimes it doesn't make sense to do that based on immediate circumstances.  I'm absolutely convinced I'm getting more done than if I didn't schedule anything out and I just tried to do the next thing as it worked out. I want to be through a SOTW book each year.  The schedule helps me do that very consistently at a reasonable pace. Have I had to skip narrations/copywork and extras listed in the Activity Books and just read SOTW readings aloud?  Yes.  Very often? No.  Maybe 3 times a year on average.

 

Not all subjects that require skills mastery make sense to schedule for every kid.  Math, Grammar, Writing and Phonics are subjects where you should not be moving on to B until A has been mastered.  In the elementary years the rate of mastery in a subject often ebbs and flows for a child and some children progress and plateau at dramatically different rates.  Those subjects are often very good candidates for "do the next thing" in the earlier years.  Just keep in mind that if you want a child college and/or scholarship ready in those subjects, you will need to keep an eye out now and then for how the child is progressing in the later elementary and Jr. High years.  Don't let high school sneak up on you.

 

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We're also in MO;  I also intermittently started to freak out about the 1000 hours.  I would schedule more than enough, then be frustrated that we weren't doing it all (even though I knew that technically it was more than I even needed to get through).

 

At some point I realized I was going about it backwards , so I reversed it:

 

instead of writing down the subjects/material/lessons I wanted to get through each day, and then checking the box when the kid had done them, I let the day evolve naturally, and at the end of it I wrote down what they had actually done.

 

It's kind of like when you're dieting, or budgeting - the first thing you do is write down everything you eat, or everything you buy.

 

The only thing that I insist happens every day is math of some form (and I do push the actual curriculum a few times a week if it seems like we're slacking on it a bit, but as far as I'm concerned doing 30 minutes of math orally, or reading 3 chapters of Life of Fred, or whatever, counts) and writing of some form.

 

I have some things I like to do with them, so we do those together; they're fun.  I try a lot of things that don't stick - we do maybe a day of it or a week of it together, then abandon it.  

 

 

What do they do with their free time that you're not able to tie to any learning or write down for homeschooling hours?  We don't have tablets, smartphones, tvs, video games, etc., and the family computer is only available to the kids for either artistic or academic endeavors (i.e. Bill Nye), so roughly 1/3 of their "free time" ends up being school, even though they don't think of it that way.

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Also (this seems stupid to say but it happened to me), it is super important to remember that the 1000 hours requirement is the state's requirement to have a legitimate homeschool.

 

It has exactly nothing to do with the quality of your kids' education.  You can do 1000 hours of terrible education and it is worth a lot less than 200 hours of first-rate education, imo.  

 

How is their actual education going?  Do you feel like they're learning more or less on pace with what and how you want them to learn, or at least with the baseline?  That is what I remind myself often: the state says I have to write down the number of hours we've done this and that, and that I have to average a certain number of ours of instruction per day, but that requirement is largely unrelated to *my* expectations, so I just fit the requirement around what we're doing anyway, instead of the other way around, kwim?

 

 

eta: I said to DH last fall:  "Ack!  We're way behind!  We have to do 3 hours of math today or we'll be a week behind in our math hours!!!"  DH said, "Aren't they technically working a year ahead in math?  Do you really have to make them stop reading (voluntarily!) so they can do a math chapter they don't even need yet?"

 
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For history and science, we look up videos on YouTube. It doesn't take much time, but it makes things interesting. If I correlate reading with some history or science subjects, the kids think that's really neat too. I also make sure we do history and science at the table with a snack. Then my kids are often more open to discussion about things. We also have a few music albums that we will sing to (They Might Be Giants, Teacher and the Rockbots).

 

Language arts work is often git-r-done type of work here. My oldest enjoys reading so that makes some of it easier. She is neutral about spelling and grammar (though, if you're doing FLL, invest in the audio companion!). She hates writing. Sorry, babe. You gotta. My 5yo specifically needs activities and creative things to keep her attention. LOE had been perfect for her. And it's been good for her older brother.

 

Math is also a box check. We do real life math too, but they need to complete a couple of pages of math a day on top of that.

 

When it comes down to it, though, my kids just want to get their stuff done and out of the way so they can do what interests them: science books, reading the current binge series, playing computer, playing outside, whatever. We have the best days when I can push them through to 11/11:30 and then take them out for a couple of hours - a picnic at a park is usually our go-to.

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Just a thought on the homeschooling hours required. If you have TV time in the evenings or weekends have them watch science shows, documentaries, history, or something educational and count that. Also, weekend activities that are educational. Or if you can count summer activities, etc. I'm not in your state so IDK if you can count those things but just a suggestion.

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From what I understand, in MO it is 1000 hours, 600 of those have to be in the core subjects which are math, reading, language arts, social studies and science. The remaining 400 can be in whatever subject/activity you wish. Some people count literal hours, so if you did math for 45 minutes one day then you count 45 minutes towards math. Other people say that each time you do math then you can count it as an hour. I haven't found anywhere that specifically states which way is the correct way. The law is pretty vague. You don't have to turn in the record of hours unless you get prosecuted. Many people don't even record them. Some people fudge them. So I guess I just need to figure out what I want to do.

 

I think its been a slow slide into not enjoying it. The things that bring us joy have been slowly slipping out of our day for months. February just brought it all to a head. First thing I'm going to do is get more consistent with reading aloud to them! Goals for 1-3 month blocks sounds like a good idea.

 

Hyperscheduling is not working for us at all! I will never do that again. I'm not sure why I did it to start with, it is completely opposite to my personality.

With what you're saying, I would make basic assumptions, like that any day you "did school" you hit 6 hours.  And "did school" and the hours includes field trips, co-op, music practice, reading (2 hours even!), etc. etc.  So basically as long as you're not taking months and months at a time, you're hitting 33 weeks a year, which is what you would need at 6 hours a day to hit it.  In other words, you're hitting the hours and don't need to log.  You probably have SOME kind of structure you like, even if it's just your handwritten notes you make as you plan for the week.  It's not like you utterly don't plan, even if you don't hyperplan.  So you just keep those plan sheets for each week in a notebook and you know how many weeks you've done and bam you have documentation.

 

Our state requires hours and doesn't check either.  I sweated it for several years and kept track of weeks, like I'm describing, sort of a log more than a hyper-plan.  What I realized was we tend to hit 42 weeks a year, every year, pretty naturally, and that I just didn't need to worry about it.  Right about the stage you are I started chilling.  :)  At this point, I have weekly planning lists, meaning I have that documentation, something that shows we were actually doing SOMETHING each week.  

 

Yup, February is bad.  Figure out what crept in that got you off-track of your goals.  That happens to everybody.  That's why I like to break my year into terms, so I can take that chance to reflect and see if we're on-track or not.  Sometimes for us it's just one thing, maybe a good thing, that crept in and threw off our balance.  So those checkpoints, where you analyze and tweak to get back on track, are good.  I think through my year as fall term, winter term, May term, and summer.  

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Yes, I need to be having fun. I used to have a lot of enthusiasm, especially for history, science and art. I think I just need to start going through our subjects one by one, figure out what I can do or change to bring back my own enjoyment of them and then start implementing it slowly, one at a time. The slowly, one at a time is probably the key. I tend to jump into changing all the things gung-ho and then crash and burn when it becomes too much to keep up with. Thanks for the ideas!

 

I found it very useful to sit down with pen and paper and define the reasons I "hated" a certain subject. After doing that I was able to then articulate what I wanted and to see where methods or curriculum were not in line with my expectations. Then it was easier to see if I needed a curriculum change, a method change or both.

 

 

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We're also in MO;  I also intermittently started to freak out about the 1000 hours.  I would schedule more than enough, then be frustrated that we weren't doing it all (even though I knew that technically it was more than I even needed to get through).

 

At some point I realized I was going about it backwards , so I reversed it:

 

instead of writing down the subjects/material/lessons I wanted to get through each day, and then checking the box when the kid had done them, I let the day evolve naturally, and at the end of it I wrote down what they had actually done.

 

It's kind of like when you're dieting, or budgeting - the first thing you do is write down everything you eat, or everything you buy.

 

The only thing that I insist happens every day is math of some form (and I do push the actual curriculum a few times a week if it seems like we're slacking on it a bit, but as far as I'm concerned doing 30 minutes of math orally, or reading 3 chapters of Life of Fred, or whatever, counts) and writing of some form.

 

I have some things I like to do with them, so we do those together; they're fun.  I try a lot of things that don't stick - we do maybe a day of it or a week of it together, then abandon it.  

 

 

What do they do with their free time that you're not able to tie to any learning or write down for homeschooling hours?  We don't have tablets, smartphones, tvs, video games, etc., and the family computer is only available to the kids for either artistic or academic endeavors (i.e. Bill Nye), so roughly 1/3 of their "free time" ends up being school, even though they don't think of it that way.

Last year I recorded hours in a similar way, except that I did plan what subjects I wanted to do each day, but not how much. And I didn't worry about it if I missed a subject or two one day, we just picked up with them the next day. We didn't quite reach 1000 hours last year and so I thought that if I scheduled more this year that we would hit that number. We have had a lot more outside activities this year. We joined an art group, took science classes, took a lot more field trips and spent much more time on sports. If I had recorded hours the same as last year I would probably be a lot less stressed.

 

I'm curious, how do you count hours? Actual time spent or more like in units? The homeschoolers I know seem reluctant to talk about it.

 

I think they do a lot that could be classified as learning in their free time. Legos, reading, target practice with their BB guns, playing with and observing the outside cats, watching the birds in the yard and field next door, helping their dad with yard work, helping my parents in their garden, helping their other Grandpa cut firewood, creating art on their own, they like to sit down with our different encyclopedias and look through them for fun. They watch shows like Wild Kratts, Liberty's Kids, Magic Schoolbus, and any other documentaries I think they'd be interested in. Minecraft, but I don't really think that's educational. I write some of this down, but not all of it. Sometimes I forget to write it down. Sometimes it doesn't even register with me that I could. I did a lot of the same stuff as a kid, outside of school hours and never thought of it as educational. I guess to get our hours I am going to have to be more diligent about writing it down.

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Also (this seems stupid to say but it happened to me), it is super important to remember that the 1000 hours requirement is the state's requirement to have a legitimate homeschool.

 

It has exactly nothing to do with the quality of your kids' education.  You can do 1000 hours of terrible education and it is worth a lot less than 200 hours of first-rate education, imo.  

 

How is their actual education going?  Do you feel like they're learning more or less on pace with what and how you want them to learn, or at least with the baseline?  That is what I remind myself often: the state says I have to write down the number of hours we've done this and that, and that I have to average a certain number of ours of instruction per day, but that requirement is largely unrelated to *my* expectations, so I just fit the requirement around what we're doing anyway, instead of the other way around, kwim?

 

 

eta: I said to DH last fall:  "Ack!  We're way behind!  We have to do 3 hours of math today or we'll be a week behind in our math hours!!!"  DH said, "Aren't they technically working a year ahead in math?  Do you really have to make them stop reading (voluntarily!) so they can do a math chapter they don't even need yet?"

I think their actual education is going well. I am satisfied with where they are and the pace they are going at. I suppose they could be considered a little behind in math because they are all still in the A books for their grade level. But they will each be moving onto the B books within the next couple weeks and will work on it all summer. But I'm okay with that too because they are moving at a pace comfortable for them and are retaining what they learn. I just wish that overall we could have less complaining and more enjoyment!

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One last quick question and then I'm heading to bed. Right now we do spelling and grammar 3x each per week. Can anyone thing of a negative to alternating those subjects each week? For example, doing only grammar this week and next week doing only spelling, then back to grammar again. I wonder if being able to really focus on only one of those for a solid week would help us enjoy them more. We will move through them more slowly but I'm okay with that. We would still doing writing every week. What do you think?

 

I sort of do this.  I don't want to teach spelling and grammar at the same time--they overload my son (he's 7).  So I typically do copywork several times a week (simple, from books we read) and then one week, spelling, next week, grammar.  It does go slowly, but so what? I am not on anyone else's timetable.  A happy child who is learning effectively without a lot of stress is more important *to me* than a deadline for finishing materials. 

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What about scheduling some subjects and not others? What about scheduling a time for child directed learning once a week or a couple of hours a few days a week or in the afternoons every day?

 

Here's the thing-many homeschoolers don't understand scheduling or its purpose.  There is absolutely no way you can schedule everything and do all of it.  That's not a problem or a failure.  Since there is no way to accurately predict the future 100% of the time, you don't have to equate not keeping up with the schedule with failure. I over schedule knowing full well there will be things I'll have to skip when the time comes.  Why doesn't it bother me?  Because I know there are far more things I would skip by default than if I were flying by the seat of my pants. It's easier to have it and not need it than it is to need it and not have it.

 

So, when I schedule SOTW and the Activity Book, (in the summer so it's ready by the first day of school) I know only some the library books listed for literature and non-fiction will 1) be available when I want them and 2) will be read if they are available.  There are more listed (Thank you God, for choices!) than most people could ever hope to read.  So, I have them in the plan of each week and I check out whichever ones are available when I go do my 3 weeks’ worth of library book checking out and I read what fits into my day each school day.  Some days I get a bunch read.  Sometimes I'm lucky to get 2 read.  Sometimes I have a long literature read aloud related to history going and sometimes it doesn't make sense to do that based on immediate circumstances.  I'm absolutely convinced I'm getting more done than if I didn't schedule anything out and I just tried to do the next thing as it worked out. I want to be through a SOTW book each year.  The schedule helps me do that very consistently at a reasonable pace. Have I had to skip narrations/copywork and extras listed in the Activity Books and just read SOTW readings aloud?  Yes.  Very often? No.  Maybe 3 times a year on average.

 

Not all subjects that require skills mastery make sense to schedule for every kid.  Math, Grammar, Writing and Phonics are subjects where you should not be moving on to B until A has been mastered.  In the elementary years the rate of mastery in a subject often ebbs and flows for a child and some children progress and plateau at dramatically different rates.  Those subjects are often very good candidates for "do the next thing" in the earlier years.  Just keep in mind that if you want a child college and/or scholarship ready in those subjects, you will need to keep an eye out now and then for how the child is progressing in the later elementary and Jr. High years.  Don't let high school sneak up on you.

I think I need a plan, but a loose one. Not exactly flying by the seat of my pants but not as structured as what I have been trying to do. Math, reading and language arts have just become do the next thing subjects. I'm going to decide how many times each week would be ideal to hit upon each subject, but other than that I'm not going to plan. I'm going to write down what we do, after we do it. Then we can move ahead as fast or as slow as they need to.

 

I already have SOTW planned out by chapter/section but I'm going to remove the dates assigned to it. Then if we miss a day or even a week due to outside activities or unplanned circumstances we can just pick up where we left off. And I won't feel like we are behind. I'm not worried about doing a whole book in one year, if it overlaps a bit I'm fine with that.  I am going to make a concerted effort to add in some of the activities and books listed in the activity guide and other online resources in the hopes that they will bring some of the joy back.

 

We are going back to BFSU for science. We did several of the lessons earlier this year and really liked them. It was a little bit of planning for me, but the style of the lessons really clicked for the kids and I. We did the demos, looked up things online and in our own books, found library books that corresponded and did a lot of talking about what we were learning. The discussion and the fact that for weeks after the lessons they were making connections all over the place to what they had learned was the best part of it. I will do this the same as SOTW, plan the lessons but not assign dates.

 

I have been up since 3:30 because I couldn't quit thinking about how to make things better. I have a couple pages of notes with ideas. I'm going to decide what I can realistically do right now, and what will take a while longer to implement.

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I found it very useful to sit down with pen and paper and define the reasons I "hated" a certain subject. After doing that I was able to then articulate what I wanted and to see where methods or curriculum were not in line with my expectations. Then it was easier to see if I needed a curriculum change, a method change or both.

This is pretty much what I did around 4:00 this morning when I couldn't sleep. I focused only on history and science. We don't need a curriculum change for history, we just need to add some more things on to it to make it come alive. We do need a curriculum change in science, and my previous post has what we are switching to and why. DH has a 4 day weekend starting tomorrow and I will have him be on kid duty at some point so I can go to a quiet room and do some more uninterrupted thinking about our other subjects.

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This is pretty much what I did around 4:00 this morning when I couldn't sleep. I focused only on history and science. We don't need a curriculum change for history, we just need to add some more things on to it to make it come alive. We do need a curriculum change in science, and my previous post has what we are switching to and why. DH has a 4 day weekend starting tomorrow and I will have him be on kid duty at some point so I can go to a quiet room and do some more uninterrupted thinking about our other subjects.

 

It is amusing to me that so many of the things I needed to bring back a sense of joy had to do with being more involved in the planning and implementation end of things. Turns out I'm not an open and go kind of person! :lol:

One thing I was careful to do: I made sure not to expect my kids to just love my changes. The goal was to get my enthusiasm and joy going again. I've long since accepted that it is virtually impossible to make everyone happy, but if I make myself happy I have a greater chance of infecting the herd, so to speak.

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Last year I recorded hours in a similar way, except that I did plan what subjects I wanted to do each day, but not how much. And I didn't worry about it if I missed a subject or two one day, we just picked up with them the next day. We didn't quite reach 1000 hours last year and so I thought that if I scheduled more this year that we would hit that number. We have had a lot more outside activities this year. We joined an art group, took science classes, took a lot more field trips and spent much more time on sports. If I had recorded hours the same as last year I would probably be a lot less stressed.

 

I'm curious, how do you count hours? Actual time spent or more like in units? The homeschoolers I know seem reluctant to talk about it.

 

I think they do a lot that could be classified as learning in their free time. Legos, reading, target practice with their BB guns, playing with and observing the outside cats, watching the birds in the yard and field next door, helping their dad with yard work, helping my parents in their garden, helping their other Grandpa cut firewood, creating art on their own, they like to sit down with our different encyclopedias and look through them for fun. They watch shows like Wild Kratts, Liberty's Kids, Magic Schoolbus, and any other documentaries I think they'd be interested in. Minecraft, but I don't really think that's educational. I write some of this down, but not all of it. Sometimes I forget to write it down. Sometimes it doesn't even register with me that I could. I did a lot of the same stuff as a kid, outside of school hours and never thought of it as educational. I guess to get our hours I am going to have to be more diligent about writing it down.

 

I count actual hours, but I do it this way so it doesn't drive me crazy: I take the things that we do pretty often, the curriculum things, and I see about how long it takes to do every day, on average.  I make a list of this in the front of my little record book (which is just one of those very simple day planner things from a shop on Etsy).  It looks like this:

 

Beast Academy - BA - 30 min

Writing With Skill - WWS - 45 min

Apples and Pears - AP - 30 min

TOPScience - TOPS - 1 hr

Draw Write Now - DWN - 30 minutes

Explode the Code - ETC - 15 minutes

Bill Nye - 15 minutes

Sentence Composing for Middle School -SC- 1 hr

Getting Started with Latin - GSWL - 30 minutes

Music Theory -MT -15 minutes

Math Mammoth - MM -30 minutes

 

(etc etc).  

 

That way, for any curriculum-type things they use or read or watch, I have the average time units already written down and all I do is put what they did (with the abbreviation, much faster) and if they did more than one unit I might put x2 or x3.  (They will binge-watch Bill Nye).  Then if they free read Harry Potter for an hour, or go to Lego Class, or play 20 questions in the car, I just write that down with a casual time estimate, generally in half-hour increments (I can't be bothered to follow them around with a stopwatch, kwim?).

 

So a day's record looks like this (a sample one from January):

DD9:

WWS

SC 

MM5

GSWL

MT

Hist. Fiction reading 2 hr

 

DS6:

MM2

Facts Practice 30 min.

Usborne reading 1 hr

DWN

Encyclopedia Brown reading 1 hr

 

 

I don't add it up every day but it looks like here DD9 did 5 hours  without counting free reading, and DS6 did 3.5 hours counting the free reading.  I insisted on a lot of that stuff (I was feeling pretty schoolmarmy in January).

 

Here is a day when I insisted on much less (in fact almost nothing):

 

DD9:

oral fractions 1/2 hr

GSWL

WarriorCats free reading 2 hr

Unjournaling 1/2 hr

Penrose 1 hr  

TOPS

Bill Nye x 2

 

DS6

MM2 ch tests orally

notebooking 1/2 hr

Story writing - Penrose 1 hr

Penrose reading - 1 hr

TOPS 

Bill Nye x 2

 

So on that day, DD9 got 6 hr, DS6 got 4.5 hr.  Penrose is a book about a cat who likes math - I figure it's math or reading, depending on your take.  On that day, I told them we were on spring break.  They thought they were doing nothing for school at all (except GSWL for DD9, who didn't want to get behind).  

 

Before they can read the hours requirement is really onerous because you can't count free reading and they spend so much more time at a sort of imaginative play that is of course very learning intensive but I feel weird writing down.  Like, if they work out a very complicated system to play quidditch in the basement, and make their own costumes, and look for details in the books, is that not all a deep learning experience?  Sometimes I read the Common Core standards (I know, I know) to reassure me that the things they do are connected to specific learning processes and outcomes.  

 

For instance, with the quidditch thing, here are some clips from the Common Core standards that might apply:

 

"CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.1

Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.1.A

Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.1.B

Build on others' talk in conversations by responding to the comments of others through multiple exchanges.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.1.C

Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion."

 
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.2

Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

 

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.1

Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.2

Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.3

Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

 
 
 
(edited to change the amount of time we spend on an average MM lesson from an hour to 1/2 hour - it used to be a lot closer to an hour but not in the last 3-4 months)
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Re: the complaining, ah, I get a fair amount of complaining about a few things: math (which I do tend to insist on regularly), doing the dishes, laundry, vacuuming.  I treat it as background noise.  I am also a complainer about my work (we have a small business) so I can't blame them really, as long as the work gets done in at least a minimal sort of way.

 

For more joy in science, you might try TOPS.  I am not involved except for the buying of it and the oohing and aahing at the results (and saying, jeez, I'm sorry it's not working! for the frustration).  Electricity went over well here, and now pi in the sky.  

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I read your entire post, and -- wow -- can I relate to it. Usually, when we get to that point, it helps to spend a full day out in nature. When are you going to have a sunny day in MO? Plan to leave the house! Pack lunches the night before, get up and out, spend the day in a park, on a hiking trail, fishing at a lake, whatever. Just go outside and don't come home until the sun goes down.

 

For me, this works every time. I remember your other post, and thought it sounded like Winter Blahs. I had that so badly this winter, my doctor prescribed light box therapy. I wasn't depressed, I was profoundly worn out with winter -- the everlasting grayness of it, the bitter and unending cold, the lack of light that made a difference. It was like from January until nearly the end of March, the light was on a graying dimmer switch. Bleh.

 

In this post, I think I detect a case of the post-Winter Blahs. :grouphug:  Go outside on a sunny day. Go without guilt or anguish, go without any thought of "school," do NOT try to figure out how you can count the hours as "something," just go and be outside in Nature.

 

I lived in MO for six years and really enjoyed my time there. You have so many beautiful places in your state, lovely lakes and rivers, parks, forests. Just choose a place and spend a day there. Enjoy the sunshine. If your husband goes along to watch the kids play, you can fall asleep in the sunshine (highly recommended). Recharge your battery.

 

As for tracking hours... well, I wouldn't. I don't live in your state, but if I did, I would have a document ready-to-go that listed every requirement as being fulfilled, year to year. I would file that somewhere handy, then forget about tracking hours. That isn't "fudging" it, that is getting it done ahead of time. We would fulfill the requirements, but I'm not going to tie myself down to tracking hours on a document that no one will ever see. That, for me, would be such an exercise in futility, like a constant dripping of water on my head. What a nuisance, what a drag.

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We took off much of the month of March while I figured things out, because hs'ing was feeling much the way you described. During that time, I sat down with each kiddo seperately to see how THEY view homeschooling, and what they feel works, and what doesn't. Turthfully I was a little surprised at what they loved and what didn't quite gel for them. It was an interesting exercise!

 

We kept math, reading, and writing as daily basics, and kind of threw everything else out the window. I started reading aloud more again, and have limited screen time a little more than in the past. We did change up the math and writing though... back to LoF and Brave Writer, with plenty of poetry for dd as she loves it.

 

Science for dd now is piles of library books, nature walks, and occasional documentaries. For ds, it is primarily books and videos. History is a read-aloud and documentaries (like Big History). For geography, we are watching reruns of The Amazing Race, and mapping their travels on a huge print-out map from National Geographic. Sometimes I throw in a travelogue, or other shows (Wild China for example).

 

Besides that, each kid has chosen some things to learn, and to explore.

 

It feels a lot better!

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I read your entire post, and -- wow -- can I relate to it. Usually, when we get to that point, it helps to spend a full day out in nature. When are you going to have a sunny day in MO? Plan to leave the house! Pack lunches the night before, get up and out, spend the day in a park, on a hiking trail, fishing at a lake, whatever. Just go outside and don't come home until the sun goes down.

 

For me, this works every time. I remember your other post, and thought it sounded like Winter Blahs. I had that so badly this winter, my doctor prescribed light box therapy. I wasn't depressed, I was profoundly worn out with winter -- the everlasting grayness of it, the bitter and unending cold, the lack of light that made a difference. It was like from January until nearly the end of March, the light was on a graying dimmer switch. Bleh.

 

In this post, I think I detect a case of the post-Winter Blahs. :grouphug:  Go outside on a sunny day. Go without guilt or anguish, go without any thought of "school," do NOT try to figure out how you can count the hours as "something," just go and be outside in Nature.

 

I lived in MO for six years and really enjoyed my time there. You have so many beautiful places in your state, lovely lakes and rivers, parks, forests. Just choose a place and spend a day there. Enjoy the sunshine. If your husband goes along to watch the kids play, you can fall asleep in the sunshine (highly recommended). Recharge your battery.

 

As for tracking hours... well, I wouldn't. I don't live in your state, but if I did, I would have a document ready-to-go that listed every requirement as being fulfilled, year to year. I would file that somewhere handy, then forget about tracking hours. That isn't "fudging" it, that is getting it done ahead of time. We would fulfill the requirements, but I'm not going to tie myself down to tracking hours on a document that no one will ever see. That, for me, would be such an exercise in futility, like a constant dripping of water on my head. What a nuisance, what a drag.

Yesterday was my birthday and we pretty much took the day off. The weather was overcast and raining so we stayed inside. I spent my time sewing and reading and left the kids to their own devices. We watched a couple things about the American Revolution on Netflix, I helped DD with spelling while she wrote a short little story. I read aloud. It was a nice, relaxed day. Today has been the same and Friday will probably be similar. DH is home and we don't get as much done while he is here, but the kids have been pretending they are at Valley Forge and playing chess. Later we will all read. Hopefully the forecast holds, Saturday is supposed to be sunny and in the upper 60's so we are planning on taking a picnic to a small, local lake and spending the afternoon.

 

I love MO, it really is beautiful here! We love camping and hiking and exploring outdoor areas that are new to us. We've all been waiting on spring. The last few winters here have had a lot more snow and really cold weather than usual and that doesn't help with the winter blahs.

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To add "joy" I would think about the reasons you homeschool in the first place and what you envision your homeschool to be. I think it's a really common problem/tendency in homeschoolers to gradually drift away from our first vision. Often it's because the original vision was overally idealistic but sometimes it's also because it's just easy to lose the joy in the mist of the day to day grind. Figure out what defines your family as a homeschool family and make sure you include that regularly. It doesn't have to be daily or even weekly but schedule it in or make it a priority. 

 

For us, field trips/museum visits/travel are important. I make sure we schedule them at least once a month, if not more. Reading aloud is important. I read daily, sometimes at breakfast, sometimes at lunch, almost always before bed. We listen to audiobooks together in the car always. We've recently gotten into several series that we all love which makes for fun conversations and extends into playtime for the kids. Science is important. We read a lot of science books. Art is important for one of my kids so I make sure there is some art weekly. Sometimes that's out of the house (we go to a co-op), sometimes it's something we all do together. 

 

Other ideas for things to do when life is too scheduled....go for a walk or get outside, play a board game (educational or not), do an art project, pop popcorn and have a "movie lunch "and watch a documentary or educational video. 

 

I also have a middle son that hates anything school-related. What has helped a lot with him is to get rid as much as I can of things that seem like busy-work to him. Which means most workbooks. So for spelling we went to a system where he only has to learn the words he misspells in writing. I might add in spelling again next year but it really helped his attitude to even give it up for awhile. Could you streamline some of your LA curriculum? Like if they are writing in WWE, do they need to do HWOT also? If they need it sometime could they do it on alternate days? Depending on where your middle son is in OPGTR could you drop it and tag-team books with him? You read a page, he reads a page. That might seem more fun to him. Or maybe do that on alternate days. 

 

 

 

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Yesterday was my birthday and we pretty much took the day off. The weather was overcast and raining so we stayed inside. I spent my time sewing and reading and left the kids to their own devices. We watched a couple things about the American Revolution on Netflix, I helped DD with spelling while she wrote a short little story. I read aloud. It was a nice, relaxed day. Today has been the same and Friday will probably be similar. DH is home and we don't get as much done while he is here, but the kids have been pretending they are at Valley Forge and playing chess. Later we will all read. Hopefully the forecast holds, Saturday is supposed to be sunny and in the upper 60's so we are planning on taking a picnic to a small, local lake and spending the afternoon.

 

I love MO, it really is beautiful here! We love camping and hiking and exploring outdoor areas that are new to us. We've all been waiting on spring. The last few winters here have had a lot more snow and really cold weather than usual and that doesn't help with the winter blahs.

 

Yes, I miss MO at times. Whenever I taste black walnuts, I go back in my mind to visiting Stockton and Hammons Black Walnuts. The sight of a fishing pole takes me back to Bass Pro. LOL. Good memories, MO was good to me.

 

Laura, the "day off" that you described is a perfect example of what I have found helps us to recharge, reconnect, and refocus. It is possible to create a peaceful, calm, joyful, and productive home that blesses our family and our world. On those occasional days when I am just too drained to "do school" or be "Drill Sergeant Mommy," the girls play, rest, draw, read, craft, bake, call Grammy, play some more, take long baths, write a letter to a cousin or friend, write stories and poems, do puzzles or games, do wordsearches or crosswords, listen to audiobooks and music CDs, watch a video, ride bikes, play with their rabbits, and snuggle with me. We all benefit from those days, more than we realize.

 

Let your children know what they can do when you are not directing traffic, KWIM? I think it's not the school work, per se, that is exhausting (at least for me). Once we're started on it, we're fine. I think it's the effort of getting everyone going uphill every day, day after day. Some days this winter, it has felt like placing a train on the tracks and shoving it uphill each morning. We do it, we get this thing called "school" going daily, but the joy, where's that? Well, there is a place and time for diligence and discipline, even when we don't "feel like" doing the work, right? Even so, we are ready for spring here. Yesterday was sunny and in the 60s, so we did school work in the morning, and spent the afternoon at the park with friends, then showers, then choir practice, and then we came home and made shredded wheat chocolate coconut peanut butter bird nests! :) Supper, rabbits, evening chores, and bed. A good day.

 

I hope you enjoy your day out on Saturday. You can do this!

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Here are some things that have helped us keep up good attitudes over the years:

 

* Circle Time together with memory work and singing (singing together is huge - you can't be cranky while singing)

* Giving everyone who can read their own checklist so they know what's expected of them up front

* Finding ways to give those 8yo+ some input into what and how we do things, within reason. Examples: choose a chore from the list, choose what order you do your independent work, choose when to take a 10 minute walk in the morning, choose which book to read for history from a shelf of selections I've made (like biographies)

* Take a day and do Latin outside in the park if the weather is nice

* Make a cup of tea to sip while doing math

 

It's hard work, but keeping up the camaraderie and cheerfulness is essential to working together and not burning out.

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