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I want to have an enjoyable, low-stress school year. Please someone tell me how to do this!


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This will be our 6th year homeschooling.  Every year, there has been a baby or a toddler or morning sickness.  Sometimes more than one of these.  Next year, I will have a 10 year old, 8 year old, 5 year old, and a 2 and a half year old.  I have been dealing with issues of fatigue and other lovely perimenopause symptoms.  I really want this new school year to be different than our usual mad dashing around, yelling questions over crying, squishing things in while the baby naps for a few minutes.  I don't want to feel so completely exhausted at the end of the day.  I want us to enjoy ourselves.  Is this possible with the ages that I have?  Anyone have advice?  I am craving calm!!!  Help! 

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Drop everything except math and let them free read and watch Magic School Bus and whatever else for the rest. Put on Leap Frog and Star Fall for the younger children, or even ETC online. Get rid of anything and everything except math. And on the math..keep it to a minimum. I would do it with the older ones, but for the youngers, keep it simple and hands on.

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The answer is yes, it is possible. The question I have is can you have your ideal without school? For example, can you have the 10 yo reading on the sofa, the 8 yo building a puzzle, the 5 yo coloring, and the 2 yo playing with toys all peacefully together in the same room? (And I don't mean those specific activities, but generally in the same area individually engaged wo chaos.)

 

My kids are trained from birth how to do that. It means our homeschool is peaceful most of the time. But it takes training. If they can't be in a room quietly engaged, then I would make that a primary goal before starting school.

 

And I do know how hard of a job that is. I have an autistic child who was incredibly ADHD and impulsive. But expected behaviors can be taught to most children. Consistency is vital.

 

Eta: From my perspective you can't have a peaceful homeschool if you don't have a peaceful home. If you have a peaceful home already, introduce one new variable at a time and make that work before adding another.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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The answer is yes, it is possible. The question I have is can you have your ideal without school? For example, can you have the 10 yo reading on the sofa, the 8 yo building a puzzle, the 5 yo coloring, and the 2 yo playing with toys all peacefully together in the same room? (And I don't mean those specific activities, but generally in the same area individually engaged wo chaos.)

 

My kids are trained from birth how to do that. It means our homeschool is peaceful most of the time. But it takes training. If they can't be in a room quietly engaged, then I would make that a primary goal before starting school.

 

And I do know how hard of a job that is. I have an autistic child who was incredibly ADHD and impulsive. But expected behaviors can be taught to most children. Consistency is vital.

 

Eta: From my perspective you can't have a peaceful homeschool if you don't have a peaceful home. If you have a peaceful home already, introduce one new variable at a time and make that work before adding another.

 

When we are not trying to do school, our house is fairly peaceful.  The three older kids play together, do crafts on their own, etc. (they just started writing a newspaper based on Hank from the Hank the Cowdog books and they're having a blast).  My youngest is happy with a pile of books and someone to share them with, and she loves taking things apart.  We are having the best summer--we do 1 school-type thing every day and I read aloud and that is it.    I feel so much better.  I don't want the frazzled me to have to return.  So, if the kids can be peaceful without school what's the next step?

 

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Drop everything except math and let them free read and watch Magic School Bus and whatever else for the rest. Put on Leap Frog and Star Fall for the younger children, or even ETC online. Get rid of anything and everything except math. And on the math..keep it to a minimum. I would do it with the older ones, but for the youngers, keep it simple and hands on.

 

I'd feel fine doing that for my younger school-aged kids, but ds will be 11 pretty soon.  I feel like he needs more.  In fact, I feel like I haven't been challenging him enough! ???

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Do you have a grandma figure to take the 7/5/2 kids once or twice a week?  You're going to need appointments with your 11 yo, and you could do them then.

 

The other thing you could do is take them all to the Y and sign them up for classes.  You work out while they take classes.  That way you get your perk up and they burn their energy off.

 

I would definitely send the 7/5/2 out once or twice a week.  They can cook and have time with Grandma, and you can rejuvenate.

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You'll probably have to plan on teaching or tutoring Math, there really isn't any way around it. But here are some ideas for everything else:

 

--Give your two older kids a checklist everyday of what they need to do independently so they can work through the list.

--Xtramath.com for math fact practice

--Assign an hour of free reading per day for the two older kids

--Get an Audible subscription and let your kids listen to stories while they work on art projects or life skill projects like folding laundry

--Have your kids keep a daily journal for writing and once or twice a week, have them write about something they've been learning so they get practice in both narrative and expository writing

--Have your oldest watch a history or science documentary once a week and take notes on it

--Your oldest can also keep notebooks in history and science. Add a few facts a day, a diagram, or a short outline and they will fill up fast

--Duolingo for learning a foreign language since it's on line for your oldest, Salsa Spanish is also online and will captivate all of your three youngest

 

Best wishes! I hope you have a peaceful year!

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ORGANIZATION.

 

Speaks someone who struggles with it, a lot, but I have confirmed my days are mayhem without it. Let me elaborate...

 

1) I need uninterrupted time with 3 kids, and as much as my almost 2yr old is a sweetheart, he is VERY disruptive to our schooling.

 

We do 40 mins rotations of time with mom, independent time, watch baby. During "watch baby" time, kids play with him in his room, downstairs, somewhere where he's not bothering the one doing independent work or time with mom.

 

2) Have assignments that kids can do on their own during independent time. For us it's usually handwriting, spelling, Xtra math, pending assignments from other subjects etc.

 

3) After our morning "cycle" we all have lunch, and kids have a 30-40 min break while I put baby for nap

 

4) After lunch break we do stuff together. Also try to give them independent time to finish up stuff.

 

5) To deal with my own exhaustion I've been walking 2 miles every morning, and taking vitamins more consistently.

 

It makes for long days, and tiring at times, but the satisfaction of knowing some stuff is getting done really makes me feel better.

 

Good luck!!

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When we are not trying to do school, our house is fairly peaceful. The three older kids play together, do crafts on their own, etc. (they just started writing a newspaper based on Hank from the Hank the Cowdog books and they're having a blast). My youngest is happy with a pile of books and someone to share them with, and she loves taking things apart. We are having the best summer--we do 1 school-type thing every day and I read aloud and that is it. I feel so much better. I don't want the frazzled me to have to return. So, if the kids can be peaceful without school what's the next step?

 

Then the answer is as simple and as complicated as figuring out what is causing the stress and the negative environment.

 

With kids your children's ages, I would have the 11yr old reading independently while the 8 yr old played with the toddler and I spent an hour with the 5 yr old. I would then send the 5 yr (finished for the day) off to either play or watch the toddler in my presence while Inworked with the 8 yr old. After working with the 8 yr old on direct instruction, I would send them work on independent work for a while and work with the 11yr old. The 5 and 8 yr old would both be finished in under 3 to 3 1/2 hrs. I would work with 11 yr old during nap time or just off and on as needed during the the couple hrs after lunch. School time would be over by 130-200 (assuming the 11yr old is in 6th grade. If the 11yr old is in 5th his total day would only be around 5- 5 1/2 hrs.)

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I'd feel fine doing that for my younger school-aged kids, but ds will be 11 pretty soon.  I feel like he needs more.  In fact, I feel like I haven't been challenging him enough! ???

 

11 was when my son started doing more get 'er done independent work in some subjects so that we could focus our time together on challenging things like math, etc. He also was given some help taking a weekly template of our week (brother's speech therapy on x AM, his tutors on y and z afternoon, etc.), a list of what he should accomplish in a week, and then some practice massaging that into a weekly template he could follow for work. Some of it was assignment based--do this next chapter. Other times it was time-based--spend a reasonable amount of time on math, and stop in a good place (don't stop in the middle). It takes some trial and error to get it up and running each year with new materials, but it works for us. He has to do math everyday, but for something like spelling, he could do double lessons on fewer days, or whatever worked out. He had to realistically take into account what he could handle, but that was where the trial and error came in. For some things, (spelling), he could choose to do all year's worth in a condensed time to free up that time slot for something else he would do in a condensed manner after spelling was finished. This way, he had fewer courses to juggle.

 

I have only two kids (but quirky ones with more diagnostic labels than a sticker factory), so take my advice with some caveats.

 

If your 11 y.o. will either self-direct (well enough) in some subjects to give himself a challenge OR likes/tolerates/feels validated/learns from self-guided and perhaps even sometimes workbooky stuff, embrace it--give some guidelines and let him go for as much of school as you are comfortable with.

 

I would start with your peaceful, one schooly thing per day routine and add in whatever you can in whatever order it makes sense a little at a time, starting now. 

 

If life is peaceful, but the academics were ho-hum, it's just one year. You can regroup, and you'll have more data to tweak your plan going forward. 

 

Oh, I am not one for running around a lot, but with things like speech therapy for only one kid--the other kid is a captive audience during that time slot. I realize you have more kids, but my son realized pretty early on that he had to bring school stuff, and there was NOTHING ELSE to do in the car to and from, and in the actual office. He might as well work while his brother was getting therapy. You could invent a timeslot like this once in a while--oh, littles are going to story time at the library--go do your history lesson at that table in the corner of the library, for example.

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My babies and toddlers have always stayed in the same room as me. I baby proof the entire space and they play around us. My older kids (anyone in 3rd grade up has some sort of independent work to do) do go off and work independently (not usually in their rooms, but maybe at the kitchen table, the kitchen bar area, the dining room, or living room. I normally work with my kids in the family room sitting on the sofa.

 

When my Aspie was little, he would play with Legos, construction toys, transformers, or LOTR type toys for hours. But during school time, he might be hanging upside down off the sofa while answering my questions or listening while playing with Legos. (He has the incredible ability of looking like there is no way he could possibly be paying attention, yet he can repeat back every word spoken.) But he was not allowed to be distracting.

 

During school hours, our house is pretty quiet. We have discussions and I read aloud, etc. But there is no running or rambunctious, noisy playing. They can either stay in our area quietly or go play in another room quietly. (I have been doing this for over 20 yrs, so different kids have done different things. It depends on their ages, personalities, and family dynamics.)

 

With the exception of my oldest 2 (who were 5 and 2 1/2 when we started. #3 was only 6 months, so I would say that was from the beginning.), my kids have been born into homeschooling. We have a routine that is part of our lifestyle. It isn't is like this is homeschooling and this is life. That is why I asked the original question that I did.

 

ETA: I needed to add that playing outside when they are the OP's kids ages (5&8) is definitely a typical all afternoon choice. Our yards have always been fenced in with lots of areas to play& explore.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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Do you have a grandma figure to take the 7/5/2 kids once or twice a week?  You're going to need appointments with your 11 yo, and you could do them then.

 

The other thing you could do is take them all to the Y and sign them up for classes.  You work out while they take classes.  That way you get your perk up and they burn their energy off.

 

I would definitely send the 7/5/2 out once or twice a week.  They can cook and have time with Grandma, and you can rejuvenate.

 

Sadly, these are not options we have right now.  I wish they were though!

 

You'll probably have to plan on teaching or tutoring Math, there really isn't any way around it. But here are some ideas for everything else:

 

--Give your two older kids a checklist everyday of what they need to do independently so they can work through the list.

--Xtramath.com for math fact practice

--Assign an hour of free reading per day for the two older kids

--Get an Audible subscription and let your kids listen to stories while they work on art projects or life skill projects like folding laundry

--Have your kids keep a daily journal for writing and once or twice a week, have them write about something they've been learning so they get practice in both narrative and expository writing

--Have your oldest watch a history or science documentary once a week and take notes on it

--Your oldest can also keep notebooks in history and science. Add a few facts a day, a diagram, or a short outline and they will fill up fast

--Duolingo for learning a foreign language since it's on line for your oldest, Salsa Spanish is also online and will captivate all of your three youngest

 

Best wishes! I hope you have a peaceful year!

 

Thanks so much for the ideas!

 

 

ORGANIZATION.

 

Speaks someone who struggles with it, a lot, but I have confirmed my days are mayhem without it. Let me elaborate...

 

1) I need uninterrupted time with 3 kids, and as much as my almost 2yr old is a sweetheart, he is VERY disruptive to our schooling.

 

We do 40 mins rotations of time with mom, independent time, watch baby. During "watch baby" time, kids play with him in his room, downstairs, somewhere where he's not bothering the one doing independent work or time with mom.

 

2) Have assignments that kids can do on their own during independent time. For us it's usually handwriting, spelling, Xtra math, pending assignments from other subjects etc.

 

3) After our morning "cycle" we all have lunch, and kids have a 30-40 min break while I put baby for nap

 

4) After lunch break we do stuff together. Also try to give them independent time to finish up stuff.

 

5) To deal with my own exhaustion I've been walking 2 miles every morning, and taking vitamins more consistently.

 

It makes for long days, and tiring at times, but the satisfaction of knowing some stuff is getting done really makes me feel better.

 

Good luck!!

This is pretty much how we do it already.  Care to share your energizing vitamin regimen?  I'm taking a multi, calcium, dha, and vit D.  It helps some....

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Then the answer is as simple and as complicated as figuring out what is causing the stress and the negative environment.

 

With kids your children's ages, I would have the 11yr old reading independently while the 8 yr old played with the toddler and I spent an hour with the 5 yr old. I would then send the 5 yr (finished for the day) off to either play or watch the toddler in my presence while Inworked with the 8 yr old. After working with the 8 yr old on direct instruction, I would send them work on independent work for a while and work with the 11yr old. The 5 and 8 yr old would both be finished in under 3 to 3 1/2 hrs. I would work with 11 yr old during nap time or just off and on as needed during the the couple hrs after lunch. School time would be over by 130-200 (assuming the 11yr old is in 6th grade. If the 11yr old is in 5th his total day would only be around 5- 5 1/2 hrs.)

 

 

My babies and toddlers have always stayed in the same room as me. I baby proof the entire space and they play around us. My older kids (anyone in 3rd grade up has some sort of independent work to do) do go off and work independently (not usually in their rooms, but maybe at the kitchen table, the kitchen bar area, the dining room, or living room. I normally work with my kids in the family room sitting on the sofa.

 

When my Aspie was little, he would play with Legos, construction toys, transformers, or LOTR type toys for hours. But during school time, he might be hanging upside down off the sofa while answering my questions or listening while playing with Legos. (He has the incredible ability of looking like there is no way he could possibly be paying attention, yet he can repeat back every word spoken.) But he was not allowed to be distracting.

 

During school hours, our house is pretty quiet. We have discussions and I read aloud, etc. But there is no running or rambunctious, noisy playing. They can either stay in our area quietly or go play in another room quietly. (I have been doing this for over 20 yrs, so different kids have done different things. It depends on their ages, personalities, and family dynamics.)

 

With the exception of my oldest 2 (who were 5 and 2 1/2 when we started. #3 was only 6 months, so I would say that was from the beginning.), my kids have been born into homeschooling. We have a routine that is part of our lifestyle. It isn't is like this is homeschooling and this is life. That is why I asked the original question that I did.

 

ETA: I needed to add that playing outside when they are the OP's kids ages (5&8) is definitely a typical all afternoon choice. Our yards have always been fenced in with lots of areas to play& explore.

Thank you. This has given me something to think about!!

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11 was when my son started doing more get 'er done independent work in some subjects so that we could focus our time together on challenging things like math, etc. He also was given some help taking a weekly template of our week (brother's speech therapy on x AM, his tutors on y and z afternoon, etc.), a list of what he should accomplish in a week, and then some practice massaging that into a weekly template he could follow for work. Some of it was assignment based--do this next chapter. Other times it was time-based--spend a reasonable amount of time on math, and stop in a good place (don't stop in the middle). It takes some trial and error to get it up and running each year with new materials, but it works for us. He has to do math everyday, but for something like spelling, he could do double lessons on fewer days, or whatever worked out. He had to realistically take into account what he could handle, but that was where the trial and error came in. For some things, (spelling), he could choose to do all year's worth in a condensed time to free up that time slot for something else he would do in a condensed manner after spelling was finished. This way, he had fewer courses to juggle.

 

I have only two kids (but quirky ones with more diagnostic labels than a sticker factory), so take my advice with some caveats.

 

If your 11 y.o. will either self-direct (well enough) in some subjects to give himself a challenge OR likes/tolerates/feels validated/learns from self-guided and perhaps even sometimes workbooky stuff, embrace it--give some guidelines and let him go for as much of school as you are comfortable with.

 

I would start with your peaceful, one schooly thing per day routine and add in whatever you can in whatever order it makes sense a little at a time, starting now. 

 

If life is peaceful, but the academics were ho-hum, it's just one year. You can regroup, and you'll have more data to tweak your plan going forward. 

 

Oh, I am not one for running around a lot, but with things like speech therapy for only one kid--the other kid is a captive audience during that time slot. I realize you have more kids, but my son realized pretty early on that he had to bring school stuff, and there was NOTHING ELSE to do in the car to and from, and in the actual office. He might as well work while his brother was getting therapy. You could invent a timeslot like this once in a while--oh, littles are going to story time at the library--go do your history lesson at that table in the corner of the library, for example.

 

Thanks for this. I may re-evaluate what I have for my 5th grader next year.

I have not read any of the responses, so this may be needless repetition.

 

 

First, get rid of the children.  That will make everything go smoothly.

Well, I guess that would be one way...

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The answer is yes, it is possible. The question I have is can you have your ideal without school? For example, can you have the 10 yo reading on the sofa, the 8 yo building a puzzle, the 5 yo coloring, and the 2 yo playing with toys all peacefully together in the same room? (And I don't mean those specific activities, but generally in the same area individually engaged wo chaos.)

 

My kids are trained from birth how to do that. It means our homeschool is peaceful most of the time. But it takes training. If they can't be in a room quietly engaged, then I would make that a primary goal before starting school.

 

And I do know how hard of a job that is. I have an autistic child who was incredibly ADHD and impulsive. But expected behaviors can be taught to most children. Consistency is vital.

 

Eta: From my perspective you can't have a peaceful homeschool if you don't have a peaceful home. If you have a peaceful home already, introduce one new variable at a time and make that work before adding another.

Have you ever written a thread about how that training works? I agree with you but it's not happening here. I look forward to the school holidays because they will be peaceful but they aren't totally peaceful because we still have some chaos.

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This is pretty much how we do it already. Care to share your energizing vitamin regimen? I'm taking a multi, calcium, dha, and vit D. It helps some....

Sorry, can't help much on that since I'm not very consistent/knowledgeable about it. I take an over the counter multivitamin. Sometimes I take B12 by itself, also have been taking pomegranate (in pills). Would like to learn/read more about magnesium... have heard that increasing magnesium intake can be helpful? Haven't had a chance to look into it
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Thanks for this. I may re-evaluate what I have for my 5th grader next year.

 

A lot of this depends on how motivated for independence the 5th grader in question is--they are all so different at this age. But if so? Milk it! :-) There are plenty of get 'er done threads for various subjects that might give you ideas.

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Have you iron, B12 and thyroid checked. 

I lost the ability to process B12 in my digestive system and that caused anemia. I was very tired all the time but assumed it was just being a mom.  I had a physical in preparation for a 36 mile hike  in 2014 and the doctor suspected my being tired as more than just being a mom. If your levels are low enough B12 oral supplements will not work. Mine were scary low. If it had continued I would've started experiencing some of the worst symptoms: anxiety, depression, extreme lethargy, etc.   I had to have B12 shots 3 days a week for a couple of weeks, then 2 times a week, then once a week to get them back up to normal.  Once it was at normal over the counter supplements were an option, but it's just easier to go to a local med spa that takes walk ins for a shot.   You don't need a prescription to get a B12 shot at a med spa.  Athletes and busy people get B12 shots for the energy boost even when they're not deficient in B12.  

Some med spas do a higher dose for 2-4 weeks and others do a lower dose once a week.  I've done both and they're fine but I prefer the once a week because it feels like I don't crash as much at the end of a longer wait. I'm there literally 5 minutes at the med spa.  I walk in without an appointment, ask the receptionist for a shot, she calls the nurse or doctor up front, they take me to a room and inject it in my hip, and I walk out. I've felt so much better since that got fixed.

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Have you iron, B12 and thyroid checked. 

 

I lost the ability to process B12 in my digestive system and that caused anemia. I was very tired all the time but assumed it was just being a mom.  I had a physical in preparation for a 36 mile hike  in 2014 and the doctor suspected my being tired as more than just being a mom. If your levels are low enough B12 oral supplements will not work. Mine were scary low. If it had continued I would've started experiencing some of the worst symptoms: anxiety, depression, extreme lethargy, etc.   I had to have B12 shots 3 days a week for a couple of weeks, then 2 times a week, then once a week to get them back up to normal.  Once it was at normal over the counter supplements were an option, but it's just easier to go to a local med spa that takes walk ins for a shot.   You don't need a prescription to get a B12 shot at a med spa.  Athletes and busy people get B12 shots for the energy boost even when they're not deficient in B12.  

 

Some med spas do a higher dose for 2-4 weeks and others do a lower dose once a week.  I've done both and they're fine but I prefer the once a week because it feels like I don't crash as much at the end of a longer wait. I'm there literally 5 minutes at the med spa.  I walk in without an appointment, ask the receptionist for a shot, she calls the nurse or doctor up front, they take me to a room and inject it in my hip, and I walk out. I've felt so much better since that got fixed.

I've had everything checked and it's all normal  I suspect I'm dealing with a combination of things:  wacky hormones, maybe some adrenal issues (I'm still looking for a natural dr), and just exhaustion (my 2 yr old is still up  some nights, and I have frequent insomnia).  I am really trying to take care of myself (finally)--I'm just unsure where exactly to start.  I'm so messed up!  :)  I may start another thread  asking for advice on the health aspect!

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My kids are very similar ages to yours, right now I have a 9yo (4th), 7yo (2nd), 4yo (prek) and 2.5yo, next (calendar) year I will have 3 school age kids, K, 3rd and 5th with a tornado toddler underfoot. I also have thyroid issues so am dealing with terrible fatigue and mental issues.

Our school days run very smoothly. Over the years we have settled into a routine that works really well for the school age kiddos, the little ones I keep busy as best I can during school times with playdough, books, drawing (they are drawing inside of a big box today), collage etc. I find that knowing what they need to do, when it will be done and how much means that our days run smoothly and stress free.

Our school days always start with independent work. 4th grade it is working with words and handwriting, 2nd grade does explode the code and handwriting (and I take this time to get myself ready for the day, print anything I need, check messages, pre-read a lesson if needed...). Then one kid does their independent reading while I work on LA with the other kid (spelling or grammar), once done we swap over. Finally I set them both up to do their writing work for the day. Once they are writing I work with the 4yo if she is interested that day, next year this will be her time for reading and phonics with mummy.

Once writing assignments are finished or I decide a reasonable time and effort has been put in everyone has a break with ALL the kids being sent outside to run and play.

After break they do logic for 10 minutes, we alternate between books (mind benders, primarily logic etc) and games however it is all completely independent. Then comes maths, again this is independent for both my kids (yay!), occasionally I have to explain a concept in a different way to the lesson but generally they just do their lessons and bring me the work to correct. Then comes lunch.

After lunch they can use the computer to play prodigy (for 30 minutes to an hour each depending on the day) and do science (2 days), history (2 days) or art (1 day). We have been quite relaxed about science and history this year, much more than previous years (as I was finding it was science and to a lesser extend history that was the stress here). The kids have been doing their own reading and research projects for both science and history and we have been doing any science experiments that seem to fit in with the current projects. Sometimes I give them specific "assignments" but other days they are just free to read, research and write however they want as long as they dedicate sufficient time and effort to their work. Our entire year has been so much easier since we have started this system. Next year for 5th my older dd will have set science and history work however but we will not be following a set curriculum, I will give her set assignments and readings but will base they way the afternoons will work on a similar system to this year just with more required work and direction.

This is what works here. The only things that are generally not low stress are toddler related and well, my toddler is having a shocker of a terrible 2's, nothing is low stress with him ever.

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This will be our 6th year homeschooling.  Every year, there has been a baby or a toddler or morning sickness.  Sometimes more than one of these.  Next year, I will have a 10 year old, 8 year old, 5 year old, and a 2 and a half year old.  I have been dealing with issues of fatigue and other lovely perimenopause symptoms.  I really want this new school year to be different than our usual mad dashing around, yelling questions over crying, squishing things in while the baby naps for a few minutes.  I don't want to feel so completely exhausted at the end of the day.  I want us to enjoy ourselves.  Is this possible with the ages that I have?  Anyone have advice?  I am craving calm!!!  Help! 

 

 

Pre-planned curriculum, utilize "do the next lesson" curricula, and morning basket as a group.

 

It's absolutely possible with your age spread of school agers being 10-5.

 

At my house it would look like this:

 

Morning Basket (all except high school)

History spine - MWF and Science spine TTh

Bible

Memorization

 

Tablework:

SOTW study guide or Science work

Math

Handwriting and/or copywork

Grammar for your 10yo

 

Naptime:

Writing and/or Reading Instruction

 

Lots of outside time and they get the mandatory "read or sleep" afternoons - 2 hours of "down" time either doing audio books or reading.  You pick so this fulfills fleshing out the science, history, and literature.

 

We do a family read aloud in the evenings.

 

IMO, less is more.  If you plan too much you might do a little of everything but the foundations (reading, writing, 'rithmetic) won't get hit consistently and hard.  IMO, at these ages, reading aloud from a spine and then assigning other books (age appropriate) to read or listen to is more than sufficient for your 10yo.

 

The 5yo only needs to sit in and listen while fiddling with Legoes. (My 5yo listens in.  She does light handwriting and worksheets because she wants to feel a part of everything but nothing that will frustrate her OR me.)

The 2yo only needs to be fiddling with the Legoes.

The 7yo should do 10 minutes of math, 10 minutes of handwriting, and lots of listening, building, playing outside.  Do reading/phonics until he's a solid reader, then do writing until he's fluid with handwriting.  Math is utterly up to you - frankly we wouldn't do it at this age at my house.  (We have an almost 7yo here.)

The 10yo is where it really ramps up speed, but he can still be interacting with you, then self directed, then guiding himself, then interacting with you.  It is much more ebb and flow than constantly guiding like you do with a 7yo.  This looks like - reading the spine as a group at HIS level, but then assigning him readings on his time.  Teaching math to him, but then sending him off to the table to work on it with instructions to come to you with questions, same with grammar, kwim?

 

ETA: I will add that I think my key to sanity is a LOT of time outside.  I don't know if that's possible where you are but it's important for me.

Edited by BlsdMama
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My kids are very similar ages to yours, right now I have a 9yo (4th), 7yo (2nd), 4yo (prek) and 2.5yo, next (calendar) year I will have 3 school age kids, K, 3rd and 5th with a tornado toddler underfoot. I also have thyroid issues so am dealing with terrible fatigue and mental issues.

Our school days run very smoothly. Over the years we have settled into a routine that works really well for the school age kiddos, the little ones I keep busy as best I can during school times with playdough, books, drawing (they are drawing inside of a big box today), collage etc. I find that knowing what they need to do, when it will be done and how much means that our days run smoothly and stress free.

Our school days always start with independent work. 4th grade it is working with words and handwriting, 2nd grade does explode the code and handwriting (and I take this time to get myself ready for the day, print anything I need, check messages, pre-read a lesson if needed...). Then one kid does their independent reading while I work on LA with the other kid (spelling or grammar), once done we swap over. Finally I set them both up to do their writing work for the day. Once they are writing I work with the 4yo if she is interested that day, next year this will be her time for reading and phonics with mummy.

Once writing assignments are finished or I decide a reasonable time and effort has been put in everyone has a break with ALL the kids being sent outside to run and play.

After break they do logic for 10 minutes, we alternate between books (mind benders, primarily logic etc) and games however it is all completely independent. Then comes maths, again this is independent for both my kids (yay!), occasionally I have to explain a concept in a different way to the lesson but generally they just do their lessons and bring me the work to correct. Then comes lunch.

After lunch they can use the computer to play prodigy (for 30 minutes to an hour each depending on the day) and do science (2 days), history (2 days) or art (1 day). We have been quite relaxed about science and history this year, much more than previous years (as I was finding it was science and to a lesser extend history that was the stress here). The kids have been doing their own reading and research projects for both science and history and we have been doing any science experiments that seem to fit in with the current projects. Sometimes I give them specific "assignments" but other days they are just free to read, research and write however they want as long as they dedicate sufficient time and effort to their work. Our entire year has been so much easier since we have started this system. Next year for 5th my older dd will have set science and history work however but we will not be following a set curriculum, I will give her set assignments and readings but will base they way the afternoons will work on a similar system to this year just with more required work and direction.

This is what works here. The only things that are generally not low stress are toddler related and well, my toddler is having a shocker of a terrible 2's, nothing is low stress with him ever.

 

Thank you!  I am having such a hard time with my low energy level because I'm so used to being full of energy--at least up until a year ago.  Thanks for sharing how your day works.  It sounds great!

 

 

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Pre-planned curriculum, utilize "do the next lesson" curricula, and morning basket as a group.

 

It's absolutely possible with your age spread of school agers being 10-5.

 

At my house it would look like this:

 

Morning Basket (all except high school)

History spine - MWF and Science spine TTh

Bible

Memorization

 

Tablework:

SOTW study guide or Science work

Math

Handwriting and/or copywork

Grammar for your 10yo

 

Naptime:

Writing and/or Reading Instruction

 

Lots of outside time and they get the mandatory "read or sleep" afternoons - 2 hours of "down" time either doing audio books or reading.  You pick so this fulfills fleshing out the science, history, and literature.

 

We do a family read aloud in the evenings.

 

IMO, less is more.  If you plan too much you might do a little of everything but the foundations (reading, writing, 'rithmetic) won't get hit consistently and hard.  IMO, at these ages, reading aloud from a spine and then assigning other books (age appropriate) to read or listen to is more than sufficient for your 10yo.

 

The 5yo only needs to sit in and listen while fiddling with Legoes. (My 5yo listens in.  She does light handwriting and worksheets because she wants to feel a part of everything but nothing that will frustrate her OR me.)

The 2yo only needs to be fiddling with the Legoes.

The 7yo should do 10 minutes of math, 10 minutes of handwriting, and lots of listening, building, playing outside.  Do reading/phonics until he's a solid reader, then do writing until he's fluid with handwriting.  Math is utterly up to you - frankly we wouldn't do it at this age at my house.  (We have an almost 7yo here.)

The 10yo is where it really ramps up speed, but he can still be interacting with you, then self directed, then guiding himself, then interacting with you.  It is much more ebb and flow than constantly guiding like you do with a 7yo.  This looks like - reading the spine as a group at HIS level, but then assigning him readings on his time.  Teaching math to him, but then sending him off to the table to work on it with instructions to come to you with questions, same with grammar, kwim?

 

ETA: I will add that I think my key to sanity is a LOT of time outside.  I don't know if that's possible where you are but it's important for me.

 

Thanks for this!  The kids get 2-3 hours of outside time every day.  They need it and so do I!  I can't wait until I can send the youngest out in the backyard with the others without having to be out there myself!

 

 

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