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Help me tweak my daily schedule, please :-)


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Hello, everyone--

 

This is my first year to really feel the crunch of schooling three children at different levels (and with the ever-present baby/toddler/preschooler tagging along).  Here's the rundown of ages and materials:

 

13 yo girl, grade 8:  BYL world geography, AOPS Algebra I, Power in Your Hands composition, Daily Grammar Practice, physical science class taught by dad  nights/weekends, Bible study and speech class at co-op

 

11 yo girl, grade 6:  BYL world geography, Singapore math, Latin for Children, Bravewriter-ish writing assignments from mom, Bible study at co-op, physical science class taught by dad nights/weekends

 

The girls and I also have a geography/history related read-aloud and we are also working on a Greek and Latin roots interactive notebook together.  

 

7 yo boy, grade 2:  BFB early US History, FLL, RS Math, HWOT, copywork/narration/dictation, mom-made human body study, read-aloud

 

We also have a circle time right after lunch that includes Bible, memory work, hymn study, composer study, and art study.

4 yo boy:  mostly just playing and keeping me hopping :-)

 

Our days go something like this:

 

9-11:30:  I focus on working with my 7 yo.  We do all of his work by 11:30 most days.  It could probably be shorter, but that's how long it takes us.  It feels like the right amount of work.

 

11:30-12:00--Latin or math with the 11 yo

 

12:00-1:30 ish:  lunch and circle time (includes everyone), read-aloud for the 7 yo

 

1:30-4:00 (or later):  Checking work with the big girls, read-aloud with them, and Greek/Latin roots study.  Unfortunately, the 13 yo often gets the leftovers of the day as she often comes in very last because the 11 yo swims on a swimteam and has to leave for practice by 4:00.

 

I am SO EXHAUSTED by the end of the day from being "on" all day long.  When I first started this journey almost a decade ago, I was determined that we'd have a quiet rest period daily.  I kept it up for many years, but adding the boys to the mix has really weakened my ability to stick to a schedule.  I feel like reclaiming some rest time during the day is going to be KEY for me to continue homeschooling successfully.  This is, of course, ignoring the obvious fact that I'm really doing NOTHING with my baby, a fact that almost keeps me awake at night.  I don't think formal preschool is necessary, but he eats up attention and loves to be read to.  I love to read to him, but I just can't figure out when. 

 

If you've made it this far, thank you.  What I'd like to hear from you are any little tweaks you see that I could make to our schedule, or perhaps just commiseration that this is indeed exhausting.  I know to do it well I have to be all-in, but mama needs a few moments every day to clear her brain.  How do I get that?  

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I don't have any specific help to offer with scheduling as I'm newish to getting my HS act together, and I'm also a weird person who alternates between wanting a routine, getting bored with said routine, being more spontaneous and then feeling chaotic so I cycle back around to wanting a routine... HOWEVER, I just wanted to say that it sounds like you are doing a fantastic job and 4 kids is no joke (mine are 8, 6, 4 and 3) and the younger two are boys :blink:   I'm sure some ladies on here will be more helpful with specifics, but a glass of wine and nice hot bath usually help me feel a little more like me and less like an exhausted overwhelmed Mom. (btw... I generally have to demand 'me' time. My husband is great watching the kids, but doesn't always recognize my need for a little bit of down time to save my sanity. He's slowly reaching that point where he can see the look in my eyes that means I need space now so we all make it to bedtime :willy_nilly: ) You're doing great!! Being a Mom to 4 kids is exhausting enough but when you add in educating them? Rockstar status for real. :coolgleamA:

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Ideas:

 

Can you line up a string of 30 minutes of alone work that your 7yo could do while you read to the 4yo? Online math drill (xtramath or something) copy work, let him read to himself on his level. I have a 7yo so I know that age. I have mine do the above. He also plays app learning games. Maybe if you could do a teaching time and then leave him with some alone work to be responsible for? I don't use any of the same curriculum for that age so I can't tell how it works for solo work.

 

Can you start your day earlier? Can you alternate a few of the things you do with the older girls? Maybe put them in a loop? Like don't do the Greek/Latin or the read-aloud daily but alternate.

 

Can you shorten your lunch/circle time? I've learned to eat while I prep lunch for the others so that I can read aloud to them while they eat their lunch.

 

I have 5 but 2 are in college now. When it was all of us, I was exhausted. I HAD to have 30 minutes to myself every afternoon (still do).

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Yeah, it's just a lot.  This is my first year with 3 different levels (6th, 3rd and K), and like you I'm not doing anything special with my 4-year-old. I'm kind of scrambling to get everything in and then zonked by the end of the day.  And then I get to take the kids to swim team, cook dinner, clean up the kitchen and get the kids ready for bed.

 

Some ideas:

You could switch up you 7yo's work a little so that he's doing some independent work and not everything is mom-intensive.  You could try something like Growing with Grammar in place of FLL. He could do some XtraMath. If you don't completely love RightStart, you could switch him to Singapore, and have some days where his math is just practice problems in the workbook without a hands-on lesson.

 

You could drop the circle time and just listen to some music or an audiobook at lunchtime.

 

You could change the read-aloud with your girls to a reading assignment for them (and for you) and then discuss it together.

 

One thing that helps me out, but I don't know if it would be feasible for you, is that my kids are in a 1 day per week outdoor education program. The particularly great part is that my two little guys (4 & 5yo) go on Mondays, and my 3 bigger kids go on Tuesdays. That means that my big kids and I can knock out a lot of their schoolwork on Mondays, and my little ones get extra attention on Tuesdays.

 

 

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I'm only working with 2, so this may not work for you, but.. My eldest often got the left overs too & while he never complained he often would say, "Hey when are we going to discuss.." 

This year, because he's up early anyway, we've changed our pattern. We get up early, work out together, & then take our smoothies to the home library. He discusses his lit with me from the day prior, we read his read aloud together, & a few other things we have going on. All up it takes us about 90 minutes without feeling rushed, sometimes a little longer. The younger is a late riser so his alarm goes off around 930 & then he hits the shower, grabs his smoothie, grabs pets & finds us.

We switch to our family read aloud, Bible, poetry, vocabulary {Marie's Words} & then I have the youngest toddle off to read his reader where ever he pleases while my eldest & I do a Bible Study together {his choice to do it together..} At that point I leave my eldest on his own to accomplish all his notebooking, math, science, writing, electives, etc. My youngest & I grab his books & go off into the kitchen to read.

I've found that by getting my most independent child up & running first it means that he can go on with his day without feeling like I'm holding him up. He's very meticulous in his work, but wants to be sure things are done right before moving forward. It also means he doesn't come in & hover when I'm trying to get my "clingy" one to work more independently. ;) 

Last year we worked in the opposite pattern, I started with the youngest & my eldest did his own thing, which worked fine except, as you pointed out.. the eldest got the dregs, & if I was out of steam it meant he'd end up feeling like he wasn't sure if he should move on with things because it hadn't been looked over.

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Small tweak - go exercise in the morning.  Leave the kids home or take them to the local park with you and go run/walk for 20 minutes.  Or do yoga at home.  Or pilates.  Or bike. Or something.

 

 

The days I take 20 minutes to charge in the morning are the days we do better all day long and I have more energy.

 

I'd also say be the mean mommy and take 20 minutes for your self after lunch.  Call it independent reading time or whatever, but take that extra bit for you.

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I always started at 9 too because that meant I could get some reading and cuddles in with the little one before school started. That always made me feel better that she was getting some of my attention at least :) and it made her better able to play on her own during my morning time with other kids. I take a big break in the middle of the day and read aloud to all of them just like you do.

Honestly, schooling with lots of kids is just hard and it takes most of us all day, just like any full time job. I think it sounds like you're doing great and it may be that you're being too hard on yourself and need to let go of some unrealistic expectations of yourself.

Hugs!

 

Sent from my Z988 using Tapatalk

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I just wanted to jump in and post quickly from my phone a big thank you to those who responded. Your suggestions and commiseration have already made me feel better. Today I actually engineered the schedule to include an hour after lunch for EVERYONE to rest, especially me. That was nice! I'm not sure I would've done it if I hadn't gotten so many affirmations that I'm doing this right and it is just hard with so many ages and stages. ✔ï¸ðŸ‘ðŸ¼

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