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Ausmumof3

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I’m trying to troubleshoot my schedule for next year a bit.  I really don’t do well with figuring out what is acheivable in the time frame we have.  Anyway I’m wondering if you all have some feedback to offer on whether or not this looks realistic.  The kids ages are 12,9 and 6.

pre 9am - morning chores - farm chores, beds made, dishwasher unloaded and washing loaded

9-10 - morning time - bible, calendar, read aloud, memory work (Shakespeare, math facts, Italian vocab review, history review, poetry)

10-10.45 - ds6 - math, reader, spelling or writing

dd9 - spelling or writing, lit and other reading 

ds12 - math

10.45 - 11.45 - hang washing out, snack and nature walk or other physical activity 

11.45 - 12.30 dd9 math 

ds 12, lit spelling and writing

12.30 - 1.30 lunch break , washing out etc

1.30 - 2.00 screen based learning for everyone - choice of Hoffman academy, typing program, Picta dicta latin, Italian app and Matholia 

2.00- 3.00 subject of the day rotating through history, science, geography and art.

3-5 is time for me to do housework, pay bills and filing, grocery shopping, library visits, washing away, ironing, major cleaning, cooking etc

Every night  we have an out of the house activity starting somewhere between 5 and 7.  We live minimum 30 minute drive and Friday’s is close to an hour drive. Tkd nights the kids are in different level so it’s generally an hour and half as well as drive time.  We get home around 9.15.

whenever we get home the kids still have to shower, do teeth, and I generally still have clean up to do in the kitchen and pet chores before bed.  I’m just including this to explain why there’s such a big chunk for housework in the day and we don’t get going earlier in the morning. 

saturdays ds has tennis and Sunday’s we do church.  Wednesday afternoon we have a catchup with friends most week in the afternoon so no extra subject that day.  

Does it sound doable?  I am allowing long enough for maths and language?  I mean morning time covers some English language stuff but not actual skills.

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18 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

I think it's doable, but it depends on what you're using for maths and language.

 

Maths is a bit up in the air.  We have used singapore till now but am possibly switching to math mammoth.  So it will be that or Singapore for the younger two and math mammoth or AOPS or something else for the oldest.  Two of three finished Singapore early so I’m going to get started with math mammoth in the last weeks of this year to see if it works.  Otherwise I’ll buy something over the holidays.

for language it will be IEW, grammar for the well trained mind (but I’m ok with doing this over two years), and I have no idea about spelling yet as the kids have begged for no more spelling workout.  I’m also ok with IEW taking 18 months as I will probably add in some extra repetition in some stuff.

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I think you might be a bit time crunched then.  Are you going to aim for a lesson/section a day or just work for a set time?  We switched to a set time for Latin and while he doesn't finish a section, it's much easier on both of us to be able to put it away and pick it back up again in a nice relaxed fashion.  I didn't think I would like it (I like checklists and neat boxes) but once I let go it was nice.
OTOH, we do a full lesson for most other subjects.  Maths has to be more flexible because he's getting to the point where one problem takes 20 minutes, which means I have to keep that in consideration, but language arts I scaled back to a different program that is shorter in the daily lesson plan so that box is checked off each day.

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How are you breaking up that 10-10:45 window?

It seems like mathematics & language arts will be quite rushed. I can’t imagine learning, then applying, a new mathematics topic in 15min. We generally spend that long just on warmup or a game! Also, what degree of writing are you assigning your 6yr old & 9yr old? If you’re wanting more than short copywork from the 6yr old or more than a paragraph from the 9yr old I think 15min (45min block split into 3 subjects) is pretty rushed. 

I’d say if you must keep that block for those subjects, it might be better to alternate length - a 30min lesson in mathematics one day with shorter writing (or brainstorming for writing) then the next day a quick 15min review / game / other application of the mathematics topic and a longer writing assignment.

You could also slate reading during your evening housework time, assuming they don’t need instruction there. They can read aloud as you clean, to themselves, or to one another. 

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The school times mostly look OK to me, but I am in the "set a timer and stop when it goes off" camp for math. 

I would think your oldest will need more flex time for writing, as some projects take longer than others (either because it's more involved or because kids are more or less spacey at different times), but perhaps not. 

In my house, the afternoon busyness would make school time feel very stressful. Because there's no time to just sit around and talk and read, or pull out a board game, or watch a video about building rockets (or whatever). But, of course, lots of people like to stay busy and lots of families thrive on that! Just throwing it out there. 

In any case, I assume that the morning chores would be the most variable time-wise, and if you didn't get started "on time" would throw everything else off. 

 

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Your 12 year old will need more time for language arts.  Grammar for the Well Trained Mind  will take 30-45 minutes per day, 4 days a week.  That leaves 0-15 minutes for all other language arts.  Also, GWTM is not designed to be used independently.  Are you planning to teach the 9 year old's math during that same time slot?

If you cannot jiggle your schedule to allow more time, move reading to 3 pm. Then alternate blocks of writing and grammar, 6-9 weeks of one followed by 6-9 weeks of the the other, or a semester of each. Do grammar or writing 4 days per week, saving the fifth for literature review and if necessary spelling tests.  Unless your son absolutely needs spelling, drop it. 

AOPS also might be difficult in 45 minute chunks, but doable if you have your 12 year old work to for a set amount of time rather than by lesson. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

11.45 - 12.30 dd9 math 

ds 12, lit spelling and writing

 

 

Oh wait, this isn't long enough to read AND write anything substantial. 

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1 hour ago, Expat_Mama_Shelli said:

How are you breaking up that 10-10:45 window?

It seems like mathematics & language arts will be quite rushed. I can’t imagine learning, then applying, a new mathematics topic in 15min. We generally spend that long just on warmup or a game! Also, what degree of writing are you assigning your 6yr old & 9yr old? If you’re wanting more than short copywork from the 6yr old or more than a paragraph from the 9yr old I think 15min (45min block split into 3 subjects) is pretty rushed. 

I’d say if you must keep that block for those subjects, it might be better to alternate length - a 30min lesson in mathematics one day with shorter writing (or brainstorming for writing) then the next day a quick 15min review / game / other application of the mathematics topic and a longer writing assignment.

You could also slate reading during your evening housework time, assuming they don’t need instruction there. They can read aloud as you clean, to themselves, or to one another. 

It’s only the 6 year old who has that breakup for the 45 minute window.  That’s based on what he currently does - approx 3 pages of Singapore math with a bit of instruction, 1 page of apples and pears, a reader and some copywork.  It’s a good point though that we will probably take longer with math at least moving into grade 2 stuff.

the 9 year old has 45 minute for math and 45 minutes for literacy focused subjects.  Typically we do spelling workout 2 days and writing for 3 days and whatever time is left after that is for reading.  It’s true she hasn’t got through as much as I would have liked this year so that time slot could be longer.  We do tackle a fair bit of literature in morning time though (shakespeare, poetry, read aloud from something quality). 

We don’t really have evening housework time as we are out at activities.  I could schedule reading for the non participating kids though - that would add about an hour of reading a week for each kid.  It would definitely be a fight though as they currently use it for screen time!  I’m not worried about oldest reading as he’s the kid that reads lord of the rings, and call of the wild for pleasure.  He has some scheduled reading for school but more often than not ends up finishing it for fun anyway.

thanks for your thoughts!

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1 hour ago, HomeAgain said:

I think you might be a bit time crunched then.  Are you going to aim for a lesson/section a day or just work for a set time?  We switched to a set time for Latin and while he doesn't finish a section, it's much easier on both of us to be able to put it away and pick it back up again in a nice relaxed fashion.  I didn't think I would like it (I like checklists and neat boxes) but once I let go it was nice.
OTOH, we do a full lesson for most other subjects.  Maths has to be more flexible because he's getting to the point where one problem takes 20 minutes, which means I have to keep that in consideration, but language arts I scaled back to a different program that is shorter in the daily lesson plan so that box is checked off each day.

I particularly want to work a set time for math.  I have the problem that some days it can take dd 2 hours or so to finish a math lesson but realistically I need to set a finish time because she doesn’t take anything in after about 40 minutes and its bad for our relationship!   Then by having a scheduled time when we hit an easier stretch I can push to get through a couple of exercises in a day.  I have found singapore very inconsistent with the amount of work from day to day. 

For language we’ve gone for 1 spelling lesson per week and we finished writing strands in about half a year but I know IEW will take longer and be more work.  I’m ok with grammar taking two years but sounds like that will still take up two lessons a week.  It’s possible we could skip spelling altogether for oldest as he’s pretty good but dd definitely needs it. 

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51 minutes ago, Sherry in OH said:

Your 12 year old will need more time for language arts.  Grammar for the Well Trained Mind  will take 30-45 minutes per day, 4 days a week.  That leaves 0-15 minutes for all other language arts.  Also, GWTM is not designed to be used independently.  Are you planning to teach the 9 year old's math during that same time slot?

If you cannot jiggle your schedule to allow more time, move reading to 3 pm. Then alternate blocks of writing and grammar, 6-9 weeks of one followed by 6-9 weeks of the the other, or a semester of each. Do grammar or writing 4 days per week, saving the fifth for literature review and if necessary spelling tests.  Unless your son absolutely needs spelling, drop it. 

AOPS also might be difficult in 45 minute chunks, but doable if you have your 12 year old work to for a set amount of time rather than by lesson. 

I

 

I kind of hoped I could wing it to do math and grammar in the same time slot by letting grammar take 2 years and teaching maths when needed but having the independent work happen at the same time.  So for example I would introduce a new maths concept one day while ds works on an independent writing assignment then while dd works on practice with the new math I can work through grammar or new writing concepts.  I had hoped the grammar would be somewhat independent or introduce a concept then have kids work on it for a while though.  It’s my first year with it so I might be being overly optimistic.  I know we did run into some problems with IEW where I would not be available to teach because I’m tied up with math.

the other alternative is to do all three math lessons together.  Otherwise I guess I do one kid while the other is doing the screen learning.  I just love getting math and writing done before lunch so I know they won’t get missed.

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49 minutes ago, OKBud said:

 

Oh wait, this isn't long enough to read AND write anything substantial. 

Well this kid does a fair bit of reading in spare time and at bed time.  So I’m not crazy stressed about reading anything too substantial.  I agree though an hour would be better I think.

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1 hour ago, OKBud said:

The school times mostly look OK to me, but I am in the "set a timer and stop when it goes off" camp for math. 

I would think your oldest will need more flex time for writing, as some projects take longer than others (either because it's more involved or because kids are more or less spacey at different times), but perhaps not. 

In my house, the afternoon busyness would make school time feel very stressful. Because there's no time to just sit around and talk and read, or pull out a board game, or watch a video about building rockets (or whatever). But, of course, lots of people like to stay busy and lots of families thrive on that! Just throwing it out there. 

In any case, I assume that the morning chores would be the most variable time-wise, and if you didn't get started "on time" would throw everything else off. 

 

Mornings are definitely my weakness.  The afternoon business is stressing me out but I can’t see a easy way out right now.   Kids are talking about quitting martial arts which would free up two nights. That would lower stress but I admit I’d be slightly devestated with all the time and money that’s gone into it so far.  And yes that is so true - we are really missing that time for unstructured learning right now.  That’s why I’m trying to limit the school day to four full on hours so we can get it back.

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5 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Well this kid does a fair bit of reading in spare time and at bed time.  So I’m not crazy stressed about reading anything too substantial.  I agree though an hour would be better I think.

 

So is the writing based on what is read in spare time, or are you working through a writing program that is completely separate from your reading? In that case, it makes sense and an hour should be good most of the time ? 

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Well we are doing IEW for writing but we’ve done the scheduled reading from wayfarers this year to get a bit more literature even though we aren’t doing the writing that goes with them. Ds has not loved the literature selections though so next year is undecided. I have a tonne of Sonlight books and am pretty handy at finding good quality stuff to read and chat about.  It’s more of an issue with dd because her free choice reading is much more limited and lower quality but I hope that will improve as she matures. 

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I would scale back the morning time to just 15 minutes of Bible and calendar time. Just a little quick start to the day. Then you'd have 45 minutes to spread out the Language Arts and Math quite a bit. 

Then move the read alouds and memory work to the drive time in the evenings.

Or if thats not possible, slash the screen based learning to just typing and put read alouds and memory work there and screen based learning apps go in the drive time. 

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3 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

 I have no idea about spelling yet as the kids have begged for no more spelling workout.  

If you could get a spelling program that isn't grade based, you could double up and do the 12 and 9 yo together, which would free up time elsewhere. Sequential Spelling and Spelling Power come to mind. I think 3rd grade is recommended start grade for Spelling Power, whereas 4th would be better to start Sequential Spelling. So depending on where the 9 yo is, ability wise, one of those might work. I'm sure there are other programs that can span multiple grade levels. 

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5 hours ago, MrsRobinson said:

If you could get a spelling program that isn't grade based, you could double up and do the 12 and 9 yo together, which would free up time elsewhere. Sequential Spelling and Spelling Power come to mind. I think 3rd grade is recommended start grade for Spelling Power, whereas 4th would be better to start Sequential Spelling. So depending on where the 9 yo is, ability wise, one of those might work. I'm sure there are other programs that can span multiple grade levels. 

They are miles apart spelling wise so combining wouldn’t work well.  I think I’m just going to drop spelling for eldest as he’s pretty good anyway.

It would be possible to merge the younger two as dd really is a horrible speller!

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5 hours ago, MrsRobinson said:

I would scale back the morning time to just 15 minutes of Bible and calendar time. Just a little quick start to the day. Then you'd have 45 minutes to spread out the Language Arts and Math quite a bit. 

Then move the read alouds and memory work to the drive time in the evenings.

Or if thats not possible, slash the screen based learning to just typing and put read alouds and memory work there and screen based learning apps go in the drive time. 

That could work.  Just do all read alouds via car audio.  There’s generally history, geography and science read alouds in there that I won’t get on CD now but they don’t have to be there I guess.  For screen based learning we could drop it some but it’s the only music and foreign language we do.  I could drop the music but foreign language is a requirement.  Realistically it doesn’t take a full half an hour though more like about 15 minutes.

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I would keep morning time but I'd shave it and use an actual timer. Use loop scheduling so not everything is every day. 9-9.30.

Then straight on to 9.30-10.30 for your block of skills.

10.30-11 for snack/nature walk (I think you could shave down this hour too, I've put it as half an hour- although, if it's the afternoon downtime you're missing, this counts!)

11/11:15 - 12:15 - block of work time.

12:15 - 1pm - lunch and break.

1 - 2.30 - your other subject and screen subject. Also, could you merge some of their LA skills with this? An hour is a big block of time, I'd be making it do double duty if possible. Something like wwe teacher book can help you practice writing skills with your own material. Another idea is to use the screen time for the olders here to work with the youngest, so that the olders have more of your focus in the 9.30 slot (or vice versa).

And yes, read aloud in the car, or over breakfast/lunch - other morning time stuff can be pegged here too. We also do foreign language podcasts & science videos in the car.

Then you'd be done by 2.30, 3 with buffer.

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I love working schedules, just not so hot on implementation... I totally hear you on mornings.

I just asked dh to get me a big wall calendar for next year, our schedule is stupid and I need to see the big picture. He brought it home and said I'm not allowed to play with my calendar until after school. ? He's onto me!

eta - another thought about the free afternoon time. I'm slower in the morning, if I change my thinking, an hour of free time in the morning can serve the same purpose. My kids are playing card games and drawing right now, while I'm having my 3rd coffee and cleaning up. We'll have less free afternoon time but time is time ya know? It's not necessarily productive in the afternoon and wasted in the morning.

Edited by LMD
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3 hours ago, LMD said:

I would keep morning time but I'd shave it and use an actual timer. Use loop scheduling so not everything is every day. 9-9.30.

Then straight on to 9.30-10.30 for your block of skills.

10.30-11 for snack/nature walk (I think you could shave down this hour too, I've put it as half an hour- although, if it's the afternoon downtime you're missing, this counts!)

11/11:15 - 12:15 - block of work time.

12:15 - 1pm - lunch and break.

1 - 2.30 - your other subject and screen subject. Also, could you merge some of their LA skills with this? An hour is a big block of time, I'd be making it do double duty if possible. Something like wwe teacher book can help you practice writing skills with your own material. Another idea is to use the screen time for the olders here to work with the youngest, so that the olders have more of your focus in the 9.30 slot (or vice versa).

And yes, read aloud in the car, or over breakfast/lunch - other morning time stuff can be pegged here too. We also do foreign language podcasts & science videos in the car.

Then you'd be done by 2.30, 3 with buffer.

Oh cool I didn’t realise there were foreign language podcasts!  I might have to look into this. 

We do do some writing with history science and geography I guess.  Though not masses.  That and we do shakespeare, poetry and lit in morning time which is why I’m comfortable only having a short section for language arts skills.  But I realise that probably won’t work with the curricula I’m looking at using.  IEW takes an hour teacher time a week and it looks like grammar will be 45 minutes the other 4 days.   Now I’m wondering if I can do the IEW teaching one day but have all the IEW writing take place as part of history, science and geography.  It think that could work.

morning time would still be around 45 minute minimum (bible equals 15 and the wayfarers readalouds are stuff like wrinkle in time - theres some seriously long chapters in that series.  We could go straight into “writing skills”.  On the days when that’s IEW lesson that would be an hour but the other days would have 40 min grammar then a rotation through shakespeare, poetry and spelling lessons for the last 20.   That would take us to quarter to 11 then we could have a quick snack break and walk and start math at 11.15.  45 minutes for maths for dd then she can move on to Picta dicta music or Italian in a rotation. If math is taking longer for ds he can go over to 12.15 and just have a short 15 minute stint of either Italian or music.   Then lunch at 12.30.  I need the longer lunch break because most days I do tea prep for the crockpot as we are out in the evenings.  So start again at 1.30 but on the days of history geography and science these subjects include an IEW style writing assignment.  That makes three writing slots per week and we are still hitting our content.  Well aim to wrap up by 2.30 but if the activity or flow seems worth it we can keep going till 3.  Maths practice and review will be part of travel time (I will have to figure out how to do this - I obviously can’t read and drive and ds gets car sick - maybe I can do a voice recording on the phone then play back or something).  We already do some history and geography themed fiction via audio in the car but I’ll aim to get through it all that way.

that still leaves me with everyone running math lessons simultaneously but I can generally shuffle that so it works by moving around mental math and review so that I’m only needed by one kid at a time.  It typically takes around 20 minutes to teach a new concept for us.  For youngest he generally just gets it in about two.

Edited by Ausmumof3
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My kids wouldn't cope with getting home at 9.15 then being ready to start at 9 am. They would need an hour to get settled and probably wouldn't wake until after eight.

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3 hours ago, kiwik said:

My kids wouldn't cope with getting home at 9.15 then being ready to start at 9 am. They would need an hour to get settled and probably wouldn't wake until after eight.

It is definitely a problem.  If I don’t wake ds he will sleep past 9.  If I do wake him he’s hard work.  It takes him ages to wind down.    It’s because this year he’s moved to the adult level class which takes place after the kids one (which is late enough for a kid activity).  However at a certain age/size it doesn’t really work for them to spar with the younger kids anymore.  

Thats partly why we do a longish morning time and walk.  It gives a soft gentle start to the day when the kids are super tired.

 

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On 11/10/2018 at 2:06 AM, Ausmumof3 said:

 

It is definitely a problem.  If I don’t wake ds he will sleep past 9.  If I do wake him he’s hard work.  It takes him ages to wind down.    It’s because this year he’s moved to the adult level class which takes place after the kids one (which is late enough for a kid activity).  However at a certain age/size it doesn’t really work for them to spar with the younger kids anymore.  

Thats partly why we do a longish morning time and walk.  It gives a soft gentle start to the day when the kids are super tired.

 

I can see that. Ds11 has just started judo which is 6.30 to 7.30 and is going to be very disruptive. Have you considered just letting them sleep later and only do morning time with the earlier risers? He could join you in time for a walk at 10 then have breakfast while you have a snack.

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