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Balancing what works for you vs kids


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My ideal homeschool schedule would basically be get up around 7, start school around 8, finish by 2, have rest time, then start evening prep and activities around 4. My kids, however, do not like starting school soon after they wake up. They want to play first, then ease into school. We have been doing that for the most part because they have better attitudes, but I am starting to hate it. I have energy from like 7-2, and I want to use it to get stuff done. I don’t so much have energy at 3 and I lose patience and get frustrated. I like having a break between our daytime activities and evening activities. Part of the reason I homeschool is to do what works for them. How do you balance it when what works for you doesn’t work as well for the kids?

ETA: I have four boys ages 7-12

Edited by lovinmyboys
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I think it really depends on the age and stage.  Currently I've been making a weekly assignment list for my kid, highlighting everything we need to do together in yellow.  Those have to be done on my time.  Other things he can get done without me.  Right now I leave the house one day a week during his lesson time and I have confidence that I'll come home to part of the rest of the list accomplished, or at the very least started, marked, and set aside to show me what he had trouble with before he moved on to something else.

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How old are your kids? If they are in early elementary, then 8-2 is kind of a long day. If they are older, it seems that they should be able to handle some independent work while you recharge during your midafternoon slump (which I suffer from as well, so I can totally relate.)

Do they wake up at 7? How much time do they have now to ease into the day? Perhaps you can slowly start school a little bit earlier, until things work a bit better for you. Maybe a distinct routine might help - it's something we struggle with and really need to nail down for next year when there will be three kids who need attention and not 1.5.

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How about a compromise? For your boys, start a little later and ease into the day with a family together time (or power hour or circle time), rotate through DSs for 3 hours before lunch helping DSs as needed in core subjects, finish up after lunch with content subjects. For you, school ends at 2pm, and any work not done by 2pm becomes solo homework for the student to do on their own between 2-3pm (or as homework done with dad that night if needing a parent's guidance).

Example:

8:00-8:15 = student transition time (set aside play things, finish breakfast, morning chores)

8:15-8:45 = together time (family read aloud, critical thinking puzzle, song, memorization items, etc.)

8:45-9:00 = bathroom break and get everyone settled into starting work

9:00-12:00 = Math and LA
Rotate through students as needed. Take a 10 minute snack and stretch break every 50 minutes, which is also the designated get a drink or go to the bathroom time. Have solo work available (some people do basket organizers) for each student for doing while waiting for you if they have a question, or if they finish their Math and LA core work (examples: copywork/handwriting, Vocabulary or Geography or other workbook, critical thinking puzzle, musical instrument practice, learning to type, art/craft project, etc.)

12:00-12:45 = lunch and clean-up
Perhaps listen to a family read-aloud as an audio book or watch/discuss short videos on science, history, current events, etc.

12:45-1:00 = bathroom break and get everyone settled into starting work 

1:00-2:00 = content subjects
Alternate Science and History, each focused on for 2 days/week, and use the 5th day of the week for finish up either or both.

2:00-3:00 = homework hour
Mom is off the clock now and this is her quiet rest time. Any student who didn't finish morning work does it quietly at this time. Other students are doing quiet reading (esp. for 12yo, this could be assigned time for his school solo reading), or other quiet activities.

3:00-4:00 = personal project hour
Mom is still off the clock. Students do personal projects and activities of interest, or quite play.

4:00 = start of afternoon/evening/night routine

Edited by Lori D.
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PS -- I'm also thinking that starting each day with something they really look forward to would help with the transition from getting up/playing to school. Ideas: watch a 5-minute educational video, or read a few pages from an exciting family read-aloud, do a short "brain warm up" -- a maze, a critical thinking puzzle -- read a few riddles or jokes or limericks from a big book, etc.

For example: My DSs had a hard time transitioning from lunch back into finishing up school for another hour or two, so after lunch, we would do some short learning bite more like a quiz show game. I remember doing the sayings/adages from the What Your ___ Grader Should Know books like Wheel of Fortune. I used the whiteboard and wrote a dash for each letter in each word of the saying (with a larger space between words), and DSs would take turns rolling a die, which we would multiply by $1000 for their dollar earnings, and guess a letter. I had them keep alternating even when they guessed a correct letter, so everyone got plenty of turns. Once the saying was guessed, we would discuss it briefly. They had fun with it, and it sort of "jump started" their brains back into working for finishing up our afternoon schooling.

Edited by Lori D.
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This might be because I had one homeschooled child, not 4...but I started at 10 to 11 every day and still got done at 2, and that included a short break for lunch, and often 15 minute brain breaks during the day if my kiddo got frustrated.   Do you think maybe you could pare down the subjects you cover?   (Maybe do some in summer to make up...which I also did. )  Or plan the most brain active stuff for earlier, and practice for the afternoon (things they can do more on their own, with just a little help from you). 

 

Edited by goldenecho
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In my house when playing or watching television before school was an option and they didn't get to that day they would whine and cry about it. When it was no longer an option and I was consistent there was no more whining.

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1 hour ago, Slache said:

In my house when playing or watching television before school was an option and they didn't get to that day they would whine and cry about it. When it was no longer an option and I was consistent there was no more whining.


I have to confess, this was the way I ran homeschool, too. Morning routine for kids was get up, get dressed, make bed, have breakfast, brush teeth, start school -- BUT, start by gently easing in with "together time" full of interesting odds and ends and fun "brain warm up" puzzlers. (The whining at our house came after lunch about having to finish up with afternoon subjects, lol. So that's when I instituted a second very short (15 min.) together time of something fun to ease back into "round 2".)

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4 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

I have to confess, this was the way I ran homeschool, too. Morning routine for kids was get up, get dressed, make bed, have breakfast, brush teeth, start school -- BUT, start by gently easing in with "together time" full of interesting odds and ends and fun "brain warm up" puzzlers. (The whining at our house came after lunch about having to finish up with afternoon subjects, lol. So that's when I instituted a second very short (15 min.) together time of something fun to ease back into "round 2".)

Mine are 8, 6 and 2, so not too much school. We do morning time (Bible, art appreciation, new memory work and singing), then chores, then school. I think it works because morning time is always the exact same four things.

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11 minutes ago, Lori D. said:


I have to confess, this was the way I ran homeschool, too. Morning routine for kids was get up, get dressed, make bed, have breakfast, brush teeth, start school -- BUT, start by gently easing in with "together time" full of interesting odds and ends and fun "brain warm up" puzzlers. (The whining at our house came after lunch about having to finish up with afternoon subjects, lol. So that's when I instituted a second very short (15 min.) together time of something fun to ease back into "round 2".)

I'm really beginning to like this...

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When my children were early elementary age I found that meal times made natural transitions.  They played before breakfast, between morning lessons and lunch, and before dinner.  They were usually hungry enough at meal times that getting them to the table wasn't an issue.  We'd have a 10-15 minute break between breakfast and morning lessons and lunch and afternoon lessons.  After meals I allowed enough time for clearing the table and bathroom breaks but not enough time for them to get involved in play.  We started both morning lessons and afternoon lessons with a read aloud (which my children loved).   

We have always done best with a read aloud followed by skill subjects in the morning.  Both the children and I are freshest then.  A carrot helps with skill subjects.  In their elementary years my children loved finishing their morning lessons with a puzzle - logic, maze, dot-to-dot.   We use afternoons for content subjects, hands-on, silent reading, and electronic education.  Most non-educational screentime is limited to after 4 pm and then only if schoolwork and chores have been completed.

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