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CuriousMomof3

Structures for working with more than one kid when they're doing different things

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My high energy intense 9 year old thrives when there's structure.  He's happy and helpful and energetic when he knows the expectations and the boundaries and can anticipate what's coming.  He does well with lots of sleep, and good nutrition, and lots of exercise, and lots of individual attention, all arriving on a schedule he can anticipate.  

We've been homeschooling for 5 weeks now, and we're still trying to find structures that work for him.  Right now, I'd love to find a structure where he and his oldest brother can work together, in the same room, with me providing support to both of them.  Up until this point.  I've been working 1:1 with them, but we just aren't getting enough work done.

My concern is that it will be easy for time working together to turn into time when DS9 gets all my attention, and DS12, who is a much more gentle compliant kid works independently.  

Can you tell me how it works for you when you have more than one kid working at the same time?  Especially if you have one like my 9 year old? 

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I don't have any high-energy kids, so take this with a grain of salt:

For math, I call my 13yo, 10yo, and 8yo to the table together.  13yo can get started independently, and usually needs to ask me a few questions throughout his work.  8yo begins work on warm up problems I have written on the whiteboard for her.  Meanwhile, I introduce a topic to 10yo, then she begins working on her workbook.  Once she is started, 8yo has usually finished her warm up and I can do a lesson with her.  When 13yo has a question, I wait until I'm at a natural stopping point, then address his question.  It's not a perfect system, but it is faster than 3 separate math periods.  

Considering most 9 year olds still need a lot of skill reinforcement (hand writing, fact practice, mental math practice), I would try to pair up giving 9yo a straight-forward assignment like handwriting or math drill while working with 12yo, then switch.  So everyone is at the table at the same time, but doesn't need direct help.  

My two oldest do history, Latin, and language arts together.  

History right now involves listening to SOTW, reading a kindle book and taking notes (with me), and reading from a book basket assigned on Mondays for the week.  You could combine history for your two oldest, perhaps with different output requirements.  Generally, I give my two oldest the same assignments, but expect much more form my 13yo.  This has worked well so far.  

For LA, I have similar expectations as history.  They get the same writing assignments, but I expect more form the older kid.  Both have similar levels for grammar/spelling.

I work with my 8yo 1:1 while my older kids are doing reading basket, typing practice, and German homework from dad. 

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Each of my kids has their own lesson planner.  Everything that is needs to be accomplished that day is written in their planner (actually further ahead than that day. Typically 6-7 weeks worth are written at a time.) Their day isnt done until everything is checked off.

I rotate through them. So if I were working with 9 yr old on math instruction, then the 12 yr old would be reading something independently. When math  instruction is completed, the 9 yr old would work on his math independently and I would work with the 12 yr old on math instruction. 

If the 9 yr old still needed a little more time to finish math at that pt, I'd go and switch laundry Ioads. If the 9 yr old still isnt finished, I'd be at his elbow directing his attention. I'd stand beside him folding laundry asking him exactly what his math question is. "How do you find 32% of 62? Write it down. What is 2/5 of 25? What do you need to do? Write it down"

While the 12 yr old is finishing up math, I'd call out spelling, go over grammar, writing with the 9 yo.. By then, the 12 yr is probably finished with math. The 9 yr now reads silently while I work with the 12 yr old.

And so on. My 9yo would be done by lunchtime and my afternoon would focus on the 12 yr old and the 9 yr old would be outside playing. 

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Like 8Fill. Also key for us has been teaching my kids the phrase “Mom, are you available to...”. I have a very energetic 5yo who really needs an hour 1:1 most days but sometimes I have enough down time while he’s working to answer a question and sometimes I don’t. My older kids have learned to respect that sometimes I’m available and sometimes they have to wait until he’s done and just do all the independent stuff on their planner while they’re waiting. If they run out of stuff they read. Another option would be that if the twelve yo has something time intensive he really needs you to teach but then he can work mostly independently on it, you could start his school daya little earlier than the nine yo and get him started on that before beginning with the nine yo. The nine yo could do a chore or something during that time. 

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I sit between them at the table and I give something mostly independent to one while working mostly 1:1 with another, then switch. My high energy 8yo, who also has ADHD, has to do all his writing at a table in my room with the door locked (because distractions) and I'll pop in and out between him and the others. 

A lot of things we do through read aloud and oral discussion or practice and I keep both kids actively engaged by randomly stopping and requiring them to read where I left off, one kid has the left side the other the right side of the book.

If there's something in particular I really need to actively teach to a kid then I usually do that first thing in the morning when everyone else is happy to play. But a lot of time things are routine and so I don't have to give 100% attention while they do their schoolwork. I'm guessing you haven't gotten much that the kids can do mostly independently since you started homeschooling recently.

Perhaps you can focus on getting a routine down for a particular subject or mode of learning (our days are broken up by table work, couch work, computer, or creative with subjects rotating through all modes) and let other work be child-led or more passive for you for awhile and gradually add in more routines. 

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Like the other posters so far, I divide up my kids' work into "can do without me" and "can't do without me." They're pretty good at working independently for 40-45 minutes without getting distracted. But when we started (when my youngest was 9) I had to train them up to that point. The 9yo, I assigned chapters for independent reading. "Here, read this for 15 minutes." We set a timer. While she was doing the reading, I worked with her brother on something small. Timer goes off, I would ask him to continue with what we were doing but by himself for 20 minutes, and I'd go do something more hands-on with DD. We gradually increased the increments. Now DS is pretty much independent, mostly because he prefers it that way, and DD is about 75% independent.

One mistake that it took a long time to realize I was making: DS gave me the impression that he was capable of doing a lot of things without me. As it turns out, he really wasn't. He could do math by himself, and sometimes reading if it was something that interested him, but he would often wind up staring off into space for the entire "independent" interval. It's an ongoing problem when it comes to writing, but for the other subjects, I just cut the interval way down, like, "Can you answer these 2 questions by yourself?" Then we increased from there over the course of about a month and a half. It was very costly for me, energy and focus-wise. I didn't get much of anything else done (like housework!) during those days. But it worked with everything except writing, which is just his bete noire. 

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Agreeing with previous posters! 😄 I'll just add:

Patience.
You're building a new habit and routine, and that takes time. You've been at it for only 5 weeks. Transitioning from a brick & mortar school to homeschooling takes time -- it often takes at least 2-3 months or up to a full semester for you all to figure out your rhythm, your materials, and what "homeschooling looks like" for YOU all.

And More Patience (lol).
Also -- take into account all the major real life stuff you guys have been doing (in the midst of some health crises, assisting with a wedding) -- that all takes time to recover from. What is *realistic* for you all to be able to accomplish right now? Perhaps right now for another few weeks, that is going to just be the 3Rs 5 days a week, and then on Mondays and Fridays (the 2 hardest days to keep people focused on school, LOL) do some lighter "content" subjects with fun projects and read-aloud for Science and History -- or keep Mondays and Fridays short with just the 3Rs, and then add in the "content" subjects on Tues, Wed, Thurs...

"Hand Raised Flag".
I remember reading that one family with multiple children all around the table working together had a little flag and stand in front of each child. The mom just moved around the table helping whoever needed help. The child quietly indicated that they needed help by setting their flag up in the stand (like raising a hand in a classroom) -- so mom could see the need, but not be interrupted in the midst of helping someone else. Meanwhile, the child would set aside their work that they needed help with, and choose a solo-working activity to productively fill their time while waiting on mom -- things like a coloring page or puzzle page, or read ahead in their book, etc.

Solo supplements.
Up through about 4th or 5th grade, I had some supplemental learning items that DSs could do completely solo, which gave me a block of time to work 1-on-1 with the other DS. Perhaps make up a set of index cards with different activities and the time, and pull out the time cards for the length of time you need the 9yo to "work solo" and let him choose an activity from the options for that time block? Ideas:

- 10 min = critical thinking page -- puzzles, mazes, simple crosswords or ken-ken or sudoku puzzles, hidden picture puzzles, 
- 10 min = practice geography through online geography games (Sheppard Software) -- or other subject with quick online games
- 15 min = critical thinking solo activity -- jigsaw puzzle, tangrams, Rush Hour Jr., 
- 15 min = active play =jump roping, scootering up and down the block, bouncing on the trampoline
- 15-30 min = science kit, work on some sort of science challenge
- 15-30 min = work on a solo project (sewing, knot tying, whittling, soap carving, wood burning kit, or...?)
- 15-30 min = go outside activity = draw with chalk on the sidewalk, work in the garden, explore the yard with a magnifying glass, record what
- 20 min = use a math manipulative and go-along task cards or booklet (pattern blocks, geoboards, multi-link cubes, tangrams, fraction manipulative, etc)
- 20 min = solo reading -- either their independent reading, or a book on tape
- 30 min = turn with an educational computer game
- 30 min = watch an educational video

Perhaps an adapted version of a "workbox" system** or daily file folder system**
And adapted in that ONLY the items that the student can do most solo in workboxes or file folders (handwriting, math facts drill page, , and alternate chunks of time in 90 minute cycles:
30 min = 1-on-1 with 9yo, while 12yo does largely solo things
30 min = together subjects, if doing science or history or family read aloud together
30 min = 1-on-1 with with 12yo while 9yo works solo
30 min = 1-on-1 with 9yo, while 12yo does largely solo

** = explanation of a workbox or file folder system: each thing that needs to be done for the student is in a "workbox" (drawer or tub or other), or a file folder. The student chooses a workbox (or folder), completes the work in it and returns it into the workbox or file folder, and then puts that workbox or file folder back in its storage unit. Part of the idea is that the student sees the "stack" of what needs to happen that day, does a "bite" at a time and puts it away, and can see their progress as their "stack" diminishes. Also, it can help encourage some independence, and the student has some control over their day by choosing what they do next.)


Just throwing out a variety of ideas to inspire your thinking of options, as your family will have to feel your way into what works best for all of YOU! Keep up the good work, mama-teacher. You're doing a great job! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Thanks everyone, you've given me a lot to think about.  I think that some kind of planner or other written schedule might work, especially if it designated my expectations of whether each piece of work was with me, or independent.  That way, if DS9 is trying to monopolize my attention, I can redirect him to choose something independent. 

 

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2 hours ago, Lori D. said:

 

And More Patience (lol).
Also -- take into account all the major real life stuff you guys have been doing (in the midst of some health crises, assisting with a wedding) -- that all takes time to recover from. What is *realistic* for you all to be able to accomplish right now? Perhaps right now for another few weeks, that is going to just be the 3Rs 5 days a week, and then on Mondays and Fridays (the 2 hardest days to keep people focused on school, LOL) do some lighter "content" subjects with fun projects and read-aloud for Science and History -- or keep Mondays and Fridays short with just the 3Rs, and then add in the "content" subjects on Tues, Wed, Thurs...


I think that people think because I've posted a lot about intensive academics for DS10, that I'm that way for my other kids.  Trust me, I'm not.  We do a huge amount of academics with DS10 because that's what he likes, and because that's what provides the structure for him to interact when his anxiety is high, and it's pretty high these days.  But DS9 is an entirely different kid from his brother, not just because he's healthy, and not profoundly gifted, but they're just different personalities. 

Right now, if I designed the ideal homeschool day for DS9, it would be about 45 minutes each of math, writing, and reading, some time listening to a history read aloud, and a little bit of the Bible, and a ton of woodworking, cooking, legos, sports, and running around with the kids in the neighborhood. 

When we started homeschooling, I created a beautiful schedule that has all of that in there, and when it's worked, it's ben great, but DS10 keeps throwing a wrench in the plans, and we have days where maybe we get the read alouds done, and other wise it's all cooking (he will be an amazing cook at the end of this), legos, and running around outside.  Or we have a day when I manage to cram in homeschooling for DS9 and his brother, but then at the end of the day I feel like I had zero time to do anything enjoyable with them or to relax as a family.  So, I need a new approach.  

 

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My kids' planners are written to them. I'll write "see me" when I want to explain an assignment (writing assignments, research, etc). Some things they automatically know they do with me (math instruction, spelling, etc). Some they know they do independently (silent reading, etc)

We couldn't function without planners. They are what keep me directed (and hold my "plan" brains.)

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Just now, 8FillTheHeart said:

My kids' planners are written to them. I'll write "see me" when I want to explain an assignment (writing assignments, research, etc). Some things they automatically know they do with me (math instruction, spelling, etc). Some they know they do independently (silent reading, etc)

We couldn't function without planners. They are what keep me directed (and hold my "plan" brains.)


I don't suppose you'd be willing to send me a photo?  I'm curious to see these planners, because I do think we need something written. 

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18 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


I don't suppose you'd be willing to send me a photo?  I'm curious to see these planners, because I do think we need something written. 

I'm not sure what 8's planners look like, but I'll show you what my planners for DD10 and DS7 look like for this week. 

I do have a beautiful schedule all worked out for when each kid (10, 7, 5, & 3) is doing what activity, trying to balance out who needs help and who can work by themselves. Of course, no one follows it except DS10, who has a rigidity when it comes to schedules. Everyone else just kind of goes with the flow... 

IMG_20200210_091208227.jpg

IMG_20200210_093357558.jpg

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Thank you!  That is really helpful.  I can see something like that working for us.  I am a little jealous that you can plan ahead in ink.  

When I say we have a schedule it wasn’t to that fine degree, it was like “Breakfast, DS9 work with mom”, so what I need it both that kind of schedule that works and something like what you have that schedules within the blocks.

 

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Mine look similar the the first image. (1 planner per child)   I include notes about specific assignments like "Collect notes on topic x.  Bring me your notes to review for approval" or "meet with me to discuss X" or  "find 3 related articles on topic X" etc.  There is nothing special about them other than they keep us directed and help us stay on task for meeting the objectives I have created.

Just saw your post......I write in pencil. Always.  🙂  But, I never create time block schedules b/c those don't work for us.  We work according to a flow, not time.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart

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Thank you everyone, I think I'm going to do some kind of schedule in google docs.  Then I can copy and erase and move things around, and it will still look good, and maybe I can color code to give DS9 a clear cue about whose turn it is with me.  

 

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Just now, CuriousMomof3 said:

Do your kids choose the order that they work through things?

Yep. 
Also, fwiw, I don’t give them their own planner til 3rd grade and it does take a fewweeks to a few months, depending on the kid, toget them used to the responsibility. Until then I have to give lots of reminders, e.g. “pick something on your planner you can do without me, I’m not available yet.”

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24 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Do your kids choose the order that they work through things?

With DS7 (2nd grade), we alternate choosing- I pick the first subject and then give him options for him to pick the next subject, depending on if he needs me or can work independently, and repeat as we go. He tends to march to his own drummer, and definitely needs plenty of time during the day to work on his own projects, follow his own rabbit trails, and read.

With DS10 (5th grade), he will very rigidly work straight down the list, so I have organized it in a way that makes best use of hard/easy/hard/easy tasks for him, so that I can also give him breaks/snacks/physical activity during the day to keep him going. He is advanced in a couple of subjects, but also has anxiety and other issues.

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Thank you everyone, I think I've worked out a schedule and some structures that might work for DS9.  He and I sat and talked through it all today, and he's game to try tomorrow.  Hopefully, I'll feel like we're getting something done. 

Since you all were so helpful here, I'm about to post something about his oldest brother.  

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On 2/9/2020 at 3:47 PM, CuriousMomof3 said:


Right now, if I designed the ideal homeschool day for DS9, it would be about 45 minutes each of math, writing, and reading, some time listening to a history read aloud, and a little bit of the Bible, and a ton of woodworking, cooking, legos, sports, and running around with the kids in the neighborhood. 

 

For what it's worth, at that age, 45 minutes seems like a long math/writing lesson unless a lot of that time is interactive instruction with you.

My oldest is a very advanced math student.  He is a month shy of 11, and just now spending 45ish minutes on math each day.  At age 9, he was almost through AOPS pre-algebra, but still only spending 20-30 minutes max each day.  My second son, who is almost 9, also spends 20-30 minutes on math...of that time, I'm normally sitting with him for 5 minutes at the beginning getting him started, and then spending another 5ish minutes sporadically during his work time helping him focus and get through difficulties.  When he is done I spend a minute or two checking his work, and then if needed I sit with him to further explain a concept.

Writing is similar.  All of my kids would mutiny if I tried to get them to write (or even think about writing) for 45 minutes.  Twenty minutes seems to be about our max here.  Though, I can often sneak in a little extra over the course of the day if I make it short, sweet, and non-threatening.  For example, while they are waiting those last couple minutes for me to put dinner on the table, I might casually say something like, "I was thinking about your Ziggurat paragraph.  I bet your sentence about how big they are would really pop in the reader's head if you added a big sounding adjective.  So not just, "Sumerian ziggurats were...", and not "Big Sumerian ziggurats were...", but what stronger adjective could you use?"  They come up with "gigantic", I have them jot that in the appropriate place on their draft which is conveniently laid out in the center of my desk, and 2 minutes later we quickly move on before it registers as writing to them at all.

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1 minute ago, wendyroo said:

For what it's worth, at that age, 45 minutes seems like a long math/writing lesson unless a lot of that time is interactive instruction with you.

My oldest is a very advanced math student.  He is a month shy of 11, and just now spending 45ish minutes on math each day.  At age 9, he was almost through AOPS pre-algebra, but still only spending 20-30 minutes max each day.  My second son, who is almost 9, also spends 20-30 minutes on math...of that time, I'm normally sitting with him for 5 minutes at the beginning getting him started, and then spending another 5ish minutes sporadically during his work time helping him focus and get through difficulties.  When he is done I spend a minute or two checking his work, and then if needed I sit with him to further explain a concept.

Writing is similar.  All of my kids would mutiny if I tried to get them to write (or even think about writing) for 45 minutes.  Twenty minutes seems to be about our max here.  Though, I can often sneak in a little extra over the course of the day if I make it short, sweet, and non-threatening.  For example, while they are waiting those last couple minutes for me to put dinner on the table, I might casually say something like, "I was thinking about your Ziggurat paragraph.  I bet your sentence about how big they are would really pop in the reader's head if you added a big sounding adjective.  So not just, "Sumerian ziggurats were...", and not "Big Sumerian ziggurats were...", but what stronger adjective could you use?"  They come up with "gigantic", I have them jot that in the appropriate place on their draft which is conveniently laid out in the center of my desk, and 2 minutes later we quickly move on before it registers as writing to them at all.

 

I think your kids are more like my DS10 in that math comes very easily to them.  DS9 definitely needs more help understanding concepts and repetition than his brother. Up until this point, we've been doing his work 1:1, and so it's all been interactive.  Which is what he craves right now, because he's stressed and he's super extroverted and so when he's stressed he wants that engagement.  But I don't know that that's sustainable.  

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14 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

For what it's worth, at that age, 45 minutes seems like a long math/writing lesson unless a lot of that time is interactive instruction with you.

My oldest is a very advanced math student.  He is a month shy of 11, and just now spending 45ish minutes on math each day.  At age 9, he was almost through AOPS pre-algebra, but still only spending 20-30 minutes max each day.  My second son, who is almost 9, also spends 20-30 minutes on math...of that time, I'm normally sitting with him for 5 minutes at the beginning getting him started, and then spending another 5ish minutes sporadically during his work time helping him focus and get through difficulties.  When he is done I spend a minute or two checking his work, and then if needed I sit with him to further explain a concept.

Writing is similar.  All of my kids would mutiny if I tried to get them to write (or even think about writing) for 45 minutes.  Twenty minutes seems to be about our max here.  Though, I can often sneak in a little extra over the course of the day if I make it short, sweet, and non-threatening.  For example, while they are waiting those last couple minutes for me to put dinner on the table, I might casually say something like, "I was thinking about your Ziggurat paragraph.  I bet your sentence about how big they are would really pop in the reader's head if you added a big sounding adjective.  So not just, "Sumerian ziggurats were...", and not "Big Sumerian ziggurats were...", but what stronger adjective could you use?"  They come up with "gigantic", I have them jot that in the appropriate place on their draft which is conveniently laid out in the center of my desk, and 2 minutes later we quickly move on before it registers as writing to them at all.

 

Having that image is really helpful.  Do you find that with your kids, you're able to do both of those things at the same time?  So, getting your oldest started on math, and then getting the middle one started, and going back to the first?  That's the rhythm I think we need, but we'll have to see how it works.  

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8 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Having that image is really helpful.  Do you find that with your kids, you're able to do both of those things at the same time?  So, getting your oldest started on math, and then getting the middle one started, and going back to the first?  That's the rhythm I think we need, but we'll have to see how it works.  

All of my kids are always in my sight during school time, and I check in with them each frequently.  My 10 year old can often work independently for 15-20 minute between check ins - longer when he is working on his strengths like math, much shorter when I am torturing him by making him write.  My 2e 8 year old really struggles with mental health challenges, so one of his ABA goals is working independently on school work for 5 minutes...their longer term goal is increasing that to 15 minutes.

Each of my kids has a daily school list.  Each day is different, but the lists are consistent week to week, so I just print out new copies each Sunday and we are ready to go for the week.  All of our subjects are "do the next thing", so the lists just indicate what subjects are to be completed, not the exact assignments within the subjects.

My kids mostly decide for themselves what subjects to do in what order.  If they want to do a subject that requires my help, they ask if I am available.  If they want to do a subject that we all do as a group, they negotiate a plan with their siblings ("I'd like to do history after I finish piano, will you be done with math by then or could you take a break to do history?"  I consider this planning and cooperation as daily social skills therapy.)

Sometimes I do end up helping two kids simultaneously with math, but more often they are working on different subjects.  I might be helping my 4 year old put together a puzzle, while dictating spelling sentences to my 6 year old, while supervising my 8 year old's piano practice, while answering occasional algebra questions from my 10 year old.

(Here is what our school lists look like:)

 

IMG_2485.JPG

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So I balance 4 kids (11, 9, 7, 4). My oldest dd definitely needs the most from me, as she has special needs and attention issues, but she's generally doing age-appropriate work. We school from 8-12 most days. Like others, I divide between "needs my constant attention/teach a lesson" and "can be done mostly independently". Then I spread those out so that at any given point I'm not juggling more than 2 kids at a time.  Eg: It's not too hard to dictate two spelling lists at once, but I can't help do oral latin translations and teach a spelling lesson at the same time. For example:

dd11 has math, writing, and latin, spelling that are teacher intensive to various degrees. Piano, geography, reading are mostly independent. Even math is mostly me keeping her on task, checking problems, and helping with issues. I can usually do that while helping one of her sisters with something like spelling.

dd9 has writing, spelling, and latin that are teacher intensive. She mostly does the other subjects with little imput from me unless she gets stuck or needs me to check.

dd7 is basically the same as dd9, except she doesn't do latin yet.

dd4 needs me for every minute, including reading lesson, handwriting lesson, and math. But her work only takes about a half hour a day.

 

So our morning may look something like this:

8-8:30: dd11, dd7 do reading. dd9 does computer work (part of math, spanish), dd4 does reading lesson. I'm mostly just helping dd4

8:30-9:30: dd11 does math, dd4 does math and handwriting (then she's done), dd9 does piano and reading, dd7 does computer work. I mostly help dd4 and dd11.

9:30-10:30: dd11 probably keeps doing math, dd9 and dd7 do "table work" (writing, spelling, geography), and dd4 plays. I work with dd9 and dd7, while occasionally keeping dd11 on task.

10:30-noon: dd11 does table work and piano, dd9 does piano and other math, dd7 is probably done, dd4 is done. I work with dd11 and help dd9 when stuck or explanations are needed.

 

We have it figured so that I am hopping around, but everyone mostly has access to me when needed. Rarely they'll have to wait for help, like when I'm in the middle of a reading lesson with dd4, who is easily distracted so I don't want to interrupt it. But they almost never wait for more than 5 minutes. It works pretty well. Most of the time we're all in the same room (our computer, couches, and table are there) but often they'll go off to read and the piano is in a different room. I have to weigh what programs we use based on teacher intensiveness. Some can be, but not all. I'm lucky in that my younger girls are pretty good at working independently. Dd11 takes most of my energy that way. 

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7 hours ago, wendyroo said:

All of my kids are always in my sight during school time, and I check in with them each frequently.  My 10 year old can often work independently for 15-20 minute between check ins - longer when he is working on his strengths like math, much shorter when I am torturing him by making him write.  My 2e 8 year old really struggles with mental health challenges, so one of his ABA goals is working independently on school work for 5 minutes...their longer term goal is increasing that to 15 minutes.

Each of my kids has a daily school list.  Each day is different, but the lists are consistent week to week, so I just print out new copies each Sunday and we are ready to go for the week.  All of our subjects are "do the next thing", so the lists just indicate what subjects are to be completed, not the exact assignments within the subjects.

My kids mostly decide for themselves what subjects to do in what order.  If they want to do a subject that requires my help, they ask if I am available.  If they want to do a subject that we all do as a group, they negotiate a plan with their siblings ("I'd like to do history after I finish piano, will you be done with math by then or could you take a break to do history?"  I consider this planning and cooperation as daily social skills therapy.)

Sometimes I do end up helping two kids simultaneously with math, but more often they are working on different subjects.  I might be helping my 4 year old put together a puzzle, while dictating spelling sentences to my 6 year old, while supervising my 8 year old's piano practice, while answering occasional algebra questions from my 10 year old.

(Here is what our school lists look like:)

 

IMG_2485.JPG


Thanks this super helpful,  You have a lot of moving pieces.  I will just have 2 because the plan is to do this is DS10’s room while he sleeps.

I think we have something to try, now we just need to find the time to make it work.

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I know you said you have something figured out, but I thought I would add this: Things flow more smoothly at my house if I make sure DS (my highest-energy child) gets my attention FIRST. He is capable of working independently for a bit while I focus on his sisters, but he is SO MUCH BETTER at doing that if he has already had his turn being my focus. 

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3 hours ago, purpleowl said:

I know you said you have something figured out, but I thought I would add this: Things flow more smoothly at my house if I make sure DS (my highest-energy child) gets my attention FIRST. He is capable of working independently for a bit while I focus on his sisters, but he is SO MUCH BETTER at doing that if he has already had his turn being my focus. 

 

Interesting, my gut feeling was to hold out my attention like a reward, so to say that I'm going to start with your brother, and you need to let us finish, and finish your X to get your turn.  Maybe I can make the best of both and alternate with DS9 going both first and last.  He definitely has more work that requires help, so I could do something like that.

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2 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

Interesting, my gut feeling was to hold out my attention like a reward, so to say that I'm going to start with your brother, and you need to let us finish, and finish your X to get your turn.  Maybe I can make the best of both and alternate with DS9 going both first and last.  He definitely has more work that requires help, so I could do something like that.

It probably depends on the child as to what would be most effective. I had been doing it the opposite way and then tried changing it and was amazed at how much of a difference it made. So it may be worth trying both ways to see what works best for your DS9. 

 

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