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    Help tweak my homeschooling routine to make more time for youngest....

    Hi Everyone,

    Next year I will be homeschooling two older kids (with various learning challenges) and a kindergartner. This year my 4-year-old sort of got the short end of the stick when it comes to my attention. I tried not to stress TOO much about that, but as he gets older, I know I will have to carve more time out for him specifically. He is eager to learn and would like more time with me, so my goal for next year is to do a better job balancing my time. I would love to find more time for read alouds and kindling his curiousity since I know that will build a good foundation for learning later on. He also needs practice learning to write his letters and numbers, learning to read, learning math...all of that good stuff!


    I have my older kids placed a year behind in the moderated cores because of their learning challenges. (I placed them at their weakest "R" which is reading, but they are working ahead in math and science which is their passion.)

    Our current routine:
    6AM-Breakfast, Chores, Hygiene, Exercise
    8AM-Latin
    9AM-Math (Snack at the table while they are working)
    10AM-English (Spelling, Penmanship, Grammar, Composition)
    11AM-Lunch, (Tidy kitchen)
    12PM-Lit
    1 PM to 2:30 PM- Afternoon Subjects (Classical, Christian, Geography, Poetry, Timeline, Science)
    2:30PM- Snack
    3:00PM-Quiet Time (aka mommy time out!): After that, I send the kids to their rooms for some quiet reading (or audiobooks while they play quietly) because I always feel a bit harried from extreme multi-tasking all morning. I usually read at this time too and drink some tea. When I skip these afternoon teas, I can always feel I am a little bit more short tempered than I would like to be. The older kids usually read their bible, listen to a chapter of SOTW, and then free-read.
    3:30PM to 5:00PM-Outside time / Free Play
    5:00PM to 6:00PM-Chores and cleaning

    Notes about my routine:
    1) My oldest son tends to work at a snail's pace. So I know everyone is going to say that I have way too much time budgeted above, but it usually takes him even longer than I have penciled in to get his work done. (And this is with me constantly trying to push him forward in his subjects and redirect him to the task at hand.) I think a lot of this is his natural personality. He does everything VERY slowly from getting dressed, doing chores, and completing his school work. So I will be lucky if I can finish Latin in an hour each day with him. I have him working with noice canceling headphones and a trifold board around his work area to block out distractions....but he tends to live in his head a lot and can distract himself PLENTY on his own.

    2) I like completing our "skill based" subjects before lunch because my older kids tend to be able to focus better on their harder subjects first thing. (Doing Latin post lunch seems to be a disaster. Same thing with composition which is really hard for them.)

    Where to invest my time:
    The problem is, when I look ahead to next year, I feel like my older kids are still going to require a ton of instructional time.

    Latin--Ideally, I would love to be able to work through first form with my oldest.
    I relied on the answer key for Latin (LC) a LOT this year. I had every intention of working through the program with my child, but I just wasn't able to make that happen. Next year, I really want to work through the form series with my oldest so that I can teach the higher levels, but am I really going to be able to carve out the time? I wasn't able to do it this year, what makes me think I am going to be able to do this over the summer or in the morning with him?

    Math- Again, ideally, I would love to be able to work at elbow with kids through math. As their math gets more difficult, I feel like I need a refresher to keep up so that I can help them with the higher levels. They are both starting pre-algebra next year.

    Spelling, Cursive, and Grammar are MOSTLY independent. They need me to recite, give spelling tests, etc.

    Composition- This subject is VERY hard for my middle DD. She really struggles with putting her thoughts into words. She also doesn't naturally pick up on language. For example, she doesn't "hear" that something sounds awkward or repetitive when she writes. For that reason, I am strongly considering switching her to IEW. With her learning challenges, I think she really needs very explicit instruction on how to vary her setences and structure her writing. My DS did fine with CC this year. However, part of me wonders if I should just put them both in SWI-B so that I can combine them and save time. Regardless, I feel like no matter what program I use for writing, composition is just one of those subjects that requires a lot of coaching and back and forth.

    Literature: My two oldest children are dyslexic, so I am still having them read their lit aloud to me. I feel like they both really need this practice. Plus, my middle DS does not comprehend as well when she reads silently. I signed my oldest son up for delectare next year. (Thank you dear sweet Jennifer for organing that group.) So I know he will get some discussion each week with literature. However, I still have to carve out time to buddy read with them.

    Christian Studies-- I probably *Should* be doing this with them because this is a subject that I want to reach their hearts in, but I have them doing this mostly independently this year. I go over comprehension questions, conduct recitations and review, quiz them on their memory verse and map locations, etc.

    Classical Studies- This year I have been able to do this subject semi-independently too because there is a really awesome audiobook for D'Aulaires Greek myths. However, I won't have "a really awesome" audiobook for FMOR. So I will probaby have to find the time to read this aloud too.


    Kindergarten- My youngest son probably needs to work on *his* hardest subjects first thing (learning to read), but I am unsure how and when to work that in given math and latin in the morning. I would also love to find time to do a few short read aloud sessions throughout the day. He has a hard time transitioning, so it is hard to just grab him and read spontaneously becuase he might be in the middle of playing and not want to stop. So if I have a short break between helping my oldest kids, he often doesn't want to listen to me read...and then it doesn't happen. Then, 10 minutes later when I am in the middle of math, he wants a book and I have to tell him I am busy. hahaha, I feel like the problem is that I have a routine for my oldest, but my youngest is just squeezing time in the cracks. He could really use a routine so he knows what to expect each day.


    The "book shark" & memoria press thread has me wondering if I should schedule an "hour" of American history audiobooks and silent reading time first thing in our day so that I can find time to work with my youngest. But pearhaps adding in more would be the exact WRONG thing to do. hahaha
    ------
    I know there are others who are juggling so much more than I am. So I am counting on your wisdom and experience to help me come up with a better plan. Thanks in advance for your help!
    Last edited by TheAttachedMama; 05-31-2018, 09:44 AM.
    Cathy aka The Attached Mama
    2019-2020
    DS 12, 7th Grade
    DD 11, 6th Grade
    DS 5, K

    #2
    Re: Help tweak my homeschooling routine to make more time for youngest....

    Originally posted by TheAttachedMama View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    Next year I will be homeschooling two older kids (with various learning challenges) and a kindergartner. This year my 4-year-old sort of got the short end of the stick when it comes to my attention. I tried not to stress TOO much about that, but as he gets older, I know I will have to carve more time out for him specifically. He is eager to learn and would like more time with me, so my goal for next year is to do a better job balancing my time. I would love to find more time for read alouds and kindling his curiousity since I know that will build a good foundation for learning later on. He also needs practice learning to write his letters and numbers, learning to read, learning math...all of that good stuff!


    I have my older kids placed a year behind in the moderated cores because of their learning challenges. (I placed them at their weakest "R" which is reading, but they are working ahead in math and science which is their passion.)

    Our current routine:
    6AM-Breakfast, Chores, Hygiene, Exercise
    8AM-Latin
    9AM-Math (Snack at the table while they are working)
    10AM-English (Spelling, Penmanship, Grammar, Composition)
    11AM-Lunch, (Tidy kitchen)
    12PM-Lit
    1 PM to 2:30 PM- Afternoon Subjects (Classical, Christian, Geography, Poetry, Timeline, Science)
    2:30PM- Snack
    3:00PM-Quiet Time (aka mommy time out!): After that, I send the kids to their rooms for some quiet reading (or audiobooks while they play quietly) because I always feel a bit harried from extreme multi-tasking all morning. I usually read at this time too and drink some tea. When I skip these afternoon teas, I can always feel I am a little bit more short tempered than I would like to be. The older kids usually read their bible, listen to a chapter of SOTW, and then free-read.
    3:30PM to 5:00PM-Outside time / Free Play
    5:00PM to 6:00PM-Chores and cleaning

    Notes about my routine:
    1) My oldest son tends to work at a snail's pace. So I know everyone is going to say that I have way too much time budgeted above, but it usually takes him even longer than I have penciled in to get his work done. (And this is with me constantly trying to push him forward in his subjects and redirect him to the task at hand.) I think a lot of this is his natural personality. He does everything VERY slowly from getting dressed, doing chores, and completing his school work. So I will be lucky if I can finish Latin in an hour each day with him. I have him working with noice canceling headphones and a trifold board around his work area to block out distractions....but he tends to live in his head a lot and can distract himself PLENTY on his own.

    2) I like completing our "skill based" subjects before lunch because my older kids tend to be able to focus better on their harder subjects first thing. (Doing Latin post lunch seems to be a disaster. Same thing with composition which is really hard for them.)

    Where to invest my time:
    The problem is, when I look ahead to next year, I feel like my older kids are still going to require a ton of instructional time.

    Latin--Ideally, I would love to be able to work through first form with my oldest.
    I relied on the answer key for Latin (LC) a LOT this year. I had every intention of working through the program with my child, but I just wasn't able to make that happen. Next year, I really want to work through the form series with my oldest so that I can teach the higher levels, but am I really going to be able to carve out the time? I wasn't able to do it this year, what makes me think I am going to be able to do this over the summer or in the morning with him?

    Math- Again, ideally, I would love to be able to work at elbow with kids through math. As their math gets more difficult, I feel like I need a refresher to keep up so that I can help them with the higher levels.

    Spelling, Cursive, and Grammar are MOSTLY independent. They need me to recite, give spelling tests, etc.

    Composition- This subject is VERY hard for my middle DD. She really struggles with putting her thoughts into words. She also doesn't naturally pick up on language. For example, she doesn't "hear" that something sounds awkward or repetitive when she writes. For that reason, I am strongly considering switching her to IEW. With her learning challenges, I think she really needs very explicit instruction on how to vary her setences and structure her writing. My DS did fine with CC this year. However, part of me wonders if I should just put them both in SWI-B so that I can combine them and save time. Regardless, I feel like no matter what program I use for writing, composition is just one of those subjects that requires a lot of coaching and back and forth.

    Literature: My two oldest children are dyslexic, so I am still having them read their lit aloud to me. I feel like they both really need this practice. Plus, my middle DS does not comprehend as well when she reads silently. I signed my oldest son up for delectare next year. (Thank you dear sweet Jennifer for organing that group.) So I know he will get some discussion each week with literature. However, I still have to carve out time to buddy read with them.

    Christian Studies-- I probably *Should* be doing this with them because this is a subject that I want to reach their hearts in, but I have them doing this mostly independently this year. I go over comprehension questions, conduct recitations and review, quiz them on their memory verse and map locations, etc.

    Classical Studies- This year I have been able to do this subject semi-independently too because there is a really awesome audiobook for D'Aulaires greek myths. However, I won't have "a really awesome" audiobook for FMOR. So I will probaby have to find the time to read this aloud too.
    ------
    I know there are others who are juggling so much more than I am. So I am counting on your wisdom and experience to help me come up with a better plan. Thanks in advance for your help!

    Thinking outside the box here...

    My younger ones (6, almost 8, and 9.5) require me to be at-elbow constantly, even for things they could do independently, because they need CONSTANT reminders to return their attention to the work at hand. Because of this, I've spent the past year working with each of them separately. When I do that, they take far less time to do their work than if I'm multi-tasking between them.

    That being said, a trick I've found for older kids is to set aside a "lesson day" for them. You could also have a separate "lesson day" for each child if they're working in their own cores. Here's an example I posted earlier this year:

    Latin
    Monday: lesson and a few workbook samples
    T-F: flashcards, vocabulary lists, workbook exercises -- all done independently (with oversight) unless a child is struggling with something in particular

    Math
    Daily lesson

    Classical Studies
    Monday: drill, read current lesson, discuss, write answers to selected questions (OR answers can be assigned independently for later in the week)
    T-F: independent flashcard review, test prep, etc

    Science
    Monday: drill, read current lesson, discuss, write answers (OR answers can be assigned independently for later in the week)
    T-F: independent review of lesson facts, test prep, etc.

    Literature
    Monday: vocabulary and reading notes for the current week's chapters, discussion of previous week's chapters/questions
    T-F: independently complete assigned reading and comprehension questions

    Geography
    Completely independent; occasional drill to check on progress; write "practice map" and "country/capital list" reminders in lesson planner the week of a quiz/test

    Grammar
    Monday: review previous grammar questions (as listed in the current lesson), read/discuss new questions, do a few sample sentences to ensure understanding
    T-F: independently review grammar questions and complete exercises as assigned in the lesson plans

    Composition
    Monday - Week 1: do half the lesson
    T-F: no assignments
    Monday - Week 2: do remaining portion of the lesson
    T-F: independently refine rough draft and write final draft (be ready to answer questions, provide feedback, etc during this process)

    Christian Studies can be done the same as Classical Studies; we did that on Sundays last year.

    You could still do daily grade-level recitations or specific drills for subjects that were more challenging for a particular child and you'll always be on-call for questions or those wonderful impromptu observations/discussions. On the whole though, this would keep you from feeling like impending lessons are always hanging over you during the week -- which would then make it easier to focus on your younger student.

    ETA: I also have a child who is very slow in everything (although he finishes school quickly -- go figure). Make sure he's getting some physical exercise at the beginning of the day. Some kids really need that input in order for their senses/brains to be activated. He may also need a brief round of exercise after lunch to help him reset for the afternoon, even if school isn't involved.
    Last edited by jen1134; 05-31-2018, 09:59 AM.
    Jennifer
    Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

    DS16
    MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
    MPOA: High School Comp. II
    HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

    DS15
    MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
    MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
    HSC: Modern European History

    DS12
    7M with:
    Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

    DS11
    SC Level 4

    DD9
    3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

    DD7/8
    Still in SC Level 2

    DD 4/5
    SC Level C

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Help tweak my homeschooling routine to make more time for youngest....

      Upping this one to see if more can weigh in!
      Christine

      (2019/2020)
      DD1 8/23/09 - SC5/6
      DS2 9/1/11 - SC3,4, 5/6 combo
      DD3 2/9/13 -SC2 to start, MP1 second semester

      Previous Years
      DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4’
      DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, SC2)
      DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK)

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Help tweak my homeschooling routine to make more time for youngest....

        Hi Cathy!

        I am glad Christine bumped this up, because you really didn't get many responses yet. Jen gave you some great ideas, but I know it can be helpful to have a few perspectives.

        So from my end, one of the first things I think I want to clarify is if you are meaning that your youngest, who in your signature is four, is who you are planning to have do Kindergarten next year...when he's five? Is that right? If so, I think my first suggestion...is...maybe...NOT...to...do...that.

        Five year old little boys are just so wiggly and squirrely, and I just really wonder if he would be ready for MP's K program - which is so good, but which expects a lot. I am wondering if you might see a great deal of benefit from waiting a year, because not only will he have another year of maturing, but so too would your older children - who then might be that much closer to being able to do a few more things independently and allow you to carve out more time for K. Have you done the Junior K program with him? That would be a great way to have a planned amount of work but with a great deal more flexibility for his interest level and attention span.

        But, if you don't like that suggestion, and feel as though K is really the way to go with him, then....
        I would agree with you completely about how you structure you older children's mornings. It is what we have always done as well for the same reasons. Therefore the trick becomes to find a way to dedicate about 45-hour to work with your K. What I have always done to make this possible is to pull out the portions of the work my older kids could do on their own and then be checked by me later. So in your case, maybe instead of dedicating an entire hour to doing all of Latin, and then another hour to do all of math, what you do is give them an hour in which you go over the Latin lesson, and then their math lesson...followed by a second hour in which they do the work on their own. It would give you the time you need with your K'er without much change to the rest of your day.

        And I think your instincts are correct that if you are going to add in a new child for school, it's probably not the best time to add in some more supplemental reading. Get used to one change at a time.

        And lastly, what you described about your daughter and composition does not surprise me at all give her age and her level of experience. I would not worry about it in the least. This is why they have years and years of doing composition work, and of writing in their student guides. She is young yet, and still very inexperienced. I would hold steady to the game plan and just keep plugging along. Composition is indeed something that will continue to require your help all the way through - and it should. It is a key component of a liberal arts education, and it is strenuous mental work. MP's path respects this, and is the best one out there, imo. Hold to the course, be patient, be diligent, and the fruit will eventually come.

        HTHS!
        AMDG,
        Sarah
        2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
        DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
        DS, 16
        DD, 14
        DD, 12
        DD, 10
        DD, 7.5
        DD, 5.5
        +DS+
        DS, 18 months

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Help tweak my homeschooling routine to make more time for youngest....

          Originally posted by jen1134 View Post
          Thinking outside the box here...

          My younger ones (6, almost 8, and 9.5) require me to be at-elbow constantly, even for things they could do independently, because they need CONSTANT reminders to return their attention to the work at hand. Because of this, I've spent the past year working with each of them separately. When I do that, they take far less time to do their work than if I'm multi-tasking between them.

          That being said, a trick I've found for older kids is to set aside a "lesson day" for them. You could also have a separate "lesson day" for each child if they're working in their own cores. Here's an example I posted earlier this year:

          Latin
          Monday: lesson and a few workbook samples
          T-F: flashcards, vocabulary lists, workbook exercises -- all done independently (with oversight) unless a child is struggling with something in particular
          I wanted to thank everyone who responded for all of their help. Next year, I really think I am going to move towards a "cottage" model like the one above. I will have a "Lesson day" for each older kid.

          I had a question about Latin in particular. Should I still make time to do a full Latin oral recitation each day with both kids? And go over homework? Or is a once per week recitation sufficient?
          Cathy aka The Attached Mama
          2019-2020
          DS 12, 7th Grade
          DD 11, 6th Grade
          DS 5, K

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Help tweak my homeschooling routine to make more time for youngest....

            Originally posted by TheAttachedMama View Post
            I wanted to thank everyone who responded for all of their help. Next year, I really think I am going to move towards a "cottage" model like the one above. I will have a "Lesson day" for each older kid.

            I had a question about Latin in particular. Should I still make time to do a full Latin oral recitation each day with both kids? And go over homework? Or is a once per week recitation sufficient?
            Other mommas who are far more experienced in Latin will likely chime in, but our Latin work looks like this:

            Monday: Cottage School Latin lesson
            Tues: Recitation
            Wed: Flash Cards and Grammar Questions
            Thurs: Recitation
            Fri: Flash Card and Quiz (sometimes gets bumped to Sat, depending on R's schedule)

            So, we alternate between F/C and recitation + grammar questions.
            Plans for 2019-20

            DD1 - 24 - College Grad and rocking her own bakery business
            DD2 - 13 - 8A Louisville HLS Cottage School and MPOA
            DS3 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
            DS4 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
            DD5 - 7 - MP2, Louisville HLS Cottage School
            DS6 - 5 - MP K

            [url]www.thekennedyadventures.com/all-about-our-memoria-press-homeschool[/url]

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Help tweak my homeschooling routine to make more time for youngest....

              Originally posted by TheAttachedMama View Post
              I wanted to thank everyone who responded for all of their help. Next year, I really think I am going to move towards a "cottage" model like the one above. I will have a "Lesson day" for each older kid.

              I had a question about Latin in particular. Should I still make time to do a full Latin oral recitation each day with both kids? And go over homework? Or is a once per week recitation sufficient?

              My experience would be to do the Latin recitation daily. Now, my experience isn't that great when it comes to Latin (my oldest dabbled with Henle for a couple of years and then we made it through about half of First Form before I stumbled and it fell apart), but I did notice when they did daily recitation they had a better grasp of the material.

              Also, I just read your original post and wanted to share how we juggle all our homeschool crazy. A brief snapshot is that we all start off together with a morning meeting (day/week plans and prayer). The older kids go work on what they can be doing independently (we also mimic a once week active lesson/cottage style system) while I work with the youngest on her work. This year I blocked 2 hours (next year she'll have 3) and what we get done, we get done. I will add in weekend enrichment (craft) if we didn't get to it during the week. It was hard transitioning from focusing on the oldies first thing to focusing on her, but like you I found myself squeezing her in wherever. And <sigh> phonics requires a bit more intentional attention. After lunch I meet with everyone again for another MTM (meeting with mom) and we spend about an hour doing the 'little' things - recitation, math drills, flash cards, etc. The next hour is for whatever subject is on for teaching that day, and the final hour is checking their independent work. This work is signed/checked off by me as being completed. If it hasn't been done then it is homework. We also end the day with mommy quiet time (because if I don't have that break, I'll be a little crazy come evening too! lol

              Anyway, I too found it difficult to move my bigger kids to afternoon but at the same time I found my youngest getting the short-end of the stick. She isn't much for school and wanting to learn to read so I have to give her the morning time attention or the rest of the day is a source of academic contention. The older kids struggled at first with doing their independent work in the morning, but once they realized they couldn't skate by without doing it (it took only a few missed mommy naps and them having to make supper) they stepped up in the personal accountability department.

              Peace and all good,
              Tricia
              Peace and all good,
              Tricia

              2018/2019
              DD, 24, public K-12 and baby stepping toward independence.
              DS, 17, dual enrollment with local community college.
              DS, 15, MPOA Latin, mix of everything else.
              DD, 13, MPOA Latin, mix of everything else.
              DD, 07, MP1/MP2

              "Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer."
              ~ Saint. Padre Pio

              Comment

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