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    Time Management Help

    This is my second year using Memoria Press, my first year schooling two children--3rd grade and Kindergarten (with an almost 2 year old in the mix, as well). We were able to get second grade work done with my oldest in 2-3 hours each day, but moving up to 3rd grade and adding a Kindergartener is killing us This is our second full week of school, and we've worked until way later in the afternoon than I would like on several days (still at work at 4:00).

    I think the main problem is with my 3rd grader--she is more interested in what I'm doing with my Kindergartener than in doing her work, and even when I send her in another room she draws out her work for far longer than is reasonable. When I'm finished with K, my 3rd grader then becomes upset that K is finished and she still has work to do. This leads to lots of lollygagging and refusing to cooperate.

    My husband and I have explained that 3rd grade is a step in growing up and requires more time than Kindergarten, we've tried to let natural consequences speak (your siblings get to play because they are done with their work!), and we've given other consequences for back talking, arguing, etc. I need more ideas before I lose my mind, haha. Help!

    --Abbie

    #2
    Re: Time Management Help

    Abbie,

    I'm bumping this thread because I think maybe there was some kind of glitch and no one saw it. So let's try again! I know there is help out there for you, but I don't feel qualified to be that help. It's been a long time since I had my pencil-twirling 3rd grader. I remember being very frustrated, but I don't remember finding a solution. We just worked throughout the late afternoon!

    Tanya

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Time Management Help

      Abbie! I didn't see this message before! Thank you, Tanya, for bumping it back up. So, yes...things are slow at the beginning, but the beginning it's not the end. It's just where you are right now.

      Can you tell us more about how your days are going?
      When do you start after breakfast?
      Do you start with K or 3rd?
      Are you taking time to read the picture books or novels aloud before seat work is finished?
      Do you completely finish with K before helping with 3rd, or do you flip back and forth?
      Are you doing every single enrichment item with K?
      Are you all working at one table, or, sounds like 3rd grader gets sent to another table?
      When is your toddler's most content window?
      Does he take a nap? How long and when?
      Do you have weekly appointments that are taking you away during the morning?

      We pretty much can't leave the house before noon if I expect to get things done with the Ker/3rd grader. They need too much "at elbow" time at this point in the year. I do expect greater independence from my third grader much later on the year and I think they will both get there, but it's too early with all this upgraded third grade work!

      You can assign tasks within a subject to be done after your teaching time is past. For example, yesterday we taught the grammar lesson and did the exercises together, but her job was to do the rule/example copywork on her own once we were done. I put that in a stack for "work to be done" without mom. We went subject by subject, finishing the teaching parts and doing some of it together, then she had a little stack to compete after mom-time and bring to me when she is done.

      My oldest, I think, has finally stopped struggling with having the most work every year. It's always going to be that way because he's the farthest along! However, it's the older students who have the chance for independent work, whether small items all the way to almost complete independence. Perhaps you can market this advantage to her. "It will take more time, yes, because it's more, but you have the privilege of doing a few items on your own! And, you (the student) have to be faithful with that opportunity."

      I'm interested to get more details so we can all pitch in with ideas.

      You are not alone. The beginning of a new year is always a bit disorienting for me! But, after a while we fall into a rhythm and it does actually become routine: not always easy, but routine!

      Hugs,
      Festina lentē,
      Jessica P

      2020-2021
      11th year HSing · 9th year MP
      @ Home, HLN, & Latin online
      11th, 9th, 6th, 3rd

      Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Time Management Help

        Also waving a hello and apologizing for the delay - there must indeed have been a hiccup!

        I agree with the questions Jessica asked...getting some more specifics on how you are currently running would definitely be helpful.

        It is definitely hard to be the oldest child, and third grade is a big change. I have a new third grader this year who has pulled a few books off the shelf already because she is eager to get started (we start Monday). Already she was trying to do her spelling by herself (because it is familiar) and she hit a snag. There was a question in the activities that asked for words that stand for time...so she automatically thought it wanted number words. But the answers were "later" and "until" (if I remember right). These were not things that were immediately obvious to her; i.e. they were not EASY. They required thinking. This is what I try to communicate to my third graders ahead of time, but they always act like they have been struck in the face with a 2" x 4" when it actually happens. The primary years are so much simpler in the sense that the "right" answer is usually obvious. So a bright kid can really coast her way through. Then third grade hits and suddenly the answers are not so obvious. This, along with the increased workload, makes the start of third grade challenging for just about everyone!

        I know your question was about time management...and we can certainly help you with that as we get more details from you. But I also wanted to share this bit of support for you that this is a very normal reaction on the part of your third grader. She is seeing her sibling do work that is fun, colorful, and EASY. And she is feeling stressed because hers is no longer so easy. I would suggest making sure she gets the routine down for math, Latin, and literature right now. The other subjects, just do as much as you can - but it is okay to go easy on them right now. Let her get a bit of confidence in a few key areas, then shift your "we need to improve this" focus to another subject to get it done better too. I don't mean drop everything else; just seek to do the bare minimum in them for now. As you get good at a couple things, then you can try to get good at each other thing one at a time.

        Hope to hear back from you soon! (and that there are no more glitches!)
        AMDG,
        Sarah
        2020-2021
        16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
        DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
        DS, 16
        DD, 14
        DD, 12
        DD, 10
        DD, 8
        DD, 6
        +DS+
        DS, 2

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Time Management Help

          Thanks, Tanya and Jessica! Jessica, I will try to answer your questions. It's good to know I'm not the only one.

          Right after breakfast (8/8:30) I send the kids upstairs to get dressed, then my 3rd grader practices piano before coming back down. We begin school with the Dearest Lord prayer, a brief time of family prayer/sharing, and recitations for K and 3rd. Then I have my 3rd grader work on the assignments from cottage school (Latin, Literature, Greek Myths, Grammar) while I work with my Kindergartener, all of us at the kitchen table. This hasn't been seamless, as my 3rd grader is sometimes more interested in what K is doing than in her work, so I've been sending her to another room when she is distracted with mixed results (sometimes she gets work done, other times she continues procrastinating.) I find I'm answering questions from her in interrupted bursts during my focused time with my Kinder, which is stressful for all of us--let's just say focusing is a work in progress for my Kindergartener I throw in breaks when we need them, but generally I try to get my 3rd grader to do all her independent work from cottage school as well as spelling and cursive, during the time that I'm working with my Kindergartener. When he is finished for the day, usually around lunchtime, we take a break. Then we do the things I need to teach to my 3rd grader--math, Christian studies, astronomy, states and capitals. We do the read alouds at different times, whenever I can fit them in between the needs of the toddler and the progress of my 3rd grader. It's typically the last thing I do with my Kindergartener. On a few days I left my 3rd grader to read her read aloud while I put the toddler down for a nap.

          I am not doing all the enrichment things with K. Since he goes to cottage school one day a week, I focus on Christian studies (one day), phonics, math, copybook and memory. We do read the read alouds, review the poem of the week, listen to the music and look at the art card each day. But since he studies these things at cottage school, we just have them around--we don't spend much time on them.

          We try to work at one table, sometimes my 3rd grader gets sent to another room or chooses to go to another room to help her focus.

          My toddler is most content in the mornings when we first get started, up until 10 or 11. He takes a nap right after lunch and sleeps 1.5-2.5 hours.

          We avoid appointments before noon if at all possible. My goal is for us to be home until school is finished each day.

          Perhaps I'm expecting my 3rd grader to do too much independently? Maybe I need to adjust my expectations as well. In 1st and 2nd grade we were almost always done before lunch, leaving me the afternoon to take care of the cleaning/cooking/keeping things running. Now I feel like we do school all day and in the evenings I'm scrambling to make something quick for dinner and feeling overwhelmed that the house has gone to shambles over the course of the day. I hope this gives some sense of our day. I'm happy to clarify if not

          Thanks!
          Abbie

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Time Management Help

            Sounds like she still needs more at the elbow training. "Great job honey, now do the next one" repeat ad naseum.

            One of the things that's recommended over on the special needs forum to cut down on visual and auditory distractions is a display board. You can buy these heavy-weight tri-fold boards at craft stores and big box stores alike. I would cut it horizontally in half so it's not quite so huge. Put that in front of her as her special 'office' .

            It would limit her being able to see her younger siblings work, but keep her within your view to consistently encourage her along.
            Married to DH for 14 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

            DS11- Simply Classical 5/6
            DD9- Simply Classical 5/6 (neurotypical, but schooling with big brother to save mom's sanity)
            DD 6- Classic Core First Grade

            We've completed:
            Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
            Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, and 4.

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Time Management Help

              Hi Abbie,

              You've gotten some great suggestions for cutting down on distractions and on scheduling. I wanted to add some encouragement to stick to your guns. With my 2nd grader, we were schooling until late into the day for the same reasons (distractions, perceived unfairness of the littles not having as much work). Halfway through week 4, she finally realized that this is the way it will be and got herself motivated to get down more quickly. I think she also built up the stamina needed to work more quickly. I will pray that yours does the same.

              Before school started she and I also had a conversation about being older means more responsibility and more privilege. We talked about how adding Latin meant she would have to school longer and she got to pick a new privledge (she gets to ride her bike to a neighbor's house but the littles have to stay in the driveway.) Over the last 4 weeks, I have emphasized that responsibility equals privilege. Could you help make this connection for her?

              Heidi
              Heidi

              2018-19
              dd- 3m
              ds- SC 1
              dd- SC B

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Time Management Help

                Originally posted by AbbieG View Post

                Right after breakfast (8/8:30) I send the kids upstairs to get dressed, then my 3rd grader practices piano before coming back down. We begin school with the Dearest Lord prayer, a brief time of family prayer/sharing, and recitations for K and 3rd. Then I have my 3rd grader work on the assignments from cottage school (Latin, Literature, Greek Myths, Grammar) while I work with my Kindergartener, all of us at the kitchen table. This hasn't been seamless, as my 3rd grader is sometimes more interested in what K is doing than in her work, so I've been sending her to another room when she is distracted with mixed results (sometimes she gets work done, other times she continues procrastinating.) I find I'm answering questions from her in interrupted bursts during my focused time with my Kinder, which is stressful for all of us--let's just say focusing is a work in progress for my Kindergartener I throw in breaks when we need them, but generally I try to get my 3rd grader to do all her independent work from cottage school as well as spelling and cursive, during the time that I'm working with my Kindergartener. When he is finished for the day, usually around lunchtime, we take a break.
                We are on year 4 of homeschooling. I have tried every year to have us be together to start our day. I have had zero success with this! I might suggest, while 3rd grader is getting dressed and practicing piano, you work with your k'er. If you are not with k'er, assign one of the supplemental history readers or something else. You can probably finish K in that time. My k'er son can do his math book by himself, if I sit there. He is not as distracted as my older, so I can teach her, but be near for my son. There might be a picture to draw, animal coloring page to color and core skills phonics left to k'er to do "independently". Then work with 3rd grader. After lunch, try that together thing, do some read-alouds, look at an art card/music, and finish up anything else. I would think you could still be done by 1-1:30. I was having a hard time adjusting to not being done by lunch, but now we are getting used to it. I make dinner at 4, nearly everyday. I take food out of freezer, if needed when we wake up. A load of laundry before I head downstairs... change at lunch, fold after school. I do more loads on Saturday then 1, but 1 a day during the week means only 2-3 on Saturday. (Sheets, towels, etc). I just do chores from 3-4. We 'rest" from 2-3. It is not perfect, but it is coming together, finally!
                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


                  #9
                  Re: Time Management Help

                  Abbie,

                  I'm so glad you asked this question. I'm certain we'll be in the same boat next year when Daniel starts kindergarten.

                  I just want to encourage you that you're not alone. This has been a big transition for us too. I texted another HLN mom after our first Tuesday at home. We both agreed that it was hard and long. This is a big jump, not only for our students, but for us too.

                  I explained to Lyla at the beginning of the year that we would plan to be schooling until 2:00 each day. I told her I hope we can be done sooner, but I expect that it will take that long. I'd say about half of our days have actually taken that long. And our attitudes have been okay about it because I set that expectation. We try and get as much done in the mornings as possible, since we both work better then. I actually work through the classes in the order they are listed in the curriculum guide. I like this for two reasons: 1-Lyla doesn't argue with me about what to do when. I just told her we need to do it in the order of the book. 2 - This makes Latin and Math first. I want our most focused energy to be in those classes.


                  I don't have much advice because I am not in your situation yet. But on a practical note, I have simplified dinners and asked my husband to help with the dishes. I just can't keep up with everything and try to establish a solid routine with school.

                  Hugs to you! You're not alone!
                  Katy
                  2017-2018
                  DD 8, 3A
                  DS 4, Junior Kindergartem

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Time Management Help

                    Abbie,
                    I have been rereading both your first and your second posts, and have just a couple thoughts to add to the great suggestions you have gotten already.

                    Hands down first thing is to try to be patient. In all likelihood, these first few weeks are going to be the toughest adjustment you will have to make until your third child is starting K. It probably seems like the last two weeks have been really long, but by the time you get up to week 20-21-22, these first two weeks are going to seem like the blink of an eye. You really are still settling in and adjusting to a very new school year - both because of reaching third grade for the first time, and also for having two students for the first time. Hang in there!

                    Your daily routine seems good - it sounds like the frustration lies more in how long things take, rather than in how to organize them. Part of this is adjusting to the new year, but part of this can be what you suspect - that your third grader needs more direct attention/supervision for the time being. I would definitely keep her at the table with you and the K'er, and be going back and forth between them. I know it is hard on everyone to have the interruptions between the two, but it really might be necessary. You should hear the order of the sentences that come out of my mouth - and most of the time people simply have to figure out which sentence is meant for each person! It is a lesson in patience for everyone, but like any virtue, it is a tough lesson to learn, and takes a ton of repetition!

                    But on that same topic of how long things take...I do have a follow up question. Would you say the third grader's day takes a long time because she spends so much of it being distracted/procrastinating, or because she is working but the work itself just takes a really long time? Which one is the bigger problem? Because on the one hand, you work on trying to help develop better work habits (and allow the child to suffer natural consequences) but on the other hand you might want to offer more help/less work right now to ease the adjustment so that school itself does not start to feel like a punishment for her. You have gotten suggestions for either one of those answers - it would be good to figure out which situation you are facing.

                    As for the household adjustment...this sure adds to the pressure of trying to get school done, doesn't it? As others have mentioned, most of us who have crossed that bridge of a child going into the Grammar School years have hit this same trouble spot - that our weekly routines have to accommodate more time for school - meaning we get more creative with how to keep up on everything else. Things I do are to start laundry during breakfast clean up, plan meals for the whole week that are easy to whip up in a flash, making double meals so that every second day is leftovers, or even having really simple meals that don't take a lot of prep or clean up (BLT's with a watermelon; oatmeal; smoothies and scrambled eggs; pancakes...). These are all things that have become weeknight meals when we are in a rough patch such as you are experiencing right now. We would always do a rapid fire straighten up at the end of the day to make the house look neat ("I am going to count to thirty and I want this room picked up by then...." - not in angry voice, but as a race to see if they could beat me). And for years now we have done the household cleaning all at once - "Saturday Straighten Up." This is when we change sheets, dust, vacuum, clean bathrooms, sweep the porch/patio, etc. Everyone pitches in to the best of their ability, and we get it done for the week in about two to three hours - at the time that my dh would be out getting the weekly groceries. The goal was that we get this all done in the morning on Saturdays and have the afternoon free to be outside, do something together, do a bigger yard project, etc.

                    The last thing that I wanted to add based on what you were sharing is that another part of this transition that can be hard is that as your kids get older, you have to be so much firmer to keep them disciplined about their work. I honestly love K, 1st and 2nd. They are such delightful years, and kids are usually still so eager and excited about school. But third grade is really a year that they begin to learn that it is hard work - right at the same time they are hitting ages 8 and 9 when they are pushing a lot of other buttons/testing other limits as well. My job as their parent really begins to change. They still have a lot of little kid habits that need to be brought up to a big kid level of maturity. This takes a lot of calm, patient, and firm consistency about expectations, consequences, and mutual respect. This is as much a part of the lessons for the year as their book work (at least that has been the case for me - currently on my fifth third grader!). It does not have to be a battle, but it can often feel that way.

                    I don't know if this is enough concrete suggestions for you (because I don't think I gave you a lot of those) but you have already gotten great ones from others, and from what it sounds like, you are doing what you need to do. I really do think things will get better for you if you hang in there and give things a couple more weeks. Please keep us posted on your progress!

                    AMDG,
                    Sarah
                    Last edited by KF2000; 09-08-2017, 06:48 AM.
                    2020-2021
                    16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
                    DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
                    DS, 16
                    DD, 14
                    DD, 12
                    DD, 10
                    DD, 8
                    DD, 6
                    +DS+
                    DS, 2

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Time Management Help

                      You've gotten lots of great advice.

                      I just wanted to throw in a suggestion similar to Colomama for having your 3rd and K at the table at the same time.

                      You can use something like this: http://www.classroomproducts.com/3si...yABEgJWy_D_BwE (obviously you can get them for way cheaper that that) and these: https://www.amazon.com/3M-Peltor-H10.../dp/B00009LI4K

                      That could help her pay attention a little bit more. Also if you do send her to elsewhere to work, may give her one assignment at a time. Break it way down, like read these two pages, then come back, or answer these questions, do this one page, etc. I tried giving my older children a clipboard with individual work assignments on them at the beginning of our year and it was a disaster. One, there were too many things listed, and two, they were mostly things that can be individual work by the end of the year, but not yet.

                      Be encouraged! The beginning of the year is always tough. I think it took us 2 weeks to get through the first weeks work.
                      Susan

                      2019-2020
                      A (11) - R&S math 4, Mash up of MP 2/3 & SC 4
                      C (10) - R&S math 3, Mash up of MP 2/3 & SC 4
                      G (6) - Simply Classical C

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Time Management Help

                        Hey Abbie,

                        I know we've talked some in person but just saw this and wanted to encourage you that I only have one child and I often feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of homeschooling and being the homemaker!

                        I don't have much to suggest since I've never had two to teach, but I wanted to share that one thing I've done with my third grader is print out a daily schedule (just of subjects) so she knows what subjects she'll be doing each day in the order we try to do them. I laminated it and she can use a dry erase marker to check off subjects as we go. I even put things like practicing the piano on it. She is a driven personality so this helps her see what she needs to accomplish each day. You may already be doing something similar.

                        I do have to tell her what to do when we get to each subject and keep her going throughout the day. I've heard kids get more independent by 4th grade with their work, but we aren't there yet.

                        Feel free to call or text anytime
                        Last edited by KariE; 09-12-2017, 01:28 AM.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Time Management Help

                          Thanks so much for your support and ideas, ladies! I didn't see these responses until today...my apologies for the delay in an update.

                          Our main problem is procrastination rather than struggling with content. I'm going to try some of the different scheduling ideas that several of you mentioned. Hopefully with some patience and more time under our belt we will settle into a better routine. Unfortunately this morning she lollygagged and only completed Latin and Math, so we worked until almost 4:30 this afternoon finishing everything else. I don't think she likes working so late anymore than I do, so here's hoping she is motivated to get with it in the mornings sometime soon

                          I appreciate the reminders to have patience and remember that this is a big change for all of us. Thanks for your kind, helpful words!

                          Abbie

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