Tag Archives: Schedules

Wrapping Up Year 3 With Kid Tres

Average weekly time: Together (5), alone (10), total hours (15)

 

Rate each book (like, neutral, dislike).

Add a few comments (my comments are italicized).

Any changes for next child or next year?

 

Bible/Spiritual Reading

Egermeier’s

Like. It’s very interesting.

Like. I read it 1x or 2x per week at lunchtime to all the kids. Then I ask  a question or two each. I like the narrative approach to the Bible.

Little Pilgrim’s Progress

Like. Love it! So exciting.

Like. So much better than Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (at least for the 5-10 age bracket).

My Path to Heaven

Neutral. It’s pretty boring. But then, it doesn’t take that long.

Like. It’s a bit dry. But worthwhile. He and Kid Dos did it together.

 

History/Biographies

Child’s History Of the World (2nd half)

Like. Love it! It tells so much about history.

Like. Third time around and it’s still a keeper.

Signature Bios: Teddy Roosevelt, GW Carver, Geronimo, Edith Cavell, Annie Oakley, JP Jones, Abe Lincoln, Pocahontas, Lafayette,FDR

Like. They’re all very interesting. All of them.

Like. He read these at his own pace.

Timeline

Neutral. It’s fun writing them, but it takes quite a while if you have a lot of stuff to do.

Neutral. I don’t know how much sticks, but we only do it every 3 weeks so it’s not much effort.

 

Geography/Cultures

SovietTrek

Neutral. How they can bike across Russia stood out to me.

Like. Good adventure story and decent geography.

Little Tiger

Dislike. It’s about an artist. It’s boring.

Neutral. I don’t think he got much from it.

Children of China

Dislike. Boring again.

Neutral. I don’t think he got much from this either, but I think it depends on the kid.

Water Buffalo

Like. Tells about his life and how he lives and hunts crabs and stuff.

Like. I was going to read it aloud but he did fine reading to himself.

 

Nature Study/Science

Pagoo

Neutral. Took a while but it was fun how he gets to share a shell.

Like. But I am so glad I didn’t read it aloud this time around. I hate reading it, and he did great reading it himself.

Wild Season

Like. I didn’t like it and then it was fun.

Like. He illustrated the narrations and they were the best illustrations ever.

Among the People

Like. Love it! It’s all about animals.

Like. We had fun laughing at the silly/naughty animals and morals.

Small Square: Woods, Coral Reef, Seashore

Dislike. Tells about animals in a boring way.

Neutral. I’m getting a little tired of reading them out loud and may switch to something else next year. They are starting to feel a bit Usborne-y.

Nature Journal

Neutral. We have to draw for 10 minutes (too long). But I like that you get to draw all kinds of different stuff.

Neutral. I’ve had a hard time getting any of the kids to put any effort into them. I may do more directed nature journals or do object lessons next year.

 

Literature

Heidi

Neutral. The bad thing was it took so long, and the good thing was it’s about her life.

Like. Long chapters but such a good read-aloud , and he probably wouldn’t have read it on his own.

Pinocchio

Neutral. He’s so disobedient and it’s funny. I feel like it’s bad for kids if they’re young it’s not doing the right example.

Neutral. I’m not sure why this has been so popular over time; seems like the moral is “go to school and be obedient.” Ours had some very funny translations.

Shakespeare

Dislike. It take so long and everyone falls in love.

Like. I did drawings for about the first half of each play so we could keep everyone straight.

American Tall Tales

Like. Love it! It’s so funny and it doesn’t make you believe anything. It just gets crazier and crazier.

Like. He enjoyed it.

People Could Fly

Like. Awesome. There are lots of ones about devils. I like John and the Devil’s Daughter.

Like. He was fine reading the dialect and really liked it.

Heroes

Dislike. Awful, just plain awful.

Neutral. This was challenging for him….not sure why.

Princess and Goblin

Dislike. Awful. It took so long and I had to read 3 chapters [per week] and it was so boring.

Like. He didn’t like it but I think it was worthwhile.

By the Shores of Silver Lake

Like. That was fun, that was great, that was awesome.

Like. He got into the Little House books this year.

Milly Molly Mandy

Like. It’s so fun.

Like. This was one of his first chapter books that he finished himself this year.

 

Poetry

Shakespeare Sonnets and Love Poems

Dislike. Just so boring.

Dislike. Not a success.

Ogden Nash

Dislike. I don’t remember it.

Neutral. Funny, but totally over kids’ heads.

 

Math

SU 3rd Grade

Dislike. Such hard stuff and tests.

Like. SU is so easy to use.

Ray’s Intellectual

Dislike. It took so long.

Like. 10 minutes about 3x/week  and is good mental math.

Miquon

Neutral. Only the fun ones were good, which were barely any. I like evens and odds and stuff.

Like. Still good for him.

 

Writing

Pentime Handwriting

Dislike. I hate writing the long paragraphs with seven things in it.

Like. But he’s been getting away with spending 3 days on 2 pages and needs to work harder next year.

 

Reading

McGuffey 3rd

Dislike. There are lots of long ones and about really boring stuff like “The Rainbow.”

Like. Lol—boring but good practice reading aloud.

 

Foreign Language

Duolingo Norwegian, Chinese, Spanish, Greek, Hebrew

Like. You get to learn so much stuff and buy stuff with lingots.

Neutral. I think the kids spend a lot of time on the computer and I have no idea how much actual language learning is going on.

 

Art

Drawing: Animals

Neutral. I like that you draw all different kinds of animals and some were really hard, though.

Like. Not difficult.

Colored Pencil

Dislike. It’s so hard and I could get nothing lined up.

Like. He did some really good drawings.

 

Picture Study

Five In A Row (Children’s Books)

Like. I didn’t like Grandfather’s Journey though.

Like. I really enjoyed doing FIAR this year.

 

Music

Hoffman Academy Piano

Dislike. It takes forever and teaches such hard stuff. From Hot Cross Buns to Cuckoo.

Neutral. It’s free and is self-teaching. Kids Tres and Cuatro especially learned from it since they started from zero musical knowledge.  I’d really like to get real music lessons next year.

 

Overall Evaluation:

Future Children? Make the stuff a bit easier. Don’t give them as much SU.

Maybe switch science read alouds for my sake. Limit time spent on Duo.

 

Next Year? Maybe a bit less or as much instead of more SU. It’s fun but only division. Give me more history books that are fun and don’t take too long.

Find a music teacher. Maybe switch to video drawing lessons for a bit. Follow up on lists and time management. I think I’ll go back to individual poetry and picture study.

 

 

 

Wrapping Up Year 4 With Kid Dos

Average weekly time: Together (5), alone (15), total hours (20)

 

Rate each book (like, neutral, dislike).

Add a few comments (my comments are italicized).

Any changes for next child or next year?

 

Bible/Spiritual Reading

Egermeier’s

Like. It’s fun to hear and I really love the questions.

Like. I read it 1x or 2x per week at lunchtime to all the kids. Then each kid answers a  question or two. I like the narrative approach to the Bible.

Little Pilgrim’s Progress

Like. Love. It’s interesting and fun.

Like. So much better than Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (at least for the 5-10 age bracket).

My Path to Heaven

Neutral. It was a bit boring but I liked looking at the illustrations.

Like. It’s a bit dry. But worthwhile. She and Kid Tres did it together.

 

History/Biographies

Builders of the Old World

Neutral. It wasn’t the most interesting book I’ve ever read.

Like. Worth reading, and a good level for her.

Medieval Days and Ways

Dislike. It was really boring and there was nothing about girls in it. None of my school books ever have anything about girls in it.

Like. Worth reading, and a good level for her.

Timeline

Neutral. It’s not my favorite thing but I very much enjoy doing it by myself now but it’s hard to pick things out to write.

Neutral. I don’t know how much sticks, but we only do it every 3 weeks so it’s not much effort.

 

Geography/Cultures

Explorer Biographies: Vikings, Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Zheng He, Columbus, Balboa, Magellan, Cortez, Pizarro, Raleigh, Hudson, Cook, AfricaTrek, Perry, Amundsen/Scott, Himalayas

Neutral. At first they were very interesting. Closer to the end they got a bit boring, and I got really tired of hearing about exploring America.

Like. This was a lot of reading for her. A biography every 2-3 weeks. She really grew into it, and her mapwork was very detailed and great.

 

Nature Study/Science

Human Body

Neutral. It was pretty interesting but didn’t teach me much about healing people like I hoped so I could be even with T—- [a friend] knowing how to heal with nature.

Like. I think she got more from this than Kid Uno did.

Building Book

Dislike. It took forever to read and was most of the time boring but now that I’m done it taught me a lot and in Newsies there is the Brooklyn Bridge and now I know all about it.

Like. This was her most challenging book—lots of pages every week and not the most interesting topic. She rose to the occasion.

Nature Journal

Neutral. Not my favorite, I don’t exactly like it too much but I don’t hate it either. It’s hard to draw.

Neutral. I’ve had a hard time getting any of the kids to put any effort into them. I may do more directed nature journals or do object lessons next year.

 

Literature

Heidi

Like. Loved. It was very interesting and fun.

Like. Long chapters but such a great read-aloud, and she might not  have read it on her own.

Pinocchio

Neutral. I liked how it was a different version [than the Disney movie] but I kind of knew what was going to happen.

Neutral. I’m not sure why this has been so popular over time; seems like the moral is “go to school and be obedient.” Ours had some very funny translations.

Short Stories

Neutral. They seemed to take forever to read and I liked them better when you printed the out. The Lady and the Tiger was the best. I don’t like how they end in suspense.

Like. Some (like Irving’s) were over her head. Worthwhile.

Gilgamesh Trilogy

Neutral. They were so short—it was a bit disappointing.

Like. She liked them a lot.

Arabian Nights

Like. Loved! So interesting and fun. Love knowing all the Arabian names.

Like. Lots of reading, but she flew through it with extremely detailed narrations.

Treasure Island

Neutral. Wasn’t my favorite. Very thrilling and fun but not a single girl.

Like.  A good classic.

Bullfinch

Neutral. I could hardly understand any of it cuz you started out with Kid Uno.

Like. It was a bit hard for Kid Dos because Kid Uno had been reading it for a year so Kid Dos started in the middle of Greek mythology. I’m glad to be done with the Greek/Roman section. The Norse bit was more interesting.

Incredible Journey

Neutral. Fun but not one of my favorites.

Neutral. I agree.

Brighty of the Grand Canyon

Neutral. Very interesting.

Like. A good one.

Iron Scepter

Like. Very interesting and fun and magical. I like magical books.

Like. She got the allegory parts.

 

Poetry

Shakespeare Sonnets and Love Poems

Neutral. Poetry isn’t my favorite thing—it doesn’t have a solid story to it.

Dislike. Not a success.

Ogden Nash

Neutral. Same reason.

Neutral. Funny, but totally over kids’ heads.

 

Math

SU 4th Grade

Dislike. It has given me a lot of knowledge about how to figure out my math problems but it is very boring and hard. The only thing I look forward to is getting a piece of candy or 15 minutes of math game.

Like. SU is so easy to use. She did great in ADAM this year (except for geometry).

Ray’s Intellectual

Dislike. Not very fun and very hard.

Like. 10 minutes about 3x/week  and is good mental math.

Miquon

Dislike. Not very fun and it’s hard and I hardly ever get anything and sometimes you get mad at me during it.

Like. Still good for her. She should finish next year. I do get frustrated trying to explain it, especially if I’m hungry or it’s 5:30 pm and I want to be done with school for the day!

 

Writing

Pentime Handwriting

Neutral. Pretty boring but not as hard as math. I like writing about animals and after writing the very big paragraphs I like coloring it in.

Like. Her handwriting is excellent.

 

Grammar Rod and Staff 5

Neutral. Mostly dislike. Not fun. Challenging and hard.

Like. This has been tough for her with no formal grammar. We are taking it slowly. Some Mad Libs might help.

 

Reading

McGuffey 4th  

Dislike. Boring. I cannot even understand the stories.

Like. Lol—boring but good practice reading aloud.

 

Foreign Language

Duolingo German, French, Spanish

Neutral. It gets very depressing because the other people cheat in XP.

Neutral. I think the kids spend a lot of time on the computer and I have no idea how much actual language learning is going on.

 

Art

Drawing Animals

Neutral. Boring. But I like playing a game where I’m an explorer drawing animals.

Like. She produced some great baby animal drawings. Quick and easy.

 

Picture Study

Five In A Row (Children’s Books)

Neutral. It’s not my favorite subject.

Like. I really enjoyed doing FIAR this year.

 

Music

Hoffman Academy Piano

Dislike. Hate him, he’s so boring, I had to start with Hot Cross Buns.

Neutral. It’s free and is self-teaching. Kids Uno and Dos found it too basic since they’ve had music lessons before. I’d really like to get real music lessons this year.

Overall Evaluation:

Future Kids? Not so many exploring books and biographies. Perhaps doing math 4 days a week. For the Building Book, I feel sorry for Kid Tres cuz he has to read so many pages. Maybe assign fewer pages or not do it at all.

If Kid Dos could handle all the reading this year, any child can 😊 It’s a big jump in reading from Year 3.

Next Year? Maybe add in a new subject or two like a fantasy book. I don’t want to have to read all exploring biographies again. Less math for me. More outside time in the summer. Making lists the way they were…I liked it better when you made me do stuff. No more Miquon. Maybe more fun poetry that’s easy to memorize. Make rock climbing school like fitness classes. More fun books like Heidi. Continue to do your read aloud.

I’ll probably plan her science around rock climbing. I will continue group read alouds. She could use some direction with lists and time management. If she finishes her handwriting, she will start typing. Add some spelling practice.

 

 

 

A Day in the Life

Someone said she’d like to see what a typical day looks like for us, so here is a “normal” weekday during this season (with 4 school age kids, a preschooler, a toddler, and me in the sick/tired first trimester with Kid Siete):

6:45       DH wakes up with the the two youngest, gets everyone breakfast, changes diapers, gets ready for work. The older kids trickle out of bed and the more motivated ones can start on their school lists (which I leave on the kitchen counter the night before).

8ish      Or 9ish these days, with early pregnancy fatigue. I wake up, eat, clean up breakfast, do some laundry, clean. DH leaves for work. If the kids are playing nicely together, and we aren’t going anywhere that morning, I let them play for a while. If we have an outing, we start the long process of  getting ready to go. If they are fighting, or if someone is eager to get his list done early that day, I have them start on chores or independent school work. This includes handwriting, drawing, typing, music appreciation, nature journals, math for the older kids, some art projects, memorization, assigned reading, written or drawn narrations, and so on.

10:30       The little kids are ready for a snack and I am ready for all the kids to have outside time. This is a minimum of one hour daily (lots more in warmer weather). Sometimes I do yard work or take them across the street to the playground, sometimes we all go on a “nature walk”, sometimes I run (taking one or two with me in the jogging strollers), sometimes I get caught up on indoor stuff while they pester me play outside. I’ve also been doing food prep in the morning when I can since my morning sickness gets worse throughout the day. About once a week, we hang out with friends, or go the zoo or museum or somewhere special outdoors. This is also when I schedule doctor or dentist visits.

12 or 1    Either Kid Uno or I make lunch. While they eat, I check my email or the news or finish whatever I was working on earlier. If we’ve had an outing in the morning, I try to get home by 1:30 or 2. After lunch, Kids Cinco and Seis nap for a couple hours, so it’s straight to the books for the rest of us. I alternate among kids. This is when I do math and phonics, poetry, read alouds, hear narrations, get out supplies for art projects, check handwriting and Miquon, sing, etc….everything they can’t do without me.

3:30       Twice a week, I take Kid Uno to her ballet class. The younger kids often watch Wild Kratts while I’m gone, or finish their independent work. On other days, I frequently doze off during someone’s times tables or phonics, thanks again to pregnancy fatigue, so when I wake up we try to pick up where they left off (unless Kid Seis already woke up from her nap, in which case everything just goes crazy).

4            The two younger kids wake up sometime around now, and everyone has a snack. We usually have a few school things left to finish, like correcting math. Then chaos free time descends. And chores. And neighbor friends. Lately I’ve been sending them out for more outside time before dark but that will probably end when it starts snowing, because it’s not fun getting into snow clothes twice a day. I do more laundry, pay bills, make dinner, etc.

6ish       DH gets home. We usually eat dinner around 7. Kid Uno needs to be picked up from ballet twice a week, Kid Dos has a horseback riding lesson once a week, and we have house church one night a week, so our evenings feel pretty full. If I haven’t worked out during the day, this is usually when I do it.

7:30       We clean up dinner, DH usually supervises the kids picking up the house, plays with them, does baths, and reads Proverbs to the kids while they eat something sweet. I check off all the boxes we completed today, and write out tomorrow’s school lists for the four older kids. Occasionally I read stories or play a board game to assuage my mom guilt if I haven’t spent much time with a kid that day 😉

8            Bedtime for Kid Seis.

8:30      Bedtime for Kids Cinco and Cuatro

9            Bedtime for Kids Tres, Dos, and Uno. They can do something quiet till 9:30. Meanwhile, I have crashed and am doing something low energy like online shopping, reading, or talking with DH.

11ish     DH and I go to bed. The end. Unless someone little wakes up in the night 🙂

 

How We Do…School With Babies and Toddlers

With six kids under age nine, this seems to be one of the most common questions I’m asked these days…how do you do school with babies and toddlers?

I’ve never been a morning person, although I have tried hard (at times) 🙂 So that rules out the wake-up-early-and -get-it-all-done-before-the-little-kids-wake-up method.

I make a list for the two “school kids” every night, and leave it on the counter where they will theoretically see it and start on it when they wake up. (Actually I suspect DH gets them started, because I am sleeping or nursing a baby in bed so I don’t really know for sure what happens before 8:30 am). Most days, they get in a good chunk of independent work in the morning. Mainly Kid Uno, since Kid Dos is dependent on me for most of her work. This may include handwriting, drawing, outdoor time (at least one hour every day), some written math, art projects, memorization, music practice, etc. Meanwhile I am wrangling younger kids, cleaning, paying bills, putting winter clothes on the little kids so they can play outside…

Then we have lunch. I don’t eat with the kids. Sometimes I read them a story from Egermeier’s. Sometimes I nurse a baby. Sometimes I check my email or put in a load of laundry or work out…

Then Kid Cinco and Kid Cuatro go down for naps. And naptime is when we do all the other school stuff. It is basically a race to get it done before the little kids wake up. Which doesn’t really allow for leisurely discussions or interesting rabbit trails, because I must check off my boxes to make it look like a productive school day! Just kidding–sort of. Some days are more enjoyable than others, and some days just don’t really work out the way I intended, and some we finish earlier than anticipated which gives us a little down time, and I am still not always happy about “giving up” my naptime break (I used to be able to use it for reading or hobbies or cleaning or whatever) because it makes my day REALLY LONG…but that is what works for us during this phase.

Once a week, we have a day where we do our together stuff…this is singing a hymn, reading One Small Square, Among the people, Saints, Lamb’s Shakespeare, and filling in their timelines (every 3-4 weeks). On the other afternoons, I alternate between Kid Uno and Kid Dos with their separate readings and math and narrations.

Kid Tres kinda does his own thing in the afternoons. His only schoolwork is handwriting, which takes all of five minutes a day, and I haven’t started reading or math with him yet…so he plays solitaire Othello or Nerf basketball or looks at books or draws or does puzzles or plays legos.

Most days we finish somewhere between 4-6pm. If we’ve had a morning out of the house, or if we’ve had friends over, we will probably have a lighter school day in the afternoon. We almost never go out between 2-4 because I am a stickler for naps for little kids. We rarely do any school on Saturdays, but often the kids’ weekend activities count toward my checklist for them. Things like ballet class, art projects, a hike, learning a new chore, listening to music, and so on. DH will often take the older kids out for a few hours on Saturdays so I get a kid break. Those are nice times for recharging, planning, hobbies, catching up, and thinking uninterrupted thoughts. And two of my goals for this year are to use the weekends for kid dates (so they each get some one-on-one time with parents), and to read aloud more to the younger kids. During the week, I probably spend about 2 hours a day reading to the older kids, and my voice is a bit worn out by evening, so the little kids get fewer stories than I think they should. Still trying to balance those needs.

So that is what our general schedule looks like. It’s actually quite different from the Charlotte Mason ideal of morning lessons, done by lunch, and afternoon free time…but I am not her, and she was a teacher, not a mother of six children! My priorities are outdoor time for everyone in the morning (my kids seem to do better with sitting down after they’ve used up some energy, and I do better after they’ve taken their noise outside for a while), and naptimes for the under-fives while the older kids work through their mom/teacher intensive subjects while it’s relatively quiet and I am available. So far, so good!