There is this great myth about homeschooling. For some reason people often think we have it "all together." They often think that we live some magical life. I will admit, we do have it somewhat organized (for survival purposes) but we are a normal, active, sometimes messy and loud family. Our goal is to create a living and learning environment to nurture, disciple, and educate our children. So how does a working mom of ten get it all done?
Many of you have asked me to talk about our school day. Although I will share our daily routine please keep in mind that every family must find what works for them. This will change according to seasons in your life...new babies, sickness, moving, and all sorts of things can alter our daily lives. Also, remember that I work a full time job...which REALLY alters our plans. But again, we must always keep our eyes on goal (you will eventually get there). So how do we nurture, disciple and educate all at the same time?
As a working mom I need to keep somewhat of a routine but allow time for relationships to build and creativity to flow. This is not always easy.
So let's begin with our morning routine
8:00-Everyone is up and completing their morning chores. They are responsible for making their beds, starting their laundry, and grabbing something for breakfast.
9:00-We gather in the living room with our coffee or hot cocoa and review the "game plan" for the day (soccer, work schedules, etc...). We are studying Ancient History together using Mystery of History as our textbook and reading "real" books that depict that time period. I spend time reading aloud our history. We then have our morning devotional. This year we are using Institute in Basic Life Principles character development-using a new character trait each month. It goes great with our animal study!
Then we begin our day with prayer.
Now it's time for our school day to begin
10:30 or so-The three younger children gather around the dining room table while the two teen boys grab their computers and begin math for the day (a subject that we can easily get behind on if not done daily).
Victoria begins her day with cursive, spelling, vocabulary and phonics. This is something that requires minimal assistance-allowing me to work with Anna and Peyton with their reading, language, and phonics. Each read aloud to me daily.
Meanwhile, the boys complete math and move onto Essence in Writing-a writing program that we are loving! They enjoy sitting on the couch, watching the DVD on our big screen TV and then completing their assignments. They also complete their vocabulary assignment using Wordly Wise vocabulary curriculum.
I can easily teach math to the younger children and get lunch started.
During this time both Anna and Peyton work on a computer reading program called Reading Eggs and Victoria will complete her reading and language work (hopefully). We use the Christian Light curriculum for our elementary "basics." It's very thorough and can be done independently-although I am always present to help when needed.
12:30-LUNCH and break time. By this time of day we all need a break! I feel that the children have completed the "basics." Now this is when things vary...depending on my work schedule.
While the kids are riding bikes, playing video games or just playing legos I take a quick shower and get ready for work.
1:30-Victoria has free reading time and practices the piano while the teen boys work on literature and science. On my non-work days we complete our science study of the World of Animals-using Answers in Genesis science curriculum.
2:00-Mom leaves for work and all the children clean up their school books. The boys are usually finishing up their assignments.
They each have an afternoon chore to complete before dad arrives home around 3:00.
I know, we aren't as interesting as you thought!
Here are some helpful homeschooling tips:
Find a good homeschool group or co-op to get involved with. Our co-op meets every Friday. At home all the students are working in the same textbooks (history and science). We gather together and have fun with our science labs, history projects, art and field trips. How to organize a co-op in your area....article for later date.
Work yourself out of a job. It's worth your time and effort to train your children to complete household chores. Studies show how beneficial daily chores are in the lives of our children. They need to know that they are needed and have value in the family. Also, as a homeschool and working mom. I simply don't have the energy to do it all myself.
Use the buddy system. There are times when I may not have the time for the little ones to read aloud to me....I may be helping the teens with essays or algebra. So while I get ready for work the little ones grab their big sibling buddy and cuddle on the couch (or porch swing) and read to them. This is beneficial for you and your children. This teaches the older children patience and future parenting skills! It also fosters relationships. I love watching Peyton snuggling up with an older boy while they laugh over the Berenstain Bears.
Meal plan. Every Sunday night I quickly write out the meals for the week and post it on the refrigerator. This helps my hubby know what to pull out of the freezer the night before and keeps our spending to a minimum. Without planning we tend to run and grab pizza after soccer instead of a healthy home cooked meal-which is cheaper for our family.
Use living books for such subjects as history and science. We enjoy beginning the day with our history read aloud.
Once you find a curriculum that works for you and your children stick with it. Switching math and language arts programs each year can be costly and time consuming.
Make time for field trips! I cannot understand how some homeschool families do nothing but school work...that makes for a crabby crew at our house. Children learn by using all of their senses. Go explore the world around you! Here are some ideas for family activities.
Write out your philosophy...or your goals for the education and nurturing of your children. You will have some rough days....days when the baby is fussy, teens hate life, and the hubby is on your last nerve (not mine of course! ha ha). You will need to remind yourself the WHY of what you are doing.
Do the 15 minutes "fix up" prior to your man arriving home. Brush your teeth, throw on some lipstick and spray on some perfume. You are kidding yourself if you think he wants to come home to a messy house, a wife that looks like she has been in the trenches, and fussy kids.....especially after he's been working with the hot secretary who always smells good. My husband loves to come home to peace. He walks in the door and always gives me a long kiss...yes, right in front of the kiddos. We are promoting a healthy marriage!
Give yourself some grace. I have been homeschooling forever! And I have learned that you have good days, awesome inspiring days, and days that you want to just go back to bed and forget the day even happened. Take the time to organize yourself yet be flexible.
"I homeschool my children not to prepare them for tests but to prepare them for life."
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