WE DID IT!!!! We survived the first week of school with seven little ones! Here’s a little overview of how it went for us, in case you are wondering.
The first and second days, we did really well at getting up early and getting started. The problem, however, is that we stayed up VERY late (or early into the next morning) in order to make everything happen. I will be adjusting that this weekend because it catches up with you. I think I just wanted the first week to go well so I was willing to do WHATEVER it took to make that happen. Now we know what works, so we can be more prepared for that ahead of time. The third and fourth days started later, but they still went well. I didn’t like starting later, so we won’t make that a habit, but I was still happy that we got through the day.
- a firm schedule- I started with times, but then I just made sure our day followed the schedule order so I wouldn’t stress too much over finishing right at 9:29 in order to move on to our 9:30 activity.
- timers- The first day went great, and I had Superman buy the girls some kitchen timers for their independent reading, which they loved. When day two started dragging a little, with Picasso not finishing until 5:00 that afternoon, I decided to use the timers for each individual activity. I used time cards found at Homeschool Creations, and I chose times that were a little more than what I thought they needed in order to build their confidence with the timer. The timer can be intimidating, so you have to use it the right way! Being able to beat the timer motivated them!
- prepared meals- Superman was a jewel and prepared their lunches for the first two days. On day two, he put their lunches in a glad disposable container for each kid (we’d love to eventually get these, but the glad containers served the same purpose without the dividers). The special touch was that he packed what each kid likes and wrote their name on them, with a picture of something they love! I know! Now you know why I call him Superman! He also posted on our family message board what our menu was for the day and had their snack prepared. This eliminated all arguments and whining about what we are eating that day. Dinner was also ready to go so I didn’t have to finish a full day of school and then stand over the kitchen counters and stove top preparing dinner.
- workfolders- This is taken from Homeschool Creations, again, and it has been wonderful. I put their time card on their folder pocket. I’m not putting cards in for the whole week yet, but I hope to eventually.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK-
- late nights for us- Staying up past midnight (I’m not going to tell on us by giving you the actual time). I was tired by the end of day three. It’s go, go, go for a homeschooling momma with a range like ours. The baby still has to be fed, diaper changed, and entertained when he’s not napping.
- nap times- Getting the boys down for a nap is hard right now. They share a room, and they just want to play. I’ve got to figure that out this weekend.
- Being off schedule- We were thrown off by some car issues that had our day starting with uncertainty on Thursday. The kids don’t like that! The one thing I learned, though, is that they are loving school! When I told them we might have to take Daddy to work, they moaned and whined, asking if a neighbor could loan him a car.
I even got to attend a reading conference on Friday, thanks to our moms babysitting the kids. Picasso has some struggles in reading, and I am hoping this conference will give me some insight on what approach to take with her.
A look at our schedule:
- breakfast and morning chores
- morning school routine- calendar time, which we do all together (I’ll have to do a separate post on what all this includes. It’s more than calendar and the weather!)
- outside time- I do this early to get the wiggles out. We also work in snack time here.
- music (which we didn’t do this week because they needed a little extra time with workfolders while they are getting used to them)
- workfolders for the girls while I do “preschool” activities with the boys (I’ll post more about this later, too, but my inspiration comes from this blog)
- lunch- I usually read aloud during lunch. I’ve been reading a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Jago. The kids love the pictures and the way every story points to Jesus, even those from the Old Testament.
- art (see music)- my plan for this is to follow Charlotte Mason and do picture studies, as well as having the kids do an activity similar to the artist we are studying
- quiet time- reading or other quiet activities for the girls while I put the boys down for a nap
- instruction time with the girls- This is where I teach the bulk of our curriculum, Paths of Exploration.
- handiwork/projects- This is time for the kids to work on and learn new skills and activities. This could be a time to do sewing, cooking, building projects, etc. We haven’t started this officially, but I am hoping to once we get the morning schedule moving more fluidly.
- afternoon chores
- outside time
Right now, we are making sure we get the instruction time intact before we add the extra stuff. They are doing so well, and they have missed it the last couple of days. We have had the t.v. unplugged and stored in the basement all week now and we are loving it! We didn’t have cable, but we were in such a bad habit of keeping it on most of the day. With it gone, there is no argument about keeping it off. They can watch a video on the computer for now. We may eventually set it up for viewing downstairs, but there’s no rush. It has been a blessed week, and I am looking forward to the next one! I will leave you with more pictures of our first day (since Superman was home, he took a lot of pics for me).