Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I Want To Hear From You

Tonight I am beginning to schedule out our family's fall months. Other than the events for which we lead worship I have done little planning in advance for our family schedule. There's been no great need to plan ahead as our girls are still very young and we could just wake up and fly by the seat of our pants really. But life in the last year has started owning me instead of me owning it and I'm ready to make some personal goals and family goals and stick to them... protecting our time together and the things to which we know God has called our family. Also, this fall will be our first year of homeschooling. I took the plunge and joined Libby into a Classical Conversations group in town. We'll be meeting with that group once every week and spending some time during our other weekdays teaching/learning the material - adding Sonlight curriculum to that as well.... I digress - the point is... I want to be consistent (not one of my best qualities so far) so we can do all this well - be good stewards of our time.

But before I get very detailed in my scheduling I want to hear from you! If you are a family with 2 or more young children (say, under the age of 7) and you homeschool, I would appreciate hearing what your typical day/week looks like. If you are not a family as described above, I would still like to hear about the personal goals you set for yourself or for your family each year. I read a blog post recently in which the writer makes a personal goal of reading 52 books a year and she calculates each week how many pages she has to read to finish each book (http://www.stephaniecherry.com - a blog worth reading!). I thought that was quite impressive. (Stephanie, you rock!) So - tell me about you and your family...how do you make it all happen? What are your top priorities? What do you have to be flexible about and what do you refuse to let go? And don't be timid - I want details.... what does a productive day look like for you and your family? What great scheduling secrets/tricks do you have up your sleeves???

Can't wait to read your comments!


Mary Sell said...

Hey Cindy! Right now I am homeschooling a 9 year old and two 6 year olds, plus have a 16 year old who goes to high school at the international school near our home. We also use Sonlight for reading, science, history and Bible. I use Math-U-See for math and Spelling Power. We start our day between 8:30 and 9:00 and usually finish by lunch time. We always do Bible first, then history and science. They take a 20 minute recess together, then I do math one by one (rotating who goes first). After that we try to do something fun, then do reading/spelling/grammar one by one. At the end of all of that, I read out loud. While I am working with one, the others can do art, centers or read by themselves. I hope this helps some!

Debi said...

Hi Cindy!
I am not a homeschool mom but I know an AMAZING one.. Justine Gamble. She has 5 beautiful and amazing children, 2 home made, 2 adopetd from ET and one adopted from China.
They currently live in Nashville, TN. Their blog is: http://gamblefamily.weebly.com/index.html
I'm sure that you would ejoy getting to know them.
Love and hugs and prayers,

Mark and Wendy said...

Hi, Cindy!
My oldest son is 8 y.o., starting 3rd grade this year (yikes!), younger son is 5 starting K, a 3 y.o. daughter, and hopefully bringing home our infant daughter from ET this fall (which makes me unsure as to whether to laugh or cry when I think about trying a consistent schedule)!
Basics: We have a morning routine of devotions/chores that must be done before we start school which the kids check off on their own. Honestly, some days we're lucky to start by 11 a.m...my goal is always 9 a.m.! We always do Bible first, regardless of what the rest of the day will bring, so that they understand it's a priority. Bible we all do together. Then math and reading with my oldest while the youngers do puzzles/play games/watch educational videos. Then recess/lunch. Littlest takes a nap while I do science and social studies with boys. Piano lesson/library/art/PE all on one day to break up any perceived monotony! Not to say we don't do any art or PE on other days, too.
This will have to all change for me now that I have one in K, too...but it might match what you're doing more closely, at least until Keemberlie comes home!
We use Scaredy Cat Reading (love it...wish I'd had it for the 4 years I taught elementary school before staying home with my kids), Math-U-See, just starting Tapestry of Grace this year, but have lots of friends who love it.
In general, the more we can do all together, the better...which is why I'm looking forward to using Tapestry of Grace. It will appeal to the classical educator in you, I think. :) It keeps us together, and the youngers are learning SO MUCH that certainly their school years will be easier!
Okay, I'd better stop not before your comment form balks at all this. But feel free to email and we can continue the conversation if you'd like!
milligansnorth at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy,

I have 3 - 6 1/2, 3, and 19 monhts. We are going into our second year of homeschooling here in San Antonio.

We keep a schedule, but I allow room to wiggle for field trips, doctors appointments, or simply a rough day.

My oldest does best doing school first thing in the morning, the longer the day drags on, the less likely she is to complete her tasks.

We wake up, everyone is dressed with their beds made by 8:30, we have breakfast and then we start school by 9:00. We do Bible, and then our "studies" with breaks (5-10) about every 60 minutes, lunch, and then while the little people are sleeping she and I work on art, crazy science experiments that might not be good for little people, or simply reading together.

We LOVE homeschooling, we are protecting our childrens minds, thoughts, and our family by not having them outside having negative influences seeping in on them while they are young and impressionable!

Also - for your little one I would recommend a daily "box." Label each box with the corresponding day and have special things for each day. A small doll, her own special coloring book, etc. this way she will feel like a big girl herself.

Whatever you do, DO NOT STRESS OUT, it's so hard to not STRESS but the joy of homeschooling is there is no schedule!


Stacie said...

Hey Cindy,

This has nothing to do with your post, but just wanted to let you know something really cool. We are college friends with Kelly & Carissa. Last week my husband, Andy, and I were in Ethiopia for court because we are adopting (through AWAA). We attended a church on Sunday and they sang, "You are God Alone". Andy & I just looked at each other when they started singing this song and smiled! I wonder if they had any clue that you guys have adopted from Ethiopia! It was a little surreal...I leaned over and said to Andy, "Wouldn't it have been funny if they sang this song the week Billy & Cindy were here to pick up Gracie?!"
I wanted to let you know that your adoption blog with Gracie was a major source of encouragement and inspiration to me. We had not yet started our adoption journey, but I learned so much from yours and it has helped me immensely as we've joined the ranks of adoptive families!

Stacie Wood

ksjones83 said...

Hey girl,
I hope things are going well with you! Micah and I have been talking about homeschooling for a while but just haven't done it yet. We are hoping to put our girls in Summit this year but if financial aid for that doesn't work out then we'll put them in public school for one more year and then homeschool next year. If you have any good ideas/thoughts on how to keep sane, or know somebody who does please let me know too. I've also been looking into a homeschooling group... not necessarily a co-op just a group that does field trips and things of that nature together. Know of anybody? If I come up with any good suggestions I'll let you know as well. I do have a friend that homeschools and the curriculum she uses and swears by is:

Spelling Power
My Father's World

Well those are the basic ones. Talk to you soon. Love ya!

Amy said...

Hey Cindy,
I meant to respond to this when you first wrote and had it saved in my reader.
We homeschool a 9 year old and a 7 year old with our peanut, now 3, running around.
Like the others, we do Bible first which is usually reading a chapter from the Bible and possibly something else from another book plus prayer. Then we have been doing math next while the kids are fresh. I am not sure if this will change this year.
One of the things I would like to do this year is give my kids a schedule of what needs to be done each day so they can have a say in the schedule. I also would like to try the workbox system which seems like a great idea. Let me know if you would like to see it and I can send you some links.
Also, this year I bought a few age appropriate, Kumon books for Asher to use so he feels a part of school. ;)
Enjoy and don't stress, even on days that seem like nothing is happening they learn so much.

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