My Upside Down Day: Order Out of Homeschool Chaos
Homeschool Organization 101
For as long as I’ve been schooling, I’ve been forming my days in the same way: we school in the morning and do a quiet time in the afternoon and some sort of craft or board game. I’m not typically a “think outside the box” kind of gal. I mean, I wish I was, but I get stuck in ruts more times than I like to count. Recently, my life was getting a bit crazy as one little mama with 6 active children. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make this year work. Of course, we would, we always do … but in the back of my mind I was hesitating. How could I make it work? How could anyone? For starters, as I’ve written repeatedly on this blog, my 3 year old is a WILD child. She keeps me busy. I’m busy chasing her, cleaning up her messes, making sure she isn’t sneaking into our pantry finding herself a snack (or multiple snacks). She’s a sneaky one. Then there is the 4 year old, Mr. D, who sometimes participates in Miss E’s shenanigans and sometimes not, but I knew he would need attention and need me to play with him and read to him. Finally the littlest one. She’s 5 months now and still needs me all morning long before she takes her nap. These little ones don’t just need supervision, they also need their mama. They need attention and love. They didn’t need to be constantly shuffled about as I spent all my time with the big kids. I longed to be a stay at home again – a mom that was with her kids…ALL her kids – not just the ones who were reading and writing. I needed a way to make sure the older kids were keeping up with their chores and their music practice. They needed to be held accountable. It’s hard work, as a mom. Sometimes my head is spinning trying to remember who did what and who needs to be reminded to do their chores. And then it happened. Somehow, by God’s grace, He gave me the best idea I’ve had in years: I needed to Flip Over My Day!
In the days before school began, I shared this plan with my husband. We decided together some key points and how to implement it. We first decided which chores should be assigned to each child. Then, I typed each older kid a to-do list for each day. Each one has one or two chores to complete in the morning before or after breakfast, their school work, and piano practice. This list gets turned in each afternoon after everything has been checked off.
We decided to make my mornings mine to be with the “littles”. This way, I can play with them, read to them, and sing songs with them. I can also clean the kitchen, do some laundry, and sweep the floor. While I’m doing this, the 3 big kids are working “independently”. They are able to do their math assignment (not the lesson), their spelling, free writing, language arts review, reading app and then their free reading time. When lunch comes, we all eat together and then all 3 littles get to be tucked in for nap, with one final story of the morning.
By 1:00 as they are napping, the big kids and I are going through our school with mom portion of the day. We finish our history reading, writing, math lessons, and grammar. During the afternoon, I check their math review from the morning and then teach them their new lesson. They work until 3 or 3:30 (depending on how much we have to do) and then they get a 1 hour quiet time break. This time can be spent reading, writing stories, drawing pictures in their sketchbooks, listening to music, or doing a quiet craft. At 4 p.m. they can have a snack and have an hour of screen time (a tv show or video game) as long as all their checks have been made that day on their to-do list. By this time, the little ones are awake and able to have a snack and free time, as well.
In each season of life, we need to understand and acknowledge what our children are capable of and how much we, as mom, can handle. Don’t be afraid to change it up a little bit and explore different options that work best for your family. This new schedule has given me a new outlook and a new focus. I really needed this and it has been a great start to our new school year! I would love to hear how you organize your school days. Please leave a comment below. And don’t forget to sign up for our email subscriber list. I’m giving away a free copy of my two page “All About Me” worksheet.