Hello! I wanted to ask how some of you schedule your time to make sure you get enough time playing outside. I always notice that, once I put together a schedule and include school time for both my 4 yo and my 6 yo, my morning seems full and we aren't able to get outside until after their little sister's naptime. (Don't even think of taking school time away from my 4 yo...she'd never have it! LOL) I wonder if I am just doing too much...or if I need to start earlier? My 6 yo sleeps until after 8:00 many days and is sluggish for a while in the morning. By the time chores and breakfast are done, it is all of 9:30 before we really get started. We eat lunch promptly at 12:00 every day because their daddy comes home on his lunch break. Then, it is naptime for the little one while I do chores, then it is 3:00. I need to start dinner by 4:30 or 5:00...I just simply run out of time! Lately, we have just been skipping part of school on these wonderful spring days, which is fine for now, but the load will only get more rigorous...Any thoughts or suggestions?
Plenty of time out of doors(13 posts) (7 voices)
I don't know if you're doing too much or not; would you provide your "schedule"? But briefly, if all you have is a 4 and 6 yr. old, and you're running into this problem then, yes, doing too much is probably the reason. There really isn't "school" per se for a 4 yr. old and just barely one for a 6. I don't know how "rigorous" you're expecting to make their studies at this age? Also, remember to keep reinforcing to the 4 yr. old who is the parent/teacher, and whose authority she is under by G-d's determination; as you don't want to have obedience issues in the area of homeschooling-your days will be a constant battle.
Outdoor exploration is 'school', too. But if you'll post your studies schedule, maybe I can help.
This is our tentative schedule...it has been freezing cold here all winter, and it is just now warming up. So, lately, we've been running outside in the morning to play and then just getting the basics in when we can before lunch or during naptime. But, I have to start keeping records next year, so I want to be a little more predictable. I am using a Heart of Dakota curriculum called Little Hearts for His Glory. I am curious if I would have more time if I just planned my own year, or if that would actually give us less outside time. OH, and I do 15 min of phonics and math with my 4 yo because she is so interested in school and begs to do it. She is reading, counting to 100, adding, subtracting, etc. I have never asked her to do school at all...she is constantly brining me books and asking me to teach her to read, asking if she can PLEASE do a math worksheet...I feel like it would be silly to tell her "No, you are too little." YKWIM? Anywho, here is my schedule: Thanks so much for your wilingness to help me think through this! :)
- 9:30 Read to 1 yo
- 9:45 Lily watch Elmo while I do 15 min of phonics and math with 4 yo
- 10:00 Lily continuing with Elmo while I do 25 or so min of phonics and math with 6 yo
- 10:30 History read aloud and snack
- 10:45 History activity, Bible verse, songs and fingerplays
- 11:30 Free time, or play outside
- 12:00 lunch
- 1:00 naptime for youngest
- 1:30 Storytime for oldest 2
- 2:00 free time while mommy does chores
- 3:00 youngest up and snack
- 3:30 outside time until dinner
Ok, here is my suggestion...
I'd go outside with everyone in the morning for a couple of hours. Then I would put the 1 yo down for a nap, and do your schooling while he/she is in the nap. (I have a 6yo, 4yo, and almost 2yo too...)
So it might look like
9:30 - everyone outside! Read to 1yo outside...
11:30 - come in and prepare lunch. 6yo and 4yo HELP prepare lunch.
12:00 - Lunch
1:00 - youngest in nap. Do your homeschool routine until about 2:30 (this is about 15min less than you had...)
2:30 - Everyone helps with chores
3:00 - 1yo up, snack time. Mom can finish up with some chores (maybe leave any kitchen chores?)
3:30 - outside time until dinner.... They can help prepare dinner too.
I have everyone over the age of 2 help make meals. My kids (6 and 4) can do most of the work to making eggs (breaking the eggs, stiring, adding some milk, stiring, put in microwave, punch buttons mom says, (mom takes out) - they mix with fork - put back in microwave for a bit, repeat until done.) and making juice from concentrate (mom has to do some of the mashing...) and pancakes (from a mix mind you). They can help with sandwiches. My 6yo has made Mac and Cheese with mom helping. At supper they mostly fetch ingredients. Oh, they also peel potatoes and carrots. It does take more time to start, and it is frustrating at times - but they get so much out of it.
Anyway, that is my suggestion. It doesn't give them tonnes of outdoor time, but it does give them a bit more. I have to admit that my kids only get a couple of hours in good weather, and a lot of the school year here is very cold snowy wintertime, so they don't get very much then....
I read your post because I too am concerned about fitting in all of the reading, and school things as well as getting plenty of time outdoors. I have a 4 yr old and 6 yr old (almost 5 and 7) and one thing I thought I'd mention is that I usually let my kids play outside while I am doing certain chores - I can have the back door and windows open and am able to see and hear them from the lvingrm, kitchen, and my bdrm. I agree that it's great to have them helping with the chores and food prep, and I know I need to do that more. I don't know if that would work for you, or if you would even be comfortable with that...just a suggestion.
On a side note, I was looking into HOD for next year, but I've decided to go ahead and use SCM instead. The more I read and ask questions on this forum, the more confidence I have to just go ahead and do it. My dd 6 is finishing out K at a 4 day a week Christian school, and we'll start hsing this fall. I got the all day seminar dvds and they have been a tremendous help! I'm not trying to change your mind - I've heard wonderful things about HOD, too...I just thought I'd mention that in case you were thinking about trying it.
I love what suzukimom suggested...I need to try some of those things, too! :)
For us, my girls are bears when we have to do school in the pm. Tuesday mornings I have Bible study and they go to a homeschool class and I do very little after lunch as far as school goes b/c they are tired and sick of sitting and working. I have one with spec needs who goes to school every morning so she is out the door at 8:30 and we start by 9am. We are done by lunch if not earlier (Pre-k and 1st this year). The pm they are outside in good weather (MI weather is cold much of the year too!) and they are outside by themselves and I do the chores on that side of the house while they are out and chores on the other side of the house while they are doing independent work or playing indoors. They help with chores as they are able so that helps a bit too. Anyway, the days we have morning errands or appointments and have to do school in the afternoon are always difficult and we all end up crabby so I avoid that as much as possible!
Thanks for the suggestions and thoughts. I LOVE the idea of going outside first thing in the a.m. for a while...maybe we could go for an hour and still do the bulk of school in the a.m. if naptime doesn't work. Hmmm... I used to do some of school during naptime, but I found it was harder on several levels. However, it makes sense to try it again since we have to be inside anyway. I'm trying to find a way to finish out the curriculum I have this Spring, still leaving plenty of time for outside. It is a hard thing to balance I think! On another note, is there a particular forum where people discuss what they are using next year for different aged children? I would love to hear how some of you with kids the same age as mine are organizing your year!
3littlegirls - I have your life! Our schedule sounds VERY similar and so does our long, cold winter! This year I didn't have to keep records for our school year, but next year I will as my first will be officially in 1st grade and the state requires us to report. Two suggestions I have for you, if you like your current schedule, but want a little more time - one is... NOT always popular, BUT you didn't say what time you get up in the morning, if you get up a bit earlier could you get that first load of laundry in, the dishwasher unloaded and a bathroom cleaned? I have my girls help with lots of chores, but when the weather starts to get nice, since we've been inside ALL winter, I don't mind doing things myself faster so I can enjoy time outside with them later - if you're a nightowl perhaps you could do some of those things at night instead.
The other thing that REALLY frees up my time, is that I do freezer cooking with one of my girlfriends every couple of months and I have a freezer full of healthy food waiting to be popped into the oven on any given day. That enables me to put something in at 4:30 and head back outside to play for a while.
Now, since my state requries a certain amount of hours for home education, what I plan on doing next year is much heavier, longer days in the cold weather and leaving ourselves more free when it's nice. I like to school year round because I don't want the girls to forget anything over the summer, but they can review math facts in 10 minutes. Do a quick reading book in another 10 (they even like to read for daddy before bedtime) and then a quick review of memory verses and we're done in summer. I'll still "count" lots of outdoor time as "physical education" and playdates as "socialization" - yes in our school we have a subject called "socialization" - since it's the biggest complaint I hear from outsiders I go ahead and cover that "subject" and I think it's more fun than recess! HAHA!
You don't happen to live in NE do you? We'd love to enjoy some "socialization" with you!
Well, I know that I posted a suggestion based on the original schedule... that said, even though our almost-2yo naps in the afternoon, we do our homeschool in the morning too. Especially now (my husband is around in the afternoon now).
We would do the homeschooling from about 10-12. (Before we would do a bit of cleaning). Then lunch. My 2yo would nap, and the olders would play (in winter) or go outside on their own (in fall/spring) If outside, they know the rules, and I would check on them a bit. Then the rest of the afternoon tended to vary... scouting stuff, nature study, errands, etc. If we hadn't gotten to violin practice I'd try to get it done then. We might (in spring/fall) go to the playground. (occasionally it would be recess - I always had to watch when recess was called in, as the teachers would try to round my son up with the others. My daughter must look young enough still. I could do this stuff because my youngest generally only naps for an hour or two...
No, I am not in NE, I am in MO...not that far though, considering! I, too, have to start keeping records next year and worry about getting my hours in. That is so funny that you count socialization as school! I'm totally stealing that. LOL I LOVE your idea of freezer cooking. Would you like to PM me some ideas for the meals you make? I don't want to clog up the board... You make a good point...if i get up and get some things done earlier and make some meals ahead, that would free up quite a bit of time! Thanks!
Mine are 8, 5, 4, 2, 1. We do school in the AM and everyone is up at 7. Letting them laze in bed only works well with a few kids I've found, but with 5 I don't want to be making 5 separate breakfasts, making everyone else wait on someone who is up much later to get ready for family schoolwork (we do most things together) etc. They go to bed at 8pm and some of mine wake up before 6:15AM on their own, while others still need woken at 7am.
We eat, do chores, and then get school done. Then they are free to play, they help make lunch, we do nap/quiet time for the whole house at 1pm. Outside time is after that and/or after dinner.
In summer things switch. We go out first thing after chores/breakfast(everyone is still up by 7am). This is the coolest time of day. Then we come in for a snack, a little schoolwork, later lunch, later naps. After naps we do a little more schoolwork while it is way to hot to be outside (last summer averaged in the 90s and up most days.).
Every family is different, so find what works for you and do it. Don't get caught up in following what works for someone else's family.
Yes, 4 and 6 still don't NEED any academics. However, I have a few motivated kids who insist. My now 4 year old learned her letters and their sounds at age 18 months in one week's time and pretty much kept on from there. Her brother (now 5) is the opposite, deciding he's too busy doing to slow down for 'school' much - and that's okay too! The now 2yo is usually participating. The 8yo is the only one I actually have to homeschool by law in my state. The rest are below the age statute. However, we learn as a family with lots of reading aloud and play, homeschool is just a part of life, why try to separate it out and not allow the younger children to join in if they want to?
suzukimom - thanks so much for your schedule suggestion. i LOVE LOVE your ideas. it also makes a lot of sense to be able to run outside first and get that done.
tristan - it sounds like you run outside in the summer/spring as well...what a great idea...
these are things i will consider this week. thanks so much for all of your thoughts and input! :)
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