I’m wondering if any of you seasoned homeschooling mamas could possibly pass along some advice (pretty please)…
I homeschool my two boys (ages 12 and 8).
I am feeling rather overwhelmed with our school days — I have been attempting to implement “loop” schedules in order to try to “get” to all of our extra subjects.
But we inevitably end up not even getting to our “loop” subjects because our daily subjects seem to take FOREVER to get through — and by forever, I mean forever (wink).
I’ve also tried implementing “morning time” where we could briefly try to touch on extra subjects too.
I’ve read many a blogs about how “morning time” should only take a short amount of time. But alas, the clock and I are not friends. Morning time was taking up a large chunk of our time and so, in order to make sure we were getting to our core, daily subjects, we have not been engaging in morning time at all (which bothers me — because the subjects in morning time seem very enriching to me).
Our daily “core” subjects are as follows…
•Math (my boys need repetition and consistency with this subject)
•Reading (mainly for my 8 year old — he has auditory dyslexia) (my older son reads a chapter from one of his chapter books that he is currently working on and is required to do a written narration afterwards to help build his reading comprehension and focus — he actually loves this).
•Handwriting (cursive for my older and legible letter formation for my younger)
•Vocabulary (for my older son)
Our “loop” subjects are…
•Current Events (for my older son)
•Literature (for my older son — he is working through “how to read literature like a professor for kids)
•Creative Writing (for my older son — he is working through “writing magic”)
Our “morning time” subjects are (which we never get to…
•Read Aloud (Read by me)
•Mapping (my kids study a picture of a specific map and then after studying it for a little while they fill in a blank one as best they can; going back and filling in any areas they missed or need to correct)
Am I trying to do too much???
Again, we don’t try to get to all of these everyday other than our daily, core lessons.
I’d be ever so grateful for any advice!
I do a morning time with a few regulars and a few “loop subjects” (though they actually have assigned days that I adjust if I need to.) If it’s not done in the morning here, it’ll likely never get done (though we have had success with saving one thing for “tea time”).
But you have a lot of loop subjects. Personally, for me, some of those would need to be core subjects to make sure they get done. I try to keep the loop subjects to not more than one or two a day and do each of them every week or every other week at the least.
So, we would do Bible, History, Grammar, Science, Literature, Creative Writing…those things are either done in morning circle time or assigned on a regular basis with the 3 R’s.
Our “loop” studies would be geography, picture study, habit study, poetry…things that are more “enrichment.”
Our morning time takes about 1/2 hour..sometimes more, depending on what we are reading. We do Bible memory, sing a hymn, quote the Apostle’s Creed, do our devotional, read our history book most mornings, do geography once a week and do whatever enrichment activity is assigned for that day.
To keep anything from taking forever, the timer is your friend. Set the timer for math, writing, reading….the things that have to be done but can’t take the whole day.
Hope that helps.TristanParticipant
So many possibilities here! A few ideas:
1. The timer is your friend, for all subjects. Use it to keep you and them on track. For my kids that choose to dawdle we pull out the timer, and when time is up they move on, and in the afternoon when everyone else is free to play and explore their own interests the dawdler is still at the table, finishing subjects they didn’t finish in their time that morning. The key is having a reasonable expectation for how much work should be accomplished in a subject in one day.
2. Make 3 ‘loops’. Use one for fall, one for winter, and one for spring. That means your loops will be shorter and more frequently cycled through (ex: may only contain 3-5 subjects for the season so you get to each at least once or twice a week). The next season you have different loop subjects. By the end of the school year you have spread a wide feast of subjects, just not all at the same time. For example, maybe Fall in the season for history/geography (these should be TOGETHER, they fit well, don’t do 2 separate curricula here), current events, art, picture study. Winter may be the season of music, composer study, foreign language, and poetry. Spring may be science, creative writing, nature study, etc.
3. Remember you do not have to do every subject every year. Kids keep learning even after they turn 18, so don’t worry about fitting everything in.
Background: Mom of 10 always homeschooled kids, one graduate in college all the way down to the 1 year old.totheskydearParticipant
Spelling and grammar don’t need to be daily subjects. They will pick up a lot from copywork (handwriting). Vocabulary can just naturally spring up from your reading (“Mom, what does ___ mean?” “Let’s look it up and find out!”).
Are you trying to do picture study, mapping, etc. every day? Because picture study can just be done once a week or every other week. I think you’re “supposed” to linger with a picture for a while. Composer study can just be once a week as well. The way I did it, my son read a few pages from a biography of a composer each week, and we listened to their music every day throughout the term. This can be done in the car, while eating lunch, while working on art, or just during free time…
Actually, very little has to be done daily. History can be done 2-3 times a week if you want. The only ones I have done daily are literature, scriptures, math, and copywork. Everything else between 1 and 3 times a week. If my son focuses, he can be done with all his work in about 2 hours.
You ladies are so great! Such a wealth of knowledge. I so appreciate it.
It can be rather confusing sometimes about which subjects should be done daily and which should be put on a loop — I’ve seen homeschool moms who do math as more of a loop subject and only get to it a few days of the week. And then I’ve seen moms who complete science every day and others who complete it only one to maybe a few days a week. I suppose that’s part of the beauty of homeschooling — tailoring your child’s education to their needs and interests.
Again, thanks for your time and all the information.MissusLeataParticipant
There is a blank schedule somewhere on this site that I have used many years. It gives space for age groups and for family studies.
I use it to schedule in both daily things (for us, that would usually be things like math and reading) and then the things that aren’t done daily but that need to be done weekly or a couple of times a week, like copy work and science or history.
AT the beginning of the year, I look at what I want done, how often it would need to be done to get it completed in 36 weeks and plan accordingly. So, this year, most of my kids are doing their grammar-type things three times a week. Most of them are doing science (I read a nature study book to the little ones and my older ones are each reading their own) twice a week. Those things are being done regularly, but we don’t do all of them every day.ErinDParticipant
You are doing way more subjects than I do with my kids (which is not necessarily bad). Here are some of the ways I would simplify:
– do history and geography and mapping all together with one program, like what SCM’s history modules do, or just drop the geography for now and do a geography-focused year sometime.
– I would drop formal literature for your older son, vocabulary, and current events. Vocabulary can be learned in the context of reading books, and I think reading good books is by far enough for literature for a 12yo. You don’t really need to do anything more formal until high school. You could watch the news or read newspapers informally to stay on top of current events. It doesn’t need to be a subject per se.
– I would move creative writing and typing out of school hours and let them do those things for fun on their own time. I think creative writing is more of a hobby. Some kids love it, some don’t.
– does your older son really need a separate cursive program? Perhaps you could just require something in school to be written in cursive and kill two birds with one stone (I have one son who struggled with cursive so if he really needs a program to practice, that is fine).
– the core daily subjects in my homeschool are math and English. Everything else is done 2-3x a week. Things like music and art are only once per week.
– you could move read-alouds and/or Bible to the afternoon when the kids have snack (if you do that kind of thing) or evening with Dad, or bedtime
I have five kids in school so I really try to simplify. I aim to get the core subjects done (math, English, science, history) plus one extra per kid (geography, logic, foreign language, etc.). That’s what I plan each year. Art and music are once weekly, and we do Bible memory. We don’t do Bible as a subject, but instead read and discuss the Bible every day as a family in the evenings. Then I try to give them lots of time to pursue their interests, but I don’t schedule those (creative writing, woodworking, etc.).
I hope something there is helpful, or it gives you something to compare to.
Wow. I am blown away by all that you amazing mamas have shared — you are all so kind to take the time to respond to me. It’s been such a big help! Reading everyone’s responses is helping me to get a game plan in place.
I think that part of the issue for me is that my husband comes from a very “public-school” minded way of education. He believes in overloading and making the child sit and study for hours until the work is completed or the child is burnt out — he also thinks that if something isn’t difficult or hard enough then the child isn’t “learning”. Whereas I believe that it’s within the ease of learning that mastery of a thing is built. Not sure if that makes sense.
I don’t want to overload and overwhelm my kiddos with so much work that they 1) can’t complete it, 2) don’t comprehend it 3) grow to despise/hate it and 4) aren’t able to build a foundation of confidence in it.
For myself, I find that I am able to eventually achieve mastery or at least proficiency of a thing when I am 1) able to follow the instructions, 2) am able to understand the content, 3) take time to work through it in manageable bites, and 4) am able to actually complete a given task/assignment on my own without a ton of outside intervention (this builds my confidence and my ability to do things independently).
I love being able to take a “peek” into other homeschooling mamas ways of doing things — not to copy everything exact — but to give me balance and a sort of guideline/springboard to dive off of.
Your ladies advice and input is helping me find a path of our own.
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