How do you keep calm and homeschool on?

This was the question posed on one of my homeschool forums. Someone was asking for help in taming her temper. She wanted to hear from people who have real tempers (that’s me) and who have conquered them (that’s not me). Even though I am not a picture of perfect, peaceful motherhood (oh how I long to be that mother), under an amazing spiritual director I have made some steps in that direction. Here is what I shared with the other group.

I most definitely have a temper. Here are some things that have helped. Although please know, it is not conquered. And honestly, I think if that’s your goal, you will always be beating up on yourself. Try to make your goal “improvement” and  thank God for each small improvement.

 Spiritual direction helped tremendously. One of the things that came out for me is the motivation for order. I want a calm organized house, but the purpose should be toward family harmony. And if I am throwing a temper tantrum because things aren’t calm and organized, I’m not working toward family harmony, I’m contributing to the chaos around me.

These great little books: The 30 Days with a Great Spiritual Teacher Series | Ave Maria Press They’re bite sized and perfect for a quick 5 minutes in the morning, but also provide enough to sit and chew on for a good 30 minutes in the morning if I have the time.

Early to bed and early to rise. Getting up at least an hour before my kids helps my sanity so, so, much. I start with a little prayer, and then get my day organized before anyone else gets up. It was hard at first, but now it’s my favorite part of my day.
Really looking at my kids. So often I’m just trying to get through my day, but when I really stop and look at my children, I realize how little they are and how much I love them. Just taking a moment to really see my children has done more to develop my joy in parenting than any other parenting practice. With practice, I have gotten to the point where I can sometimes even do this when I’m about to lose it with them. It helps me to stop, remember my goal is family harmony, and to respond with love and a touch more patience than my natural instinct.
Also from my spiritual director, I am constantly trying to practice responding rather than reacting. I find if I can just take a deep breath, even better if I can remember to say a quick prayer, and attempt to respond with some bit of self control rather than to just let it fly (which feels so good in the moment, but so, so awful later), I can usually come up with a better response than my initial impulse.

 And finally I have had to learn to accept my humanness. I am not perfect, I fall constantly. Daily. A confessor once told me, “When you fall, get up quickly.” So that is what I try to do. Jesus loves me and he doesn’t want me to wallow in self-hatred. He wants me to pick myself up and try again. And again. Tiny steps toward improvement. A trust that Jesus will make it all okay. And a willingness to keep on keeping on.

Clash of Desires: Follow the schedule or go to the farm?

When I began this little project of getting more organized, more intentional, and more disciplined in my homeschooling vocation, one of the things that concerned me was how this would interplay with the freedom I have as a homeschooler to do the fun stuff. In the past, we have spent a lot of time going on field trips, and the fall, in particular, is a time when I like to literally “head for the hills” with my children to soak in the glory that is October in Colorado.

But this year we have a schedule. And not just a schedule. We have a Classical Conversations co-op. With assignments. And teachers. And due dates.

And it’s a lot.

A couple of weeks ago I had a slight breakdown about the new character of our homeschool. It’s harvest festival time, and every year for the last four years we have gone to the farm with friends to harvest a car load of vegetables, ride on tractors, climb into broken old cars and fire trucks and amusement park rides, and slide down an enormous dirt hill on Tonka trucks. (If you are in Colorado and you haven’t been to the Miller Farms harvest festival, you are missing out. Go.)

As I cried to my husband about how we don’t have time to do the fun stuff anymore and it’s not fair to my littler ones and maybe this whole thing isn’t working out after all, he looked at me and said, “You know, going to the farm is just as important to their education as the book work you’re doing.” And he’s right. And I know he’s right. And that’s my dilemma. Because we still have a Classical Conversations co-op. With assignments. And teachers. And due dates.

But I decided to rage against the machine and get the gang together for a trip to the farm. We picked our day (yesterday) and as I put it on the calendar I realized that I have another big field trip scheduled this week. On Wednesday we’re going to a glorious Colorado nature park to have a park ranger teach us about bugs and the riparian eco-system.

At the farm

No trouble,  I thought. We’ll work ahead this weekend to get the co-op assignments ready. It will be fine. But Saturday we went to the Harvest Festival at the historic park near our house. (No actual harvesting happens here, but there are stagecoach rides. And apple cider doughnuts. I go for the doughnuts.) Saturday afternoon Helen and I went to see the Midsummer Night’s Dream ballet with my lovely and generous sister-in-law and my niece.

Sunday morning was church and hanging out afterwards with friends. Sunday afternoon was taken up with “daddy time” for each of the kids. (Our lives are not usually this jam-packed with fun stuff, it’s just a good week!)

So here it is Tuesday morning and we have basically one day to do all of the assignments we normally spread out over 5 or 6 days.

And I just don’t know if it’s going to happen. And I don’t know what I’m going to do if it doesn’t.

The consequences won’t be dire. Henry won’t get his stickers toward his end of the year prize. He won’t have a stellar presentation for class. He may not have a final draft (or even a rough draft, honestly) to share in his writing class and won’t receive tickets for the end of the year carnival.

I’m stuck with this internal struggle to conform to someone else’s standard. I feel resentful of having my child manipulated by peer pressure and token systems. I feel torn between appreciating the structure and accountability this co-op offers as I endeavor to improve the academic part of our homeschool, and resenting the loss of freedom to take things at our own pace.

I don’t know how this all will shake out. When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

Sandbox Scientist: Real Science Activities for Little Kids {Book Review}

If you’ve been following my posts on scheduling, you may have noticed that Thomas and Henry have a block called “Science Box Time.” This is a time of open ended science exploration facilitated by the handy little book Sandbox Scientist: Real Science Activities for Little Kids.

sandbox scientist

I first discovered this book when I randomly checked it out from the library. I loved it, returned it, and forgot the name of it. A bit later I despaired when  I couldn’t recall the name of it. All of my vague descriptions to the nice librarian and her creative searches yielded nothing. Then one day the title just came to me and I immediately jumped on Amazon and ordered my own copy of it.

This book is very nearly perfect for teaching science to young children. And by young, I mean anywhere from age 2 up to middle school.

In the early years, science is not about learning scientific facts. It is about the formation of scientific habits. It’s learning to think like a scientist. Science is learning to ask questions and to look for the answers through exploration and observation. Raising a scientist involves nurturing curiosity, and encouraging creativity. It means empowering children to discover, learn, and prove things for themselves rather than just accepting what they’re told.

Science asks “Why? Really? What happens if I. . . ? How do you know? Show me. Let me see. Let me try. Prove it.” Science sounds an awful lot like an impudent teenager.

Sandbox Scientist provides a list of science boxes you can assemble yourself that encourage children to ask these questions and to seek the answers for themselves through exploration and observation. The boxes work perfectly in a home environment because the materials they call for are cheap and easy to find.

I am using the book to plan out six weeks worth of boxes at a time. For our first six weeks I went through and pulled boxes calling for water. This is not because I’m doing a water theme (though you could certainly use the book that way), but rather because I want to take advantage of the warm weather while we’ve got it. By assembling six weeks worth of boxes at a time, I can make one trip to the hardware store and/or dollar store to get what we need and put everything together at one time. My boxes are now ready to go when I need them.

Yesterday my kids played with the Ice Box. One of the best things about the ideas in this book is that they are suitable for my 3 year old and my 9 year old. They approach the material in different ways, and they learn from each other in the process.

The Ice Box contained large blocks of ice made from yogurt tubs and 1/2 gallon milk cartons, spoons, forks, knives, paint brushes, watercolor paint, and squirt bottles of warm water. I put it all out in a couple of large aluminum trays on a sheet in the back yard and invited the kids out to play.

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The children had a blast observing the different properties of the ice. “This block is clear!” “This one is cloudy!” “Hey look, this one has holes in it?” “Let’s make the hole bigger.”

They also enjoyed painting the ice and watching the patterns of the swirls as the painted ice melted. They observed the effects of spraying a stream of water on the ice blocks versus spraying a mist of ice onto them. They enjoyed chipping and chiseling the ice into smaller pieces to make them melt faster.

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The boys did not happen to discover that they could melt the ice more quickly by using the magnifying glasses to focus the sun’s heat onto the ice. I think a small suggestion from me on using the magnifying glasses in this way could have extended the exploration a bit. As it was, they worked with the science box for a good 20 minutes before it devolved into a squirt bottle fight in the back yard. All in all, I thought our first science box was a success.



Homeschooling Multiple Children: Our 1st Grade Plan for 2014-2015

You have now seen my schedule, my 4th grader’s schedule, and my preschooler’s schedule. Because she’s involved in most of our schedules most of the day, you’ve also seen the bulk of my 1st grader’s schedule, but I’ll share it here on it’s own.


I want to note that in preparing each of these schedules I carefully considered my kids’ unique personalities. Helen is my most patient but also my most extroverted child. I knew I had to include time for her to play with her neighborhood friends which means that she has to be done with the majority of her stuff by the time they can play after school. It also means that I need to try to keep her busy when her friends are in school.

This is Helen’s first year of school with me. I didn’t do formal school with Henry at this age.  I don’t think it’s necessary to have scheduled school time with a 1st grader, but Helen is begging for it. It also gives us a format for interaction that we both enjoy. Our one-on-one school time has become a highlight of the day for both of us.

I just don’t want anyone to read this and think that their 1st grader needs to have a bunch of formal school time scheduled into their day. I still stand by my relaxed approach. Henry was unschooled at this age. You know your kid. If they don’t delight in sitting down to do math and phonics for an hour a day, don’t force it!

You’ll see that much of her day is still free time, though I provide a little structure to keep boredom away. Most of the activities (like science box time and sensory time) are open ended and optional. If she has a better way to spend her time, for the most part, she can do what she likes.

7:15-8:15 Wake, dress, brush teeth, eat breakfast
8:15-9:15 Group School This has been happening at the breakfast table for the most part. I read aloud from Life of Fred, our science reading for the day, and our history reading for the day. The kids can color or draw or play quietly on the floor.
9:15-9:45 Outside Time All three of the kids go outside while I clean up the kitchen and such.
9:45-10:15 Free Time This was initially read alone/book time while I do school with Thomas, but in practice it’s been free time while I finish up chores or play with Thomas if he’s interested.
10:15-10:45 Morning School Here is more read alouds or picture study, composer study, or nature study a la Charlotte Mason. This is still developing.
10:45-11:30 School with Mom We’re working through the Primary Arts of Language phonics/reading program. We’re also starting Ray’s Arithmetic. Phonics takes priority. If we have time, interest, and attention, we do a little math.
11:30-12:00 Time with Thomas They can choose to do whatever they want as long as they leave Henry and I alone to work. The science box materials are still out. I also plan to have a planned sensory or craft activity available during this time. Or they can play with dolls or trucks or whatever. Again, as long as they let Henry and I work, it’s all good.
12:00-12:30 School Alone Yes, 1st grade is young for independent work, but the idea is that she’ll work on her phonics games and worksheets at the kitchen counter while I prep lunch.
12:30-1:00 Lunch
1:00-1:30 Spanish with Henry I don’t know if this is going to work, but I’d like to have them do some sort of Spanish at this time. We have Power Glide Spanish, but we may switch to Spanish videos or something.This time has two goals in addition to learning a little Spanish. 1) Henry and Helen spend time together doing something constructive. 2) They leave me alone to do some prayer and reflection.
1:30-2:00 Screen Time This is first (of three) 30 minute screen times. During this time, Thomas is resting in my bed with me, and Henry is working on his independent work.
2:00-2:30 Rest Time Quiet play in her room, preferably resting on her bed. She can listen to audio books, look at books, or play quietly alone with her dolls and such.
2:30-3:00 Time with Mom This is for us to do whatever it is she wants to do with me. Often it’s playing with dolls.
3:00-4:00 Outside Time Free time outside. I’m available at this time to supervise, but I’m reading or making phone calls or doing yard work.
4:00-4:30 Afternoon Chores Making sure everything is picked up from the day and straightening up her room.
5:00-6:00 Outside Time As soon as afternoon chores are done, they’re free to play outside with the neighbor kids.
6:00-6:30 Screen Time
6:30-7:00 Dinner and Clean up
7:00-7:30 Screen Time or Free Play Sometimes she heads downstairs for more TV after dinner, sometimes she spins around in the living room for a half an hour.
7:30-8:30 Bath, bed, tuck-in Lights out at 8:30.

Mom’s Schedule for Homeschooling

As I’ve posted some of my thinking about schedules and shared the schedule for my preschooler and 4th grader, I’ve received some questions about my own schedule. So here it is in all it’s glory.

When I read Managers of Their Homes, one of the things that most attracted me to using a schedule was Terri Maxwell’s personal schedule. She had scheduled time to sew, time to rest, time to read and pray, and time alone with each of her kids. How in the world did she do this? Housework was a bit different for her because she has grown children living at home that do much of the housework. So that was part of the answer. But it wasn’t the whole answer.

When I filled out the Mom’s Activity worksheet that came with the book and wrote out all of my activities with the time it would take to accomplish them, I thought I was being extravagant. I included a nap time, reading time, project time, time with each kid, time for school, time for housework, 8 hours for sleep, 1.5 hours to exercise (to allow time to travel to my beloved Jazzercise class). I expected it to total something ridiculous like 40 hours. It didn’t. It totaled 23.5 hours.


So maybe I DO have enough time in my day.


I did the math over and over and I was really excited to see that maybe I could actually fit everything in. Maybe I could actually take a nap every day, do some writing, keep my house reasonably clean, educate my children, and even play with them. Maybe.

It took some puzzling. It took a willingness to commit to going to bed early (my preference anyway) and getting up early. I don’t mind getting up as early as 6 am. But in order to get to the 6am Jazzercise class, I need to get up no later than 5:30. Yikes. That seemed nearly impossible. But I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks now and I love it. I go Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On the other days, I use that early morning time to pray and write. And I LOVE it. I’ve never been much use after 9pm, so making myself go to bed early and get up when my brain works has been really good for me.

So here’s what my day looks like.  

5:15-6:00 Wake, pray, eat, travel Or sleep in a bit if it’s not a jazzercise day.
6:00-7:15 Jazzercise Or prayer and office time. This is a good time for me to write, pay bills, do some planning, get copies made for the day. Or just sit and read. It’s my time. It’s good time. If a kid wakes up at this time (happening less and less these days), they can have screen time or snuggle with me as long as they’re quiet.
7:15-8:15 Shower, dress, breakfast I’m working on this, honestly. I truly need to streamline breakfast. I feel like an hour should be more than enough time to do these things, but breakfast always runs long.
8:15-9:15 Group School On the days we leave for co-ops or my parents’ house, this is a “load and leave” time. On the drive to my parents’ we do school in the car with audio books or our Classical Conversations memory work.
9:15-9:45 Chore Time While the kids play outside I do some chores. I more or less follow the FlyLady plan, so this is when I finish up my “morning routine” and check the zone missions for the day. (If you’re not familiar with FlyLady, take a few minutes and check her out. She’s really helped with my housekeeping.)

On Fridays I will use this time to hang in the coffee room at our enrichment program.

9:45-10:15 Preschool Time with Thomas So far, he’s usually engaged in his own thing during this time, so I’m just following him around and giving him my attention. I plan to get the Flowering Baby curriculum to use with him on days we’re looking for inspiration.

On Fridays, this is time for grocery shopping and errands.

10:15-10:45 Morning Time School More read alouds with the kids to finish up what we didn’t get to during Group School.

Or, on Fridays, grocery shopping and errands.

10:45-11:30 School with Helen This is Science Box time for the boys and one-on-one time for Helen and me. This is when we do our Primary Arts of Language phonics work and a math lesson. This is one of my favorite parts of the day.

Fridays: finishing up groceries and errands.

11:30-12:15 School with Henry Sensory/craft/free playtime for Helen and Thomas and one-on-one time for Henry and me. We work on math, handwriting, and writing. This is one of the most challenging parts of my day.

Fridays: lunch with Thomas.

12:15-1:00 Lunch/Clean up A quick clean up from the morning, lunch prep, and lunch.

Fridays: House cleaning.

1:00-1:30 Prayer and Reflection Henry and Helen do Power Glide Spanish while Thomas and I hang out in my bed. Thomas can play on the Kindle while I pray and read.

Fridays: More house cleaning.

1:30-2:00 Nap time Everyone is supposed to have quiet time during this half hour. Helen is supposed to read alone, Henry is supposed to do independent schoolwork, and Thomas stays in bed with me. He can keep playing on the Kindle. I really do lie down and sleep most days.

Fridays: More house cleaning.

2:00-2:30 Time with Thomas Thomas needs my attention to leave the screen behind. This is our time to play trains or draw pictures or whatever it is he wants to do with me.

Fridays: Finish up housecleaning

2:30-3:00 Time with Helen This is Helen’s time to do whatever she wants to do with me.

Fridays: Rest with a cup of coffee and get ready to go get kids.

3:00-3:30 Ryan Time Ryan is my husband. This is a block in my day to do whatever it is he’s asked me to do. Often this is nothing. Sometimes I water the garden or call plumbers. This is also a good time for me to make phone calls to schedule appointments. The kids are playing outside, and I am outside to supervise if I need to be.

Fridays: School pickup.

3:30-4:00 Reading Time Kids are still outside. I’m reading outside to keep an eye on things.

Fridays: Visit on the playground after school if weather is nice, or just come home.

4:00-4:30 Time with Henry This is Henry’s time to do whatever he wants to do with me. This usually involves learning something new about Minecraft.

Fridays: settle in at home, clean out car.

4:30-5:00 Laundry Time/Chore Time The kids have some afternoon chores that need my supervision at this time. I’ve put in this time just for laundry so I don’t have to do it at night. I’m remembering that it’s almost impossible to fold laundry with a toddler around, so this will have to change at some point. Right now it’s great (when I’m actually disciplined enough to do it!) to have this time to actually fold and put away laundry.

Fridays: Schedule resumes it’s normal routine at this point.

5:00-5:30 Project Time It’s only half an hour, but this is my time to work on whatever little project has caught my fancy. I might spray paint a lamp, or put up some curtains, or write some more, or organize a closet. Whatever seems most satisfying to me that day is what I spend this time on.
5:30-6:30 Kitchen Time Dinner prep, baking projects, kitchen cleaning. I find that if I don’t try to multi-task by being on the computer during dinner-prep time I can actually get quite a bit done in there in this hour.
6:30-7:30 Dinner and Kitchen Clean up
7:30-8:30 Kids Bathed and Bedded I also use this time to do some chores upstairs – a quick wipe down of the kids’ bathroom, a quicky tidy of Thomas’s room or my bedroom. This is also when I get myself ready for bed.
8:30-9:30 Time with Ryan We are working hard to train the kids not to come out of their rooms during this time.Anyone got any advice on that one?
9:30 Light’s Out

I’ve implemented most of this at this point. We’re still easing into school, but the rest of it is going pretty well. It does take discipline. It’s easy to sit with Henry on the computer for another half hour rather than stop to do chores. It’s also easy to let everyone sleep while I write a little more rather than get going at 7:15. But we’ll figure it out. Just the fact that I’ve been able to write so much more has motivated me to keep working to get it all implemented. 

What motivates you to stick to your routines and schedules? Where do you get “stuck” in your day?

Homeschooling Multiple Children: Our 4th Grade Plan for 2014-2015

A few days ago I shared my plan for my preschooler, and I’ve decided to go ahead and share my plan for the rest of us as well. I do this with some hesitation because I am certainly not holding us up as The Family That You Should Imitate. We’re not. But I have found it helpful to see how others with families similar to mine are managing things. I share this so you can see how I have solved some of the challenges associated with educating multiple children at different developmental levels and scheduling when things aren’t always the same.

Our Homeschool Up ‘Till Now

I am a very relaxed educator in the early grades. My oldest was very much unschooled from birth through 2nd grade. Periodically I would pull out some sort of reading or math program and give it a go, but if he didn’t take to it (and he never did) we put it away and just went on with our lives. At some point between 2nd and 3rd grade I began requiring him to do 10 minutes of reading and 10 minutes of math a day. He was allowed to choose anything he wanted to read and anything he wanted to do for math – computer games, card games, Life of Fred, etc. Through this process he went from reading the same Henry and Mudge book every day to reading Harry Potter in a very short period of time.

Reading Time

The rest of our time was spent playing with friends, reading books, listening to audio books, field trips, outside time, and yes, a good amount of computer time and television.

Last year, his 3rd grade year, I tried a more formal approach. What began as a day involving math and handwriting and spelling and reading devolved into just trying to get through a lesson in our Saxon math book without killing each other. We limped toward the end of the year, me stubbornly clinging to the idea that we must get through a lesson a day in math if nothing else. I ignored his atrocious handwriting and poor spelling. I felt science and history and language arts were more than adequately covered by all of our exploration and the great books we were reading.

Our Big Picture Plan for 4th Grade

At the end of last year, I was ready to give up on homeschooling. We started talking about school. We toured our local Catholic school. And I prayed a lot. And a few seemingly random opportunities for this year just fell in my lap. And these opportunities and resources made me believe that we can do this – that we can find a balanced approach to homeschooling that works for us.

First, we got an email telling us that our enrichment program will begin carrying the Book Shark curriculum. One of the perks of our enrichment program is access to free curriculum. The Book Shark program is a literature based approach to language arts, history, and science. And it is amazing.

We have always learned so much through the great books and stories we enjoy together. My kids love to listen to me read aloud or to audio books in the car. The Book Shark program pulls it all together for you. We’ll be studying American History this year through reading a series of engaging, often award winning, novels. No dry textbooks. No tests. Just good stories and conversation. The approach is very much in line with a Charlotte Mason living books and narration approach. And I don’t have to do the legwork myself.

The opportunity that came our way was the chance to participate in a Catholic co-op based on the Classical Conversations curriculum. This was such an answer to prayer. We have tried to find a Catholic homeschool group that fits our family, and we just haven’t been successful. Many of the groups were simply farther than I wanted to drive. This one is less than 10 minutes from my house.

Classical Conversations is something that has always intrigued and repelled me. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s essentially rote memorization of facts. They memorize parts of speech, math formulas, a history timeline, science facts, geography facts, poetry – all kinds of stuff.

This year the group will be studying American History and Anatomy. Which goes perfectly with what we’re covering in Book Shark. The co-op also offers an amazing writing program for my oldest son. They’ll also be learning Latin.

I am so, so, excited about all of the great things my kids will be learning this year.

How It Will All Work in Practice

So I had to figure out how all of this was going to fit together in real life. I knew that between the Classical Conversations co-op on Thursdays and our enrichment program on Fridays and our weekly trip to my parents’ house on Wednesdays, I had to be very realistic about how much we could do at home. My challenge was to figure out what I really needed to teach the kids this year, and how to fit that into the time we have without making everyone crazy.

Managers of Their Homes strongly encourages you to have the same schedule for every day. That was my first challenge. We’re only home two days a week this year. How in the world was I to make every day the same?

I solved the problem by creating a schedule that keeps our mornings, late afternoons, and evenings the same and only changes the “school time” in the main part of the day. When we’re home we follow our homeschool schedule. When we visit Grandmother on Wednesdays, we follow a modified version which has our “group school” time happening in the car on the drive down and the drive back plugs into  our afternoon rest/outside time.

Here. I’ll show you. This is what my 4th grader’s day looks like.

I’d love to hear what you’re doing this year and how you handle the  variability of a homeschooler’s week. Do you have more or less the same routine every day? Every week? Or do you start from scratch every day? What works for you?




7:15 – 8:15

Wake and Morning Chores

Henry’s morning chores are dressing, making his bed, personal grooming, eating breakfast, and unloading the dishwasher.


Group School

This is when we do our Book Shark reading, a chapter from Life of Fred and our Classical Conversations memory work. We’re all together in the living room. The work is primarily read alouds. On Wednesdays we will listen to audio books and our Classical Conversations memory CD in the car as we drive out to my parents’ house.



The kids all go outside at this time and I do my FlyLady chores.


Morning Ticket

My kids each get three 30-minute blocks of screen time per day. This is Henry’s first “ticket.” He earns his ticket by finishing his morning chores on time. If he doesn’t, he uses this time to finish up anything he needs to from the morning chore block before he can “spend his ticket.”


Morning School Time

We finish up anything we didn’t get to at Group School Time and spend some time learning a hymn, reading about a Saint, or doing a Picture Study or Composer Study.


Science Box Time with Thomas

I need to do a whole post on Science Boxes. This is time for Henry and Thomas to do open ended science exploration. They may do anything they want, really, so long as Henry keeps Thomas busy while I do school with Helen. The science box gives them a place to start.


School with Mom

This is when we work on writing, math, spelling, and anything else he needs help with.




Spanish with Helen

We’re using Power Glide Spanish. I’m not super concerned with mastery or anything. So as long as they’re not bothering my prayer time, I’m not too concerned about what they do at this time. I wanted to make sure that each of the kids had one-on-one time with each of the other kids and I provided some structure to help keep it sane. Thomas will be having his Kindle time in bed with me so the kids just need to leave us alone at this point.


Independent School Time

This is going to be tricky. We will definitely be slowly working up to a whole hour of working independently. Very slowly. But that is the goal. I will give him a daily assignment sheet so he knows what to do.


Ticket Time

His second ticket. He earns this by being cooperative with schoolwork.


Rest/Outside Time

This is free time for him. If he wants to rest or read or play Lego in his room this will be a quiet time for him. The rest of us are outside and he’s welcome to join us. On Wednesdays, this time is spent driving home from my parents’ house.


Read Alone Time

This will be assigned reading from the Book Shark program. On Wednesdays, this is still car time.


Mom Time

This is his chance to do whatever he’d like with me. Right now he’s working on learning to make Minecraft “Let’s Play” videos.


Afternoon Chores

For Henry this is taking out the trash, tidying up his room, and putting away anything of his laying around the house.


Outside/Free Time

Whatever he wants to do so long as it’s not screens. When the weather is nice this is usually playing outside with the neighbor kids.


Dinner and Cleanup


Nighttime Chores

Shower, jammies, brush teeth, bring family laundry down to basement.


Nighttime Ticket

He can hit the screens as soon as he finishes his nighttime chores.


Reading with Mom or Dad

Bed time stories.


Lights Out