So, while I didn't do much advance planning of our curriculum. (You can read more about how I planned our year here.....) One of the most important aspects of my planning was our schedule. This is how we get it all done and stay sane (and have lots of time for Legos and art).
Here's a copy of our current schedule. It has changed 4 times already this year and our year has just begun. But that's ok. I'm learning to be flexible and we're still finding out what works best for us.
So, you can see that we have very busy full days. Fridays are usually a day where we do less school unless we've taken a field trip earlier in the week (or just taken a day off). We aim for 4 days a week with lots of reading on the weekends.
Here's an in-depth breakdown of our days:
Yes, I really do start school at 6 AM. Sounds crazy but Curly and I need that quiet focused time to get her main work done for the day without too many interruptions. She has her own alarm clock and she comes stumbling out of her room at 6 to meet me in the homeschool room. She brings her blanket and sometimes a stuffed animal. I give her a big glass of either juice or milk and we begin our time with me reading poetry to her - this gives her the chance to sip her drink and start waking up. We move into grammar next and complete a lesson in First Language Lessons. We do this mostly outloud or on the whiteboard. Next, we do writing with Writing with Ease. I read to her and she narrates, summarizes, completes dictation, or writes copywork. We also work on a few workbooks for grammar and geography and also work on logic.
For the next 30 minutes we focus on math. I grade her independent math work that she completed in Math Mammoth the day before. Then I give her the assignment for that day. Then we move into our main lesson with Right Start Math. I introduce the lesson and we use the manipulatives to practice the topic. She also completes 1 math facts page each day.
The next 30 minutes we work on spelling using the Phonics Road. I dictate spelling words to her and then we work on spelling and grammar rules. She marks sentences for parts of speech and completes her notebook pages. Then she reads part of a chapter of Little House in the Big Woods for our literature study. We discuss vocabulary and work on a literature study as I dictate notes for her notebook. At the end of our spelling time I give her a short spelling test where she writes some of her words on the whiteboard to practice. We also squeeze a short geography lesson into the last 30 minutes of this time. I read out of the Atlas and we mark our maps and she completes notebook pages about the states using Trail Guide to U.S. Geography.
The last 30 minutes of our school time are for history and science. I read out of Story of the World and she colors the coloring pages. She then narrates several sentences to me while I record them in her notebook. Sometimes we work on maps or read extra library books about our topic. Science is next. We usually begin with Apologia and read a few sections out of the Flying Creatures book. She draws pictures on a notebook page while I read and then she narrates to me while I write the few sentences at the bottom of her page. We end science time by either doing a Nancy Larson science lesson or completing a review sheet. We often have a few minutes to work on Spanish before we need to go downstairs. I turn on Flip Flop Spanish on the iPod and Curly follows the directions while I pick up in the school room.
By 8 we are headed downstairs to get breakfast ready. Curly practices her piano while I get everything on the table. I usually have time to teach her a new song or work with her on one of her newer songs. So this is our piano practice time.
As the other kids wake up they watch a short movie together in Ladybug's room while they wait for breakfast. Once they hear the piano playing they all come downstairs to sit at the table and wait for breakfast.
Breakfast time is fairly short and we always review memory work around the table while everyone eats.
After breakfast it's upstairs to brush teeth and make beds. Curly often comes back downstairs to finish her piano practicing and I begin school with Ladybug. Tiger and Bee entertain Punkin while I paint or do Totschool activities with Ladybug.
Once our Totschool time has ended, Ladybug is ready to play. The kids choose a room and I put the baby gate at the door. They choose things to play while I work with Tiger. We begin by working on logic and then I read to him.
Next we usually start on math. He does about half of a Right Start Math lesson per day. Then we work on letter sounds and reading with Logic of English Foundations and he practices his cursive on the whiteboard. Last he chooses to do All About Reading and we review words and phonograms and then he reads to me. At the end of our lesson I have him spell words with the magnetic letter tiles.
After I do school with Tiger, Bee comes out of the room where everyone is playing. We do a science and history/geography lesson together.
Then I grab a snack for everyone and Tiger goes off to play.
Bee and I sit together and I read to her out of history, art, character, and science books. Then we do a short math lesson from Math Enhancement Programme. At the end of her short school time we do about half a lesson in Logic of English Foundations to learn letter sounds and blending and she practices her cursive.
Then we go downstairs to prepare for lunch. I usually try to fit in a piano lesson for Tiger or Bee (or both of them) while I get lunch ready. They practice their review pieces while I get everyone around the table and do some picking up.
During lunch we usually watch a short show on the iPad such as How It's Made. This gives me a short break which is much needed!
After lunch I go read to Punkin and Ladybug usually joins us. Once Punkin is in bed we all go back upstairs to do some picking up. I then read to Ladybug (and Bee joins us) and then Ladybug gets ready for her short nap.
While I'm getting the little girls ready for naptime I usually give the older kids a chore or two to work on until we start our afternoon school.
Our afternoon school time is more flexible. We usually begin by doing a Bible lesson together and then I read out loud to them while they either color or paint. Then I usually have them take turns doing a violin practice with me while the other kids play. We often have time for an art video lesson, computer time, or more read aloud time. We can also finish anything that wasn't completed in the morning like a science lesson, history lesson, or a piano practice.
While my schedule might look a little crazy and may seem rigid, I would certainly not be able to homeschool without it. My schedule keeps me calm with the knowledge that there is time to get it done. Somehow I feel less overwhelmed knowing that everything has a time slot during our day.
How do you structure your days? Do you have a schedule? Are your days more flexible? Do you plan ahead or just handle things as they come your way?