Typical Home School Day with 6 Kids

typical

Typical Homeschool Day With 6 Kids

We are frequently asked “How do you do it?”

Most of the time I answer “Day by Day.” 

 

Each of our children is so unique and they each learn in such different ways. One day of homeschooling in detail… this is going to be tough. Our home school days vary from the “sit down” school days to the “doing things” home school days. I am guessing that most people want to know about the “sit down” home school days when they ask, so that is what I will write about today.

 

Our “Sit Down” School Day Schedule:

 

6:00 am – I am a morning person. So this is the time I am awake and start setting the school day up. I love the quiet of the morning. Even when the kids start getting up, about 6:30, they will see me working at the dining room table and will understand two things:

  1. Today is a “sit down” school day
  2. Mom needs some time to get it set up

My setting up of the school day works pretty easily in the morning. What they will be studying for the year has already been prepared in the summer. What I plan on finishing this year I planned in the summer. What I know I need them to accomplish this week I have noted from the previous week’s work and so it’s pretty straight forward.

I write up the days work on a 5″ x 8″ sheet of notebook paper, I love these little notebooks. Each child has one of these written up by me that morning for a check off sheet. I list each subject and what I expect the child to accomplish for that day in that subject. At the end of the day I expect the work finished and the check off sheet returned.

Our “sit down” school day is always finished by noon. We have a life and doing “school” is only part of it. Here is a sample of what one of the lists would look like:

 

lesson

 

 

7:00 am – I am usually done getting things set up by now. Each child’s pile of books for the day is in a stack on the dining room table along with their assignment list on top for them to check off as they do each thing. I will usually review each list with each child and highlight anything I feel may be unusual or they might find interesting.

An example might be if I usually have a child only do 1/2 hour of reading and there is 1 hour listed on their sheet. The explanation might be that the child needs to finish up the reading book he is working through so his book report can be started the following day or week.

breakfast

 

8:00 am – noon – School starts around 8:00 or 8:30 on a “sit down” school day. Some kids will take their lists before that and start on maybe their reading so that their school work is finished up faster.

Chores and breakfast has been finished up before we sit down. Plans for lunch have been discussed. Kids are all dressed and have pencils and their piles of books and their lists.

 

We each take a spot at the table. Mind you it’s a BIG table.

Side note: Usually my two oldest girls do their school upstairs in their room. One is a freshman in college so she does all her work online and we review anything that she wants review at night. The other is a junior in high school and is doing courses for college online and also has a list made up for homeschool but it is a monthly list of things to accomplish. That’s the way she likes her work laid out for her and it has worked well for her for years.

At the table I usually sit at the end of the table with my 2 youngest children on either side of me. After them on either side are the next 2 older children.

They do not do all of their work sitting at the table. Their reading they usually take into the living room on a comfortable chair, whether it’s their history reading or whatever.

I don’t think they love doing “sit down” school but it’s a necessary part of our lives. We do not do sit down school 5 days a week. I think it is more like 3 days a week. The other days they are working on projects or writing plays or building drones or something that does not involve mom making a list to follow. So, when we go to do a “sit down” school day it’s not so bad, since they had their break of a day or more.

 

I do not believe that all learning comes from textbooks.

I do believe that textbooks are a tool and I use them like a tool. They do not control our lives but add something to it. They are useful but not necessarily how my children learn best.

As we are sitting around the table the children will ask questions and I will read lessons to my 7yo and we try not to be too loud so that those reading can concentrate. Everyone is trying to get finished so they can do something else. I only schedule enough work as to fill 3-4 hours.

10:00 – The kids are looking for a snack about now so I usually have them each do their spelling tests, one at a time, and once finished they grab themselves a snack. We use Spelling Power for spelling, so there is a test each day. Each word the child spells incorrectly he/she writes the word 10 times, like I said, I don’t use curriculum “as written”. When they are done writing their words, it’s off for a snack, kind of an incentive to finish up quickly.

While snacking they are still working. Snack and drink on the table at their right with books and pencils in hand. Sometimes I will ask that the drinks get finished up quickly so they don’t spill on the school books.

Something funny: Most of the time they all do the same subjects at the same time. Like math, all of the older children use Saxon math and usually there are 3 different level Saxon math books open on the table at once, the three boys. My 7yo daughter  is still using ABeka Math but will switch over to Saxon this next year or so, but her math will be out also. Not really sure why they all seem to do the same subjects together but it usually works out that way.

Is there squabbling? Of course… One child will ask another “not to say numbers out loud” the other child will say “but you are” and the first child will say that “he is not as loud as the other child”. Whatever, I remind each of them to not say numbers out loud, or if they need to say a number out loud to me, to make sure they announce “i need to say a number out loud” just in case another child is doing a calculation in their head.

It’s pretty smooth going, the children are looking forward to being finished for the day. We do have rough days but not many. This is a way of life for us after 25 years. It’s just what we do so there is not much complaining because well, what would be the point?

That’s it….

Noon – lunch and the rest of the day is theirs.

 

lunch

 

I hope this was helpful in seeing part of what we do in a “sit down” school day.

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Relaxed Spelling in Our Home

spelling-2

Today our 7yo got up early and wrote a story. The story was done really well and I enjoyed it. The only “problem” was the spelling of many of the words was not correct.

She is an excellent speller and also loves to write and I did not want to squelch that joy of writing. So, I did what I have done for many years and will share that with you now.

What is the most PERFECT way I have found to do spelling?

After Princess had left the room to go get her breakfast, I remembered what I wanted to do. I went to the very next page in her writing notebook and started writing out the words that she had spelled incorrectly.

I looked through her story about the bear and the chickens and watched for words that she consistently spelled incorrectly AND words that I thought she may use again on a regular basis.

spelling-2

Why learn words you won’t write again?

If she will find the process useful then she will want and will enjoy doing it. Picking words she will use again makes it seem less like school and more like “what we need for life.”

As I stated before I don’t want to make her not want to write.

She loves to write stories!

Her stories are very interesting and enjoyable to read.

I had my list started and decided 10 words would be a number she could handle. I also chose words that weren’t too long, she is only 7yo. I also left a space in between each word in case she wanted to practice the words herself.

spelling

I brought the list to her in the kitchen.

“Princess, I loved your story. I made a list of words that I thought you might like to learn the spelling of in case you wrote another story with words like you have in this awesome story. We can use your own words for a spelling test if you would like.” She loved the idea and said it would be good to learn them.

She looked over my list and asked my what some of the words were. She asked how to say “some” because she had written “sum” in her story. She also asked what the word “said” was as she had written the word “sed” in her story.

This has come to be the best way for my children to learn and keep these words as part of them. Sometimes with spelling lists (which we also use) the child only remembers the words for a short while, like for the week of the test.

But, when we use the words from their own writing for spelling tests, the purpose for learning the words changes and I believe the spelling words end up in a more permanent place in their brains.

Hope this was useful.

How do you handle spelling in your home school?

 

Monday Musings

Plans for the week ahead

For this week: Skeletal System Co-op class Monday; soccer Tuesday; Field Trip to the Apiary on Wednesday; Natural Sciences Museum Friday (a friend gave us tickets); and Free Kids Carnival Saturday. Looks like we will be doing a good chunk of sit down schoolwork this week. Still working on fencing in the ducks this week and building a shelter for them.

Thinking about

In our state we have to report our progress at the end of each school year. I never like to be searching at the last minute for what to send in. This week I am focusing on making sure I have a paper I could send into the state in each of the required subjects. That means I need a paper from Math, Language Arts, Science, Health, Art, History, and Health for each of my school age children. I believe I am all set for Septembers work. I just need to have a page for each of them from this month.

Out of doors

We will be having an outing to the Natural Science Museum on Friday which should be a treat. We have bulbs to plant and more brussel sprouts to pick. Soccer may be cold and too wet to do this week.

In the kitchen

We ended up making pumpkin pie (Tech made this) and potato and corn chowder (Mechanic made this) to bring to the Barn Dance on Saturday. Also, we were given about 25 lbs of meat in exchange for harvesting grapes so I need to figure out what is in there and organize the upright freezer again.

A photo from last week….

There were so many pictures form this week it was really hard to choose…. Here is Tech with his best friend this week when we carved pumpkins.

tomclark

Week in Review & Easy Peasy Online Review

We had a very productive homeschooling week this week. We were able to actually stay home Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Guess that is why we got so much accomplished.

Our homeschool days fluctuate between a day of workbooks and a day of Easy Peasy online school. The workbooks we use will be for another post. Today I thought I would share how the Easy Peasy computer school program is working for us.

This week we were able to spend two days just on computer school and the other two days were on workbooks. Mondays are taken up by co-op classes. This weeks co-op Science class was the Respiratory System.  We also had co-op Choir and Career Readiness.

Princess (Kindergarten) She does a little bit of Easy Peasy “Getting Ready 1“. On that program she learns her letters with songs, worksheets, and the starfall program. She knows her letters very well and just has fun with the online learning. The sounds of the letters is what she is learning now so the starfall program is useful. There seems to be a lot of coloring pages with this Easy Peasy level. She does like some coloring but she, like my other children, detest busy work. She liked the project this week that involved making a movable animal for the letter of the week. Below is a link to one kind of project like that that she did recently. We do tend to just skip over the busy work stuff though. So she focused mainly on her workbooks this week and the computer program Reading Eggs which she really loves.

A is for Alligator.
A is for Alligator.

Collector (3rd Grade) He does Easy Peasy Third Level. This week he worked on xtramath to practice his math facts speed and knowledge. (Easy Peasy suggests the use of that program.) In Math he worked on adding +10 and +11 and adding one more to a large number. In Language Arts he worked on poetry. This weeks topic in poetry was rhyme and alliteration. He understood the rhyming but the alliteration didn’t sink in, I don’t believe. No big deal. He worked on a spelling with the worksheet below (the first picture will show a larger image and the second picture links to the worksheet itself online). He really enjoyed it. He enjoys spelling anyway but this worksheet was fun to him. He worked on current events in History. He read an article online and then rewrote it in his own words. His choice was the clean-up from a recent hurricane in the south. In Science he played an online game about the states of matter. It was fun and really brought the point home. In PE he worked on learning how to stretch properly. All in all it was a great week. This program works all right for Collector but I do prefer that he does most of his work away from the computer screen. He enjoys it but the reading is more difficult on a screen than in a book that is in his hands. Overall he seems to be learning a lot from this program.

spelling 1spelling 2

Pilot (5th Grade) He does Easy Peasy Fourth Level. I choose this level for him because I liked what was being taught in this level, not really a grade level so much as I liked the things he would be learning this year. This week he also worked on xrtamath to practice with his math facts. (As Easy Peasy suggests.) In Math he worked on estimating to the hundreds place and adding the estimated numbers. He also did online timed division facts which he enjoyed. The Reading was a crazy huge amount this week. All the reading this year is from McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader. I even have a hard time figuring out this book. The language is not easy nor are the stories. I spend so much time explaining these stories to him that I think I am going to reconsider him doing the reading with Easy Peasy starting next week. For example yesterday we was supposed to read 5 different stories. Now the vocabulary he does with this he likes very much and he enjoys learning new words. Also this week he learned about a Limerick and wrote one. In Science & History he learned about Alexander Graham Bell, did an experiment with sound, and watched a video on Bell. He also did Bible work, learned about junk mail, and looked at the life of the composer Pfitzner. This program, except for Reading, works really well for Pilot. He is having fun and learning as he goes. There is never a complaint to have to do school. The picture links to the video he watched this week.

Alexander Graham Bell Movie Link
Alexander Graham Bell Movie Link

Tech (7th Grade) He does Easy Peasy Sixth Level. Just like Pilot I choose this level for him because I liked what was being taught in this level, not really a grade level so much as I liked the things he would be learning this year. This week he worked on xrtamath to practice his math facts also. This year he is working on Language Appreciation. He watches a video with part of the voices in Latin and the rest in English then he has to make his best guess as to what the Latin words mean. He has a lot of fun with it. Next week he will use this list to look up the French and Spanish words for these Latin words and look for similarities. His Math is Khan Academy and this week he worked on negative numbers and comparing absolute values. I like that on Khan Academy I can look and see what each of my children is working on right from my “Coach” page. He is enjoying his Robert Frost poetry this year. He also worked on Bible, Alexander Graham Bell, and Pfitzner, but at a higher level than Pilot. This program does not seem challenging enough for Tech. Not sure what I need to specifically change yet but something needs to change. He is kinda bored with it except for the games. Here is a link to a History game he loves. It is actually from Directors school lessons but he enjoys playing when he is done his schoolwork.

History Game Online
History Game Online

Artist (9th Grade) She does Easy Peasy Eighth Level. Just like Tech I choose this level for him because I liked what was being taught in this level, not really a grade level so much as I liked the things he would be learning this year.This week she worked on xrtamath to maintain her math fact skills. This year she is taking Sign Language and loving it. She laughs throughout the video as the teacher is just a fun guy. She has Vocabulary, Reading, and Writing. I never hear complaints from her. She is able to do all this Easy Peasy work on her own without me really. Her statement to me was that this was her best homeschool year yet. As an artist she enjoys the Art section of Easy Peasy so the link below is from her art lesson. For Math she is doing Khan Academy also. She worked on complimentary and supplemental angles, circumference, and multiplying decimals. She did Bible, History, Science, and Health. In Science she is working on chemistry and the periodic table. This program is an excellent fit for Artist. She enjoys this curriculum and seems to be learning so much. I am so glad she has found something that fits her so well.

How to Draw a Shell Link
How to Draw a Shell Link

Director (11th Grade) She is doing Easy Peasy High School. She is doing lots of classes from this site. Here is her list: xtramath, Literature and Compostion, Biology with Lab, US History 2, Art Appreciation, Music Appreciation, PE/Health, Spanish, and Khan Academy. Her favorite subject from Easy Peasy is Music Appreciation. She says she likes this best because, “I think I am learning more in this than in any other subject. I also like that I can watch the videos of all the instruments.” She also likes Literature and Composition because, “I learn new words and their meanings. There is this site that you go onto that has a story and you then answer questions about it.” She feels that for her Easy Peasy is a good fit, “There are some boring things but most of it is interesting.”

Music Appreciation Link
Music Appreciation Link

I hope this review of Easy Peasy was helpful. Have a great weekend.