Jun 5, 2010

How do you get it all done?

I have gotten quite a few emails over the last few days asking this very question.

I just wanted to preface with my strong belief in that all children are different, so though I can let you know what we do here, it may not work for your family.
With that being said here is what we do...

Our general schedule that we have done for the past 6 mo can be seen HERE - this has totally changed the length and flow of our day. KM gets up some time around 9, eats, gets herself ready and does her chores before starting her lessons. I hope to start each day by 10, but it tends to be closer to 10:30. We work on the main subject area for the day first, unless she is really running behind ~~~ I will not just hang around and wait for her since I work from home, help moderate several lists, am secretary and membership coordinator for our local homeschool group and am on the board of directors for our state homeschool organization, so I have far too many things to get done in the day - as every homeschool mom I know does - to just wait for her ~~~ so if I am in the midst of something when she is ready to start then she will do Math, Spanish, Reading or Piano as these are her daily independent study assignments. Her work is usually completed by about 1. Sometimes it is later in the day, but that is usually only if she is really into a project or experiment. If she started on time in the morning and only did her main subject for the day, then sometimes she will work on her independent things in the evening.

It wasn't always this smooth, mind you. It has taken us the better part of the past 2.5 years to figure this all out. One of the biggest things that we have changed is that I have done away with all the "busy work." If something doesn't seem like it is productive, is just a battle to get her to do it or just seems like a disconnected subject that doesn't need to be done right now or would be better if we waited to do it when it connects with something else, then we do away with it - either for the moment or permanently.

One of KM's biggest problems when she was in PS was always dealing with the repetition of things so now I really think "Is this necessary?" before I plug an assignment in. I also tend to look at things that she takes a long time to complete and see if it is because she is not understanding it, doesn't really want to do it, or if it is just not of any interest to her. This is not to say that I don't assign her anything that she doesn't LIKE to do, because I do, I just really think about why I am having her do certain things.
I know what her likes and dislikes are and how she learns the best in each subject, so I try to tailor things to that and don't really bother with the excess. I really try to allow her to make as many of the choices as I can. There are some things that do just need to be covered and I don't budge, but we might just glaze over it rather than force her to spend a ton of time on things that she has either already covered or is just not interested in.

We also do a lot of things like Health, Economics, and any other elective type things on Brain Pop or other computer games. We LOVE LOVE LOVE the wii and use it for as many educational areas as possible. We have things like My Word Coach, Deep Blue Ocean, and Wii Music. We also have lots of educational games for the DS- Spanish for Everyone, Future U, and so on. Basically I am very flexible in what I see as educational and have tried to think outside the box as much as I can. This has lead KM to be able to do the same.

My daughter isn't fully self-motivated, as some have suggested, but has begun to understand that I am only trying to help her and that her education is her choice. I can't FORCE her to learn anything, I can only expose her to things and hope that it sticks or sparks an interest for her to want to delve deeper.

I really love getting questions and they tend to inspire my postings, so please feel free to ask or even just let everyone know what the best way is for your family to get things done.

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