Over the past few years I have discovered that a routine works much better for me than a timed schedule. If I am going by a clock, I tend to become too consumed with staying on schedule and less likely to be a good mom! We have changed our routines several different times, but this year I have hit on something that works well for us.
Before the school day starts, I fill out a sheet of paper for the girls with all assignments for the day that can be done independently. We do a good bit of memory works, so this includes reviewing verses, science and history facts, and Latin. It also includes vocabulary or spelling, reading, handwriting (which is often copying a bible verse), and anything else that can be done.
After breakfast and morning chores, we head upstairs and everyone does math. I float among the kids, answering questions and being the morning task master. When math is completed, we move on to language. At this point, the girls begin independent work and Josh takes a break while I do phonics, spelling, and Latin with Will. When I finish with Will, he moves on to some independent work while I do phonics with Josh. Next, Josh and Will get a computer turn, and I do grammar and Latin with the girls.
Although math and language are the only two completed subjects by this point, it is often 10:30 or 11:00. I round up the troops, and we gather for Bible and memory work. We are reading through the New Testament, and it has been such a blessing to see the Lord using His Word to convict and hopefully begin to work in the hearts of our children. On to memory work...
I said that I don't have many innovative ideas, but I did recently have one "Aha!" kind of moment. Instead of pulling out Science, History, Art, Latin, and Bible folders when it was time to do memory stuff, I grabbed a 3 ring binder with some dividers and made sections for each subject that we have memory work. I keep this binder handy, and we often take it in the car with us. In it are copies of science facts, history facts, art history flashcards, Latin chants and prayers, our catechism, and memory verses.
During memory time, we spend about 15 minutes on cumulatively reviewing information we have learned thus far in the year and learning new bible verses.
After memory time, it is usually time for lunch break. I make lunch while the kids finish any independent work, clean up, or play. They eat, and I usually spend a few minutes on the computer or doing housework. Ideally, at this point in the day I keep intending to go ahead and make supper. I know it helps at supper time, but for some reason I have a difficult time doing this more than once a week.
After lunch break (we usually take about an hour), it's back upstairs for History, Literature, and Science. By the time we finish, it is time to get dressed and head to town to exercise. The kids take any work still not finished and a book, and we go to the Healthplex or track. When they finish their work, they get to watch PBS in the nursery for a little bit until I finish exercising. Then it is time for "Fit Kids," and they come exercise with me for an hour. We come home, have supper, and wind down our day...
Obviously this is a general routine... things come up, and schedules need to be adjusted. Wednesday is our favorite day because we usually have "pajama day." We don't exercise or go anywhere until it is time for church, and so the kids choose to stay in PJs most of the day while we do school and some extra cleaning in the afternoon. On Fridays we get up early and leave by 7:00 for Tupelo. I do all of my errands after lunch with the boys, while the girls are still in class.
Next year we have decided not to participate in Excelsior... I will probably use the next post to explain our reasoning, and then I will go on to discuss different curricula that have and have not worked for me.
Have a nice day!