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Week-in-Review Nov. 24-28

Posted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:59 pm
by my3sons
Ok Fellow HOD Homeschoolers,

What was YOUR week Like?

You can post:

a- A picture
b- A blog Link
c- A written synopsis
d- Your favorite memory
e- Anything you want that shares your HOD excitement!

Important Note: If you are linking us to your blog, please make sure it's not just a general link, but to your specific post of HOD. That way if someone reads through these a year from now they can find your share without needing to hunt!

Re: Week-in-Review Nov. 24-28

Posted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:09 pm
by my3sons
With Thanksgiving and deer and pheasant hunting this week, we took a week off a school, so I thought for the weekly check-in, I'd share about our school schedule. I've had ladies asking me to share our schedule, and I had promised I'd share it on the board when I had it tweaked to how we liked it the best. We are doing World History, Resurrection to Reformation, and Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory this year with our 15 yo, 11 yo, and 7 yo respectively. :D

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When making our schedule this year, I began by printing each of the suggested time allotments for the guides, which can be found for all HOD guides on this board:
Beyond Little Hearts...
Reading About History Box: 10 min.
Poetry and Rhymes: 5-10 min.
Bible Study and Music: 10 min.
Rotating Bottom Left Box (Artistic Expression, History Activity/Timeline, Geography, Science twice weekly): 15-20 min.

Language Arts Box: 15 min. (spelling/grammar)
Reading: 15 min. if doing the Emerging Readers and 20-25 min. if doing DITHR 2/3
Math: 15-20 min.
Storytime: 15-20 min.

Resurrection to Reformation:
RTR (Left Side of the Plans):
Reading About History: (30-35 min. including reading and assignment)
Storytime: (15-20 min.)
History Project: (20 min.)
Rotating Box: (20 min.) Longer on the Shakespeare Day
Independent History Study: (10-15 min.) (Longer on Draw and Write days)

RTR (Right Side of the Plans):
Bible Quiet Time: (20 min.)
Math: (30-35 min.)
Science: (25-30 min.)
Rotating Box: Art Appreciation (15-20 min.), Devotional Bible Study (20 min. - twice weekly), Poetry (10-15 min.)
Language Arts (not all areas are done daily):
Dictation (5 min.) 3 times weekly
Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons: (20 min.) 3 times weekly
Drawn into the Heart of Reading: (30-40 min.) 3 times weekly
Grammar: (20 min.) 2 times weekly (much done orally)

World History:
Left Side of the Plans:
Average Total Combined Time for World History AND History Activities: 60-70 minutes
*World History box: 35-45 minutes (about 15-20 minutes for reading, 15 min. for shorter narrations, 25 min. for longer narrations written/typed/opinion)
*History Activities box: 20-45 minutes (longer on "You Are There" days)
Living Library: 20-30 minutes (20 min. reading, 10 min. Literary Synthesis Sheet)
Fine Arts: 25-30 min. on Days 1-3; longer on Day 4 for Project, about 60 min.
Foreign Language: 20-30 min.

Right Side of the Plans:
Pilgrim's Progress/Total Health: 35-40 min.; Health Test day will be longer; length varies depending on time spent on discussions
Bible: 40-45 min.
Science with Lab: 45-60 min.
Literature Study: 45 min.
Composition/Grammar: 30 min.
Math: 60 min.

I printed these time allotments, and then I put a "T" next to the things that were Teacher-Directed. I talked with our older sons about when they each wanted their school day to begin and end, whether they wanted to do some school early in the morning and/or at night, and when they would like to have free time in the course of their day. My oldest ds is a morning person, so he wanted to get up at 5 AM to begin. I thought that was too early, but I did decide to let him get up at 6 AM to start. My middle ds wanted to begin at 6 AM too then, but we settled on 6:15 for him to begin, with the understanding that he could always sleep until 7 AM and move those earlier subjects to the afternoon instead. My youngest ds is NOT a morning person, and he is not doing much independent work yet in Beyond, so I decided to have him sleep longer, until 8:15 AM, with the understanding that he could always enjoy reading in his room if he woke up early.

On a legal pad, I then jotted down 30 minute increments on the side, making 4 columns, 1 for each of us. Looking at the "T" marked things for each child, I made teaching blocks to meet with each of them, rotating between them, and having them rotate between 'teaching blocks' and 'independent blocks' of time. I moved these around a lot at first, as I tried to figure out how best to keep everyone going by checking in with each in a balanced way. I always like to make sure Emmett and Riley have a play time together, as well as Emmett having an independent play time on his own. I used to have Wyatt have a play time with Emmett during school too, but high school takes more time, so I moved that to afternoon/evening. It is nice to have the kids have the feeling that their day 'ends' about the same time, so I usually have everyone finish up about the same time, give or take a few subjects for my high school student. Emmett has ample play time before his school day 'ends,' but since everyone 'ends' about the same time, no one feels like their day went a lot longer than the others' day did. :D

I also work part time, sometimes in my home and sometimes out of my home. Wyatt and Riley work a few hours each week too. I have a homeschool college graduate come a few afternoons a week to help watch the boys, help correct some schoolwork, and help with some laundry. This helps me be able to work part-time consistently, and it helps a lovely homeschooled gal earn some needed funds.

We were in a good rhythm with our year, and we were really enjoying our time together homeschooling, but though our schedule was going well, I found that I was still feeling frazzled. I finally realized that I wasn't going to be able to 'tweak' my schedule anymore to alleviate the stress I was feeling because what was making me exhausted had nothing to do with my school schedule and everything to do with the 'rest of my life.' I am happy to say that chatting through things with my big sis, Carrie, helped me resolve a lot of these stressors! Rather than share every detail of my life from sunup to sundown with you here, I'm just going to share the questions that I needed to have planned answers for in order for my life to not be so hectic. Here goes...
When will I do my Bible Quiet Time, and what will I do?
When will I get groceries?
When will I set up appointments for the boys? (doctor, dentist, orthodontist, eye doctor, chiropractor)
When will I set up appointments for me? (haircut, doctor, etc.)
When will I run errands?
When will I do laundry?
When will I exercise?
When will I go on a date with my dh?
When will I do something with my sister/friends?
What chores have to be done, when will they be done, and who will do each of them?
What help can I utilize when working and when my dh is gone for long periods of time for work?
What can I do to relax or for fun at least a little part of each day?
When will I call/see my mom?
When can I plan time for the boys to play with their cousins/friends?
When can they watch football, and how much?
When can they watch movies together, and who picks?
When can the boys play board games together?
When can I take the boys out for an ice cream treat or for a special time to eat out somewhere? How often? Where? How much money can I save to put toward this?
How can I budget money for everything, and when will I go through it to balance it? What do I need to save money ahead of time for?
What will we eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

Anyway, slowly figuring out answers to each of these questions is making my life about 100 times better!!! I get to talk to a lot of wonderful families that homeschool, either on this board, in person at conventions, or on the phone. For about 99% of the ladies, they are stressed not by homeschooling, but by some of the questions above that they do not have answers for yet. The questions may be slightly different, but not having answers figured out for them is the root of the stress. So, working through each of these things has helped and continues to help my life be better. Homeschooling is actually the stable, easy part. It's the rest of my life that needs redefining. Anyway, I share all of this in the hopes that it may help some of you as you endeavor to live your best life! We can plan, plan, plan, but really God is the ultimate planner of our life. So, being ready for changes and trying to navigate them the best we can with God by our side is just a necessary part of living our best lives for Him. I hope something here can help as you endeavor to life your best life!!! :D :D :D

In Christ,

Re: Week-in-Review Nov. 24-28

Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:38 pm
by MelInKansas

Thanks so much for sharing this, and for sharing how you are working through your own stress and struggles. I agree so much of the time it's not about homeschooling but about everything else that goes with managing a family and home. Now, it is granted that there is more work to this because you and the kids are at home all day rather than going to work or school for most of the day. But that's also the blessing of it!

We did do 2 days of school last week so my DD could keep on progress with finishing up Preparing. We also travelled and spent some time with family and friends so that was a wonderful blessing.

One of the things that used to stress me out about homeschooling was when I was trying to have most of my kids working at the same time and they weren't able to do so successfully without interrupting me or without my help. This is especially true with my 7YO and 5YO at times, and then the 2YO would also need me because he didn't have a sister to play with him or help him get a drink, etc. I had to switch things up so that I really had blocks to work with each one of them, and still also that we were making progress and it wasn't always that someone had to wait for me in order to get anything done. Chores are also a hard one in our house. Either nothing gets done and the kids get a lot of free play when they're not doing school with me, or I am also trying to manage kids who are doing chores while managing school. There is a balance here and I am still working on achieving it.

HOD makes doing school so much easier and such a joy that the time we spend doing school is almost always enjoyable. Now we need HOD to plan out the rest of our lives! Just kidding.

Re: Week-in-Review Nov. 24-28

Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:13 am
by my3sons
MelInKansas wrote:...One of the things that used to stress me out about homeschooling was when I was trying to have most of my kids working at the same time and they weren't able to do so successfully without interrupting me or without my help. This is especially true with my 7YO and 5YO at times, and then the 2YO would also need me because he didn't have a sister to play with him or help him get a drink, etc. I had to switch things up so that I really had blocks to work with each one of them, and still also that we were making progress and it wasn't always that someone had to wait for me in order to get anything done. Chores are also a hard one in our house. Either nothing gets done and the kids get a lot of free play when they're not doing school with me, or I am also trying to manage kids who are doing chores while managing school. There is a balance here and I am still working on achieving it...
Well said!! :D I think your description here is a window into most homeschool moms' busy days of balancing homeschooling, chores, playtimes, etc. Having little children definitely makes a mom need to both plan for blocks of time to teach and also plan for hiccups that throw the schedule off. I have been praying for you as your time to welcome a new little one into your home draws near! Thank you for being such an encourager to so many on this board - especially to me. I don't know how you do all that you do, but you do it well. Praying for a restful Christmas for you, and the blessing of a new babe this New Year! :D :D :D

In Christ,

Re: Week-in-Review Nov. 24-28

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:50 am
by Nealewill
I did not reply to this post before but this post spoke straight to my heart. So many of us that homeschool are very busy. We have tons of goals and aspirations that we are trying to accomplish in just one day. It can feel so overwhelming at times to see that we are not going to make it :-( And I agree with both of you, school isn't my issue in reading my goals. It is everything else. So here are my goals for organizing for next year:

*For the month of December I took quite a bit of time off of getting on computer. That was so helpful. I think I am going to continue in this fashion as I ring in the new year. I am setting a limit of about 30 minutes or so that I will get online per day and check my sites (mainly here LOL).
*I also need to be more intentional and more organized about grocery shopping and making meals. I feel like I am really failing here! I know that if I go to the store weekly and if I have a meal calendar in place, I will make good and healthy meals. But if I have to wing it every night, we are going to end up with cereal for dinner. Over the break I have taken 2 weeks so far and planned out meals and they have been pretty good. My husband has been VERY happy and my kids have had good attitudes and tried new things. Lunches on the other hand, I need help LOL. I really struggle with lunches. I need to find a way to get lunch done quickly but healthy. My kids are really picky and actually don't care much for the same things. A lot of days they make their own lunch and we may just have to stick with this.
*I need to be more intentional with scheduled chore times. A lot of the time we just do chores when they need to be done but lately the house has just gotten a lot messier because I am not specifically directing chores well. So I need to set a specific schedule. I was planning on starting it this week while we were off but it just hasn't worked out. So starting next week one person is responsible for clean up the living room and dining room by picking up things left out and sweeping the floors (least amount cleaning required), one person is responsible for cleaning up the playroom and vacuuming it (messiest room in the house but easily manageable) and then one person is on dinner duty with me. My kids all fold their laundry and I have been pretty good about having them do that once per week or more. They rarely complain. And then every morning, at 7:30 AM when they get up, they can all unload the dishwasher.
*I need to get my work completed on a more consistent schedule. I am really getting there and I am proud of myself. But I think I need to start going to bed by 11:00 so that I can get up between 5:00 AM and 6:00 AM to tackle my day. That way I can easily work for 4 hours in the morning and not have to work much more than that. I also need to work on the times that I schedule my meetings. I usually only have 1 meeting during the day per week and that works fine for me. I have another homeschool child watch my kids for few hours and she helps my younger 2 get their work done while my oldest works on her own.
*I need to exercise! My husband and I started working out a few weeks ago and we are loving it. We exercise for 25 minutes a day 5 days a week. It really is great because I feel so much better in general after working out. I just need to consistently do it. I find that if I can get up at 5:00 AM to work, I can work out at 7:00 and then get back to working by 8:00 so that I can stop working by 10:00 and that will start my day off right.
*My last area to tackle is breakfast. I struggle with asking my husband to help because he is so slow moving in the mornings (and in general - the man CAN NOT multitask at all) and then he won't get out the door to go to work until 9:00 or 9:30. It isn't a big deal what time goes in because he pretty much sets his own hours - he is an IT and networking guy and he consistently is working from home at night when people are off the network making him easily able to flex his time regularly - but it bothers me when he is late into the morning because my kids won't start school till he leaves. I am at place now where I have the kids make their own breakfast at times but then they aren't always the healthiest. So I am thinking that I might start my kids breakfast 3 days per week and have my hubby do it for 2 days - and the kids can finish it up. It is a thought. This would consistently help to get my husband out the door by 8:30 or so and then my kids can start school by 8:45.

So there you have it - these are my goals for next year :-)

Re: Week-in-Review Nov. 24-28

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:24 am
by my3sons
Daneale - I really enjoyed reading through your goals! They resonated with me. Exercise is one thing I am not getting to, and I have a love/hate relationship with it. :lol: I don't like to start exercising, but I'm happy when I'm doing it, and I feel great about it when I'm done! :) Balancing work and everything else is a challenge for me too. You'd mentioned breakfast - I have had Wyatt make breakfast several times a week for a long time. He enjoys it, and I do too. A few things that have worked that are pretty healthy are...

Microwave eggs (give a bowl a spray of Pam, pour in scrambled egg - we add cheese and sometimes small ham cubes - and microwave, flipping once in the middle until done - about 1 1/2 minutes)
Magic Bullet Smoothies and peanut butter toast (the bullet is great for kids because they can't cut themselves on the blade; one of our favorite and easy recipes - single serving: 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 tsp sugar or Stevia, 1/2 cup any kind of milk or combination of milk (i.e. Almond milk, soy, 1%, 2%, whole), 1 tsp or 1 pour of vanilla, 1 ice cube, 1/2 cup frozen berries (any combination, but strawberry with a few blueberries is the favorite here)
Granola from the bulk bins at grocery store with yogurt and toast
Not so healthy day - mini donuts or pop tarts with cut up apples and peanut butter or with smoothies

Those are a few breakfast items that have worked for my kids to make. I exercised with my dh 2 years ago. We actually did P90X together, and we loved it! It was a major time commitment though, and we could only do it at night. My dh also travels a ton, so I think I need to make some exercise goals solo this year. We're also working through our budget for 2015, always a consuming task. Anyway, thank you SOOOO much for sharing your goals! I feel more empowered to work on fine tuning mine this weekend too! You are an inspiration to me!!! :D :D :D

In Christ,

Re: Week-in-Review Nov. 24-28

Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:59 pm
by Nealewill
Thanks Julie. You are too kind :-)

And we do eat granola A LOT! I make it from scratch and limit the amount of sugar in it. My oldest has issues with processing sugar in her body and it causes her to have borderline high cholesterol. So she can't have too many starches or sugars :-( And we will have to try those recipes - both the microwave eggs and the smoothie. :-) I think all my kids could each make those :-) My oldest would need to get the youngers started but because my kids are so close in age (approximately 1.5 years between each other), no one likes to feel left out and they all like to contribute to making the food :-) And we do also have a magic bullet - we use it a lot. They work great for things like this and are easy to use.

And I don't know if you have heard of T25 videos but they are the ones we are doing. It is 25 minutes of a super charged workout with a 3 minute stretch at the end. Funny story - the first time we did the first video, my husband had to stop half way through because it was so challenging. And he plays sports regularly and is in okay shape. I had looked at the P90X and would love to try those sometime! They look great. But I think they might take a little bit more time than 25 min (I thought maybe an hour day but can't remember). Maybe when my kids get older.........

Re: Week-in-Review Nov. 24-28

Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:41 am
by my3sons
Off to check out those exercise DVDs... :D Thanks!

In Christ,