Growing up, I never understood why my parents did not like me saying I can’t find it. Now that I have children of my own, I get it.
Just yesterday, I ordered a garbage bag because the kids were going through the closet where we keep school supplies and were unable to find what they needed. Yes, a garbage bag – because the first thing you must do when you can’t find something is start throwing things away.
Before You Add…
So perhaps in math, you get to add before you subtract, all you PEMDAS fans. But when it comes to curriculum or teaching styles or even for simple sanity’s sake, it makes sense to subtract before you add.
This is not just true when homeschooling in a small house. While it is necessary in a small house to keep clutter down, this is an effective tool no matter what size of home you have.
It makes sense to get into the habit or removing before adding in almost every situation that demands space – mental, physical or temporal.
It’s the time of year when many homeschooling parents are excitedly making lists, looking over other homeschooling parents’ lists and searching online for what to add to their schedule. I love research! And if some books and classes are good, more should be better, right?
Um, no. Let’s not drown the children in work just yet.
Before you add anything to your schedule, consider removing something else.
We Have a Rule
Because we have limited storage in our home, our rule for bringing anything into it is pretty strict – there has to be a place we can put it before we buy it and we have to eliminate one other thing. This is especially true of clothes and books.
We choose to donate an equal amount of each. So if I buy a bag of books from a library sale, I have to donate a bag.
While this is good for frugal reasons, when it comes to planning for homeschooling, this idea works wonders. This year, when you decide you want to add something – an activity, a workbook, a read aloud, consider two things: where will it go in your day and is there anything you can remove before you add it in?
Spring is lurking around the corner. In our little corner in California, it means we indulge in that annoying act of springing our clocks forward and arguably making us worse for the wear.
And while I don’t mind DST much, what always gets me this time of year is the sense that I am somehow always behind. It’s as if Spring is egging me on, saying, “Come on! Hurry up!”
If you feel the same way, I’ve identified a few things that help me save time and make my life easier. I use these on a regular basis, so they are time tested and dependable. They might help you, too.
I was recently told that the name “to do list” no longer works. Today, we call it “bullet journaling.” I had no idea. I use three different journals everyday. One tells me what to do, one records what I have done and also what I have gleaned from the day. And the third one is purely for creative purposes like planning blog posts.
While it might seem like it takes time to keep journals, writing in them has helped me save time instead. How is this possible? Well, for one, I’m not constantly trying to remember what I was supposed to do every single day.
Also, I tend to take the heart the advice that I can pick and choose from my list of tasks for the day. I pick easy things and build momentum. I’m not always a fan of “eating that frog” first thing in the morning. Then again, some days I am.
Having a journal with a list of tasks helps me organize my day and get it all done without having to remember every last thing to do.
This is one trick I learned from The Flylady. You can do anything for 15 minutes, she likes to say. It’s true. If you feel like you’re not motivated, it helps to set the timer and give something your undivided attention for a set amount of time. It gets done pretty quickly. That’s because setting the timer adds an element of game play into the activity.
My children also use the timer for their video games to ensure fairness. We give each child control over the games for an hour each. That tends to cut down on arguments and keeps everyone contented.
I love stationery. Period. But there’s a special reason I love Post Its. I use Post Its in our daily planning school method as I have explained here.
Okay, this one is exciting, you guys! I have Aqua Notes hanging in my shower with scribbles on it right now.
You know those ideas you get when you’re in the shower that you can never remember when you get out? With Aqua Notes, you can write them down. I can also use it to plan my day without having to hurry out of the shower. Sometimes I’m listening to a podcast in the shower and I can quickly jot down something I’ve heard that sounds interesting.
Highly recommended! Especially for moms who have too many things going through their heads at any given moment.
This one is close to my heart. For years, I bought annoyingly big and heavy laptop computers that got hot on my lap if I used them too long. And if I wanted my children to use them, I cringed and prayed as they uncomfortably carried this heavy thing around the room. Also, the batteries kept dying and the aging laptops had to be connected to a power source all the time!
Those headaches are now over, thanks to my Samsung Chromebook! I have been known to mention this piece of technology on random Facebook groups and anyone asking for a recommendation.
And how does it save you time? It takes less than 30 seconds to open up and begin typing on this blog. Which means that as soon as I have an idea, I can get going on it. No headaches, no frustrations with slow start ups, nothing. And it’s light, under $300 and small enough to fit in my oversized purse.
So there you are. Five gadgets to save you time this Spring. So come on, Daylight Savings Time. Come on, spring and summer! We’re ready for you now!
We’ve exhausted all our planned, available resources. It’s happened sooner than I imagined. Not that I’m complaining.
So here I am scrambling to find more things to put on the agenda. Okay, okay, not scrambling exactly. While we’re enjoying the easy days of “just one sheet of math” and Minecraft broken in with some reading and writing, I’m beginning to start the search for next year’s (whatever that means!) curriculum. (whatever that means, right?)
In the upcoming weeks, I intend scouring the books/resources I have, checking off what I want them to learn in the upcoming months, gauging where they currently find themselves and working to engage them as much as possible in their education. As someone put it, homeschooling is of course “trying to work yourself out of a job.”
Only this time I’m doing it on Snapchat.
If you haven’t been on Snapchat, you should definitely check it out. The idea is that the content there only lasts for 24 hours. So come find me and watch the videos I put up. They can only be 10 seconds long, so I’ll try to make the most out of each snap.
I’ll provide you with a good idea of how to pull from many places depending on what you and your kids like. And you know I’m cheap, so I’ll do it frugally. If nothing else, you’ll come away from my snaps with your mind bursting full of ideas for your next curriculum planning session.
I’ll show you places I shop and what I buy and don’t buy. And also (to my great sadness) what I have bought in the past that was a complete disaster. And some curricula that looks nothing like curricula but teaches real life skills and even some – sigh – worksheets and flashcards. Because much to my disdain, I have one kid who likes them.
If I’m feeling really brave, I might even let you into the sit down work part of our day. Ten seconds at a time. Eep.
So come find me on Snapchat. Let’s have some real fun planning curriculum! Why should our kids have all the fun?
I have been to bed the past few days out of exhaustion. Sleep has been quick and almost dreamless. The night passes like a flash and then the alarm sounds its four notes. My phone buzzes, the smell of coffee is filling the house. It’s time to be awake again.
It’s time to do the same things I did yesterday, in pretty much the same way and not get them all done. Again.
It’s those in-between days that have the power to devastate me.
It’s those days when I forget to set out the meat to thaw in the morning as I had hoped to do, those days when my child seems to have forgotten her math tables and we have to go over them one more time for review; it’s the days I burn dinner, the days when no matter what I do, the toddler refuses to obey and it feels like all day long I’ve done nothing but correct and discipline and does that count as school?
Those are the days I have run into lately. And I am exhausted.
Now please don’t get me wrong. We’ve have a wonderful January. I certainly do not need advice. We are actually doing really well in our homeschool. The children are learning far more than I ever teach, they are independent, self-assured learners, they are curious, creative creatures, everything I want them to be at this stage. So, no, we are not struggling homeschoolers.
It’s just this small string of days we’ve had with no sun, heavy gray clouds oppressing the horizon. They too shall pass but for now they’re here.
Do not jump in with advice.
The worst thing you can do right now is give me offhand advice. Because I know, I know – in my bones – that this is temporary, that it doesn’t require an overhaul of my time budget and it certainly doesn’t need to call my teaching or mothering skills into question.
The best thing you can say is this: “Sometimes doing all you can means that some things don’t get done.”
Because you know it’s true. And I know you’ve been where I am.
It’s a truth every homeschooling mom has to admit at some point in her life. She’s not failing and neither is she asking for sympathy. She has just hit a rough spot. It will be different a week, a month from today.
Ask her to see farther down the road; don’t ask her to pull over and check her map. Don’t tell her to put her kid in public school. She’s on the right track. Remind her that she’s working hard enough. That sometimes doing all you can means that some things don’t get done.
A long, long time ago, back when I used to watch TV, there was a woman on one of the (very tame) reality shows of the time who had said that having lots of children did not bother her because she ran her household like a business.
It was powerful to hear that said. It stuck with me.
Homeschooling is a lot like running a business, too. And that’s why it does not scare me.
David Allen, productivity consultant and author of Getting Things Done writes,
You don’t actually do projects. You only complete the actions related to them.
Educating my children is just one of the projects I do. Just like making dinner, keeping a home running smoothly, writing this blog, writing a book.
Whether we realize or acknowledge it to be so or not, we are constantly making choices about what we consider to be the best use of our time on a daily basis. Sometimes, what we do is not so obvious, sometimes because we can break it down into smaller actionable steps in our heads, it is.
Think about it this way: you don’t actually have to educate your children, you just have to read to them, discuss important subjects with them, provide opportunities to learn, and help them be diligent with practicing. In other words, you have to complete some actions on a consistent basis.
If you have a reasonable sense of control, organization and time management skills and are good at communicating with a normal human being, you can educate your children.
I think a lot of fear comes in when people think of homeschooling because they’re seeing the entire “project” in their head and thinking, I could never do that.
But you don’t have to.
You don’t actually do projects. You only complete the actions related to them.
We recently had a wonderful visit with family from out of state and one of the more interesting discussions centered around everyone’s frenemy Facebook.
Some refused to use it, some deleted their accounts and others were in favor of limiting their use, even removing them from their phones to do so.
I too in the past have been one of those people who deleted my account. I decided I would never come back to Facebook, that I would be happier (not to mention, productive!) without it. Clearly, I came back. (Follow me here!)
So what is it about this social media site that makes everyone love to hate it? I have a few guesses, five to be precise.
#1 It “Shoulds” All Over You
You really should put down your phone, you know, you should observe and watch your kids because, God forbid they ever look up at you for approval and you’re reading/checking your screen, or, you know, doing dishes or cooking. How dare you, mom? You should be watching them all day long with adoring eyes. (I hope the sarcasm is coming through. I’ll stop. I will, I promise.)
But the “shoulding” unfortunately doesn’t end with making you feel guilty about your screen time. There are other forms of shoulds so common on social media, we almost don’t even notice them.
You should be more loving, you should be eating ice-cream, no, wait, that’s not healthy. You should be eating healthier, you should be working out. It’s your birthday? It doesn’t matter that you want to stay home and read. You should be out having fun.
It’s not that anyone comes out and says it to you per se, of course. It’s just that social media in its highly selective (all your friends) and yet universal (all your friends from everywhere you’ve ever been) creates an environment that fools you into believing that all those opinions matter.
It shoulds all over you.
#2 It Creates a Community of Sufferers Suffering Together
How many times have you been so angry you had to go to your Facebook page to vent and later regretted it?
The researchers found that moods were contagious. The people who saw more positive posts responded by writing more positive posts. Similarly, seeing more negative content prompted the viewers to be more negative in their own posts.
Perhaps the worst thing that does is justifies your bad mood by commiseration. Now think about what would happen if you didn’t share that experience. You would probably brush it off. You would maybe even forget about it.
But now that you have five hundred of your closest friends commenting on it and discussing it days after it happened, you’ve prolonged your indignation.
#3 It Interrupts Your Day
Which leads to the next reason for my frenemiship with social media: interruptions.
I noticed that ever since I downgraded from a Samsung Note to a Motorola, (thanks to Republic Wireless for bringing down my phone bill to $10 a month!) my Facebook notifications are hit-or-miss. And you know what, I couldn’t be happier!
Thankfully, this one is easily fixed. Turn off notifications.
#4 It Forces You To Think In Snap Decisions
If you’ve ever read historical letters, you would likely be struck by how well-argued they were. These were times when people sat down and thought through their theses, took pen (or quill!) to paper and – most importantly – formed a coherent opinion.
We all know about the “type Amen” or “Pass it on – God is watching” posts and, rightfully so, ignore them. But how many of us repost or hit the thumbs up “like” on things in a hurry in our newsfeed just because they agree with our knee-jerk response?
Worse, how many of us are found forced to form opinions in the midst of cooking dinner – or teaching reading – about big things like guns, life, death and the next Presidential Election and then trying to write about them on a small screen letter by painstaking letter?
We can only be passionate about a handful of things at a time and they’re probably all related. But they show up on our newsfeeds as a constant barrage. Write a book or a letter; avoid sharing them on social media. Just a thought.
Of course no one puts pictures of sad things and things going wrong on Facebook and I would argue that doing so – far from giving you a sense of balance – would seem equally glorifying of the lazy, ugly and unruly side we all possess.
Just the fact that something is on a screen and being watched gives it value in our minds. Just like putting something in a book gives it a certain respect. No matter what. (I don’t know if it’s years of media exposure or what, but changing what we put on the screen to reflect reality just does not work. Because ultimately in choosing one or the other, we edit, opine and otherwise stitch things together to present to an audience.)
And, honestly, I find it takes much less time to clean up a room than to take pictures of it and post it to show how “real” I’m keeping it.
All this to say, I still love Facebook and see it as an integral part of my day. But I try to remember that nothing is perfect and trying to keep the above five things in perspective helps me distance myself from much of what would otherwise be a small annoyance or probably just ruin my day completely.
How do you keep your sanity on Facebook? I’d love to hear!
Name one thing you can do today – for your self or your children that can predict the future. No? Okay, how about you name one thing that will make you happier tomorrow or a week from today?
The answer might surprise you – it’s discipline.
Discipline can help you predict the future happiness of your children as well as your self.
Whoever wrote discipline is freedom was definitely on to something.
I have written in the past about the necessity of a time budget and how to begin one. There are various articles online about how to do the same with money, but curiously not many talk about how these restrictions and rules instead of making us feel constrained and miserable as we think they will, actually make us happier. (Clearly, I have to write one.)
In big ways and small, I have come to realize that Charlotte Mason was right. The habits of the child do produce the character of the man.
“Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend.” – Charlotte Mason.
It’s a sobering, sobering thought.
Not Just For the Kids
Parents sometimes tend to make the mistake of thinking that discipline is only for the children. And as such, if they haven’t cultivated it in themselves (or have had a hard time doing so) they assume they will never be able to teach it to the children.
However, if you’re even remotely introspective, the very act of teaching it to the children will make you start to apply it yourself.
And if you think discipline is about being miserable all day, read this.
Discipline Can Predict Future Happiness
I had wrongly assumed that having a routine that we stuck with no matter what and having definite boundaries that even I wouldn’t cross (for example, no snacking until two hours after a meal, no more than one soda a day, no screens until 2 pm) were arbitrary rules we didn’t need, but I was wrong.
Just like a money budget gives you the freedom to spend on the things you have planned for, and a time budget helps you get through the day feeling accomplished but not constantly rushed, discipline predicts the amount of satisfaction you will experience with your given task.
Without a plan, it is easy to get sidetracked, feel hurried or worse, waste time on trivialities. Learn to cultivate discipline, add some necessary, clear-cut guidelines and bring lasting freedom to your homeschool days.
Summer is here! Long days, tired, happy kids and homeschool moms planning the next year’s curriculum, right? But before you jump into it, remember to use this down time to energize your upcoming school year.
Let them be bored for a little while. Watch what they like. If you’re so inclined, do some informal, gentle testing of their abilities. What is the first thing they reach for after they’ve been doing nothing? You might learn something new about them and it could help your curriculum choices or schedule in the upcoming year.
2. Homeschool Conferences:
I intend attending at least a couple this year. Homeschool conferences are invaluable for families. They can keep you updated on laws and other situations that can affect you, they can make you aware of a different style of teaching, and most importantly, they can give you a support group.
Homeschooling can sometimes get lonely. Conferences help you find that group that’s just right for you so you don’t have to be.
If you need to, buy a planner, but don’t fill it up with a schedule. Instead, mark out the days you will take off in the upcoming year. Work backwards, with the end in mind.
Summer is also a great time to train the youngest member of the family. Many moms will potty train around this time of year, but it can also be helpful to reconsider sleep schedules, eating habits, play times, bath times. Play around with putting these in different parts of the day and see what works best. You might find that a change is necessary.
5. Change one habit for each person, including yourself:
Habits are hard to break, but summer is a great time to do so. Take an inventory of each of your children and yourself to see which habits work and which no longer serve you (and them) well. Make a plan to change them. Just be sure to work on one at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Summer can be a great time to energize your home, your homeschool and yourself. If you’ve been dragging the past few months, take some time to think about how to approach those problems in the coming year. “Spring cleaning” your schedule, your style, even your self, could make a world of a difference!
The problem with a lot of premade curriculum seems to be its rigidity. Every child is different, comes with different strengths, abilities, interests.
Each parent is different, too, and most homeschool moms have their own strengths and styles in which they teach best.
A pre-packaged curriculum addresses none of this.
While there may be advantages to buying one just to get started, I find that fitting it into your own family’s routine and personalities becomes its own chore.
I have always built my own curriculum. You can as well, by following the steps below.
Step 1: Assess the child’s abilities
One of the biggest reasons I recommend building your own curriculum is because a grade level doesn’t mean much to a homeschooler. Eventually, you find out that even though your six year old would technically be in first grade he is reading at third grade level or your daughter who is only nine is already working at sixth grade math.
But their abilities are not straight across the board.
Typically, you find out that one of your kids is a math whiz while the other is a reader. One can advance through the grades of history while another is interested in science.
In such a scenario, it is much easier to pick and pull and build a curriculum of your own rather than go by the rigid categories and limitations pre-packaged curricula offer.
Step 2: Consider their interests, your style, and how much time you have to homeschool
Some children learn to read by playing Minecraft. Some like to listen, some are musically inclined, others are not.
While pursuing a well-rounded or rigorous education, don’t forget to play to the children’s interests. If you have a child who loves to cook but isn’t interested the least bit in reading, there is no harm in giving her a cookbook and engaging her in reading from that angle.
There is no one size fits all. Homeschooling is all about thinking outside the box.
Not all school needs to be fun, but don’t completely throw away the freedom you have and insist that it’s in the curriculum, so it must get done.
Also, take into consideration your teaching style and how much time you have to devote to school in a given day. There are parents who work and still homeschool, there are parents with irregular schedules who homeschool. How much time you have is an important factor.
These will and should directly affect your curriculum choice.
To get an idea of what style of homeschooling suits you best, take this quiz.
Step 3: Browse scope and sequence or guidelines of various curricula through online catalogs
Okay, here’s where it gets to be fun.
If you’ve been poking around online, I’m sure you have come across online catalogs. You have probably also been mailed some to your home. Some of these catalogs will list titles of books for each grade level. Take some time to go through these.
Check out their Scope and Sequence page. In it, they will tell you exactly what specific skills they will be covering. If you want to take this a step further, you can check these against the scope and sequence of your specific state.
Now, align the scope and sequence with your child’s interests, your teaching style and voila. Any curriculum built this way will far superior than any boxed curriculum because it will be customized to your family.
Take some time doing this, though. This part will be perhaps the most time consuming part of all. But the work on the front end will pay off later in the year.
Step 4: Look Around You
Okay, you have a pretty good idea of what you want to teach your children and you know they’re going to love it and you’re going to enjoy teaching because it aligns with your style and the time you have. Great! At this point, take a break.
Yes, that’s right. Take a break from the planning and the thinking and the deciding.
As you take a break, you might just realize that you already have around you material that you have not considered “curriculum” because it didn’t come with “textbook” written all over it. Consider encyclopedia like Childcraft, (if you’ve ever been so fortunate as to pick up a few at a library or yard sale) story books, Netflix, even relatives and friends skilled in a task.
And finally. Fill up the remainder of what you need and enjoy the rest of the summer. Of course some of us don’t take summers off, so in that case, well, have fun! It’s time to enter the new school year confident.
Enjoyed this post? Then you’ll love my book The Classical Unschooler’s Guide to Creating Your Own Curriculum coming this summer! Sign up below for updates, giveaways and details.
It is perfectly normal to panic when you first begin homeschooling.
If some of you are thinking about starting this year, I wanted to bring you some cheer. Be inspired by these moms who are currently homeschooling. While I am not at liberty to reveal names, rest assured that these are real moms (and dads) who have made educating their children a part of their lives.
I am sharing these in the hope that you will see how homeschooling can be endlessly tailored to fit your family and your children’s personalities. There is no one-size-fits-all. And if you’re not normal, so be it. As I have said before, the fact that you cannot teach like a school, far from being a weakness, is a strength! Be inspired!
The original question was what time homeschool moms went to sleep and when they woke up and how it all worked with the kids.
“I get ready for the day while the kids have breakfast and enjoy free play. We start our school day around 10.”
“I am up late – midnight or after. I get up with my husband at 6:30 get him off to work then try to get my AM flylady routine done before my youngest is awake. Then I do work for business. Kids get up anywhere from 530-1130. My daughter is an early riser and oldest son is a night owl. We get school work done mainly between 12-3. In my perfect world all my children we would be asleep by 10:30 but as it is 11:05 currently and no one is asleep yet you can guess how often that happens here.”
“Our house is full of night owls so we are all up until 10-11ish pm. I wake up no later than 8am to give me 2 hours to get my non-school stuff done. It’s me time! Wake kids by 9, and give them 1 hour for breakfast, morning chores, play time and whatever they want to do then start school around 10 and we usually do avg 2-3 hours 3-4 days a week year round.”
“4.5 year old and 8 month old go to bed around 11:30, we are up naturally around 10/11, and start school at noon. I decided that we will start later, as I thought kids learned best when on a natural sleep schedule. I might also do school in the evenings later on and see if she absorbs more information that way. I’m just getting started, but I just figured I’d share what we’re doing right now. It might change, and that’s okay too.”
“Well, it’s past midnight and I’m almost sleepy..DD/12 yrs, the one that is HS, is still up looking for her phone..dont judge please ( it doesnt have service,lol) I wake up kinda early around 8, DS/3 yrs, sleeps till 9ish, the oldest DD/18 yrs and hubs is already at work, HS DD wakes up between 10 – noon, eats breakfast, plays with her brother, makes a few messes, then does schoolwork. She likes to break it up. 2 hours in the afternoon,Then she does her chores and then gets to play with her friends. then 2 hours in the evening. Its easier for her to concentrate without her brother,lol. We are still new so this might change but for now, its working. No more fighting to get her up! Its heaven.”
“I go to bed around 10:30 because I need a lot of sleep. My kids wake up at around 7/7:30, sometimes earlier or later. They have a list of things they can do on their own for school (they are 9, 8, 6, and 4, and most days they finish all of it before I even get up), and they can have a piece of bread if they are starving (or if I’m planning on making something that I know my oldest can make, like toast and a smoothie, or cereal, I just let her make breakfast for everyone), but I wake up around 8, take my time getting out of bed, and breakfast is at 9. After breakfast we do the part of our school that we do together, like history, science, grocery shopping, book reading, etc. Then we are completely done by 11, eating snack, and playing or off on an adventure.”
“I work over nights and when I get home my kids get breakfst and feed their dogs as I take a nap. When I wake up they have their books ready for me to look over and talk to them about what was not right and then redo but use another page to help them know. I sleep from 7am to 9am then 7pm to 9pm sometimes from 3pm to 4pm”
“I’m up late and so is my son…he is on my schedule, work part time as nurse on 2nd shift. No fail I wake up with no alarm at 7 to 8 am in morning, no matter, if 2 hours sleep or 8 hours sleep. I let him sleep in till 10 usually to get 8 or 9 hours depending on what time he goes to bed. We eat breakfast/brunch and then do some fun stuff, play a game, getting his brain ready for work and then we do some work….than break, repeat till lunch. I read to him after lunch and then we are usually done at 2pm with breaks included. He homeschools year round, he is 11 yrs old.”
“My twins (4 yo) go to bed at 7:00. Then the baby (9 mo) usually stays up until 9:00. Then I get all my work done. I work from home for our business. Usually go to bed around midnight-1:00am. I sleep until they wake up, usually around 6:30-7:00am (several wake-ups in between). I get going just looking forward to and drinking my 2 cups of coffee while I make breakfast.”
“Hubby and I go upstairs to our room around 9.30 and usually fall asleep watching tv. On nights that I work closing shift I don’t get home until 10.30, so a bit later on those nights. Hubby’s alarm goes off at 4 am. Sometimes I go ahead and get up after he leaves for work and that is my alone time, ‘cuz the kids won’t wake up until 6-7.30ish. But if I am not already up when the kids get up, one of them will usually test out their cooking skills on me and bring me breakfast in bed, with coffee. That’s a good motivator.”
“I have 3 sons, 6,10 and 16. We are very regimented with our schooling. My sons do not function well otherwise. . I’ve tried several different time schedules and the one that works best for them is bed at 10pm, wake at 9am, do morning responsibilities; dressed, hair combed, teeth brushed, beds made, eat breakfast, one feeds the doggies and the other lets them out. Then I let them play until school starts at 11am sharp. I found that getting their energy drained a bit was very helpful for keeping them focused and sitting still. We do school from 11am-4pm including lunch and 2 snack breaks. If they finish before then they are free to play. If they do not finish by 4pm the work carries over into the next day and so on.
I have found that with 1 child who has a few disabilities and 1 who has a very high IQ, I had to meet both of their needs at once. So a very strict and structured time schedule which one son needs and a creative fun curriculum for my other son, the schedule allowed time for more fun and adventurous school lessons. When I tried the more relaxed time schedule and trying to teach them how empowering and fun knowledge was it was a disaster. I’ve tried it several ways and what I mentioned we do above has proven to be the most successful for us. Also something very hard to do, but very successful, was me not doing anything else during homeschool. I give them my undivided attention the entire time. Their education is their future so don’t take it lightly. I stopped all distractions as best as I could during school hours. I wasn’t doing any chores, laundry, no phone, dishes, etc…. All dogs were put into the bedrooms and the phone was put on silent. It was my hubby’s suggestion and it works great! Also as long as they stick to their time schedule they are allowed to wear a costume to class, LOL, and if they are naughty they have to take it off.”
And there you are. See, there’s no one size fits all! I told you so.