Slowly my younger kids start waking up and wandering out. Never before 7:30. Sometimes not until 8:30. This morning my 6 year old is up first. He sits down with breakfast and quickly tackles his handwriting and math. While his 9 year old sister works on her math, I do his reading lesson with him. By 9:30 most of his schoolwork is done. Kindergarten is easy and his siblings are all jealous of him.
I'm supposed to start waking my 15 year old up at 9 am, if she's not up yet. Rarely is she up by then, so I start going in to wake her and her 14 year old brother up. "Wake up! It's a school day!" First trip in is loud, but pleasant. Future trips in are increasingly annoying, with silly songs, shaking, tickling, and threats to kidnap pillow pets. It takes awhile, and they are the last two out of bed. Of course, they are also usually still up when Steve and I go to bed at night.
My 11 year old can do his schoolwork so quickly, when he focuses, but most mornings, he gets sucked into playing with his younger siblings, or pestering his sisters. He delights in pestering people! I think he needs more challenging subjects next year, for 6th grade, because he can finish all his work in under 2 hours. Of course, he hasn't been reading his history for months. I need to find something better for that subject next year. We've tried two different texts this year, both are meant to be engaging for that age group, and he hated them both. Or maybe we just need to move away from ancient history to something more interesting to him. We were working through a 4 year cycle of world history but maybe we just need to skip ahead.
"Stop playing! It's a school day!" There are many mornings where I have to keep reminding the 9 year old and the 11 year old to get back to their schoolwork. The games of the youngest 3, and the PBS television shows I let the younger 3 watch are too distracting sometimes. Our living room and dining room are connected, and doorways to bedrooms and the kitchen all come off of it. It's very open, and we have kids working at the dining room table, on the couch, on a desk in the living room corner, at a desk in the kitchen, and laying on their beds. Sometimes I hate how connected it all is, because it increases the distractions, but other times I am thankful I can keep a closer eye on everyone this way and for the relationships they're developing with each other, even if it delays their schoolwork.
The children work through their lessons on their own, calling on me for help when they need it. Their textbooks teach to them, explaining new concepts as they are introduced. I have to help the 6 year old the most, as he needs me to read his instructions and teach new concepts to him. The 9 year old also needs math help from me and sometimes grammar. The others need less help from me, but math and grammar are always the two subjects that I am called to explain the most. I never stand and teach a lesson in front of a black board, though people often ask me if I do. I do sit and read to them on the couch sometimes, though not as often as I used to.
Soon it is lunch time. The Kindergartener and 3rd grader are done with their work, but they are not wanting to wash their breakfast dishes. Play and bickering fill the house, unless it is sunny. Now that Spring is here, I can send them outside and the house is quieter for the older kids still needing to finish their schoolwork. If I can get the 11 year old to stop talking to everyone, he will be done with his school soon, too. He has a goal to finish before his friends are out of school, which is absolutely not an issue, as long as he focuses.
My day is filled with reminders to focus on schoolwork, do chores, stop fighting, etc. I count down the hours and remind them that we have to leave to go somewhere at X time or Dad will be home in X hours. Sometimes we have a new movie that can be held out as a carrot to get them moving quickly. Sometimes it is the promise of a library trip IF all school and chores are done. Through all of this, I may also be trying to get laundry done, trying to write a blog post or review, or taking care of other business on the computer. The computer is right in the living room so I am still available and able to intervene as needed.
Our oldest two boys are also responsible for animal chores, feeding and watering the goats and chickens. The 14 year old is ready, but the 11 year old finds ways to delay and try to get out of it. This leads to bickering every single day. The 14 year old is still doing school into the afternoon, sometimes he gets distracted by games and is still doing his school in the evening.
Our 15 year old is often working on her lessons as we go to bed. She intentionally saves some work for after the other kids are in bed, so she can focus better. Her Dad doesn't like this method, but she has stayed on track and not let herself fall behind at all in her first two years of high school. That's a first, as we usually battle high schoolers letting subjects slide and having to work through the summer months to finish.
At the moment, our biggest battle is technology. The 15 year old gets distracted by her ipod (or books). The 11 and 14 year olds get distracted by their tablets. Or even worse, I wander back and find they've turned on the xbox instead of doing their schoolwork. "Turn that off right now and do your schoolwork!" This has been an increasing issue and we're talking about solutions and disciplines for that. There has to be consequences, but we know they do use their tablets and ipods for music to drown out noise of younger siblings, too.
And that's a day in our homeschool. So far from perfect. Not the image I originally had of homeschool, but that's okay. It's working. They're learning. My oldest two are doing well in their college classes. And despite their bickering, they really do have good relationships with each other. They may try to get out of their chores, but the 4 who have entered the work force have strong work ethics and are doing well in their jobs. I have to remind myself of these positives sometimes. It's easy to see our weaknesses and forget about our strengths sometimes.
I'll be blogging all week long about different aspects of our homeschool as part of the Real Life Homeschool Blog Hop! Discover real life in other homeschools with the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers! Join the blog hop to read more!
Check out these wonderful Crew bloggers:
Every Bed of Roses
Ben and Me
Footprints in the Butter
Mountain of Grace Homeschooling
Counting Our Blessings
Homeschooling for His Glory
Chestnut Grove Academy
Only Passionate Curiosity
Farm Fresh Adventures
Just keeping it real,