Sunday, March 2, 2014

Beginning Again. Again.

After first quarter I always take some time to assess how things are going.  Are we moving at an appropriate pace?  Is there anyone getting lost in the shuffle?  Should anyone be doing more?  Etc.  It seems this year that we barely got through first quarter and life got a little complicated.  Quarter 2 took a long time.  In addition to Thanksgiving, Christmas, a child just not feeling well and needing extra mommy time and doctor visits, and then ending up hospitalized for over a week....well let's just say that we are happy to start second semester with a more normalized routine.  OK, as normal as we can get when you throw in toddler ear infections, taxes, etc.  You know.  Life :)

Anyway, I was still struggling with how to make it all work as we made our way through second quarter with kids in 10th, 9th, 6th, 4th, 3rd, K, a toddler, and college student coming and going.  I asked a good friend of mine who has 4 kids.  Because really, regardless of the number of kids we have we all struggle to schedule everything in.  Her first sentence was something like, "First I fit them into my schedule."  What?!  Why had I never thought of that before?  Every year I would make up their schedules and try to tri-locate.  It never worked.  For the last couple weeks I have been creating their individual schedules and one for me at the same time.  [I usually try something for more than a "few" weeks before telling people how great it works...but this is really something!]

The first week I saw my problem right away.  4 math lessons, 4 spelling lessons, 4 grammar lessons, 4 reading lessons, 3 writing lessons, religion class, vocab. Those were just the elementary kids (and yes, they do more than that.  That's just on their mom time list.)   THAT was Monday. I still had to work with my high schoolers to discuss the upcoming plan for the week and their expectations (they have lists too, but due to the nature of their work it works best to spend some time discussing things up front - and fortunately they are both doing the same work for their Greek Studies classes).

I realized I was trying to do everything and not doing anything well.  It takes a little more prep time, but I spent some time looking at their assignments quickly.  6th grader:  If I spend 45 minutes with him what can we accomplish.  M's math was a brand new concept and I expected it to be challenging.  A writing lesson was important to keep on track for the week.  But the grammar and spelling lessons could wait until the next day when his math was more of a review page.  Continue to the next child.

Put it all together and what does the day/week look like for me?  Remind myself that my high schoolers take more time on M and F.   Is this doable?  What else should I move?    I also highlight everything on MY list that requires prep.  I don't get everything done on the weekend (photocopies, etc.) but I can have one of the kids copy Spanish pages during a break if I have it written down.

My high school students (enrolled with STAA) are currently studying the Greek Lit (Iliad), Greek History (Heroditus:  Histories), Old Testament, and Essay Writing (which is usually related to Lit, History, or O.T.)  A lot of their work is discussion or written work.  In other words....I need to have at least an understanding of the material they are covering.  Instead of running to grab their books to see how many chapters I had to read of the Iliad before our discussion in the morning (not fun!), I added that to the bottom of my list as well.

I am praying for a more peaceful school routine, and I think we finally hit on something effective here.  Still need to work in some fun stuff for our 2 year old because that's just the kind of gal she is :)  Give me something NEW to do!

Praying for a peaceful rest of the school year for you too.

Next our chaotic/stressful T mornings have become opportunities for fun AND learning!


Anonymous said...

You are an amazing mom! I have every confidence you will figure this out. With four school-aged kids I do make a column for Mom on my chart so I can figure out what I am supposed to do, where I am supposed to be, and who I am supposed to be helping. Doesn't always work and I still run out of time in the day. I am seriously considering something online for high school (Kolbe? Fisher More?) because there's no way I can keep up with high school reading. Don't know how you do!

RealMom4Life said...


Having the two high school kids doing the same thing helps a lot! I can often skim read and can tell when we are discussing something if one has a lot to offer and the other doesn't! When my oldest was doing STAA she did the GLAC (online) and I really had NO involvement. I do see the benefits of the discussions but I don't regret the way my oldest did the work online. She's done really well and I simply did not have the time at that point. No regrets. Gotta do what works for your oldest AND your whole family!