I am a single parent and must work Full-time and go to school. So flexibility in homeschooling is a must. I went through a bad divorce where my ex. threw up homeschooling as a contest for custody. I have custody and haven't heard from ex in over a year. So I was scared to do unschooling by itself. So what I came up with is a scheduled unschooling schedule. The first two weeks of the month are pre-planned lessons(relaxed), week three is games and activities, week four is total unschooling. Although, we do a little more unschooling as time goes on. This helped me to get comfortable with it while appeasing my "teacher" tendencies. If my son is deeply involved in a project or activity he initiated (and it's during the planned week), I leave him alone until he's done or wait until he takes a break from it to introduce a lesson.
Un/relaxed schooling works! My son(8yrs) taught himself cursive handwriting! He has beautiful handwriting. I think it's because I don't rush him. He writes in cursive any chance he gets(with no pushing from me.) Another factor in the success of unschooling, in my opinion, is not having electronic entertainment accessible. We have a TV but only use it for library videos (maybe once a month). Computer use is highly restricted.(I refuse to allow it to become a video game) We also have approx. 2,000 books, in counting.
This is the way we do it, and is perfect for our circumstance.
I have a pretty relaxed schedule that is not set in stone. Most days we take one or two kids to the bus stop (something I do plan to do next year). After we come back the children play until breakfast (around 9:30).
When breakfast is over the kids clean the table and go play. Ds (on a good day) comes to the table to do his math (Miquon and Calculadders). Sometimes I sit with him and sometimes he works on his own. When he is done he goes to play.
I then call the 4 y/o to do a project/worksheet/Let's Find Out (weekly reader magazine). I don't do "pre-school" with two's or younger because I believe that at such a young age playing and learning from play is all that is needed.
After lunch we nap and ds goes to play on his own. This is when he writes, does open ended projects, plays with building toys, or rests. He loves writing, and writes all of the time--it is not a structured activity. He writes about his drawings, his thoughts, or whatever. He writes phonetically and I do not tell him how to spell. We take a very Emergent view of writing.
Sometime during the day he has to read to me, and after the holidays we will be adding 20 minutes of Critical Thinking activities. For science and social studies we unschool so that can occur anytime. For music we play lot's of children's and classical music all day. We also have a music teacher who comes every other week for an hour. About 8 hsed children come then also.
After nap time we go to the bus stop to pick the after school kids and play out side for a while. On Friday afternoons we watch a video so I can clean up for the weekend. Ds is allowed to watch public television or educational videos after 4:30.
We also visit museums and libraries on the weekends or on our rare days off.
I am homeschooling my 14yo dd, 13yo dd, 8yo ds and 4yo ds. I am using MOTH, so I have a big master schedule printed out on 9 pages stapled to a bulletin board (schedule is for my family of 6, plus all 11 of my daycare children), but here is a simplified version:
5:00 - 8:00 a.m. Daycare kids arrive and usually go back to sleep (I have a nap room with a crib for the baby and toddler beds). I do laundry, clean kitchen/dishes if needed, record-keeping (well, trying to do this instead of computer - lol!!), planning and my computer time.
8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Prepare, serve and clean up breakfast.
9:00 - 11:00 a.m. 14yo and 13yo do Grammar, Vocabulary, Writing and Math; 8yo does Grammar, Spelling, Writing and Math (the older girls work independently and I work with my 8yo on some of his subjects). I also spend about 15 to 20 minutes with my 4yo ds and my 5yo dcg teaching them reading, the 11mo usually naps during this time and the 2 2yo dcg's play and/or color.
11:00 - 12:00 Prepare, serve and clean up lunch; 13yo dd walks 5yo dcg to bus stop.
12:00 - 12:30 Story time with my 4yo and the dck's; my 14 and 13yo start work on either History or Science (we have decided to do only one of these subjects at a time every day for 1 to 1 1/2 hours each day and rotate every two weeks or so). My 8yo ds spends this time reading.
12:30 - 1:00 Dck's and my 4yo ds lay down and watch cartoons. My 13 and 14yo continue with either History or Science and I work with my 8yo on either History or Science.
1:00 - 2:30 Tv is turned off and I sit with dck's until they are all asleep, then I have my personal time, which is spent doing record-keeping, chatting with other providers on the phone, computer or reading. My 14yo, 13yo and 8yo have quiet/reading time in their rooms when finished with their History/Science.
2:30 - 3:30 Prepare, serve and clean up snack; dress dck's - shoes, socks and brush hair.
3:30 - 5:30 I have evening daycare, so I have kids leaving and other kids arriving during this time. We play outside if the weather is nice or kids play inside. I spend 15 to 20 minutes with my 2 5yo twins teaching them reading and another 10 to 15 minutes working on some math concepts. My 4yo ds particpates as well, if he wants, but so far the morning session is about all he wants to do. Other kids color, do pay-dough or play on their own.
5:30 - 6:30 Prepare, serve and clean up dinner.
6:30 - 8:30 My own kids go off to their rooms to read or play quiet games or to another room to watch TV and the dck's watch a video. I finish up the laundry, straighten the living room, etc.
8:30 - 9:30 My own kids shower, bathe and get ready for bed. If I have any daycare kids, they either play quietly or go to sleep, depending on their ages.
Right now, all my daycare kids go home by 9:30, so I'm free for an hour or so before I'm off to bed. My two evening families will both be leaving me in June and I'm taking the entire month of July off for jury duty and my vacation. So far, my evening families aren't planning on returning in August and I have another family scheduled to start in August on days only, so I should get my evenings back and won't have such a hectic schedule.
I do not do preschool, but I consider myself "homeschooling" them, so I do what I would do if they were my own kids. My own kids were taught the ABC's, counting, shapes and colors through lots of reading and I taught them all to read in Kindergarten, so that's what I'm doing with my daycare kids. So far, my parents have been happy with this.
Well, clutter is always there no matter how hard I try. Some ideas that work for me:
**Have a pick-up time. It's a never ending job to keep things picked up. I found if I don't worry about picking up clutter until our designated pick-up times: before circle time, before nap, around 3 or 4 pm when parents come to pick up their kids, before bath time for my own kids.
**Separate toys. I have 2 large bucket of misc. daycare toys. One goes in the garage and the other in the play area. Every two weeks I swap them out--NEW toys! Also, I put up all the toys with pieces: games, Duplos, blocks, books, barbies, etc. in a closet. The children can choose one or two at a time, they must be picked up before something else can be out.
**New toys in = toys out! I make myself get rid of older, ignored toys if I bring more toys into the house. It's hard, but it works.
**Actual cleaning: We've done this a couple of ways. We had a chart where we (the kids and I) did something everyday (usually during nap time). We would clean one area a day, M-bathroom and vacuum, T-kitchen, W-living room and dining room, T-bathroom and vacuum again!, F-outdoor area, sliding door, and laundry. The house wasn't all clean at once, but it was cleaned weekly.
The other way is just to do a good cleaning on the weekend and try to keep up on daily stuff as needed. I try to do the dishes at nap and after dinner. I figure parents would appreciate me spending time with thier children rather than me cleaning all the time.
Just what works for us :)
I think this is a general problem for everyone, kids, daycare, or not! I totally agree with the post about changing toys every two weeks (give or take). It has taken me a while(and it is still an ongoing process) but I use plastic storage bins(I quickly grew out of boxes) and keep two in the daycare area at all times. In my dc area of my parlor I have a large bookcase, a preschool table, cubbies and a toy kitchen set. I only keep enough kitchen toys in it that fits nicely, the rest of the kitchen toys have their own bin. (I also have craft area, puzzle and music(story tapes) in a bookcase in my kitchen) Some bins are organized by toys, others by subject. In the subject ones I will put books, craft ideas(ex. farm, holiday, season). I keep all my toys too! I am learning to give/throw some away. In my son's room we use bins too, especially for Lego's(we love Lego's, great for building pyramids!) I have a huge area in my cellar for extra bins, and I also keep games, puzzles there too.
As for cleaning, try to enlist your children and dc. Keep a routine. The dc will pick up and correctly organize toys to their rightful bin, if shown how. They enjoy pick-up times(so do I). I usually have them pick-up before(before snack, outside time, lunch, craft, whenever it's too messy and the kids are stepping on toys instead of the floor, lol) You can also have them help dust, by giving them a damp cloth, they love to clean their toys and water play is their favorite(with safety precautions), especially when cleaning toys. I use baking soda and vinegar around the kids(cool science experiment and safe too) when cleaning.
A big time saver is having the kids clean-up at meal times, they put dishes in sink, throw-aways in trash, then wash-up. Sometimes they help set the table too, even prepare meals. At first I was worried I was asking too much of them, etc. But we are setting a good example, teaching them necessary skills. Most of all, don't worry! Enjoy your time with the kids!
My biggest problem is space! I need separate areas for my hs stuff, especially projects that the dc can't be handling! Any suggestions?
Stacey (Moderator Homeschool Daycare)
Boy oh Boy! I totally understand! Homeschooling in itself equals TOO MUCH CLUTTER but then add DC as well and it becomes positively INSANE!!!!!!!! I need a warehouse for all the stuff. I don't have THAT many dc toys. My own kids have tons of toys too..which they don't even use most of the time but if i suggest they go through them and toss out a few things they can't bear to part with them usually, UNLESS they are really getting too old for them. I have told them that if they wish to get rid of anything, and if they choose to give it for our daycare, then I will buy them something new in it's place .Heheheh that's quite a motivator:)
Anyway..the clutter..it overwhelms me too. I fantasize about having no homeschool or daycare..I wonder what that sort of life would be like? Having an actual LIVING ROOM for example? A DINING ROOM?? a FAMILY ROOM? what is this like? I wonder..I've never had them myself.. I have always lived in a house which contained a few bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and then some other rooms which were used for school, play, eating, watching TV, with thousands of books all over the place...I would love to go out and get some silk flower arrangements..but where to put them? Walls are all covered with book cases and toy storage things....OH well I have no solution , and am sorry for my whining! It just felt good to vent:)
Feeding the Children
HI!!! Two yrs ago when I had more dck, I did three times as much work for snacks and meals. They would all have themes, be complete, healthy snacks, the works! I have since relaxed, a lot! I try to keep it simple and nutritious now. I serve breakfast for those arriving before 8am, snack at 10, lunch, and then a pm snack. Sometimes we skip am snack if we have an early lunch. I am not on the food program(nor am I licensed) so I can probably be more flexible. One budget idea is to not include meat(or at least not all the time) in your meal preps. I find the majority of families eat a large meal at dinner(supper) and almost always include meat.
A lot of ease with meals happened for me because of my mind set. I wanted to cut down on waste and prep time. First, the dck usually set the table, getting their own bowl/plate and cup. Sometimes I have then serve themselves and sit with them to eat. They also 'clean their area' after eating, then wash up, very routine.
I only serve milk(sometimes choc/coffee/strawberry), oj and 100% juice mixes and water. For breakfast there is always cereal(Cheerios/Kix), granola, oatmeal, toast, bananas. My hs son knows if he sleeps late(after 8), I will not fix breakfast for him, and I won't cook something different for him for breakfast, so he finds what he can himself. Once or twice a week I will make pancakes/french toast/waffles homemade. I will always double the batch and freeze leftovers, so I won't have to cook br all month, and my son or dc can have more hot breakfasts. I do cook eggs/quiche/sausages/etc about once or twice a month.
Breakfast for lunch is always a winner here! Cantaloupe is one of the best fruits containing lots of vitamins found in veggies. Some melons can be sliced and then pressed with small cookie cutters for extra fun.
For snacks, I always serve a grain group and a veggie or fruit. It is easy to fall into a trap of just serving fruit. Have you tried dips? I use salad dressing, cream cheese, sour cream, even peanut butter! I buy crackers in bulk and count out 5-10 in Spanish at each snack with the kids. Animal crackers, vanilla wafers, Cheese-Its, Ritz, pretzels are favorites.
Pizza is a big hit, I buy frozen shells and let the kids 'paint' on sauce and 'rain' on the cheese. I serve it about once or twice a month. PBJ, grill cheese, hotdogs, pasta are big hits. I tell my son if he doesn't want what i am serving the dc he can make his own and the dc doesn't have a problem with him eating different foods.
To keep with the healthy theme, I bought a large tub of vanilla yogurt and sprinkled cinnamon sugar over it, for a dip with strawberries and animal crackers. The kids loved it so much they had the 'dip' for a snack the next day.
Ideas; have you tried tortilla bread? fun to roll any lunch meat, just cheese and lettuce, or pbj, then slice for spirals. Chili? different shaped pastas? different breads? using cookie cutters on breads?
I do have one 5yrold dcb who refuses to eat any veggies or fruit, but he loved apple cinnamon muffins we made. I don't let them eat too much of any one food, like all the cookies and no fruit, then wanting more cookies. If they truly are hungry they will eat the good food. I also include lots of food pyramid games and we garden. Nothing is as rewarding as seeing a 3 yr old pick fresh peas off the trellis for breakfast!!!
I know this was a lot of info, hope it was helpful!
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