The 2017 SCHOOL YEAR has brought many new changes to our home, I'm still a mom of 12, I'm still starting off my day with coffee then teaching, and I'm still rocking my early morning mama bun...But this year we have graduated two and began our journey with two away at college. 12 is still our lucky number, it's the number of times I've had to remind my children to do something, it's the number of times I've probably reheated my meal in one sitting and also my coffee in one morning, it's the number of years I've also homeschooled my children. Now with 8 at home, some empty seats at our table and even two empty beds, the number seems so small to me, maybe alittle easier to manage, juggle, or balance depending on which day of the week we are talking about. Our days are still full of piano lessons, writing labs, Thursday Swim and Gym, and a season of basketball just to spice things up for the next 6 months. Why Not, Right!!!!!
Like any seasoned homeschool mom , juggling many different learning styles, we have embarked on many new journey's this year... changed up things but also keeping what has worked thus far. Last year I was the mom finding any and every incentive to get my 5 and 3 year old to sit and focus for 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 minutes at least.... Boys !!!!!!! 2 minutes was their attention span, and with 7 boys and 5 girls I know this was a tall order , I've been through this before....So with little effort on my part, maybe a day or 2 , LOL, I knew this year was going to be different a year later and those two little boys are fired up and ready to go every morning. Now 6 and 4 they challenge each other in their time frames, and now our 2, 3, 4, and 5 minutes last year has taken this mom of 12 to 30 and 40 minute teachings, while my 2 year old is on the side lines doing everything in his power to distract my Double Duo...
Today I'm teaching all ages and all grades: Highschool, Middle , Elementary, and Preschool....That has been our typical for many years. Each one of our children Elementary age through Preschool start each morning with a Rise and Shine Binder, each consists of Calender's, Copy Work, Number of the day. We are early risers at 7:00 a.m. leaving our 6, 4, and 2 year old to sleep till 8, giving us an hour to get ahead of our day, 7:30 we are off to breakfast, and by 8 the house is raring to go... The little's are up for their breakfast, and the 7 a.m. risers are on to their chores. Our chore chart is simply a calendar I print off from https://www.calendarsthatwork.com/. Every morning each child goes to the chore chart and look at the number next to their initial. Everyday our children are on a new chore and by the 4th day they are back to the same chore, since 4 children rotate, leaving the little's to come alongside the older kids and train them up in what it means to work as a team....
Here's where the magic happens: I watch , monitor, supervise, and encourage, and train. I'm raising independent children who one day need to be independent adults and everyday counts.....
A typical day for us would look like this:
7 A.M. - 11 A.M.
12 P.M. - 3 P.M.
English / Word of the Day
Quiet Reading / Comp
Science - Tues/ Thurs
Health- Tues/ Thurs
History- Mon/ Wed
Keyboarding - Mon/ Fri ONLY
Basketball & Swim & Gym -Mon/Thurs
Writing Lab- Wed
Piano - Thurs
But for a mom of many on a tight budge I try and find curriculum that I can use with all ages, and if all else fails I just hodge - podge online printable worksheets or use multiple books of the same subject and combine as one , most times I end up liking my version of a curriculum more so then one I'd find anyway.
I've had years where I tried to buy all our curriculum from Abeka or Somlight but it simply didn't work for all of our children. Unique in their learning means I need to be Unique /Creative in my selection. My children are excelling and being challenged daily, they are stronger in some subjects and others they have to think outside of their comfort zone but we try to give them a healthy balance of textbook, online and computer work to keep things balanced.
In the 10th grade our children start taking Dual Credit classes where they are earning a highschool and college credit at the same time at our local college. I believe there are loop holes in homeschooling. I believe kids get bored , and stale in their learning , feeling at times not challenged and may lack in their overall performance since their peers are their siblings, so taking the PSAT or SAT's or simply taking a coop class where they will be challenged by other teachers whether it's online or in a class room setting. Another possibility is if a subject is taught by another homeschool mother, maybe it's joining a club or taking lessons, either way break up their day, break up their teaching, they will come to appreciate they variety you are offering them and also see how your teaching style and their learning styles need to be adaptable. Maybe looking into a baby sitting course at your local hospital or a CPR class, or sitting at youth group listening to the leaders teach or simply sitting in your pew at church under your pastors teaching instead of going into your class. I'm always looking for ways to engage my children in learning, if I become stale in my teaching or my techniques they too will become stale in their learning and their approach. Home Educating demands alot from moms, not any more or any less then being a mom yourself, alot goes into planning, interacting , investing , but just as being a mom is the most rewarding job, so is hearing your child read for the first time or finishing that math curriculum they have worked so hard on, finishing it proud , accomplished and successful and sometimes on time.
I have many, many, many ,more years of this role in my life as mom, educator, micro manager, leader, and consoler, I too want to finish strong and leave a legacy for my children, that we can embark on this journey together, and reminding my children where many are gathered there is lots to share...