Blocking Out The Schedule

I struggled all summer, and prayed and prayed, Lord please show me how this is supposed to work. I am homeschooling FOUR kids! FOUR! 

  Who does math first, when do I do spelling?

Does Avery need to do kindergarten alone, and one and one with me only? 

Should I wait until all of Avery’s things are done before I start teaching the big kids? 

When do I do Spelling with the 2 older kids? Do I do it together or separate?  They are in totally different levels!  

  When do we start lunch? When do I serve it? How do I leave to make it if I am teaching and observing our classroom? 

Do we do music and art after naps to save time?  And where does Paxton fit in to all of this? We weren’t going to start him in Kindergarten until he was SIX. 

LORD?! Do you hear me?  

HEEEEEEEEEEEEELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  The Lord is rarely early and never late, so I trusted His silence as He left me waiting, with all my burning questions, throughout the entire summer. 

From June to July, I prayed and waited.  Silence. 

From July to August, I prayed and waited.  Nothin’.  

Ho boy.  Now what? Just jump and wing it???? That is so not my style!

  The last week of August, we decided to “soft start” school.  All my curriculum had come, and the classroom was finally ready after being in stacks and shambles all summer, waiting for Dale to have time to build shelves. Remember, the main house is in shambles too, due to kitchen remodel, so it was a busy time for him.

A few nights before class starts, I hear in my quiet time, “Block it out”. 

Yeah, I am trying, Lord, because I can’t stand not having an answer!

“ No, BLOCK IT OUT.  Like on note cards. One per subject”

Ohhhhhh!!! That is a great idea.  Hey! Thanks, Lord!

  We started with this, one subject on every card, and a little note reminder of who is supposed to do which subjects together, and which ones individually:schedule blocking
   In the first 6 weeks of schooling, I moved cards twice, trying to find our perfect flow.  Now we are down to a GREAT routine, each puzzle piece fitting into another block of time, as I know how long each child takes to do which subject.  It’s not fool proof, but it’s working!

 Another thing that REALLY helps us, is every night, I copy on white boards, who is doing what pages the next day.  

  We call these our “Brain Boards.”  Large one is for the activities we do together, smaller is one per child, listing their personal goals and assignments for the day to complete.  They are welcome to come in early in the morning and work ahead. Or, during regular school time, move on to the next subject if I am helping another child.

brain board

These boards have been a wonderful solution to, “MOOOOM, What is next?”

Current Schedule is as follows on a good day:

7:30 Morning Magnet Chores
Magnet chores help us stay on task so I don’t have to follow each child around and ask the same questions every day.  Check out the post here!

8:00 Daddy Leads devotions, then heads to work
This frees our evenings up for just for fun chapter book reading time, and bedtime prayers.

8:15 Try to Start School
15 minutes of flex allows grace for accidental over sleeping, a lost kitty, chicken chores that took more time etc.

Between 8:15-8:30 Open with prayer requests and Bible verse/book reading, as assigned
  Little ones do calendars and 100 chart, while bigs copy down the Memory verse for the week.  We all say the verse together, with actions, until we almost have it memorized.  If the devotion time assigned is a story, we all listen to the next chapter about a famous missionary.  They all listen intently! I love looking around the room at their sweet faces as they listen.  Some days its scripture reading from Matthew. Ty and Destiny take turns reading it aloud to all of us.  Then we do our Badges together.

From this point, we are not time scheduled, just using an ordered routine:

  • Handwriting: Littles do ABC, numbers and or name
    Bigs write Bible verses, or Character Traits from the story we read that morning
  • Geography: all together, map work, playing the around the world map game, reading all the interesting facts of the country we are visiting and Atlas reading
  • Morning Snack
  • Math for Avery, workbook and flashcards, while Destiny and Tylan do English individually.  I walk around to help all.  Paxton does pattern cards or a workbook page.
  • Avery and Pax do assigned Kindergarten pages, while Destiny does Teaching Textbook Math alone, and Ty does his Math workbook & Spelling
  • Little Kids play with activities in the classroom when they are through, or go watch Phonics.
  • Read Life of Fred, or play Math Games/Drills for 15 minutes
  • Extra Activity: if one is assigned  Destiny has Advanced Exploring God’s World or Writing Strands.  Ty has the Great Book of Animals
  • Science for the bigs while mom starts lunch for the littles
  • Music/Art to get all the sillies out
  • Book Basket reading time while mom finished lunch prep and some math checking
  • Lunch and a break
  • 1 hour of quiet reading for 3 big kids, Paxton naps for 2-3 hours
  • Ty gives Destiny her Spelling during this nap time hour.  This has been really good for him, as he is learning to read big words.   Next year, in 3rd grade, he will also do this Spelling program.  She can then quiz him in return.
  • Next up, Magnet Afternoon Chores, like start laundry, or care for animals, according to magnet chart.
  • Snack helper for the day prepares snack and lays it out.
  • Eat and outside play time!  Our day is DONE!!!!!!
    snack helper

  We are done between 12 and 1 each day.  The rest of the day is to play and be a family! No homework, no spelling tests, no read alouds.  Just family having fun. That is my favorite part!!!!!
We just sat around and played Hearts the other night, while supper baked, because no one had practice, or homework, book reports, reading, papers to go through and sign.  It was heavenly!

  Homeschool is the perfect fit for our family, during this season of life. It is answering our hearts cry, for more family time around the table, playing outside, traveling and just enjoying a slower paced life.

  Every family is so different, and every child within that family is as well, but this is what works for the 4 little Fergusons at their 4 Oaks Academy school. 

  Praise the Lord for answered prayers!  The Block It Out System works for us!!!!
Hugs, T

 

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Blocking Out The Schedule

  1. Thank you for your breakdown of your day! We are in our 2nd year of homeschooling and I have honestly struggles to find a schedule that works for our family(2nd grade, 2yo,1yo). My 2yo has started showing some interests in school so I am going to start including him more in the learning time in our classroom. Thanks so much for the ideas on what to do with the littles!

  2. WOW! You are one organized mama…a gift for sure. How wonderful when EVERYONE knows ‘what’s next’! Looks like the perfect Heaven-sent plan. Good for you all. No doubt, you are inspiring many others as well. Keep on keeping on! XO

  3. Reading about your family always gives me joy. In a world that I so disagree with how children are being raised, you all give me some hope for the future. Blessings always!

  4. Hi Tonya,

    I absolutely love your blog! I work with Party Pail and want to present you with an award for your blog, but I couldn’t find an email to contact you. Let me know if you are interested.

    Jenny Franklin

  5. Hi Tonya,
    So much I’d like to say, but not enough time and probably not the right place. Just wanted to thank you for sharing so much of you and yours with such detail. It’s been refreshing in so many ways and extremely helpful.
    In regards to this specific post, I appreciate the description of your homeschooling adventure. We have two boys 4 and 2. Our oldest has been going to preschool for 3 days a week, but as we see kindergarten in the future, my husband and I are considering homeschooling, but have so many doubts and fears (sinners raising sinners) We know we ought to rely in the grace of God, no matter what, that’s the only way anything can be done, but in the meantime, I had a few specific questions for you:
    1. What time do you wake up to get ready?
    2. When do you have your personal time in the Word?
    3. Do your children have set times during the week, other than church, to socialize with other kids? (You have 4 so it sounds like a pretty fun household, but I still wondered if they hang out with other kids during the week)
    Anyways, I know you’re super busy. Again, thank you for pouring your life and sharing with the world.

    • I get up about 7 each day, my goal is eventually 5 with Dale, but I am staying up until 2am at times, trying to get photo sessions pushed through. As I take less photography on, I will try to work my way up to an earlier arise time.
      I do personal time in the evenings, along with a devotional with hubs, before bed.
      I am going to link my favorite answer to the socialization question that always comes…..but I will also say, our kids are very social, at both church and at the store, or somewhere we volunteer our time. My favorite part is that they are being taught to socialize with all ages, and in all walks of life! Also, the last thing schools want you to do is socialize, haha. That’s what recess is for I suppose. 😉
      We also have a really great homeschool group that does weekly and monthly activities. Our goal for homeschool, is to be HOME, so we pick and choose carefully.

      “It used to be that if you announced that you were going to homeschool your children people would ask you, “How will your children learn anything?” Now that fears have been put to rest regarding homeschoolers’ academic achievement, the most commonly asked question is, “But what about socialization?” The assumption is that children will not learn to get along with others and will not develop good social skills unless they go to school. However, several studies have been conducted over the years that show that homeschooled children are more self-confident and less peer dependent than traditionally schooled students.
      Many people believe that homeschoolers spend all their time around the kitchen table, but that simply is not the case. Since homeschooled students do not spend six hours a day in a classroom sitting behind a desk, they have more time to participate in activities outside the home like music, sports, and Scouts. Also, whereas schoolchildren rarely have the opportunity to interact with children who are not the same age, homeschooled children interact with and learn from people of all ages, genders, and interests.”

      Great questions, hope this helps!!!! 🙂

      • Thank you so much for your response.
        Yes, we want to be home more too. My oldest just goes 3 days a week and it seems as though the driving just cuts our day horribly.
        We will keep praying about what to do, but it sure sounds like fun!

      • Oh I hear ya! Those trips add up. Get this, one year we did 8, 9 and 10:30 drop offs, then 11:30, 12:15, and 3:15 pick ups. I HATED it. We packed lunches every day, because we all had to eat in the car between our 11:30 and 12:15 kiddo pick ups. This was because I would need to get the little kids to naps as fast as possible once we were home, so they could sleep 2ish hours before I woke them to go get the oldest at 3:15.

  6. I love coming to your blog and being in courage! All want to do is homeschool my child but every one around me is so negative about it, I love how you follow your heart with the guidance of the Lord!

I adore hearing from you, comment away! :)

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