Every Homeschooling Family is Different.
Our children have chores and responsibilities, age appropriate every day of their lives, except on their birthday and days they are unwell. We used the Maxwell’s Managers of their Chores as guide line.
I’m a very easily distracted person and therefore need to work with a schedule. Every day is divided into half an hours slots. This way I keep my children accountable to their chores and school assignments without having to stop halfway in my own assignment and remind them (I can get so focused on what I’m doing, that I will totally forget what each child need to do at a given time of the day and only hours later realize the job has not been done.) I’m using the Maxwell’s Managers of their Homes as my guide in Scheduling.
Then we also have to take care of our vegetable garden and the first load of washing needs to get into the washing machine.
In a sense we are using the Unschooling Approach to educate our children. I don’t do school at home with loads of textbooks and different subjects. Our goal is to teach our children to do research - in other words, knowing where to find information, how to discern between good and bad information, how to answer their questions with the information they got. We want our children to learn through real life experiences. When they are interested in a certain topic, they must feel free to go and do research on the topic.
May I add, I’m still in a learning curve with this one, and haven’t quite figured it out yet! But we are making progress.
My oldest four are all 3 years apart, though I did try over the years to incorporate some of their work, I couldn’t. I’m an easily distracted person, so as soon as to many things happen around me, I loose focus, passion and my meek and quiet spirit. My biggest challenge in teaching across the age gaps, is to have enough time to teach my primary level children the 3R’s while older children need help every now and then. I aim to teach my primary level children to read and write with confidence as soon as possible. From then they will be able to educate themselves, and nurture their own hunger for information. They will be able to work on their assignments for at least a day or two without my help, whenever I’m not available due to the need of another child for an assignment, or normal unforeseen happenings in life, like a sick baby, or an urgent errand.
I always try to do the little ones’ bible work before the older children, so they do get specific attention from me. Then they are free to go and play. I know the ideal is to keep them with me, the whole morning, while helping the older children, being able to instruct them in their every move, but it is not that simple. I cannot expect of them to sit for one to two hours playing in the same room (my house don’t have a big enough spacious room), they are all kinesthetic by nature and need to move, be loud - be CHILDREN!
Familiar routines, loving atmosphere, good balanced breakfast has the potential for a more peaceful day.
Mood swings are directly related to blood sugar levels, so breakfast is our main meal of the day and will always include a carbohydrate and a protein. As long as blood sugar levels are balanced, I can expect my children to be bright and not throwing tantrums or jumping off the ceiling.
CJ and Heidi-Mari each have the responsibility once a week of preparing dinner. We will often fellowship around the table from 18h00 till 19h30. This is a time of sanctification from the world outside. We do allow the little ones to leave the table after everyone finished eating.
The afternoons, differ a lot. Extra murals are four of the five days of the week, though Mondays and Tuesdays are the most. I try to incorporate as much of their Extra Mural activities in one day as far as possible, around the same time and in the same location. Since my children are all individuals, with different personalities and callings on their lives, we try to expose them to a wide variety of sports and cultural activities and they choose within our budget what interest them. They were allowed to have one extra mural each, but a few months ago the older children started showing interest in Tennis, and now they all play tennis too. It is so interesting how God guides us on what interest each child. We never strive to find their interest, we trust God to show us and He is trustworthy with every child.
Since we feel very strong about dinner and being together as a family, so if any of the children’s extra murals are after 16h00 and it is not one of the older children’s turn to prepare dinner, we don’t do and definitely no extra murals after 17h00. The meal table at 18h00 with every one present, is a priority. We need to feed our bodies, minds and souls and God will provide in another way if one of the children need a specific activity and its practice is after 17h00, we don’t compromise on this. I need to be at home and dinner on the go by 16h30. I don’t sit in traffic after 16h00 if possible at all. I don’t do visits after 16h00 and I prefer to have no visitors leave later than 16h15.
The half an hour before bedtime for the little ones, around 20h00 is Christo and my coffee break. The older children will clean the table and kitchen, while we chat about each others’ day, with little ones all over us, and that give them much security.
May you press forward, dear Mothers, raising a godly generation for God’s glory, preparing them for the high calling on their lives!