Encouragement.. Encouragement... Encouragement!!
You will get through this season of life. It does get easier, even though I am the first to say I still want it to go even more smoothly!
My kids are 7 (1st),5 (K),3, & 1. There was a season when I had 4 kids 5 & under so I have an idea of what your day was like today. It sounds about right though for a third day of something new with young children; especially home schooling. The good news is they will learn how to do this with time.
It gets easier as the oldest is able to do more, and more independently. The first 6 weeks of my oldest being 5 I tried to do 5 days of school for 1 -2 hours a day. Ambitious. Disastrous.
When my second turned 5 I started doing MFW K 3 days a week, then 4, now 5 mostly. I am taking it really slowly. If it takes 1 1/2 years it is OK with me. I do about 20 minutes a day at the most. I stretch out the assignments. I am amazed though at this rate we may actually complete it in one year with 2 months off last summer.
So the things my 5, 3, & 1 year old do during my oldest school time:
1. The best is when they play together. I teach my ds5 when my oldest is doing his bible notebook (drawing) and math assignment independently. Will the 3 year olds play together?
2. My 1 year old is usually down for nap, except for Bible time, when she is usually on my lap or nearby crawling.
3. Puzzles are great at the same table.
4. Drawing is great at the same table.
5. Lauri toys usually work about once a month for a week.
6. Snack time is great for all 3 of the youngest during my oldest school time at the same table.
7. Play-doh at the same table is great.
8. Do you see a theme? Anything I can get them to do at the same table helps a lot. Then they feel like they are part of school. Of course for reading out-loud & Bible they are on the couch next to me or on my lap. For science or hands on activities the oldest 3 participate. For the first 10 days of K I did copy the numbers and such and had all 3 of my oldest do it so everyone felt a part of it.
Now when my oldest was 6 it was a bit harder, but I used the same ideas above.
When my oldest was 5 we truthfully ended up not doing much more than math that year. I had too many young kids. I also read A LOT of Bible to him from A Beka that year. School that year was during youngest nap time and in the evening when dad was home. It was still a lot like life had been prior to age 5; most of our time outside.
God Called Me to this too! It is a big plus that you have that conviction. It helped me immensely in setting us up. It took time. It took a lot of time. I think of the first year of home schooling being a lot about learning how to integrate a new type of learning into our home. Once I learned to take it very slowly and to integrate the idea slowly and take a lot of months to move into daily seat work it went a lot better.
The hardest part for me has been the fact my oldest is very bright. He started figuring out reading on his own at age 3. Due to the number of young ones I still don't feel like I have had the time or energy to fully help him meet his potential. He is currently figuring out multiplication on his own and negative numbers while I teach the first part Singapore 1B. I don't want him though to miss any steps in the foundation. Yet I keep reminding myself that as I turn my curriculum over to God daily he is helping me take it slowly enough that it works. Peace in our home school and character and attitude and Bible seems more important then anything else. I also keep reminding myself that we have plenty of time, and the older he becomes the more he is able to do, and the more I am able to help him start to reach his potential. My second could also do more academically intellectually but not emotionally. 20 minutes a day is perfect, he can't always even do that much at age 5.
I hope something I said was encouraging. It will get easier. I wish I had remembered, and would still remember, how much my kids still need so much other types of learning and exercise outside of academics. I am constantly working on my own attitude with all of this, and finding balance. After all they are still young kids and need A LOT of play time and outdoor time and mommy hugs and kisses and everything else like that.
God Bless you! You can DO IT!!