Need help fitting it all in!

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Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:17 pm

Need help fitting it all in!

Unread post by edenfieldmom »


We are on our fourth year homeschooling, second year using MFW. When we did ECC, only the two oldest children did the history and science portions. For the most part, we were able to get through the day. With CTG, we have now added the two younger children and the oldest is a 7th grader. I am finding that their attention spans (even the 7th grader) don't seem to last long (I have to stop often and correct attitudes) and by the time we finish the history reading, they aren't even interested in Science. We already don't do the vocabulary, music, or art portions for lack of time (The two younger still need me to sit with them for everything, and the two older ones need me for spelling and math. Math, for all of them, takes us a good 3 hours.) And they dread book basket time (I don't think they are really learning anything from it). "I" love read aloud time, but they always sigh when I tell them it's time for it. They don't seem to be too interested in "classic " literature either. I guess I'm getting overwhelmed, but it seems that the kids aren't really excited about any of our studies and are always working to just get it over with. I don't want to encourage that kind of motivation, but even I find myself hurrying them so we can get to everything each day. At first, I thought these were just some of "those days" that we are going to have sometimes, but "those days" have turned into months and don't seem to be ending anytime soon. Help! The schedule that used to seem like it worked ok, is now no longer working, and I just can't seem to figure out how else to tweak it without dropping another subject.
Posts: 115
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:13 pm

Re: Need help fitting it all in!

Unread post by bethinga »

I would encourage you to keep trying. Adjusting attitudes will always be a thing; I think that's just part of life-skills.

How old are your kids? One thing that has helped me this year is alternating "fun" subjects with "work" subjects. We don't go in the order listed in the TM. Our day goes more like this:

Bible (during or right after breakfast)
Copywork or dictation (if any)
Break for morning chores
Writing subjects (like spelling & English)
Some other "together" subject (like science, art, or music- These often fall sometime after lunch)
Greek is done during or right after lunch (sometime while we're still at the table)

Book Basket and Reading time are for those who finish early with independent work, or I fit it in between subjects when I feel like they need a break from other academics.

Read Aloud is done at night

As far as Read Aloud goes, pick books you all enjoy. It doesn't have to be the book assigned. There are lots of great suggestions in the appendix and in Honey for a Child's Heart. Sometimes, however, it's the momentum. I've found that when we just read 4 days a week, as scheduled, they lose interest in the story. I like to read from the "family read aloud" daily, preferably at night.

For Book Basket, the main idea is to get them to enjoy books (and do a little of their own research). For this reason, I try to take my kids with me to the library. While I'm finding books on our history/science topics, I let them find books that suit their own personal interests. So, in our Book Basket, we have books about Egypt and Jewish holidays; but we also have books about cars, martial arts, how to care for babies, and tons of picture books. I simply ask that they spend 15-20 min. daily enjoying the Book Basket.

For "Reading", many parents simply give their child a set amount of time to read any book (aloud to parent if they still need practice reading). I choose to use this time to encourage my kids to read a chapter book of their choice. I want them to read for 15-20 min. It can be any time of day, as long as they do it sometime before supper. If they can't or won't choose a book, I give them one. My daughter was reluctant to pick a book, so I chose Charlotte's Web for her (she's 8 ). As long as she reads it daily, she stays interested. If she loses interest, it's usually because I've let Reading time slide.

I hope these ideas help you! If not, please feel free to take what works for your family and leave the rest! Blessings!
Beth in GA
Mom to a boy and a girl
Using MFW since 2012
Julie - Staff
Posts: 1042
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:52 am

Re: Need help fitting it all in!

Unread post by Julie - Staff »

It sounds like 3 hours of math is a problem, with everyone exhausted by then. I might focus on that first. Would any of these help pare down math time to an hour (including math facts)?
  • If you have dawdlers, can you just allow a reasonable time frame and then have them do the rest in the evening as "homework"? Or re-do seriously sloppy work then, so your day isn't dragged down with silly corrections (allowing for the fact that no one does their very best all of the time, every day.)
  • If the kids are having to wait for you a lot, is there a way for you to combine math and other assignments so that each child gets math time while the others are working on Book Basket, notebook pages, spelling, etc.?
  • Try mixing up the math on occasion with games or marker boards or groups of legos to demonstrate. Don't work too hard on figuring out something new, but maybe you have things you can grab and still meet the goals of the lesson or the math facts drill.
As for other subjects, I agree with Beth about reading, the purpose of Book Basket, and about read-alouds at bedtime (or those books are optional). You know, my kids (and grandkids) become suddenly fascinated at bedtime - because the other option is going to bed!

A few more thoughts from our experiences:
  • Do you have kids who need to move while they listen? My youngest said he couldn't listen while sitting still because he had to concentrate too hard on staying still - and it turned out to be true when I tested him out.
  • Are you using narration, checking that the kids are listening and understanding along the way? At first, you might have to stop after each paragraph - or even each sentence, if they aren't remembering.
  • During CTG, our family was blessed by doing the Bible reading in the evening with Dad, and that also freed up lesson time during the day.
  • Make sure you're not leaving out the visual and active things, making the day drag with paperwork. Prioritize the cooking and the 10 commandments poster and other hands-on over paperwork, because the younger kids will remember that far better. Take a photo for the history notebook if you feel bad not having a paper trail - and have your oldest type up a few sentences under the photo.
  • Literature loving can be a learned skill by some. You may have to enthuse them. My son liked it when I "quizzed" him (orally) about a detail from the previous day's chapter before we started, or stopped and had him guess something, or occasionally we used puppets etc.
I posted back-in-the-day about kids who may never like school. I doubt all of your kids will be that way, but it's possible you have one in the mix. Even if they were in public school, you may well have had one in the mix. Here's that thread, in case it is encouraging: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3909&hilit=horse

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