Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Homeschool Hint - Start with the Together Work

We've homeschooled our children from the beginning.  I know a whole lot now that I didn't know in my beginning years of teaching.  For statistics sake, here's the number of years I've taught.

Kindergarten - 5 years
1st grade - 5 years
2nd grade - 5 years
3rd grade - 4 years
4th grade - 4 years
5th grade - 4 years
6th grade - 4 years
7th grade - 5 years (2 yrs. at a public school)
8th grade - 3 years
9th grade - 3 years
10th grade - 2 years
11th grade - 2 years
12th grade - 2 years

I don't want to sound overly boastful, but after 5 tries as a Kindergarten and 1st grade teacher, I'm pretty good.  The other grades, well I still have a lot to learn.  I'm good with the material, it's the presentation and organization that could use a little work.  Anyway, after all these years of homeschooling I finally have a tip to share.

Start the day off with the "together work"

A typical day means everyone sits down around 8:30 a.m. to begin their day's work.  Each child works at a different pace completing math, spelling, language, foreign language, reading comprehension, map skills - whatever is on their list for the day.  I always have some "together work" planned as well.  For us history, science, art, bible story/prayer, writing are all possible subjects for "together work". 

"Together work" is any subject that we study together. 

The problem I've found with letting each child dive into their work is that we can never agree on when "together work" should be done.  One child says I only have 1 more math problem and so I let them finish and then the next child just has 3 more spelling words to practice so I let her finish and the first child not wanting to sit idle starts on their next subject and before you know it another hour of "just one more" has passed and now it's time for lunch.  We never get to our subject for that day. 

So to combat this, most days I try to start with the "together work".  Knowing we accomplished our history reading or science project first thing allows the kids the freedom to work at their own pace the rest of the day without the worry of wondering when will mom throw something else our way. 

Starting off with "together work" also forces me to stay on schedule in the morning so I don't fall into the trap of doing just one more thing while everyone starts on spelling or hides in their room listening to music because mom's not even ready yet. 

I hope this homeschool hint is helpful to you.  Do you have a totally boss homeschool hint to share?  Please share in the comments or over at FB.  My readers love a good homeschool hint.