Hi! Looking for some advice. I feel like I am making this harder than it should be. I am schooling two kids using AAR/AAS, Right Start math - teacher intensive - along with individual history, science, etc. They are good, working well for us, but our days are so long! I’m getting so exhausted, as they are too. I think we need a little less teacher intensive choices and more independence. They are 6 & 8. Maybe even combined studies. Has anyone been in this situation that can help give me some advice? Any advice is greatly appreciated!
There are some older threads here that have quite a bit of info. You will have to search things like “favorite…” or "New to Homeschooling"
I personally don’t wan’t my kids to be independent at 6 and 8. This is just my philosophy so take it for what its worth. I want to teach them. I want to have that personal interaction. I want to share my beliefs and values. I totally understand the frustration of being in constant demand, but in a few years you will no longer have the same opportunities that you have now. Susan Wise Bauer gives a well thought out talk on independence and how to cultivate it as the child develops.
I would heavily consider combining both kids in as many subjects as possible. This would make things easier on all three of you. I believe @Forchristandkids has reviewed A Trail Guide to Learning in a few different posts and seems quite pleased with it. It combines several subjects and her kids are of a similar age difference to yours. I have looked at this program as well and although it is not for us at this time, it is something that I keep on my radar and refer to occasionally. There are others as well, some boxed curriculum combine different ages and there are individual subjects that do a good job of combining as well. I would also suggest looking at “Hits and Misses” and “2016-2017 curriculum choices” or earlier years.
At 6 & 8 you could combine science, social studies, art, music, health, PE, etc. you can have each do some of the subjects together by asking them different questions according to their grade level during class time or giving them slightly different projects to complete. not sure what you are using for all these but let’s take science for example, you want to do a unit on magnets, you could read about them which should only take 5 mins then do something w/ them like an “experiment” have a bunch of objects set out then have your kids make a hypothesis of which will be picked up by the magnet and then have them test it out, this should take 10 mins or so and then The 8 yr old can also maybe read a small nonfiction text of where we may use magnets in everyday life and then write a 3 sentence blurb of something in the home that uses a magnet. And science is now done for the week! Do this for the rest of the “side subjects” make sure you aren’t trying to do them all daily. With Your core subjects like math, reading, writing, grammar, phonics - I usually do these daily but your total schooling it shouldn’t take more than 3-4 hrs depending on what you’ve got scheduled and how long they work independently on something You could break it up and do the dailies in the morning and 1 extra subject in the afternoon giving you a 2 hour break in the middle around lunch. I do a math lesson w/ 1 while the other works on a worksheet or some kind of learning game. The lesson should not take more than 15-20 mins at this age. Then they switch. On Friday we just play a few math games like “store” - my 5 yr old gets to buy things and has to count out money and then the 8 yr old will add it all up of what she owes and then I give the 8 yr old a little extra work by asking how much change they will get back if this amount was given. We use AAS too so Monday I introduce the word list and concept and this takes no more than 10 mins, then they do a spelling activity on their own, tues - thurs is a quick 5 min review of the concept and they complete a spelling activity each day and fri is a test. Reading is the same, for my 8 yr old I have a reading curriculum that I do twice/week w/ her for about 15 mins, then I have her work on some type of project like a book report but I have a ton of different ways for her to present the report for her to choose from (check out Pinterest) and she has 2 weeks to complete it. With the 5 yr old I have a 5-10 min lesson phonics session daily and then she gets to pick out a book that she wants to read and she reads for 5 mins aloud to me ( you could even do this at bedtime!) Art - I teach them the same concept but have them complete slightly different projects since they are at diff levels of producing what is asked of them, but it’s once a week if your state doesn’t mandate how much/week something is taught- heck you could even make it just twice a month that’s the beauty of homeschool! I hope this gives you kind of an idea of how to group things to save you some time.
Another question - are you following the teacher guides verbatim? I just skim over the concepts and then teach “my way” - this usually helps things move along quicker too.
Thank you so much!! I am looking into curriculums that will allow me to teach them together (that are not boxed curriculums). I actually have started that, recently… skim/read concepts and teach my way to move things along! It has helped.
I came across a concept called “block scheduling”. I’ve got 4 kids so I was going to maybe give this a try for our secondary subjects like art, science, social studies, & music. It actually might help w/ your situation too. I might start with doing art and social studies week 1 then music and science week 2 and alternate. I read it’s great so you can dive deeper into certain concepts and topics - but it also helps keep the focus that week and it reduces workload so you aren’t trying to cram every subject in 1 week.
BJU uses his concept in language arts for grammar and writing and we love it, I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner!
Hi there @jenns08! I also wanted to mention Ambleside Online. There are options there for History and Science rotations and with their new 2.0 version, you can combine ages across several grade levels. Also, it is free, so if you have a good library, that option might work. Other programs we have used that combine either History or Science or both across several grade levels are Elemental Science and Truth Quest History. If I think of others I’ll add them here.
May I suggest that at those ages, you do not need structured “gravy” subjects. You are doing great by focusing your teaching time on the important areas. The others do not need to be intensive. Books in a basket are really fine for this season.