I only do Bible with all of my children together. They are welcome to listen to each other's Sonlight books, but Bible is the only thing that I require all of them to be with me at the same time. I choose our Bible time based on what time I think all children will be awake, fed, and through with their chores. I also take into consideration if I am training for a marathon or not, and realistically what time I will consistently be home from running. Over the past several years we have had our Bible time anywhere between 8:00 and 10:00 AM. This school year our Bible time is at 9:00 AM. I have on my schedule to do writing and chemistry (when needed) with Clay (10th grade) from 8-9. I am making sure that I am through running by 7:45. Julie (12th grade) is working on her online classes from 8-9, and Leah and Sam are eating breakfast, doing chores, and beginning their independent school work from 8-9. We do our Bible lesson from 9:00-9:30.
I plan very carefully! :)
I highly recommend reading and implementing the scheduling methods in Managers of Their Homes (MOTH), sold at Titus2.com. I also have learned many tips which I use on a daily basis from Teri Maxwell's other books (sold on the same website), Managers of Their Schools and Managers of Their Chores. I used to use the sticky tack and the huge spreadsheet that is included in MOTH when planning my new school year schedule. Now I just pull up my last year's schedule and delete, add, and rearrange blocks in the table. Then I rename it, save it, and print it out.
But actually it's way more involved than that!
It takes a little bit of trial and error to get it all work out, but now I pretty much follow a similar schedule from year to year.
Here is an overview of my current school year schedule:
- 8-9: work with Clay; Julie does online classes; Leah and Sam do chores and begin independent school (using a laminated checklist that I have prepared)
- 9-9:30: Bible with all
- 9:30-11:00: Clay and Julie work alone; I assist Leah and Sam with all schoolwork except science and Sonlight
- 11-11:30: science with Leah and Sam; Julie and Clay work alone
- 11:30-12:30: school with Clay (check all his work, go over algebra, etc.); Leah and Sam finish up any schoolwork needed, Julie work alone (or she may be done by this time)
- 12:30-1:30: lunch. I check email, attend to laundry, clean the kitchen, etc.
- 1:30-3:00: Sonlight with Leah and Sam. I am doing 2 Cores. I do one Core and then the other. I alternate which Core I begin with each day. Clay and Julie finish up any school work and then have free time.
- 3:00: I check Julie's schoolwork (really not that much, and I usually do it before this time.
- extra activities, errands, housework, laundry, etc.
- 5:00: cook supper, kids do evening chores
Which leads me to these last questions.
School takes all day. When and how do you fit in all of your cleaning? How do you divide your chores with your kids and when do they do them if school starts around 8am? after school?
We have very specific chore charts and lists. The children have before school chores (things like bring dirty clothes, pet care, make beds, etc.) and they also have evening chores (things like tidying different areas of the house, both inside and out, putting away clean laundry, taking out trash, etc.) In addition to these daily chores, each child has weekly chores (things like dusting and vacuuming their rooms, cleaning out my vehicle, taking the trash to the road, cleaning bathrooms, etc.). I divided my housework into areas and jobs, and everyone, even my 8yo has work to do each week. I do not assign a specific day for these weekly chores to be done, but they must be completed by Saturday night. I assess fines for any chore not completed by Saturday night. Thankfully, I rarely collect any money! I also do my fair share of the housework--the jobs that no one likes to do and the jobs that take the most time. I usually do my housework 2-3 afternoons a week or on Saturday.
So, no, my house is not completely clean from top to bottom on any given day, but the whole house is cleaned once a week--just not all clean at the same time.
I will add, that I do have a housekeeper that comes once a week and cleans my main floor. That is a huge help, and I am very grateful that I have this help.
My children are hard workers! Jimmy is a hard worker too, and we just seem to keep the household running. Our house is never "magazine perfect", but it's homey and for the most part clean and orderly.
One last tip: We pick up all the clutter every day.