By Cindy Puhek
I have six kids, and there is a 14-½ year age gap between the oldest and the youngest. We have everything from preschool to pre-calculus going on in our homeschool. Things can be a little loud and chaotic at times, but there are several things that keep my homeschool organized and running smoothly.
- We keep breakfast simple. Most days, everyone eats homemade whole wheat pumpkin muffins. It’s very simple to lay out the muffins on napkins, and it keeps me free so I can conduct morning devotions and get our day started on the right note. On the weekends, Dad loves to cook breakfast, so the kids get to request pancakes or eggs or French toast on Saturday and Sunday.
- We have definite punctuation marks during the day. Everyone wakes up by 7:30 am. I go over the schedule for the day and often for the week every morning so the kids all know if something out of the ordinary is going to occur. Snack is at 10:00 am, and lunch is at 12:00 pm. Everyone is done with school by 3:00 pm and normally earlier than that. I work with my six-year-old at 10:30 am, and that time is not to be interrupted unless there is an emergency.These set times help everyone feel secure and know what will happen next. I think children approach tasks with better attitudes if they know when things occur within the rhythm of our day. However, you’ll notice this is a very bare bones schedule. There’s a lot of flexibility within these punctuation marks because life is never entirely predictable.
- All the children who read and write work independently on the majority of their school. They are given freedom to work ahead in most subjects and can choose how to order their days. They are also given a say in what subject matter they are studying.
- We work together on household chores. Each child has work to do from dishes and vacuuming to bathrooms and laundry. My oldest daughter does a lot of the cooking by choice. It is something she enjoys, and I allow her to help plan the menu.My two-year old is at a stage where she can really mess up the house. I call her my “toddler tornado.” I try to help clean up throughout the day, and we always make sure the house is in order before we go to bed. It is good for the soul to wake up to an orderly house.
I am not an organized person by nature, but I find the structure provided by these few simple guidelines makes our school days run much smoother.