I realized just before starting school back up again last week that it was time to make some adjustments. Stress level, sense of accomplishment, organization, etc. needed a little tweaking - especially for the oldest two.
I decided on a whim to take them out to breakfast last weekend for a "business meeting". We talked about how things were going, looked at the various subjects they are working on and divided them up into two categories - things that needed daily attention and things that could be worked on just a few times per week. It was interesting to discover that, for the most part, it was the ones needing daily attention that needed some special focus, whereas the weekly or bi-weekly lessons were going quite well.
I also had in the back of my head that John would like to spend more time with the kids working on school, but we hadn't yet figured out how to make that happen.
There are other tidbits as well, including the fact that, in general, the kids do better with a list of subjects to work on each day or week rather than having continuous strictly-scheduled time for each subject. We've tried it. It really doesn't work here.
Here's what we came up with. As you can see, it's a bit of a hybrid solution...
We will have 2 1/2 hours in the morning, four days a week, that WILL be strictly scheduled. This is mostly for those subjects, like Latin and Math, that need to be worked on every day.
Part of what is unique about this time period is that we've finally set-up a quiet area for the kids to spend that time in. This time was set-up mostly for the oldest two, but others are invited to join them, as long as they are quiet. The extent of the voluntary association of the younger ones into this scenario was surprisingly extensive this past week!
Having this quiet area was essential, especially for Gus. He's one gets distracted if he's working all by himself in his bedroom OR if he's in the middle of everything. Having a quiet room in which to work with others (with me jumping in frequently to keep an eye on things and introduce topics and such) seems to be working well.
The quiet room we set up is our master bedroom. Until we set the attic up in the last few weeks, there wasn't enough room to study there.
The other scheduling piece we came up with is to have one night a week completely clear for John to do some schooling with the kids. They love working on Math with him at night (and this will be a chance to do so regularly) and he's also planning on doing some science with them each week. My challenge is to not schedule anything for that night so that we can keep some consistency.