Tweaking our Homeschooling Routine

To be honest, homeschooling has not been going well lately.  Not to the point that I am ready to throw in the towel or that Emma isn't excelling, but it's just been rather, shall we say, grating. 

Every day it seems as if we get a late start.  This was solved by me simply changing my expectations of the day.  When we began school in September I had this lofty goal that we would start our day by 8 and would breeze through the day.  However starting at 8 meant that I was waking the children up way earlier than they were ready for and then I was teaching little grumpuses all day long. It wasn't fun for them and it wasn't fun for me. 

Another struggle we've had is getting ALL of our school work done.  We get the basics done: reading, writing and arithmetic, but things like history were sometimes getting skipped over or not getting done at all on some days (yikes!) due to other things coming up. 

I had to find a solution...I just had to. 

So here's what I've done:
I started this "our day" board.  I called it this rather than a schedule because it isn't something that we strictly follow in a particular order.  To clarify we do have a specific order for some things but if Emma needs a break from one thing or wants to do something else before the other, then we can adjust accordingly and make do.  When we're done with an activity we stick the item in the bottom pocket. 

This has helped me to make sure we get everything done as I am now accountable to the children to get everything done.  They can see what we still have to get done and what's to come in the rest of the day (I do not perform the Piano Lessons or Therapy but it helps them to know what we have to do throughout our day).

This has also helped with some of the grating on my nerves because Emma was always and forever asking (some days, whining) "are we done yet?" Now she can see for herself what all needs done and how much we've accomplished. 
As Cal's matured through this year he's now more willing to sit and do some lessons with us.  I have a designated play area for him with lots of puzzles and educational toys.  Earlier in the year he ended up just wandering around, throwing a ball at Emma, and seemed to eventually find his way downstairs where he would scream up to us what he was doing...what a nice time.  :) 

Now he has his own things to do and we are working on fun things like cutting, folding, writing, and reading.  You can see here who keeps their desk tidy and who doesn't :). 
Trying not to complain too much but I'm still waiting on shelving.  So I've had to make do.  I had these chairs just sitting in a corner so I decided to try to use them as shelves.  I think the idea ended up being just darling, don't you?  Each chair is for a subject or two.  Before all of those workbooks and materials were just sitting in piles against the wall and anytime I needed to find anything (say a grammar book) I had to go through everything!  It was so frustrating.  This is much better and now I can send the children over to get their materials they need for certain projects. 

The Sun!  Just wanted to show you this because it is much nicer to do school with sunlight streaming in through the window.  Just weeks ago it was still dark and gloomy in the morning hours when we were starting school.  Here's Cal smiling his tiny smile.  He's experimenting with magnets to see what "sticks" and what doesn't. 
This is Emma doing a math speed test.  For some reason every day her math times are vastly, vastly, different.  She varies everyday between 2 minutes and 10 minutes.  Frustrating that little peanut is...I think I said that like Yoda :)  In a topic that's unrelated to school, check out Emma's bow.  I've had a little goal for myself to make a bow for each of Emma's it :) 

So that's what we've been up to.  As you can see we are still at the drywall phase of our room.  But we are getting ready for mudding (which will probably have to take place during Spring Break.  :)
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