{Real Life Homeschool} Shifting Focus

I am now in my 13th year of homeschooling.

In the beginning, it was me and my little 4 year-old buddy, sitting on the couch together as he sounded out words.

Very quickly we added the younger two sisters, and I would read history, science, and good literature books to them all together. We did so many fun projects, crafts, and field trips.

 {Studying medicinal cures during the Renaissance}

Nutsy came along and she was right there in the mix of things. I would have quiet things for her to play with, and she would sit in and listen along.

{Castle, courtesy of Bookworm}

I taught almost all our subjects to them all together: history, science, word roots, Latin, art, Bible literature, and anything else we wanted to learn about. The only things that we separated for was math and phonics/grammar.

{Computer learning was fun too, and everyone participated}

And I followed a rule that someone shared with me long ago, to teach to the level of the oldest, and the rest of them would pick up bits and pieces.

So my focus was Mr. Lego. I would choose our book or text selections based on his knowledge level and go from there. And this worked so well! The younger ones really did pick up lots, more than I would have expected.

{A cotton gin}

Until this year.

There were two major changes in Mr. Lego's daily schedule this year. First, he began taking a couple of classes at our local junior college. This ate up a couple of hours each morning. Then, he got a job as a meal server at a retirement home. And he worked a few lunches a week, right smack in the middle of our school day.

At first I would schedule everyone else around his day, and have them do their independent work while he was away. Then, when he would come home, we would drop everything and do our stuff together. And that really didn't work. Many times he had homework from his class, or it was only a window of 30 minutes that he would be home, or I was headed out the door to run necessary errands.

And I realized I needed to shift my focus.

I re-evaluated and realized that my older two would accomplish more if most of their subjects were done independently. This year they were doing biology in our co-op, and so asking them to sit while I read from some astronomy book was overkill.

And then last week something else happened to change everything up again....Bookworm got a job, at the same place that Mr. Lego works. And do you think they are going to have identical schedules? No way.

I needed to let my older ones slowly go, and become more independent.

So my focus is shifting once again.

How am I doing it now? Well, the younger girls and I are still very structured. We do most of our subjects all together, the three of us. Bookworm and Mr. Lego have their schedules all typed out, and it is their responsibility to follow their assignments. And if it works out that they are here when I start going through the state capitals or reading our literature book, they listen in. (Or head upstairs to do their homework in a quiet place.)

Families are ever changing, so it is important for the schooling to change too. Don't be afraid to shift the focus.

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  1. I really liked reading this, Charlotte! The photos of your children as little ones are precious. Time has flown, hasn't it? I am so glad we have some of this crazy homeschool life together. <3

    Love you,

  2. Thanks for sharing. I often wonder what our homeschooling will look like as our kids get older!


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