Monday, January 31, 2011


     We really fell off track last week. School was taking longer and longer. The culprit was dawdling. 
     Dawdling has been a problem around here for a while. Last week it got out of control!!!! Now, I do not have a strict time schedule. I remember in my early days of homeschooling mapping out the day.                                                       
    It went something like...
  • Bible 9:00 - 9:10
  • Math  9:10 - 9:30
  • Break 9:30 - 9:45
  • Story Time 9:45 - 10:00
     It makes me laugh to think about it now!!!! I am SOOOO not like that! It was habit from years of teaching in a classroom. In a classroom, a schedule is ESSENTIAL! Homeschool is totally different! We do not have a timed schedule anymore. However, we DO have a sequence. 
  1. Bible
  2. Math
  3. Literature
  4. Language Arts (this is Grammar for my 1st grader and Phonics for my PreKindergartener)      
  5. Science
  6. Writing
  7. Social Studies 
  8. Computer
     Until today, we just worked through our sequence. We started whenever, and took breaks whenever. The problem was that we ended WHENEVER!!! Sometimes right before bed. Now, I had no problem with the way things were going until last week. 
     Backwards week showed me how very chaotic our day had become. On days that we wanted to finish school early to do something else like a field trip, birthday party, or play date, a power struggle ensued. See, the kids thought THEY were running the show and silly Mommy, well I thought I was running the show. 
     The problem was dawdling and the solution was short lessons. Today I set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes at the start of each lesson. If they completed their seat work before the timer went off they got the rest of the time until the timer went off to have a play break. 
     We discussed the impending change all weekend so that the kids would not be surprised and resist. This morning when we finished our bible lesson I reminded them that we were going to use the timer and if they finish their work before the buzzer they could play until it went off. If we got all our work done on time we would have time to spend the afternoon at the playground. 
     If they had work left when the buzzer went off, it would be put away anyway. We were moving on to the next subject together. Left over work would have to be finished after all other work. That meant we would not be enough time in the day to go to the playground. 
     There was one hang up I had not thought of... Skittles was so enthusiastic that he rushed through his work and made MANY mistakes. I erased all the mistakes and had him redo the work correctly, cutting into his play time. Luckily our Literature reading today was Aesop's The Tortoise and the Hare. I was able to use the moral of the story as an example of why we should take our time and not rush. 
      We were done with school in under 2 hours today!!!!! WOO HOO!!!!! We made it to the playground before dinner. It was a nice reward! 

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