I've been writing a series on Schooling with Littles. I shared our Daily Schedule, and now I'm working through how I manage our three learning blocks: Morning Basket, Naptime School, and Independent Learning.
I'm going to touch briefly today on the final block of our learning day: Independent Work. This includes the daily subjects not in our Morning Basket and not handled during Naptime School, so it's basically a catch-all for everything else.
:: Math Work
:: Independent Reading Assignments (coming to me for narrations afterward)
:: Piano Practice
This work does have a home in our daily schedule: after lunch, while the little kids play. I'm making dinner during this time, so I'm free to hear narrations, and the littles are all playing together, so the big kids can step away to finish up their math worksheet or get some piano practice in. Really, though, since these don't involve me, we fit them in whenever we prefer. So if the kids have a little free time before breakfast, one might work on a math drill page while the other practices piano. I do restrict when I can hear narrations, but if the kids don't mind waiting to narrate, they're free to get a head start on their reading too.
For math, I go over their work for the day during naptime so they know which problems they're required to do on their own. For piano, they know they need to fit in 15 minutes daily. For reading: on Monday morning, I make a stack of their books for that week, and the children choose which books to do on which days. At this age, they're able to finish them on just Monday and Tuesday--as they get older and have a heavier load, this will comprise a larger chunk of our school day. And scheduling weekly makes their reading time variable. So if we have a day at home on Monday, they might get through a big stack of readings. That frees up Wednesday for meeting a friend at the park and Thursday for house-cleaning. Or if they're sick on Monday, they can rest and do their reading another day without our falling behind the schedule.
My long-term plan is for their list of Independent Work to get longer at about the same time I start needing more one-on-one schooling time with my next few children. So their independent reading time will increase and their time spent self-teaching math will increase over the next couple years. (By the way, have you been following along with Brandy's tips for moving children toward independence? I'm taking notes!)
So that's our school day! In the next couple months, I'm going to try to tackle some of the questions I hear regularly: How do you keep the little ones busy? What do you do with your preschooler? How do you keep your learning materials organized? Let me know if there's anything in particular you're wondering about and I'll be happy to share.