This is a question to any and all homeschooling moms reading this:
How often, and how in-depth, do you plan your homeschooling lessons?
I ask this as I am just finishing up my normal Sunday night routine: that is, I grab a hot cup of tea, and get out the MODG syllabus for 5th, 4th, and 3rd grades (I don't have one for my 1st grader or my Kindergartener). I go through each section that I'm following her suggestions for, and see what is scheduled. I read all the lessons and all the chapters. If I agree with what is written down, I put it on my children's assignment sheet for the week. Otherwise, I have to be creative and come up with something different.
Since I am not following MODG completely, I go through several other books, trying to get ideas (i.e. science projects to somehow cover K-5th... picking out read alouds and assigned readings for history... finding different poems to memorize since we're not on schedule with history, etc etc etc). I also try to find pictures to print out for the kids to put in their history timelines.
All in all, I put in about 3.5 hours of work every Sunday night.
Some may think I'm crazy to do it this way, but there is a reason for my madness.
1. I'm not following MODG completely, so I can't just hand them a syllabus and say, "have at it, kids!"
2. I prepare a weekly assignment sheet for them so they can work independently -- as much as possible -- which saves me from a lot of grief during the day when I've got a 3 yr old wanting juice and wanting to homeschool too and "can I pwease just sit in your wap, Mommy?" and a 1 yr old wanting (and getting into) EVERYTHING all while I'm trying to direct 5 kids who just want to know, "What am I supposed to do next?"
Oh no. We've lived that nightmare before. It was horrible.
This way, I can grab a 3-yr old and take her to the bathroom while I've got a 1-yr old clinging to me and shout, "Just look at your sheet and do what you can!"
3. I'm hoping all this will really pay off when the "next wave" (i.e. Christopher and Thomas) come through. I will have already planned 3rd-whatever grades, so perhaps (?) my job will be a bit easier next time.
4. I do NOT feel comfortable giving them a reading assignment without knowing what they are reading or learning. I want to be able to jump in and help them if they need me to, without having to say, "OK, give me about 10 minutes here while I read your chapter to figure out what on earth you're talking about." I'd rather know ahead of time so we can be ready to discuss.
Those are my reasons, but still.... well, I'd love to find a way to streamline this system a bit! Teaching 5 at once (with 2 more on the floor!) is a bit overwhelming, so any helpful ideas out there?
What works for you? How have you been able to step back from the books (if you have) and place that responsibility on your children's shoulders? What do you do as read alouds, and what do you assign as independent work? (we read history and science together). How do you schedule time to discuss/narrate/go over work?
I welcome any helpful suggestions!