The best advice I received from a veteran homeschool mom when my oldest was about 7 or 8 was to make sure that we did math and piano everyday because those were skills that needed to be built daily.  She said that you need to also focus on the child who is learning to read and make sure they read everyday and that they do learn to read and write well.  Then they will be equipped to learn and read many things on their own.  The science and history and reading and writing are all things they can learn without taking daily steps.  You can read a bunch of books, watch documentaries, do a bunch of science experiments and catch up on a lot of subjects– but math and piano need to be done consistently as they build on each other.

Pretty much every homeschool method and curriculum I researched also recommended reading out loud to children of all ages.  So for us, each child has a list of academic chores they need to do along with their house chores.  They each have math, piano and Greek to do no matter what each school day.  Then there are other things they should also do like read on their own, do their other workbooks, write in their journal, write a report, do some art or science experiment.  And they usually do– but if life happens, then I don’t worry too much about those other things, because I know they will learn it eventually.  We don’t have to learn and do everything in one day.  Learning is a life long process.

Group time is my favorite part and they all enjoy cnn student news.  We have been learning French so we listen to and follow along with a French CD everyday, then watch the news, then the older kids usually watch a lecture and then we all read scriptures and a novel together, read and talk about some history or do a science lesson together or some other thing– logic, literature, geneology– whatever.  Then the high schoolers go on to do their work on their own and I read additional stories and books to the middle kids and then end with the littles, reading picture books and singing songs.  Sometimes it is all together– sometimes I do the littles in the morning or later in the day– depending on the day and what is going on.  This year is the smoothest of all with the baby being 3.  We are getting a lot done– it’s nice.  We had several years, especially when the twins were babies when we just focused on the basics and really did not do much extra art, science, history or literature– although the kids did have plenty of time to play and explore.  They still did well, thankfully, so if I could do it with twin babies and 5 older kids– you can figure it out!!  But do what is best for you!!

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