We do group time in my home but we do it how and when it is best for us.
I love how homeschooling allows this flexibility
I personally love the idea of a morning basket. Of starting the day off altogether, singing, cuddling, and spending time together learning. My kids do not function that way in the morning. While I am one of those people that is instantly awake in the morning, only one of my kids is like me. One of my kids takes some time to wake up fully but usually gets her day started quickly. My third child would sleep until lunch if I let him and is never “awake enough” for certain subjects.
With this blend of kiddos, morning baskets never worked for us.
For us, group time is in the afternoon. Everyone has had lunch, the kiddos have all been outside playing for at least an hour, weather permitting, and wiggle fits have been resolved. Our group time includes science, history, songs and poetry, social studies, and Latin which are all done in a block schedule. What also works for us is having science involved somehow with history. For example, this year we are in the Renaissance/Growth of Nations era and it includes the beginning of true medical advances, so our science this year is anatomy and physiology.
Our mornings are spent working on independent work. The twins are on different levels of English/language arts than my youngest, they each have different math levels to work on, and they each have individualized critical thinking work to do. There are a few shared information books that bounce around from one kid to the other, but for the most part, their independent work is just that. Learning books just for them.
Their independent work is not always done alone
Most mornings I find my kids in a giant pile with books spread out together in the house. They like working in my daughter’s room, as it is the largest of the kids’ rooms. They like working in the loft upstairs, as it is the kid hang out area and so “theirs”. They also like dragging it all downstairs and spreading out across the couch and onto the dining room table, all talking and working. For the most part, they get along well in the mornings when they are working on their own things at their own pace.
Not all mornings go smoothly
Some mornings, my kids seem to be constantly getting on each others’ nerves and at each others’ throats. Someone is breathing too hard. Someone else won’t stop kicking the floor. Another one won’t stop being bossy. They all have complaints about the others and it is never their own attitude that creates the issues. Suddenly, one is picking up the books of another and moving them out of the room or across the hall.
Let the arguing begin
When we have mornings like this I have to point out that it is ok to want your own space sometimes. I point out that there are some subjects we do need a little more quiet than others. There are times when they will all struggle but it is never ok to take it out on the others. Usually, I can have them go work in their bedrooms and after they each work on a book on their own they have all calmed down and I find them laying in their open doors working and talking with one another again. Occasionally I have to separate them in different parts of the house. One in the front office with the doors shut, another in the kitchen at the table, and the third upstairs with quiet music on.
Separate them for their sanity and my own
They do not always understand why I separate them. Sometimes I have to sit down and explain it carefully to each of them. I am teaching them how to recognize their own frustrations. I want them to know it is ok that we have our own feelings. That how we feel is not someone else “fault”. How we handle frustrations and tough times depends on how we choose to handle them.
And sometimes the best thing is to separate for a time so we can come back and have fun together
Greetings! My name is Joy and I am currently a stay at home mom who is homeschooling her three kids in South Carolina. I love learning and I love sharing the love of learning with others so getting to home school my kids and watch the “ah-ha” moments when they understand something is unbelievably rewarding. I have been homeschooling since my twins were preschool age so we are going on 8 years now. I am also a military spouse so we have the added joy of being a military family with some of the complications that come with it. As a family, we stay busy with our scouting groups, American Heritage Girls and TrailLife, and we do many camping and hiking trips with them. When I have downtime, I am typically reading books I have sitting around the house, on YouTube/websites getting more information on different home school programs or working on plans for homeschool. I look forward to being able to share our experiences with everyone and help encourage all homeschooling families.