Recalculating Route Part 2

So with nearly 2 weeks of school done here is a continuation of the last post on what changes need to be made and a closer look at what school actually looks like for us.

Sometimes it looks like a bunch of bodies sprawled out on the floor.

Sometimes it looks like a bunch of bodies sprawled out on the floor.

Between 9 and 10am we break out the checklists.  This is brand new to us and I’m only doing it because the boys heard my friend Kristin telling me about it.  Kristin is THE smartest, most most capable woman I have ever known and my boys are just as much convinced of her abilities as I am so they decided if it was good for HER kids it must be good for them and so check lists we have.   I put their whole weeks worth of copy work, spelling, cursive, phonics, grammar and math on their personal clip board and they spend an hour each day working on those items in which ever order they prefer.  Last week they finished everything by Thursday so Friday we went to the beach instead of doing school work.

Sometimes it looks a lot like playing hooky.

Sometimes it looks a lot like playing hooky.

I didn’t know what to expect of Sam so I was figuring a couple of pages of math or phonics a day.  He finished his math workbook the first week.  Thankfully, I had another one tucked away which he did 23 pages of today.  I can’t afford for him to do any more so I made him stop.  Major miscalculation.  RECALCULATING ROUTE.

Last year Nate loved math but until the last couple months of school was sluggish with anything reading/writing.  This year Nate LOVES anything reading/writing but was overwhelmed by the amount of math on his checklist.  Easy fix.  Less math. More spelling, phonics etc… Again, thank you Kristin for the Abeka spelling book.  He LOVES it.

Joel wants more math.  At least this week he does.  I’ve been putting the tests at the end of the chapter on his and Titus’s clipboards on Monday and letting them do those first.  So far they’ve both scored 100% each time so I’ve let them skip those chapters.  But Joel actually wants to be doing more math so I’ve got to come up with something… RECALCULATING ROUTE.

Titus wants less math.  Even less than the one test a week he’s had so far.  He only wants geometry.  Looking on-line for more resources.  Also, last year he and Joel were both doing the same Sequential Spelling book (again, thank you Kristin) but this year I moved him a level ahead.  Still not challenging enough.  He wants REALLY hard words.  I don’t understand that at all.  I am the worst speller in the world and take NO delight in teaching such a mundane subject but ALL my boys claim it as one of their favorites.  Must have gotten it from their father.  RECALCULATING ROUTE.

Another change I’ve had to make is with our Rod&Staff English books for Ti and Joel.  I LOVE those books and they tolerate them except for the patently obvious pacifist undertones.  Something about my boys has them thirsty for any kind of violence or bloodshed and unfortunately Mennonite curriculum just doesn’t cut it in that area.  So I have to customize every assignment to make it more gory.  I also only give them a fraction of the assignments because they tend to be a very repetitive.  And boys HATE busy work!

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we add an hour of science and world geography.  This consists mainly of me reading aloud to them, them coloring in related activity books or looking over library books pertaining to that weeks topic, and doing one of the activities from our Apologia text.  So far, so good.  Nothing to change there.

For literature, Dad has started reading Jack London’s the Sea Wolf and they are absolutely enthralled.  I knew I wouldn’t have to change anything there because Tom is the best read-alouder in the world and always picks the perfect books for boys.  He also does a bed-time devotional with them and I am SOOOOO thankful to have Dad home in the evenings to take over when my Mommy brain is D.O.N.E. thinking.

That just leaves P.E., art, and music.  The first two I don’t even have to assign because these boys are in a constant state of creation/motion.  And piano lessons will start up again in October.  I don’t even worry about those three elements anymore.  It’s covered.  I still have to remind them to brush their teeth.  But P.E., art, and music they can handle on their own.

That’s about all we’re doing this year.  Pretty simple when you break it all down.  It all takes about 3 hours a day plus a 1/2 hour of chores which leaves PLENTY of time to play and make mischief.  And in the evenings there’s always THIS to look forward to.  Not a bad life.


10 thoughts on “Recalculating Route Part 2

    • I just use it for the subjects that they are able to work independently on. I designate about an hour to do as much work as they can and make myself available for any help they need. They really like it, especially Joel who races to get everything done in the first couple days and Nate who likes to pull out the clipboard throughout the day to work on stuff. However, Titus’s procrastinating tendencies have really come into play with this method. This could end up either being a huge frustration for him or a big help in training him with time management.


  1. Kristin, can you come to my house for a while?!?

    We love our checklists & clipboards! But I really love how your boys decide how to break up the work during the week. I have our checklist assignments written down for each day of the week without much wiggle room. I think letting the kids decide when to do what is a great plan. So, does your checklist just have a big “get this done by Friday” list?

    One more Q… what ages are doing Sequential Spelling and which Abeka?

    Glad you’re so flexible! I’m not too good at that :-/ I AM recalculating though!


    • I just realized I didn’t answer your question all the way. I am so sorry! I divide their checklist up into 15 squares, each day having 3 subjects to work through: math, copy work/spelling, and grammar for the older boys or reading/phonics for the youngers. If they get their 3 sections per day crossed off they know they are right on target. But they are free to work as far ahead as they like. Nate is the one using the Abeka speller just because we happened to get one for free. Joel is finishing up the 1st Sequential Speller that we started last year and Ti has moved ahead to the 2nd. I hope that answers your question better 🙂


  2. We love checklists and clipboards too!!! I was just telling Alan it seems like these boys learn by doing and certainly not by listening to me…so I’ve cut the “lesson” part in half….or more. This is such a learning process for me. Thanks for sharing this b/c I can learn from this too!!!


      • I just re read this post because I am struggling with end of day exhaustion and fried nerves (more so with whiny 15 month old than the others) and I noticed that your husband helps out with reading a devo for bed time. I need to try that. My sanity is hanging on by a thread today and my husband has to study for finals. Augggghhh! I’m also really impressed with the 3 hours and done. We are still taking from 915 to 2, with breaks built in, so I’m intrigued.


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