I have tried being very sctructured. I have tried being very relaxed. I think we are finally finding our balance and what works for our family at this stage.
Just make them all go outside.
Okay, that is my first instinct, but it is probably not a real workable plan.
What seems to be working in terms of them actually learning anything, and us enjoying the time together, is to just go with the flow. For example, this week Tony and Ben looked up King Xerxes and wrote about him. Today we looked up Ancient Persia and Babylon on maps in the encyclopedia. Then we read about Esther, up to the point where Mordecai is in mourning over the new law. So, there you have language arts (looking up and writing) and social studies (geography and history). I could count it as Bible instead, but we get lots of Bible hours and I always need more "core" (social studies, science, math, language arts) for my logs.
Then we moved onto Thomas Edison. We have been studying U.S. history chronologically for the last two years. We are at the Age of Invention. Last week they read a short bio of Edison. Today we watched an animated video about him inventing the lightbulb. Then we looked at a diagram of a light bulb in "How It Works" and compared it to a real light bulb from our home. More social studies, and science, too.
Then we moved onto Bible (Teaching Hearts, Training Minds, a devotional based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism), grammar, math, handwriting, and our favorite subject - lunch.
See, kids are all the same, no matter where they go to school. Ask them their favorite subject and the answer you get is "lunch" followed closely by "recess". I bet teachers like lunch best, too. I know I sure do!
After lunch...everyone just finishes up their reading and we do chores, and they go play in the yard and I finish up my housework, and I will sit down and record what we did today, and hopefully get everything caught up for the week. Tomorrow I will look at "where we are" in history and plan out some reading for the week - I believe we are in the 1870s-80s, and we will focus on the Plains Indians next week and the conflicts between them and the settlers' westward expansion.
Hopefully, I will get in some time to read before it is time to start dinner. I have started a self-guided study on baptism that I am enjoying, as well as a new murder mystery that is calling to me.
After dinner tonight we are all watching part 10 in a dvd series entitled "The Sovereignty of God". I will count that as Bible.
But for now...it sounds like they are done fixing their lunch and getting ready to eat, so now I can get in the kitchen and make my lunch. I love having kids old enough to make a basic lunch on their own!