The Filsinger Family

by Amanda
(Colorado)

My husband and I both work night shifts, full time, outside of the home and homeschool our two children.
This is how it works:

Every Sunday night I prepare a week's worth of schoolwork to be completed. I discovered doing anything beyond a week is a waste of time because sometimes we get "stuck" on something and need more time to spend on it the following week, or someone doesn't put forth good effort in the work and we re-do it the following week. As the kids get older, this happens less often, but I still like to only schedule one week at a time.
My husband gets home at 6 A.M. and wakes the kids so they can get dressed, visit with dad, sometimes do a morning science experiment or set it up for later.

I get home about 7:30 A.M. and instantly start a load of laundry, then we all have breakfast together. Husband goes off to bed around 8 or a little after. I have a 5 to 10 minute conference with each child individually, to discuss the day's work and I point out what needs to be done with me later (These things also have big colorful post-it notes that say "Wait for mom"). Usually it's a new math concept or something I know they might need guidance with. All in all, we use curriculum that they can do with little help from us. They use Teaching Textbooks for math, as well as math worksheets I print off for them (sometimes just fun busywork like Sudoku puzzles or math crosswords)because I feel that Teaching Textbooks' workload comes easy to both of them.

I put the laundry in the dryer and go to bed around 9 A.M. and they have about three hours of independent work while we sleep, and then a list of chores to complete before 1:00 P.M.

They usually have a list of lunch ideas to choose from (i.e pick a protein, grain, and fruit).
Right now the curriculum we use that makes it possible for them to work on their own (mostly) is Christian Light Education for Reading, Climbing to Good English, Winning with Writing, Building Spelling Skills, and Christian Lights Social Studies textbook with the Light Units.

We also have some Critical Thinking Skills books they work out of for fun (I don't assign it - they choose to do some pages or not depending on how they feel that day). Also, Word Ladders are a big hit with them. We were doing Wordly Wise, but have switched to having 5 words a week that we write on a huge posterboard and hang up.

The kids get treats or reward coupons for using any of the vocabulary words in a sentence (correctly) when talking to someone outside the family.

For science, it's been hit and miss with different curricula. For this year I'm trying something new and don't know how it will work out, but every week the kids pick a topic they are curious about and when we go to the library they get books on that topic and devour them throughout the week and can either write a report or make a model or whatever to show what they've learned. I hate forcing them to learn about something they aren't interested in just yet at their ages. My son is into rocks and minerals and also plants and flowers. He has a bunch of different things growing in his room and when outside he collects rocks and is always searching for a fossil he believes is just waiting to be found. My daughter loves animals and anything to do with planets, so she usually goes for books about those topics. Then we have all kinds of books on "backyard science experiments", or "kitchen experiments" or "experiments kids can do on their own".

If they finish school, chores and eat lunch on schedule then they have free reading/drawing/writing/project time (no tv, computer, video games yet).

Husband wakes up at 3pm and the kids are free to run outside and be crazy for a couple hours (this is a great time, because the school bus is letting off the ps kids at 3:15 and the bus stop is right at the edge of our yard).

While the kids are outside getting their exercise and playing with friends my husband checks their work. Sometimes one of them is called inside and they lose their playtime because they tried getting away with less-than-satisfactory work. It only took losing playtime a few times before they self-corrected this and became more diligent in their work.

I wake up around 4:30, get dinner prepared and visit with my husband. Around 5:00 the kids come in, wash up, and we all sit on the couch and do our History lesson for the day. We did Story of the World and Mystery of History but have finally landed on Beautiful Feet's Early American History. My husband and I both detested history as children and there is a lot we never retained, so that's why I say we do OUR History lesson. We learn about it together as a family and it has become our favorite time of the day. The kids take turns reading out loud so they can keep up on that practice in fluency and expression.

If dinner gets done before we are, we continue discussing History at the table. The kids do their timelines, drawings and any history crafts while husband and I clean up. Right now, our nights are a little more hectic because of Basketball, so History is only getting done two nights a week. Sometimes we'll try to do it on the weekend.

We pretty much just have family time or do our outside activities or everyone has their favorite tv show or the kids play their games until 8:00. (There's also the load of laundry to put away, sometimes I'll start another load. Doing a load a day really makes laundry a non-issue).

The kids get ready for bed, Husband goes to work at 8:00, Mother-in-law comes over around 9:00 with her overnight bag, I go to work at 9:00pm and the kids go to bed (sometimes grandma lets them stay up until 10 and she teaches them to crochet or she reads aloud). She stays in case of any emergencies, but leaves about 5 am, leaving the kids here asleep and alone for only an hour. We live in a very small community and my husband is a police officer, so he can usually be prowling our street around this time anyway, ready to get off work an hour later.

Then our day starts all over again the next day. There's also lots of stuff I didn't want to mention, to try and keep this as short as possible...different times of the year there are things they go to, friends who help out by picking them up, (a homeschool family we are friends with go to the YMCA for skating or swimming in the afternoon and the kids go every other week or so). Also, on Thursdays they go to a homeschool enrichment program for a few hours. Plus lots of supplemental stuff and lots of out of the house learning on the weekends (we go hiking and camping and do a lot of nature study/have conversations about current events, do math drills and trivia while driving in the car, etc. to help fill in any gaps since 90% of their learning is independent. Some friends look sideways at me and secretly wonder if my kids are getting a decent education this way, but they get tested every year and are above average for their grade level so I don't worry too much. I know when they get closer to high school level we might have to change things a bit, but it's working for now.

My kids are 8 and 10, grades 3 and 5. This our 4th year homeschooling (daughter has always been homeschooled, son went to ps for kinder and 1st grade...BIG mistake...hurt his self-image and he learned nothing)

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