Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Holidays and birthdays

These are all posts about holidays and birthdays.  Some may be just chatter and others have helpful hints, budgeting and ideas.  Have fun!


Monday, December 29, 2014

#4 Schooling when they are ready in 10 TRICKS OF THE TRADE when Teaching School with a crap ton of kids everywhere- lol:

 This is the fourth in a series about teaching school with lots kids, multiple ages and grades and little ones about. These 10 things would have revolutionized my life had I done all of them from the beginning.  Enjoy and hopefully they help you a bit too!

#4, schooling when they are ready

"SOUND THE ALARM , GOOD FOLKS OF HOMESCHOOLVILLE!  Little Johnny is in the 4th grade and reading at a 1st grade level (insert: gasps all around).  How could such a travesty occur? (everyone looks around sheepishly).  The parents are FAILING little Johhny!  The mother obviously can not teach him!  The Father needs to send that child to public school.  Poor Little Johnny, he will need all sorts of help and therapy now!"  

     We have all heard the newsreel before.  Maybe not out loud but definitely in our heads. We start with good intentions, things don't go the way they want and then we fold under pressure.
      Everyone in the homeschool world says that one of the best things about homeschooling is that we can go slow and teach as the kids are ready.  The truth is though, that so many of us do not practice what we preach.  We stress out, stress our kids out and PANIC because "little Johnny can't read yet and he is 8" or "little Janey cries every time we get up to 2 digit numbers and she is in the 2nd grade already!"  You know I'm right guys!

     No one stresses out when kids are "ahead".  When children learn faster than atypical, everyone applauds the parents and their awesome abilities and the brilliance of the child.  When a child is behind though... well, people whisper in the corners (just loud enough for you to hear of course) about how the child is being "neglected,  maybe un-schooled to the point of abuse, sinning against their child " the parents are failing because... gulp...their child is behind!

     First of all- don't you, or anyone else, compare "normal learning" to the public schools!  (That is another post!)  There is a "norm" but, even in the PS system they have kids who are "ahead" and kids who are "behind".  The public school system is NOT something you should compare your child too.  What you should do is access what they ARE learning!

     In all my years homeschooling, I have had children who are atypical learners, some more ahead and some more behind.  None has taught me more about not freaking out about being "behind" than my 7th child, A9b or... ManBoyA.
     I could go on for days about ManBoyA.  Good, bad and ugly, this kid has it all!  What he taught me though was a valuable lesson about filling a childs life with learning and letting the rest work itself out.

     Learning is not about applicable abilities.  Meaning: the ability to read/write/and do math is not needed to LEARN.   Learning is about filling ones life with knowledge so that when you are ready you can pull from it. 

     There are some things that helped keep education pouring in.  First being that we homeschool with one room school house style teaching.  Science and history are done as a group and ManBoyA could DICTATE what he has learned and I could write it down.  He can color a picture, do a project and other things that still do not involve applicable abilities.
     Math was pretty easy and can be fun to tweak.  In his early years we played a lot of games and did fun math worksheets, though I still freaked out since it didn't seem like we were really doing anything and I still wanted him to "complete" a math curric.  I learned though.  I learned to back off when he started taking too long to do something because we really accomplished nothing but frustration "fighting" it out.  As he got older I could require more from him in this area.  Not only did he "catch up", but he is now a grade level ahead in math.
     Reading was something he was pretty sure he could live without and something I knew he needed to do to be able to live!  We spent many years going no where in this area.  I ignored so many cues.  He did not try writing, he did not try reading,  He did not ask me how to spell things.  He did not care.  I cared... but he could careless.  I tackled that by trying to make it fun and something he would more or less enjoy.
     We stopped doing regular "phonics" type lessons and I put him on the computer with Reading Eggs.  I was always perplexed on how he could move up in all the levels and still couldn't read a "BOB book".  I worried, I prayed, I vented to Tammy and Vanessa.  My husband and I were worried.  We kept on though.  Putting the TOOLS in front of him, letting it sink in and then giving him opportunity to use them.
  FINALLY , one day in the summer, just before his fourth grade year, he started asking about spelling words, making comics on his own, trying to read different things as we were out!  These were are clues that he WAS READY.  All that time on reading eggs had put the words in his head, the ability to read in his mouth and now that he was curious and he just needed practice.  He is not at a "fourth grade level" but he is READING and its more than BOB books!

     ManBoyA's personality and outlook on school FORCED us to re look at schooling and learning and to re-access what "progress" really was.  Comparing him to other children, regardless of how they were being schooled, was not the answer.  Counting each success he accomplished, number 1 in character and number 2 scholastics, was better.  What we began to see was a really smart kid, very active, who just needed time.

     If I had learned this lesson earlier things would have been much different for ManBoyA.  He taught us the lessons of schooling when they are ready.  If I had already learned this lessons, then his schooling life would have gone MUCH differently.  Thankfully I did learn and the three little boys that followed ManBoyA are reaping the benefits!  Their outlook on schooling is the best I have had,  They are eager, wanting and excited to learn.  I push them to try new things but I do not "push them" to the point of frustration and tears.  Homeschool Mom reading this- you know what I mean!  I encourage the learning and fill the homeschool time with learning.  I try and make it more fun and less "booky".  If we are not "feeling it" that day I back off.  Even if that person is me!  I look for the cues and clues and go with it!

     One of the most important lessons I learned from ManBoyA is that "behind" is really a non-word.  The child who is "behind" today in reading can quickly  be the child who is "ahead" tomorrow if you just wait until they are ready.  The child who can not get past long division today can take a break and do multiplication games for a month and then try long division again and blow through it like its nothing and test out of 4 chapters in math and fly ahead.   Its about progressing to the best of your ability- not the kid's next door.

     I do want to note that struggling learners can also have underlying issues like sight problems, dyslexia,and  dyscalculia.  It is important to keep an eye out for other clues that show there is a problem and not just a reluctance to "do school".

  In closing, relax homeschool Mom!  If your child does not seem ready for math and reading, DON'T PUSH THEM.  Read to them, play with them, still "do school".  Look for ways to put in that math or do some reading without it looking likt math, or looking like reading.  Fill their world with information and then watch as they process and replicate the things you teach!

 That concludes this blog post.   I hope you have enjoyed this overview on Schooling when they are ready!  Other topics to come in this series, in no particular order, are:

  • One Room School House Teaching
  • block scheduling/4 day school week
  • 3 hour limit
  • schooling when they are ready- don't stress until then
  • sickness in the house and new babies
  • utilize your team (aka older kids)
  • schooling with toddlers and babies
  • FEED the people
  • Making an "unschedule" for your home

    Sunday, December 28, 2014


         I have been quiet because I have been BUSY!!!  Christmas time for us is all about Jesus, birthdays and family!  I haven't forgotten about all of you though either!  Here are a few pictures of our Christmastime and be watching in the next day or so for the next blog entry "#4 school them when they are ready".  IN the mean time =) you can look at a snippet of our holiday season!

         Our living room is small so we rearranged the dining room, that backs up to the living room, and put the Tree in there!

         In our home, each child has 3 presents to open on Christmas day as well as their party bag (stockings).  We have a price limit for each child ($60).  We try and keep things smaller and manageable and keep our focus on Jesus.  The kids all still get really good presents, we are just thrifty, we wait for the sales and keep it minimal!

    The kids all draw names and buy something for their "present buddy".  Price is set at $5.  We cover the little kids (under 7 this year) but all older kids have to use their funds!

    CH9g became CH10g right before Christmas!  Double digits is a big deal and we do something special!  Boys get pocket knives and girls get their ears pierced!  CH10g was super excited to finally have pierced ears like her older sisters!
      A typical Birthday at our house is this:  You get to pick out a meal and a treat.  Grammy and Papa come over and you get to open your presents.
      We do not do individual big parties.

    Christmas day is spent at Grammy and Papa's.  All of the in town family gathers here and sometimes friends too.
    We exchange gifts with Grammy and Papa.  All teens to adults participate in the "gift game" and the younger cousins exchange a "cousins gift" (done by family not by child).

    Papa prays over each person before handing them their gift.  Creating a Godly legacy is one thing I admire so much about my Father in Law.
      Of course we eat a ton and enjoy one anothers company!  That is pretty much our day =)

    D5b became D6b just after Christmas.  Sometimes it can get tricky keeping things kind of even with all the little boys at Christmas with gifts and then turning around and still needing birthday gifts for this one!
     He is REALLY into super hero's so I made him 4 two sided capes and a plethora of super hero masks (or mask-skez, as the little boys say it).  He got other items too but a bag od super hero dress up stuff to share with his brothers and friends was definitely a HUGE hit!

         And here is a pic of Christmas morning.  Well actually this year it was Christmas Eve, late morning as it was not our year to have The Brownies (my brown hair children that we share with my husbands X).
         In this pic they are opening up their party bags.  We do this instead of stockings because its Jesus birthday and when you go to a party you get a party bag!  I spend roughly $20 (our of the $60) on party bags.  I shop all year and get killer deals!  the kids all had between 18 and 22 items in their party bags.  We do not load them up with candy either.

     Here is a typical 10ish year old girl party bag:

    1. fave candy
    2. gatorade or some kind of drink
    3. cracker/cookie pack
    4. 4 inch chocolate PB penguine
    5. candy cane
    6. journal
    7. pen
    8. drawing book
    9. colored pencils
    10. nail polish
    11. hair tie
    12. nail jewels
    13. necklace
    14. flashlight (so my kids have a thing about flashlights, they just like them!)
    15. photo frame
    16. book mark
    17. earrings or some other type of jewelery 
    18. socks
    19. craft beads/yarn/whatever crafty thing they are into
    20. book
    And for a boy:

    1. fave candy 
    2. gatorade or some kind of drink
    3. cracker/cookie pack
    4. 4 inch chocolate PB penguine
    5. candy cane
    6. rope
    7. pen
    8. drawing book
    9. colored pencils
    10. flashlight (so my kids have a thing about flashlights, they just like them!)
    11. key chain to put on their back pack or whatever
    12. book mark
    13. book
    14. football cards
    15. disc golf stuff
    16. socks
    17. flying airplane thing
    18. playing cards
    19. some kind of craft like thing: this year it was a detective drawing thing
    20. something weird... like fake mustaches =)
      I hope your Christmas was fun, enjoyable and in full celebration of Jesus!  See you all in the New year!

    Sunday, December 14, 2014

    #3 ---> 3 hour limit to teaching in 10 TRICKS OF THE TRADE when Teaching School with a crap ton of kids everywhere- lol:

     This is the Third in a series about teaching school with lots kids, multiple ages and grades and little ones about. These 10 things would have revolutionized my life had I done all of them from the beginning.  Enjoy and hopefully they help you a bit too!

    3 hour limit!

         The 3 hour limit (3hl) has come to mean a few different things over the years.  All valid things but all different needs that fit into the 3hl.  The 3hl is this in a nut shell:

        "schooling/teaching should last no more than 3 hours.... period!"

      So this idea started back in the day when I though I was going to go insane!  How could I possibly teach ALL THOSE SUBJECTS to my Kindy girl with 2 babies hanging off me and prego?  Well, just shy of subjecting my children to a lifetime of counseling for the trauma they would endure from my homeschooling venture, I decided to survive I needed to nix things.  To get to the point of this post, you will need to learn a little about how I got to the 3hl.

         So back to the "nixing".  I started with everything but reading.  If I could only teach my kindy girl to read then she could teach herself anything because she could read the instructions!!!  What an amazing thought!!!!!  I still "mostly" believe this to be true.  Well, I do believe it is true BUT now I would not push a child to learn reading when they are not ready.  I am not sure that my Kindy girl was really ready but she learned anyway, despite me, but it was not a fun process.

        Now, we did not spend 3 hours on reading alone.  We spent 30 minutes.  That was reading and writing.  And I think I was dying from monotony and boredom by minute 7.  I am still so over it all by minute 7.  Kindy girl begrudgingly learned.  Her 3 year old sister though thought it was great!  She was reading like a champ by 3 1/2! (note she is the ONLY one of my kids who did that!).  This is all we really did.  We did do other learning things but it was mostly through play.

         The following year I focused in on Math.  Again 30 minutes. And 1st grade girl did it.  She also kept up on LA for 30. The rest of our day was just play.  Which wasn't bad but I always felt like a loser for not doing "enough".

         Our third year of homeschooling I tried to add in all the subjects.  I quite that after a month.  I got those "everything your kid should know in "such" grade" books from Costco, took out pages, stuck them in a folder and they had to complete a folder a week.  BORING!!  But I was trying to survive and not be the one homeschool Mom who couldn't teach everything!

    Our 4th year (this is starting to sound like a Christmas song- lol) of homeschooling, I still focused on my own teaching time of math and reading only and assigned out sci and his as reading books to the older ones.   They read their stuff to the younger ones.  I nursed children and cooked and did laundry. I tried to do other subject but it didn't work.   See I could ONLY get in 3 HOURS of teaching in and I was not very organised with how I did it.  I used up my 3 hours of time not really accomplishing much through mismanagement!. No matter how I arranged my day I could not seem to get in more than 3 hours of teaching time or more than 3 hours of their attention!

       This is when the "amazing thing started to kick in.  I started to realize that "organized learning and teaching" was something that only worked for about 3 hours period.  I started looking at my day differently.  If LA was no more than 1 hour and math was no more than 1 hour (30 min each for the younger ones) and I facilitated it differently in order to get more than one kid done at the same time, then that left one more hour for sci and his.  (This was before block schedules.  I should have clued into that about here but I didn't).

    3 hour limit: was needed for the following reasons:

    • The childrens brains are fried after that.
    • My brain is fried after that.
    • I need to be done teaching in order to do everything else.
    • The kids need time to play and learn on their own.
    • We all need a break from structured learning.
    • Because, some days we just don't feel like we can do anymore.
    • Before the age of like 10, anything more than 3 hours may just kill all of us.
    • They DO NOT NEED to study EVERY SUBJECT!  The public schools don't even do that!  
    • When they are older they can do more!

          All the above reasons are still the same reasons today, they just apply a little differently than for pure survival.   Now that I have older children, I still only do 3 hours of schooling with me teaching.  I still have young ones that would die from homeschool over-exposure if I didn't pull the plug at 3 hours! However, the older kids can now self govern a lot of things and can wrap up any unfinished business on their own.  I am only used as a "check in" or "occasional help".


      So, my oldest kids get up at 7 am and do an hourish of math before breakfast.  THATS 1 HOUR for them!  Little ones have 0 HOURS at this point
      After breakfast we do 2 hours of whatever block we are doing.  THATS 2 HOURS for little kids and 3 HOURS for olders.
         We eat Lunch.
         After lunch I spend about 40 minutes with the younger bunch doing LA and MATH.  THATS 3 HOURS TOTAL FOR LITTLES now; the k-4th kids.
        The 5th and up kids have about an hours more worth of work to do.  Some less, some more on some days.  BUT NONE OF IT requires me.  I can still do my chores, mind the littles, run errands, whatever.  This technically means the older kids do more like 4 hours (and more for the highschooler) but their brains can handle it now!

         If my kids were all little, lets say I have 4 kids and the oldest is in 2nd grade.  I would do 30 minutes or so of reading/la and 30 minutes or so of math.  Then I would do a QUEENS science for the 3rd hour on sci days and prolly a Queens or MOH his on his days.  I may even not do any formal history yet.  I might just pick a theme like "the old west"  we would watch little house on the prairie episodes and read cowboy books together.  Hmmm... I think I actually did that back when my oldest was 8 and I had just had baby #6!


      This is not a big "AHA" type of thing.  No revolutionary idea.  Nothing I can even show you pictures of.  BUT it is something that if I had followed, I would have actually felt accomplished everyday and I wouldn't have felt like every day I failed my kids because we were not doing everything we should.  This is a stupid idea in and of itself and we will cover that later on in this series.

         I believe my older kids would have viewed schooling with less stress, much like my younger bunch does these days, if I had schooled them the same way.  My kids love learning but that is not the way it was when we started out.  I was bogging them down and myself!  If I could have started each school day knowing that I had 3 hours and then we were done, I think MY OUTLOOK ALONE would have really impacted my kids for the best.
        3hl freed my kids up to learn and me to teach.  It took away that ball and chain feeling that we had for each other and instead replaced it with a feeling of ease.  We all knew what to expect each day.  When we were having fun, we could extend it, and when it was a day of crying, we knew the end was coming before lunch even hit!  I also found that my children naturally were learning on their own and continuing things they were working on during school time in their free time.  It was just all so.... uncomplicated.

     That concludes this blog post.   I hope you have enjoyed this overview on ORSH teaching!  Other topics to come in this series, in no particular order, are:

  • One Room School House Teaching
  • block scheduling/4 day school week
  • 3 hour limit
  • schooling when they are ready- don't stress until then
  • sickness in the house and new babies
  • utilize your team (aka older kids)
  • schooling with toddlers and babies
  • FEED the people
  • Making an "unschedule" for your home

  • Tuesday, December 9, 2014

    #2 "BLOCK schedules and 4 day school weeks" in: 10 TRICKS OF THE TRADE when Teaching School with a crap ton of kids everywhere- lol:

      This is the second in a series about teaching school with lots kids, multiple ages and grades and little ones about. These 10 things would have revolutionized my life had I done all of them from the beginning.  Enjoy and hopefully they help you a bit too!

    #2 BLOCK schedules and 4 DAY school weeks

         This is a concept that has really evolved over the years for me, I certainly didn't understand it all when I first started.
         In the beginning I think most homeschoolers try to "public school at home".  Its what we know, so its what we do.  Trying to fit that in to a homeschool schedule is definitely not easy.  There is so much trial and error put into figuring out your homeschool life.  There are something that I had to learn like block scheduling, whereas a 4 day work week just happened.
         I pretty much have always had a 4 day school week but in the beginning, I would still try and "make up" that 5th day.  I could not figure out how we would actually accomplish stuff without that 5th day BUT I NEEDED that 5th day to be a non school day.  That 5th day was co-op, or shopping, or playdate, or homeschool group, or whatever.  Anything but school.  We were drowning in our lost day though the other 4 days.
         I did not block schedule in the early days.  I wish I had listened to my friend Lydia (HI LYDIA) when she explain block scheduling to me, but I didn't. I have since learned my lesson and learned the key to the 4 day school week was block schedules!   Block schedules and 4 day work weeks just fit so nicely together... like.... like... like peanut butter and chocolate!

    Lets fist deal with a block and what it is:  
         This is when you combine a large period of time to cover one subject.  For instance, instead if doing 1 hour of History and 1 hour of science everyday.  You instead do 2 hours of the subject at one time and cover 2 days of material during that time.

    HOW is it actually blocked out?

    There are 2 different schedules that are used for blocks:

    1. Block/Block: where you combine your blocked hours into blocked days. EG: Mon/Tuesday are Block A days.  Wed/Thurs are both Block B days.  You complete 2 hours each day of whichever subjects you are blocking together.
    2. BLOCK/ALTERNATING: where you block the subject hours but do every other day of it.  EG: Mon Block A, Tue Block B, Wed Block A, Thur Block B.

    I have done both and have chosen op #1 as the winner in my house.  Here's why:
    1. It means we can wrap our brains fully around that subject and submerge ourselves in it without interruption.
    2. Its less confusing.
    3. It makes planning my week easier.  If I need to go out on Monday and miss part or all of our blocked class, I can make sure the following day is free to "get 'er done". 
    4.  With an alternating schedule I had to think to much to organize my weeks and the lesson. 
    5. Because it just works better.

    This can look VERY different in everyone's household.  Some people like to block all subjects and some pick and choose- like myself.
    In my house we block schedule:

    • Science
    • History
    And do not block:
    • LA
    • Math
    • Additional topics

      I picked those subjects to be split that way because:
    • Math and LA should be done everyday.
    • My kids would get way overwhelmed doing a block math schedule- too much at one time!
    • Often with HIS and SCI we would get caught up in the lesson and "get behind"Wwith HIS and SCI I was taking a lot of time to prep some things and it was cutting into my school day
    • If we missed a day of HIS or SCI I felt like my mojo was screwed for the whole week.
    • My days always seemed rushed but if I removed HIS and SCI then they were okay.  I decided they were the culprits and therefore I would deal with them differently!
    Now that you understand that let us look at the week as a whole.

    4 day school week- now known as 4DW (4 day week).  

    Pretty self explanatory.  and works well with a block schedule.   You school (idealy) Monday-Thursday and Fridays you can do as you wish with it.

    We do co-op.  But in the past I have also used that day for field trips, make up work, as a "check in" day, a project day, etc.

    The 4DW works so well with BLOCK scheduling and BLOCKS work so well with ONE ROOM SCHOOL HOUSE teaching!  So how it is all connecting?

    What does MY week look like?

    I will gladly share!

    • 7-8:30 the oldest kids get up and get to their math on the computers (TT and KHAN).  Its quiet in my house and the littles are still in their rooms so this is a great time to get math knocked out!
    • 8:30-9:30 we do before breakfast chores, eat Bfast and do after Bfast chores.
    • 9:30ish- 11:30ish we do: M/T science; W/TH history
    • 11:30-12:30ish we finish our block that day, straighten up, eat lunch, do after lunch chores
    • 12:30ish-1:30ish older kids start their independent work in LA/additional subjects and I do about an hour of stuff with the k-3rd/4th crowd at least 3 times a week.  Sometimes an older kid does it or will help out.
    • 1:30-3ish the oldest kids junior high/highschool will continue to work on stuff as needed.

    All the curric I use can be EASILY worked into all of this.  MOH (mystery of History) actually has several different schedules in the fron of their book to look at and a 4DW is one of them.  I learned a lot from using that!
    QUEENS stuff is usually written as a story and 4 applications.  So combining the story to 2 application days is no problem at all.

         It is also ok to cut out some applications!  You could do 2 lessons but only do 1 application.  Or do something short and combine it with something more indepth.  There is a lot of freedom.

    Sometimes I will do both "lessons" and then do one application. Or both lessons and then both applications or  Other times I will do one lesson and one application and then the second and the second.  It really depends on the subject and what is being covered.
         You will QUICKLY figure it out and find the right rhythm for your family within a week.   

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014

    #1 One Room School House in 10 TRICKS OF THE TRADE when Teaching School with a crap ton of kids everywhere- lol:

       This is the first in a series about teaching school with lots kids, multiple ages and grades and little ones about. These 10 things would have revolutionized my life had I done all of them from the beginning.  Enjoy and hopefully they help you a bit too!

    One room school house... what?

    gathered in the living room for school
      My dear friend Laura and I (HI LAURA!!!!) were just discussing this topic the other day.  Both she and I have large families, with children the same ages.  We started off having babies together, schooling together and large families together.  We were discussing things we wish we had known "way back when" and "schooling multiple grades at one time" came up.

      In my home, we call that "One Room School House" teaching; from this point on ORSH.  This is much like it was back in the beginning days of public schools where a teacher would have 10-20 students of varying grades and had to teach them.  There was no way this teacher could teach all the grades separately and so there was much combining.  Its the same today in many a homeschool household.

      ORSH teaching is very simple and basic.  You teach the same material across the board but the application of what is being taught is different depending on ability (notice how I did not say "grade").  For instance:
    science drawings
      Lets say, for the sake of conversation, you have 4 children in grades 8th, 6th, 4th and 2nd.  Your history lesson today is on the Painter, Michelangelo.  You present the content of the lesson.  Who he was, what time period, look at some paintings on line, etc.  Then during the application portion the 8th grader is too do further research and write a 2 page essay on who he was, his influence on the world and most famous works.  The 4th and 6th graders perhaps are working together.  They are going to also do some research and create an advertisement for  a showing of his art.  On their advertisement they need to include key information that states who he was and some of his paintings.  The second grader is going to do a coloring page of one of his works and dictate to you at least 3 things he remembers about the Artist and you will write them on the back of his paper.


    learning about Pompeii
    and building a volcano 

    There are lots of  subjects that you can easily combine:

    • history
    • science
    • geography
    • bible study
    • health
    • PE
      In my home we combine History and Science into ORSH and then LA and Math are separate. There have been a few times where the youngest ones were just too squirrely to sit and so I let them go play.  Out of 180 days of school, if the k-2nd crowd misses say 7 days, I really do not think they will be educationally defunct for the rest of their lives.   

    Sounds simple but, how do you actually make it work?
        Well, one thing that is key in making it work is choosing curriculum that it works with.  I have found that Queens Curriculum, Mystery of History, Story of the World, Apologia, Answers in Genesis, and Trail Guide to Learning to all be great ORSH applicable curriculum.  Some, like MOH and AIG, are written in ORSH style.  It has the story and then 3 different applications based on younger/middle/older students.  This makes it easy for me because I am not trying to figure stuff out.  My options are all laid out for me and I can pick!

    making nosegays
        Another way it to pick curriculum that hits the medium grade you are teaching.  So like with Queens, if I was teaching science to the same above grades, 2nd/4th/6th/8th; I would pick a science book that hit about 5th-6th grade and all of them would do that booklet.  It does mean that sometimes I might be telling the 8th grader to do additional work to "beef up" her end or I might be telling the younger kids to skip an application or just color me a picture on the subject; "dumb down" for lack of a better phrase, applications for them.  This way might seem more complicated but it really is not, you just need to give yourself the freedom to add to or take away from the lesson plan without feeling like by doing so you will screw your kid up for life.
    more volcano buddies
      Winging it with a mid range curric or even with something written as ORSH is actually very easy.  I have had no problems easily making things work with my favorite curriculum.  Often I will even wing the pre made lesson plans and do something totally different just because... well.... I can!

      Besides picking great curric,  combining several subjects together to teach across the board will greatly streamline your school day. We do about 2 hours of ORSH schooling a day and then there is another hour for me to teach one on one stuff with the k-3rd/4th crowd.  The older kids have anywhere from 2-4 hours of additional schooling each day depending on their grade and work load.  1 hour of that is math (which they do before breakfast between 7 and 8 in the morning) and the other hour is LA.  The additional time would be used doing science or history assignments that requires more work, or additional topics being covered that year.... in general, its kinda like homework time ;)

    How does this work if you have much older kids and much younger kids?

      This is a wonderful good question!  I finally faced this problem last year when my oldest 3 homeschoolers were in 5th/7th/9th and my younger 4 were prek/prek/1st/3rd.  It was a pretty big gap between the youngers and the olders.
    F15g is in the back ground doing her
     own science while
    H13g is working on a
     group project (last year)
    reading lesson ;)
      I still approached it from the perspective on what could I combine and then had to ask with whom.  This year and last year have both looked a little different.  Last year I combined everyone for history AND my oldest had an additional history book to read on her own (but not do assignments for).  We combined sci except for my oldest, she had her own.  This year I do one science with the the 4 youngest.  The middle kid has her own and the 2 older ones are doing one together.  The only one I teach is the younger group.  History is ORSH except the oldest, she has her own.  So on science days I gather my ORSH in the living room, the lone wolf goes to the dining room and the older girls gather their ORSH in the kitchen.  On history days it looks much the same.  Those who are ORSH'ing with me meet in the living room and those that are not do their history elsewhere.

    You named many ORSH doable subjects, 
    but you only do 2, why?

    making posters
      Another good observation!  Some of bible is ORSH (for the younger kids) where as the older ones have their own.  PE is something that naturally happens in our house and my kids all swim throughout the week.  Geography I do not stress out about.  They get a generalization through history and then I assign geography work as additional work for older grades (more or less 8th +) using Queens geography books.  A good overview, done as an upper level students, as a one time thing, is more worth it to me than trying to fit in another subject with lower grades.  It just does not need to be that complicated.

     That concludes this blog post.   I hope you have enjoyed this overview on ORSH teaching!  Other topics to come in this series, in no particular order, are: