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

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