t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.


Sustainable Homeschooling

Sustainability is my mantra this year.  

After two years, and two different attempts, this year is all about creating an educational experience conducive to our entire family, long term.  It doesn't necessarily mean a rigid schedule, because things seem to be in constant flux...it does mean certain sanity measure are built into our days and week.

Of course what is sustainable for everyone is different.  Someone might look at my schedule and think I am out of my mind.  Another may think I am letting my kids off easy.  What works for everyone is different.   But here are some tricks I have built into to help me:

Exercise Out of the House

I exercise every morning.  Out of the house.   I leave by 5:50 am at the latest and return between 7 and 7:15.  Usually I run 4 mornings, and yoga and bike once.  There is no such thing as sleeping in our schedule, so it is better to be out of the house :)

Not being in charge of the wake up and morning chores is helpful.  It is intense when I get home because we start right away with practicing.  Ellery practices independently on the flute.  I know she won't progress as quickly but, she relishes the independence and my goodness are her lungs getting a workout!  

20 minutes to Get Ready

Brent gets the kids out of the house and exercising while a jump in the shower and get ready.  It is a fast 20 minutes, but at least I get a shower and can get my makeup done.  The Hunny hangs out with me as I am getting ready.

Husband Pick Up

It sounds much more intriguing than it is!  Gratefully I have a husband who can work his lunch schedule to pick up Emmett from gym twice a week.  He also gives me a lunch hour on Friday afternoons to squeeze in another yoga class.  Thankfully the yoga studio is only a mile from our home, and Brent's office is only about 4 miles away.

One Day a Week Tutor/Nanny

Larisa is a huge blessing.  The children adore her, and I am free to run my errands and the children to their classes and lessons.

Date Night

Brent and I have never had this scheduled in to our week before.  I hired the 15 year old on our street to sit for us every week for 2 1/2 hours.  We choose Thursday night so she can still have her weekends, and we get an early start to ours!   I also choose an early time slot as well, 5:00 until 7:30 pm.  This was a strategic move on my part.  Marilyn is in charge of feeding the children dinner, bathing and getting them ready for bed.  The toughest part of the day :)  She definitely has to earn her money.  Usually Brent and I go for a bike ride, grab a salad or just hang around together without the kids.

Quiet Reading is my Friend

On mornings where I just need a little more time, Berkeley or Emmett is having a tough time, maybe Callista is having a 15 minute tantrum because she misspelled one of the 30 words on her spelling test (Oh man, she really is my child)...this is when quiet reading is my friend.  The kids are happy as clams snuggling in my bed with their books while I finish a shower for example.   They are accountable for their time, by passing off books to me with perfect fluency.  It usually works out quite nicely.

Here is our updated schedule:

11:45 or 2:20

6 am
Ellery:  Vest              Brent:  Wake, Shower, Breakfast
Free Time 
Family Time

Ellery:  Dressed, Hair, Bed Made, Teeth, Prayers, Breakfast
Callista:  Dressed, Hair, Bed Made, Teeth, Prayers, Breakfast, Lunch Packed
7 am
Ellery:  Flute Practice              Callista:  Piano Practice with Mom 
Emmett:  Vest, Dressed, Hair, Bed Made, Teeth, Prayers, Breakfast
Ellery Spanish on Computer, Callista practicing
PE and Games with Dad
Academic Block:  Writing, Spelling Reading, Memorization, Poems, Read Aloud...
Spelling Tests
9 am
Ellery Piano Practicing              Callista at Cascade
Ellery Gym
Callista Private 
11-12 pm
Emmett Gym
Ellery Piano
Emmett Gym 
Ellery Piano
Ellery and Mom Latin
with Larisa
Ellery and Mom Latin
Ellery and Mom Singapore Math
Shiller/Saxon Math 
Lunch  and Free Time
Lunch and Free Time with Larisa
Lunch and Free Time
Shiller/Saxon Math 
12:00 pm 
11:45 - 1:00 pm Spelling/Phonics Instruction with Quiet Reading
Dad Lunch 
Mom Yoga
1 pm
Ellery Art Class
Callista Russian
Writing Group all Children
Callista Art
Ellery Science
Free Time 
Family Time

1:35 pm
1:35 - 2:20 Callista Math with Mom
Ellery Typing, Free Write, Read, Math Review 
2 pm
Ellery and Callista
 Piano Lessons
Emmett Larisa
Free Time
Snack Time
Quiet Reading
Flute Lesson 
Math Callista
 Free Time 
Free Time 
Ellery Activity Day 3:45-5 Every Other Week  
 Free Time 
4 pm
Free Time  
5 pm
Babysitter Night  
Dinner with Babysitter
Ellery Sewing Class
Family Home Evening
In Bed Family Scriptures
8 pm
In Bed Reading with Mom
Lights out 8:30

Partial Day Dilema

We may have a few more alterations.  Callista is begging to stay home.  The elementary school has not been everything she dreamed it would be.  We have been working with her teacher and now have her on the correct reading level  (11 levels above the first book she gave us!).  However, the math and spelling are literally boring her to tears.  I keep asking her if she enjoys the children, but she says she doesn't really care.  She can't talk to anyone in class anyways, she informs us sullenly.  She wants to be home where I teach her the "hard stuff."

Brent and I have been going back and forth about this.  We don't want to pull her out too early, when it is just nerves talking.  However, we also don't want to stifle her love for learning and her drive to be challenged and stimulated.  Because I am already invested in homeschooling full time, having her home those two hours would be a simple adjustment.

We are still deciding what to do.  I think I will try to have her stick it out a few more weeks to be sure she is certain.  She is only six years old, and I don't think it is crucial for her to be away from the family right now.  Gymnastics, art, writing, church and piano all provide opportunities.


I will try to keep you posted on how accurate and effective my measures turn out.

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