Currently Wandering » Outdoor Family, Adventure Travel, Simple Living - Family of 5 Traveling the United States in an Airstream.

The Magical Homework Fairy Makes Her Debut

The Magical Homework Fairy Makes Her DebutWe’ve had some problems lately in the home school department. Our road schooling/home schooling curriculum is fairly lax. We don’t have a strict schedule, and will often have more field trips than book days. Since I absolutely loved field trips as a kid, my kids learn the best with hands on exploration, and there is so much to see in this amazing country, I don’t think this particular trend is broken.

What we ARE struggling with, however, are the days we do stay home and work on our regular, core subjects. Before you can fully understand the complexity of our difficulties, I think a little background on our mornings is in order. Sam and I have discovered that I am not a morning person. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve tried so many times to get up early before the kids to read my scriptures, blog, or just get a start on the day and I just can’t! Rather than guilt myself every single morning, I’ve lowered my expectations so that my alarm clock is usually Cara climbing in bed with me at 7am when she is allowed to get up. The other two, older children are either in bed reading or playing Lego’s and happily stay that way until we call them to breakfast sometime between 8am- 8:30 when I’ve finally decided the bed no longer needs a guardian.

After breakfast we’d clean up and get started on schoolwork, but before you know it lunch time rolled around and we weren’t even halfway done. It was frustrating for everyone. No one wants to still do school after lunch. Not only did our mornings drag on and on, but the kids were usually pretty grumpy! They were frustrated that morning free time didn’t last all day and they had to stop doing something fun in order to work.

Obviously we needed a mental and structural change so Sam and I had a discussion about it one night and reminisced the days when Andrew would get up and practically have school done before breakfast. It was awesome. No poking, prodding, scolding, yelling, or frustration from us, he just got it done. We realized that although we loved the kids’ reading habits, spending hours reading in bed every morning was actually contributing to less than desirable behavior.

So we outlawed reading and playing Lego’s before breakfast. To give them something to do instead, we introduced the Magical School Fairy (aka Mom) who prepped their assignments ahead of time (which she never did before) and had them waiting on the bedroom floor. The kids usually wake up around 6:30am and many of their assignments are self-driven. They can complete those before breakfast, and leave Spelling, Math, and other group studies for after.

In the last week, we’ve seen a vast improvement in attitude, timely completion of schoolwork, and overall its just been a better schedule. Even Cara wants her assignments, and the other two kids are great at helping her read the instructions and know what she should do. Many nights the kids will ask before bed if the Magical School Fairy will be coming that night (as we don’t do book school every day) so they can be prepared.

The downside for the Magical School Fairy is that she sometimes doesn’t have time to correct school work and give out new assignments until after the kids are in bed. Last night, she was up until midnight putting groceries away (Costco trip), correcting school work, and trying to get stuff done. While the change has been good for the kids (so far), I definitely have some scheduling that I still need to work out for me!

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  • Betsy - Is Beast Academy working out? I’m starting a kid in our school on 3A. I’ve never taught that one.ReplyCancel

    • Jess - Yes! Thank you so much for introducing it to us. Rachel is finishing up 3D, and Andrew (I think is on 3B?). Sam does most of the math, but I really like how Beast Academy teaches the concepts. We have 4 ordered and ready for Rachel to start that one!ReplyCancel

  • Crissa Boyink - I thought I saw wings peeking out of your shirt on Sunday.;)

    Good for you on figuring out what works for the kids and You.ReplyCancel

  • Garrett Tershel - Hello, we are hoping to be a fulltime family next spring/summer. We have been homeschoolers for 2 years. When my oldest now 9 was in 1st grade ( 2 years ago) in a catholic school she was in the habit of getting up early. When we moved her to homeschool she would still get up early. I would leave self guided assignments out for her and she would do them sometimes.
    For better or worse both of her parents have relaxed work hours. In fact the only reason we used to have to get up was to get her to school. Now we, her parents, still stay up late 1am-2am, for lots of reasons, work, fun, undisciplined Netflix binging. Our kids go to sleep about 9pm or 10pm. They sleep till about 9 or 10am (about 11 hours of sleep) and play or have their time in the morning. They have the ability to make breakfast but rarely do. Our first meal is brunch. I laughed when you said you said that your school stared at 9ish our usually doesn’t start till noon.
    I hate to admit it but it is not productive to start at noon. We sometime have school till 6pm if it is a full day and I am strict about the curriculum. Some of our more productive days are field trip days. I am forced to set up the day before hand to make sure we set our at a reasonable hour. I will set up the assignments they can do themselves and leave them out for them to do in the morning before I get up. Of course with the stipulation, “Once your morning work is done, we can leave.”. I usually also get a wake up call.
    As alway with homeschool, I find your final line to ring most true, “I definitely have some scheduling that I still need to work out for me!”. Isn’t that always true.
    I like the Magic School Fairy, I don’t think I could pull it off, but I am glad it works for you.ReplyCancel

  • Keith - Hello,

    My wife and I have three kids and may full time in our Airstream in a year. What do you do for internet? I am afraid t will cost a ton since we can go through the data )( I work remotely),

    Thanks!

    KeithReplyCancel

    • Jess - Thanks! We have a Verizon MiFi device. We stumbled onto an unlimited data plan about a year ago and its been fantastic. Before that we had a Millencom account (since put out of business by Verizon) that was about 20GB for $100/month. Not too crazy and we generally made it work since most of our school is offline. There just wasn’t a whole lot of streaming from Hulu or Netflix. 🙂 Check out Technomadia.com as they literally wrote the book on Mobile Internet.ReplyCancel

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