We are doing schooling four mornings per week, with Wednesdays being spent at Catholic Schoolhouse (which is also school). Catholic Schoolhouse takes off about one day per month (plus all of Advent), so on that day we might take a field trip or just relax.
I was having difficulty squeezing in so many of my academics (which my experienced homeschooling friends knew I would be but were gracious about it!), so I backed off. When John was showing a lot of misbehavior during school and telling me, "I hate school!" I had the first of what I'm sure will be many crises and examined things anew. Things I had to bring to the forefront of my mind:
1. Kindergarten remains an optional year of school, not even mandatory according to the Big Brother state.
2. John has already achieved all or almost all of the state standards for graduating Kindergarten, so anything I teach is "gravy."
3. Until recently, Kindergarten looked like what preschool looks like today. Lots of finger-painting, puppet-playing, and running around outdoors, while achieving some basic familiarity with letter recognition and numbers one through ten.
4. Many other countries do not teach reading until age seven, and I've read enough books on the good reasons behind that.
I decided to back off and start smaller, plus add more fun into my schooling. I'd been doing the fun Kindergarten-type activities for so long that I wanted this to be "official" school which, unfortunately, looked very boring and dry, and not age-appropriate for my five-year-old. I forgot that Play-doh is school for a Kindergartener.
I am now trying to start the homeschooling morning (always in the morning, immediately after breakfast) with standing in a circle, we pray a prayer, we say the Pledge of Allegiance. Then I should do something fun, like our animal noises game or sing a fun song, but we achieve that on some days, not on others. Then we do our joint lessons, which always starts with the Bible story of the day. After that, Mary can wander off if she wants. (But I have begun doing workboxes with her, which she enjoys so much.)
I prefer right now to "do school" in one focused period, instead of a lesson here, a lesson there, throughout the day. It's what works for my family at this time. (I don't want to use nap time to educate John because that is my Quiet Time!) So, school takes us one to one-and-a-half hours, but that includes my going back and forth between teaching John and Mary, plus tending the toddler, plus various potty breaks, and switching laundry. We're done by 9:30 or 10:00 and the rest of the day stretches before us.
We are reading three or four stories per week from The Golden Children's Bible, then illustrating the children's own Bible about once per week. This is a favorite and the children's artwork has visibly improved because we brainstorm ahead of time different ways they might draw the story.
Catechism lessons from Chats with God's Little Ones occur four days per week and I am extremely pleased with this choice. The Socratic method is exquisite for the human mind! John also receives catechises at Catholic Schoolhouse and three Sundays per month at our parish.
We are doing a lesson from Right Start Math Level A twice per week. It's a parent-intensive program and one lesson often take more than 30 minutes.
We were doing lessons from All About Reading Level 1 daily, but then I slashed it to twice per week. I recently introduced All About Spelling Level 1. So, for the time being, we are doing Reading once per week and Spelling once per week, with Math on the other two days.
At some point during most days of the week (including at bedtime), we read some great books together.
We were doing handwriting daily, just a page, but I've cut even that to less often. My children do so many random workbooks or artwork and I think that counts at the mature age of FIVE for developing fine motor skills. At this age, working with Play-Doh or stringing fat beads or drawing in sand is "handwriting."
Totally cut out poetry! John hated it! Considering this child memorized nearly all the Mother Goose rhymes (which are poetry) at an earlier age and loved them, and memorized quite a bit of Scripture just from listening to his unabridged Bible on CD, I halted in my steps when having him memorize poetry was inciting such bad feelings from him.
Twice per week only we read a story from the Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book 2, which is all of two pages long.
Totally cut out music! John hated it! John hated having to memorize a dry hymn not of his choosing, but I realized that he listens to a tremendous amount of music on his own. He listens to the classical radio station and analyzes the music ("this piece is very jolly/sad/reminds me of dancing/sounds like a battle," etc.). He knows everything he can about Beethoven. He sings our family Rosary Gregorian-chant style. I decided that at this early age, I probably won't ruin him if I just keep making high-quality music available for his enjoyment.