Scheduling. I’ve tried it all from a very loose schedule to having every five minutes planned out. Blech.
In my family, we have a loose structure to the day but a strict start time. That is enough for our days to flow well. WHEN I enforce the start time. My younger kids do their work in a certain order because I need to make sure certain subjects fall at a time I can work with the child. The older kids, junior high and up can chose the order of their work. I have weekly meetings with the older kids to discuss their work and point out areas I want them to be attentive to.
We usually have quick pick ups of the main living area before lunch, before dad gets home from work and before bed. Most of the kids have a morning chore they do before or after breakfast and the dishwasher chore rotates.
This isn’t really about scheduling, but it helps. Get your child reading. That is your priority for your young children. Once they’re reading they are a lot more independent in their schoolwork. You don’t want to hand them a grammar book and say ‘let me know when it’s done’, you want to be checking their work, encouraging and helping them over the humps daily, but once they read for fluency it gets easier for you to fit in the things you need to get done, because you don’t have to walk them through every step of the assignment. However, every child reads for fluency at a different time. Mine have been reading well by the end of second grade. My husband didn’t really read for fluency till sixth grade and he graduated high school and college with honors. So be patient with your child, the skill of reading for fluency varies wildly.
but most families seem to work just fine at the kitchen table. My kids spread out. Some at the kitchen table, some at our living room table, the younger ones like to kneel at the coffee table, there are some desks in the bedrooms. The older kids really do need a quiet space. So they like the desks up in the bedrooms. You just have to check to make sure they aren’t getting sidetracked. Mine are always getting sucked in by books.
What you DO need is a place to keep the supplies you use daily. It will be so distracting to always have to hunt down a reading book or writing paper. People use milk crate style bins, an assigned shelf for each child, rolling carts that can be stored out of the way, you’ll figure out what works best in your household. But be diligent about having the children put their books and supplies away in their designated place when they are done with them.
You, the teaching mom, need to look over the weekly plans ahead of time. That way you are prepared for anything required for a lesson. You may want to get library books, search out websites your child needs for research, gather materials for a craft...
I have file folders for each month where I keep ideas for celebrating feast days or doing seasonal kinds of crafts and activities. (I do keep separate folders for Lent and Advent as those can begin in different months.) For instance, in March I have a few ideas for St. Joseph’s feast day. I may choose a simple carpentry project to do that day so I would need to get to Michael's to pick up the supplies.
Even if the lesson plans are all laid out for you, looking ahead keeps things moving and allows you to add in fun learning ideas. As you are going over them you may remember that you have the perfect game or book on your shelf to enhance the lesson.