During Andrew's fifth grade year I made friends with a woman who was a former 5th grade teacher who was homeschooling her only son. That year they came over once a week to do school with us. It was enjoyable for everyone! In the early morning everyone gathered around the kitchen table to work on their individual lessons, then my friend would teach using fun games and hands-on learning projects. She also encouraged Andrew with his writing. In fifth grade, Andrew completed his first novel.
We also became involved in a large homeschool co-op where the kids took Spanish class, science class, writing class, and geography club. The group also celebrated holidays, did arts and crafts, met at a playground once a week and occasionally took field trips together. It was a very busy, but fun, couple of years.
Andrew had been wanting to do his schoolwork on the computer, so we were delighted to find Alpha Omega Switched on schoolhouse. It has proved to be a lifesaver for a busy homeschool mom because the child can do his schoolwork independently and it corrects almost everything for you. I only have my kids do 3 or 4 SOS subjects each year though, because I don't want them on the computer all day long. It's not for everyone either. My 2nd son didn't use SOS until high school.
Around this time I also found Sonlight which is a Literature rich, history based curriculum. I used Core 3 for early American history, science, bible and reading. I taught Andrew and Charles together and we all loved it! I learned so much that year! I love American history anyway, but the read-alouds really brought history to life. The following year we used Sonlight Core 5-world cultures.
Another thing that helped me tremendously was I finally realized that my kids could help me around the house. I had 4 kids, including a 3 yo with special needs who kept me on my toes at all times. I took the time to teach my older boys to clean the bathroom, vacuum, help with dishes (didn't have a dishwasher), fold laundry, and sweep. That time was well spent because through the years my kids have continued to help around the house on a daily basis, pretty much without complaint. It's just a part of life. Before that year, I thought it would be quicker and easier for me to just do everything myself. I'm so glad I didn't continue that way!
to be continued...