"I have a question though. HOW do you plan all of your children’s assignments? Sunday nights are filled with filling out assignment sheets for everyone and heaven forbid if we are busy all weekend with other things! Is there a better way?"
Here's the massively overwhelming answer: I do it all at once over a weekend or two in the summer.
I hated the Sunday night thing - just what you've described - and so years ago my best friend and I asked for an overnighter to spend planning and thinking through our upcoming school year. We have students of similar ages and grades, so bouncing things off of each other is helpful. So is a little dark chocolate and a phone call to have lunch delivered.
When I say I do everything during the summer, I mean everything. I'll try to break it down step by step:
1. Make a list for each child of the subjects they will be studying during the upcoming school year.
I typically do this in January, and the rest begins to flow from there. In years without babies, I can be totally ready to go by July, then relax the rest of the summer. This year? Nope.
2. List all curriculum you are planning to use, purchase, borrow, etc.
Mark prices next to each item and begin to bargain shop. As with anything else, if you have a plan you can avoid spending too much for items you don't really need.
3. Go through each subject individually and make a spreadsheet or other type of lesson plan that works for you.
For me, a good old Excel spreadsheet works for most subjects.
Be realistic with step number three. It is going to take up a lot of time, but what you plan in the summer means NO MORE SUNDAY NIGHT SCRAMBLING! Keep repeating that to yourself when you get bogged down.
4. Make a list of everything that needs to be photocopied.
The list can be as detailed or as broad as you like. You can list "history coloring pages" or you can list actual books and pages- "Medieval Coats of Arms, p. 32"
5. Are you ready for this? Photocopy EVERYTHING for the ENTIRE year.
Now. All at once. Make binders for each child and each subject with their already photocopied items, in order. For history, my kids' binders have tabs for each week and the pertinent items are all in order. Maps, coloring pages, word searches, biography pages, etc. are ready to go.
Ever told your kids, "Just a sec. I need to go copy this."? What happens when you turn your back or walk out of the room? That's right. Chaos! Now you've lost one to the bathroom, one to a drawing he "has" to finish, and two to an argument. But when the photocopies are ready to go, so are your students.
6. Make a "Mom List".
I keep mine on a clipboard so I can just glance at it and remember what each child needs to accomplish daily:
16-year-old: Constitutional Law, Math, Science, French, Rhetoric, Lit and Composition, CLEPS
14-year-old: Math, Science, Latin, Logic, Theory, Italic, Copywork, Guitar
If this seems totally overwhelming to you, just say to yourself, "Kendra has six students this year". :) You can do it!