We had the most productive week we've had in a long time this past week. I instituted a new schedule, and while we weren't perfect, we did stick to it pretty well.
I have been giving each of the kids daily assignment sheets for awhile, but I have been letting them choose the order of the subjects. What I found is that they would save all their "hard" work (like math and grammar) for later in the day. It would then either not get done, or get stretched out for way too long. Choosing their own schedule for the day was not working. So, I took the choice away from them.
I now let them know in what order their subjects will be done. I try to vary them so that I can spend time with each child for the subjects that that require one-on-one. I did not go so far as to set a schedule for exact times of the day, but I did put general time limits on subjects. So, if they have not finished math in 30 minutes, they still go on to the next subject. If they finish a subject early, I have them pull out unfinished work and do that.
Ruthie has done amazingly well with this. She finished her work before noon every day. Robert fought me on it, but he also got his work done much more quickly than normal. And, by the end of the week, he seemed to have almost completely adjusted to it and was no longer fighting me (as much, anyway).
I also managed to fit in the history project (make a hornbook) and science activity (make craters in a bowl of flour with rocks) that I've been trying to get done for literally months. I felt very good about that.
So far, this schedule has worked the best of any we have tried this year. I am sure I will have to tweak it over time, but for now it is working, and I will take that.