(Originally posted on my other blog 2-24-2008)
I use Ambleside with six of my eight children. I have my very nearly 12 yod in Year 4, my 10 yod in Y3, my just turned 9 yod and nearly 10 yos in Y2, my 6.6 yod in Y1 and just turned 6 twins in Y0, with his twin sister listening in, but not doing any academics. I also have a 2 yos and I babysit a 2 yog.
My day can be long, as I read everything to the Y2's and under, and some to Y3 and 4, but much is done together. In fact, my older children often sit in on the stories of the youngers, since they enjoy them so much!
Here's my usual routine:
We start the day with breakfast, then clean-up, then we gather together. I read the Scripture, and the commentary (I use J. Vernon McGee) and then we practice out memory verses (currently Ps. 1) After prayer, we do math, all together. Then the older children begin their independent reading, and I call one group of kids to me for aloud reading. When they are done, I send them to do copywork or drawing and read with another group of children.
We do this until lunchtime. The older children who are not reading with me play things with and supervise the babies quietly. I have certain toys and activities set aside for schooltime. They are usually within eyesight of me.
After lunch and clean-up, we gather together for more together studies, like Shakespeare, Pilgrim's Progress, art or something, then we get back to the individual readings/work. The Babe's nap time is 2:00-2:30 until 4:00 or so, and during that time we finish up, then have free time outside if possible. I get dinner ready for 4 PM (but it's often closer to 5..). The Lambies have free time all evening, after kitchen cleanup.
I broke the AO schedules up into four days of work, and made check off sheets, so they always know what to do each day. Anything not finished by Thursday can be finished on Friday. Fridays are service day and Park Day with other homeschoolers. I haven't ever had anyone miss service projects or parkday for not finishing school.
It took awhile for us to get into the swing of this routine, but it works really well for us now! I do take one week "off" every six weeks, and use it to catch up with housework that may not get done otherwise. Things like shampooing the carpets, The Great Toy Sort, The Great Clothes Swap, gardening, painting, dusting (one of my hated chores!)etc.