Everyone has a "method". Some people change their "method". That's me: I change my method often;) Last year, I had a newborn preemie baby and the method was: go on lots of field trips. It got us out of the house, it counted towards science and social studies, and it was a nice escape from another exhausted, bleary-eyed school day at home. The baby took 53 naps per day, so if she missed a few it wasn't a problem. Just make up the sleep during the other half of the day.
I've discovered that this particular method is not working so well with a young toddler. She is now bouncing between 2 naps and 1 nap per day. If it is a 1-nap day, we need to make it count. There is no making up a 1-nap. It either happens or it doesn't. I've discovered that I need to protect naptime. Fiercely. Like a mama tiger. Rawr!
I also think the kids need more hunker-down and do school days. I'm discovering, however, that keeping it simple (1.5 hours of school) seems to be the best method this year, and then leaving lots of time for self discovery. So we've been covering math (30mins), english (20mins), history (10mins), quotations (5mins), and AWANA (20 mins, if I'm lucky - must pull teeth first). Dh has declared No TV/Computer Games until he arrives home from work (so the kids get about 1 hour of it around 8pm, if it's a good day) and that has been excellent. Sure, they complain a lot. But they are free to use the computer for creative exploits, like writing stories, newsletters, and art. Or they read books, play non-electronic games, or pull out the stuffed animals, legos, or barbies. The 9-almost-10 yo started Harry Potter* book 1 this fall and is now half way thru book 6. She's learned that she likes to have her own quiet time around 2pm (like her Mama). The 7-turning-8yo likes to complain, complain, complain about being left all alone with nothing to do at 2pm, but she's learning to live with it. She eventually finds something.
With shortened days of school, I like to pull in as much interest driven material as possible and then secretly call is school (but not to the kids, because then they wouldn't like it anymore). The 7yo became hooked on the Cartoon History of the World book, and had the evolution chapter nearly memorized. She can tell you the first fish, first reptile, first bird, first mammal. After our countless discussions, she can also tell you how some Christians believe and why some Christians do not believe in evolution. I secretly count that as school.
So, the next method we're gonna try is: stay home. Keep it short and simple. Hopefully, clean the house more. And have lots of time for our own endeavors.
*note: Mama and Daddy have both read Harry Potter and we do discuss the book with our children, from it's literary elements to why Christians shouldn't practice witchcraft, and how the HP books might make witchcraft seem more positive than it is. We're a fantasy/sci fi loving family, but we talk about Biblical perspective often, too. We also realize that this may not be the right thing for some Christian families, and we respect that.