Saturday, April 30, 2016
An Eclectic Homeschool Schedule
I can’t believe how much I’ve missed planning school for the kids. Setting up daily schedules, researching curriculum, planning breaks, working on lessons. I love it!
In between the craziness of life, I’ve been working on our plans for next year. I know, I know it’s months away. But, life IS crazy so I figured the sooner I start, the better. Plus, since I decided to not change too much as we finish up this school year, I needed something to do! ;-)
Way back in 2013, when I was teaching the kids, we did a loose year round schedule. We would mainly play it by ear, taking breaks as we needed to, and just continuing to plug away at things until we finished. It worked okay mainly because the kids were young and the curriculum we used was easy to just "do the next thing". The kids have gotten a little bit away from the year-round schedule in the intervening years, but their curriculum still didn’t require much planning and much of it can now be done fairly independently.
Squidy is going to be starting middle school next year and Vicki will be in upper elementary school. Things are getting more challenging for both of them. Some of the curriculum I’ve chosen for next year will require more involvement from me, and will need to be planned out over weeks rather than just day-by-day. Less worksheets and more discussion, less fill-in-the-blanks and more writing. (more on that in another post)
In addition to shaking up the curriculum we use, I also want time for more educational fun and opportunities for exploration. Geocaching, nature studies, field trips, etc. Plus hands-on science, history, art, and music. And exercise. And chores. And games. Now things are starting to seem overwhelming.
Since it’s been almost three years since I’ve done any real school scheduling, I've been doing a ton of reading. Kind of a refresher course on the various options out there. Of course, when it comes to homeschooling in a non-reporting state, the options are pretty much infinite. But since my kids like routine and predictability, and I like steady progress (and planning!), we are going to stick with fairly structured options.
After reviewing our curriculum selections, and trying to be realistic about how our life usually goes, I’ve decided on a modified year-round, 4-day a week schedule. Sort of.
Once breakfast is done and some simple chores completed, we will start school. Each day, Vicki will begin by working with me while Squidy does his independent work. After about an hour, we will take a break for more chores, then I will work with Squidy while Vicki does her independent work. If they finish their independent work early, they will start on their hour of assigned reading.
After lunch, we will do a few more chores, some outside/exercise time and then start our content subjects. We will do Spanish four days a week, Geography once a week, History or Science three days a week. We will alternate History and Science, completing a unit in one then switching to the other. Art will be done mostly with History this year.
They will then go to one of their activities – swimming, TKD, or yoga.
That is the plan four days each week. The fifth day, which I currently have on our schedule as Wednesday but will likely vary occasionally, will be slightly different. The day will start the same but the kids will only do their main math (Math Mammoth), literature and reading first thing. This will be followed by music and should take us to mid-morning. Then the fun starts. J This will be our field trip/geocaching/nature study/games day. Educational, but less schooly. This will also be the day we go to the library to pick up any books I've ordered. We do not have a library in our town so I need to check all books out of our county branch.
Now, for the year-round part. Most year-round schedules seem to school for a set number of weeks, then take off for a week or two, with maybe a couple of extra weeks off in the summer. We will follow our primary 4 day a week schedule from September to June. We will continue math and language arts for the summer, with some nature study and field trips thrown in. Instead of regularly scheduled breaks, we will take breaks around holidays and the times we are most likely to go camping or have fun activities. A full week at Labor Day, the week before Halloween, Thanksgiving week, two weeks at Christmas/New Year, a week at President’s Day, a week in April, a week at Memorial Day, and a week at Independence Day. This puts breaks as soon as 3 or 4 weeks (around Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas) or as long as 7 weeks apart.
I do all my planning in Excel spreadsheets so it's easy to adjust as we go along. We’ll see how many times the plan changes between now and September. J