Saturday, July 18, 2015

New Homeschool Schedule

I am super excited!!!  I have been playing around with our schedule and I have come up with a new idea!!!

Each year our schedule gets tweaked a bit to account for the needs of our family, the curriculum we are using, the outside classes that we have signed up.  Basically, each year brings a little bit of change.  In the past I would layout what I wanted to get done in an average day and then assign each item a time slot.  But this last year, I really wanted to break free from the constraints that come with that kind of schedule.  I really felt like I was setting myself up for failure each day.  If we started late - my schedule was blown.  If we had an interruption in the day - my schedule was blown.  Plus, I always felt like we were in "rush, rush" mode, and yet school seemed to take up more of the day than I had allotted for.  But I just couldn't figure out how to stop using time slots.  I mean, I had to be able to calculate if everything would fit, right? 

So here it is summer, and I am working on my plans for next year.  Hmmm....what to do with our schedule?  How can I improve it? 

I looked at a few other schedules - the one in My father's World curriculum, a few online.  And then I got the idea!  What if I assign approx. time spans to my tasks, but not actual times.  For instance, planning for Bible time to take 30 minutes, instead of saying it should take place from 9:00-9:30.  So I went through our tasks and assigned them all time spans.  I tried to give plenty of cushion to the areas that tend to set us behind, and also to provide a cushion for those interruption you know are going to happen.  And for simplicity's sake, I assigned everything to be either 30 minutes or 60 minutes.  But this is just a reference, some may take longer and others less time. 

I also chose to break up our day a little more than I had it this past year.  I want to try a group subject, then and individual subject, back to a group, and so on.  I think this will offer us more variety to keep us moving throughout the day.  This past year, I had all our group subjects together in one hour-and-a-half to two-hour time slot.  That's a lot in one setting.

One thing I am keeping from this past year is how I divided up myself to work with my children one-on-one.  I basically created 3 time slots: 1. working with me, 2. working independently, and 3. working on the computer (this one was intended mostly for our math curriculum).  So I have one child working with me, while the other 2 were either on the computer or working independently.  And we would cycle through.  I call these my Core Combos, because they are the core subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic. 

*Please note: by my use of the word "core", I in no way mean anything pertaining to Common Core - I am only referring to the core subjects for each child - meaning those subjects that are really needed as basic knowledge upon which all other subjects lean. 

So, enough gab!  Here is what I came up with for next school year's schedule.  I can't wait to try it out!  I loved that as I was explaining it to my kiddos, they all seemed to "get" the idea that the earlier we start, the earlier we are done.  And the later we start, the later we are done.  I decided to call it my Daily Design, instead of  my schedule, since it's not time specific, rather more of guide to follow through our days.

I'm all in favor of having learning take place throughout the day.  And for the most part, my kiddos are curious enough to stop what they are doing to investigate something or to learn something new.  And we love books all through the day.  But it's also nice to know that your responsibilities for the day are done, and you're free to pursue your own interests.  Following this plan, will allow me to rest assured that we are moving forward with learning while balancing time for other fun activities.
I'd love to hear how you plan your homeschooling days! 

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