Monday, September 23, 2013

A Schedule That's Not a Schedule

We start school next week! I have posted many times mentioning my love for making plans and schedules. I have also posted about how those plans and schedules never work out the way I want them to. Last year I had school all planned out. It did not turn out anywhere close to what I ended up doing thanks to life, sickness, pregnancy, and a move out of state. So I'm not going to schedule this year.

But I can't just not plan everything! So I've come up with a plan of a schedule that is looser than an actual schedule but still keeps us accountable, if that makes any sense.

Last year I had my curricula chosen and my goal was to finish them by the end of the school year. That didn't happen, so this year's goals are to finish last year's curricula and then start on the next levels when we finish the first. So I have general goals rather than sheets and sheets of paper with all the lessons scheduled out. Last year I had three subjects I wanted to do that never got started: spelling, writing, and nature studies. I never started spelling and writing because I didn't think Builder Boy was ready for it; I think he's ready now. I never really started nature studies because I never made the time for it. I'm going to try again this year. And our elective subjects of art, music, logic, and Latin never happened, either. I think I tried to do too much my first year.

Last year Wednesday was our "out and about" day that was also supposed to cover art and music along with a library visit. I chose Wednesdays because that was the day of my Bible study. But breaking up our school week in the middle did not work well. This year our "out day" will be Friday. Last year with taking a break in the middle of the week, we didn't know if we were going to get everything done or if we were going to need a catch up day until the weekend; which meant it wasn't as likely to get done. This time around we will have Friday to finish any work we didn't get done Monday-Thursday.

Instead of making long planned out and dated schedules of when we were going to do each lesson on which day for each subject I am going to just have goals per week. Four reading lessons, four writing lessons, four handwriting lessons, four grammar lessons, four spelling lessons, four math lessons, two science lessons, and two history lessons. If we end up doing more than one lesson on a day that's fine, we'll have more flexibility to adjust. Electives will happen on Friday unless lessons need to be made up.

Our daily schedule is going to be in parts rather than all together, trying to accommodate the baby's schedule and getting the boys accustomed to scheduled times rather than the complete freedom they're used to now. I'm actually going to be changing when we do things throughout the year as I gradually add in the subjects we didn't do last year. We will see how schooling in chunks works for us.

The intention is still to school year-round, with a somewhat lighter load in the summertime. Lord willing, we won't have any major life events that completely derail school this year. I am very grateful for having the flexibility homeschooling provides last year. I don't think I could have gotten Builder Boy up and ready and to school when I was that sick. I am also grateful that our "unschooling" the second half of first grade was for just first grade and it turned out pretty well. Except for math and handwriting; I do not recommend completely unschooling math, though Builder Boy did manage to figure some things out on his own that surprised me. He ended up forgetting many of the correct ways to write letters. Mostly Builder Boy's first grade year was the year he learned to read really well, which worked for me.

And that is (almost) the extent of the scheduling I'm going to do. I will work prepare ahead history and science since that requires extra materials and books to be gotten at the library. But instead of doing it a year ahead I'll be doing it a few weeks at a time. I will write in a month about if this actually works for us or not.

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