Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Academic Year 2013: A New Schedule

For the past two years, our school schedule has been fairly static.

We would do Circle Time first.  This is when we do almost all of our memory work, singing, devotions, and some reading.  I love the idea and the schedule of Circle Time even if implementation isn't always completely pleasant.  We tried to do Circle Time in an hour when an hour and a half would be more reasonable.

Mondays were devoted to "project day" where we didn't do any of the skill work, but all content and projects.  Mondays are hard - everyone's tired after our day of rest, no one wants to get back into routine.  It was a good day to go to the Library ... sometimes.  Project day mostly worked except that we weren't integrating our skill areas into our content areas, and it meant we only did 4 days of math a week.

On Tuesdays through Fridays after Circle Time, I would work one-on-one with each child for around an hour - some more and some less.  This is when math, grammar, writing, spelling, reading, penmanship, Latin review, etc. were done.  The other two would have assigned work: piano practices, worksheets, assigned literature, Latin video & workbook, etc.  This mostly worked for our skill time. About 66%.

Then, we would have lunch.  Sometimes we would come back and do some work in content areas Bible, history, science, geography, art.  More often, I'd let them go because we were all done for the day.  This, obviously, was not working.  Really at all.

Besides not hitting the content areas as much as we wanted- the interesting, fun parts of school with regularity - we weren't meeting one of our big family goals for homeschooling: forming family unity and camaraderie.  The above schedule was building too much me versus thee in how we used our time. 

Something needed change.  So I thunk, and prayed, and talked to Jason and some others, and I think - I think - we might have come up with some improvements.  Three days in, I like it - although it has been a lot of work and is a little chaotic. 

We are doing everything together at the same time.  I'm working on integrating grammar and writing into our History, Science, and Geography ... each at their own level.  Using Peace Hill Press' Grammar and the Writing With Skill Strong Fundamentals book as spines rather than separate lessons, is going to help me make sure I cover the skills but integrate them into what we're reading instead of using other literature that's not really related.

They all do math at the same time at their own level.  While I'm working with one child, the other can help the third.  They will work on Latin more individually, but at the same table.  I may have the two who aren't watching a video work on flash cards together.  They can help one another.  I have a pretty schedule written in Excel (let's see if this works ...):

 I planned our after lunch time on Fridays to work on putting stuff away.  Planning for next week.  Straightening up the school room.  General logistical maintenance.  Hopefully, we can accomplish that regularly.

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