This is our 8th year homeschooling and I have made some major adjustments in our scheduling. Now that we are at the halfway point in our year and we have stayed on point I thought that I would share with you what the major adjustment was!
Before you read this, if you homeschool, or are thinking of homeschooling, I want to say that this is what works for our family! Every family situation is different and every child learns differently. No two homeschools are the same. Similarities, yes, but, the exact same, no. So, please take what you can from this post and leave the rest. I am sharing to encourage and just give insight into possible alternatives to scheduling and what works for us.
I noticed that trying to cram all subjects into each day was stripping the fun out of learning for all of us. It seemed that none of us really enjoyed switching abruptly from subject to subject. It seemed to much like school.
This year I decided to take a different approach by alternating subjects during the week. We decided to draw up a tentative schedule to follow until we could find our groove.
Mondays, Wednesdays, and every other Friday were to include spelling, penmanship, reading, science, and arithmetic. Every other Friday is dedicated to geography instead of science, and a library trip to include show and tell, a craft, and sometimes a special speaker (firemen, police officer etc).
Tuesdays and Thursdays included spelling, reading, history, and writing/language arts.
Subjects such as P.E., art, and music happen on a daily basis at our leisure so there was no need to find a permanent place on the schedule for them.
I laid out a plan with our lessons. I planned the first quarter by figuring how many lessons would be completed within a "normal" quarter. I marked that lesson down as a check point. Something to hold myself accountable too and to let me know I was on track.
I found that we were able to stay on point and actually do the same amount of work even though we were not doing each subject everyday. The main subjects I was concerned with was math and writing/LA. I was pleased to see that by not scheduling writing and math on the same day we were able to take our time and put our whole thought process into one subject instead of bouncing around.
If we were going to work on writing, say poetry, we would immerse ourselves in it for the day. Reading poetry, rhyming, conversing about poetry, and writing poetry. There was no pressure to have to get ready for another subject. (Spelling and reading natural come into play as does the penmanship since they are writing). By get ready I mean mentally prepare. Keeping our focus on one main subject seemed to also bring about more work getting done. The kids new they would be able to relax and enjoy what we were learning.
The same goes for math. Games, our lesson, pretend play, a few review problems, computer games and the like would all be done throughout the day. Most real-life instances also bring about the opportunity to incorporate math. Again the key was to relax and let learning happen at any point during the day. It just centered around math.
By the end of our first quarter I was eager to see if we had met our goal. We had, praise the Lord!! We had actually pulled ahead a few lessons of where I originally planned to be. I eagerly laid out our goals for the second quarter.
We all seem to be enjoying this path we are on this year. Learning is happening and we are all enjoying it. As I have written before I have been working on a more relaxed approach and this seems to fit. I love watching the kids pursue their own interests and I love seeing them excited about learning. That is what homeschooling is all about.
Homeschooling is a journey that is full of ups and downs, adventurous moments and even sometimes dull moments. The beauty of it is that you are always growing and learning right along with your kids.
My regrets are that I was not brave enough to relax in the beginning and I wish I knew then what I know now.
My desire is to enjoy this time with my kids because it goes so quickly. I don't want to spend my days begging them to do their copy work (because it's boring!), or seeing lips quiver because they have a stack of life-less workbooks to complete. (Don't get me wrong, if your kids like workbooks, and some do, then you do what's best for them-but for the most part mine loathe workbooks.;)
I want to focus on what brings out the desire and thirst for knowledge. Sometimes that means taking a path less traveled. I pray the Lord gives me this direction and insight as we carry on through our adventure together.
Thank you for reading this post. I know I find homeschooling posts of all kinds interesting whether or not it is the method we use or lean towards. We are the Charlotte Mason, Ruth Beechick, free-ranging type with a dash or two of unschooling thrown in there. We did not start out this way! Oh, no, we did not....I went for what I knew 'school' to be. I am so glad the Father opened my eyes to a more productive and natural way to learn. This is why I say I have to 'unschool' myself. School as we know it, is artificial in it's approach. I do love the natural lifestyle as a whole. I believe the child and the teacher are most successful when learning happens naturally.
If you can nurture a love for learning you can raise a lifetime learner.
"Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day." Psalm 25: 4-5