Sunday, January 9, 2011

Homeschooling Schedule

This week's blog cruise asks: Do you follow a traditional school day/time/schedule/year?

No, No, No, Mostly Yes

Well, that's the short answer, anyway.

We've been homeschooling for three years now.  My two youngest are homeschooled; my two oldest opted not to be.  My daughter was a senior, so that made sense.  My son was a sophomore when we started.  I wish we had pulled him out of public school, but we didn't.  He's graduating in two weeks - decided to graduate early and take college classes.

That being said, when we started, I had more of a public school mindset.  As we have progressed, I've realized that flexibility is one of the blessings of schooling from home.

Do we follow a traditional day?  If that means having a set time for each subject and following it, the answer is no.  We take as long as it takes to complete our objective in each subject for that day.  Sometimes it's longer than a traditional class and sometimes it's shorter.

Do we follow traditional time?  Not really.  We start at 8:30.  If they were in public school, they would both start at 9:00.  However, again, we go however long it takes to meet our objectives.  That means we get done between 1:30 and 3:30'ish depending upon the day.  Every now and then we go longer, but not too often.

Do we follow a traditional schedule?  I guess this could be interpreted many ways.  Do I make sure the boys are learning exactly what they would be learning in public school?  No.  I mean, sure, they are learning all they should be learning, but I don't limit them to that.  In most cases, we are ahead of where they would be.  Ben takes high school classes even though he's not in ninth grade yet, and Noah has been taking middle school level classes in several subjects since fourth grade.  In some cases, we are right on par, but I don't see a reason to limit them.  We move at their pace.  If something needs more emphasis, we do it.  If they understand a concept, we don't belabor it.  The nice thing about small class size (2) - I can cater to their abilities. 

Do we follow a traditional year?  Here I would have to say, mostly yes.  Since my oldest son, up till now, has been in public school, we have taken vacation time when he has it as well.  We don't take off for teacher workdays - they just put us behind.  We do, however, bank those days we don't take giving us wiggle room to take a longer Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even spring break.  We break for summer when the public schools do.  We start back with one or two subjects a couple of weeks ahead of them, but we don't get into full swing until they do as well.  It's what the boys were used to and what my son's schedule was like, so we did it.  I'm not sure if it'll stay that way now that he's in college as well.  We'll just play it by ear.  We usually exceed the 181 day expectation of the state.

The flexibility is one of the most wonderful aspects of schooling my boys at home.  Some days I'll tell them they need to hurry up, and they'll say, "Mom, we don't have a time we have to finish.  Relax."  Other times, they are telling me they want to hurry and get done. 

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