Wednesday, August 1, 2012

We Work on Homeschool Time...


I’m a schedules and tasks kind of person.  In a perfect world, I know what each hour of my day will be spent doing.  So, when homeschooling, it seemed natural, initially, to try to plan out our day by subject area.  8:00 – English, 9:00 – Math… 

Let’s just say, that didn't work so well. 

Planning our Day

What we quickly realized is that homeschooling gives you the freedom to school according to strengths and weaknesses.  It allows timing to be dictated by what it takes to complete the task, not allotting a time for the task.  If the boys get their math done in thirty minutes they move on to the next subject.  If it takes one of them thirty minutes and another an hour, then they each move on when the subject is completed.  There’s no watching the clock.

If we have an activity during the day, then we work up until it’s time to head to that activity.  If we’re not done, then we pick back up where we left off when we get back home until it’s finished. 

Most days – we start at 8:30.  That’s non-negotiable.  However, the day ends when the subjects are completed.  That could be 1:00, 2:00, 3:00…  You get the idea.  No rush.  Just doing our best.  That’s the one stipulation – no rushing, just doing your best!   I check off everything to ensure nothing has been missed.

Planning the Week

As for scheduling what we do during the week, I have a planner for each of the boys.  On Sunday evening, I pull out their backpacks and buckets where we keep their books and look through what needs to be accomplished the next week.  Since we are in a co-op, I make sure all the syllabi are checked to ensure they are on task for those classes as well.  Then, I write out each subject every day and what needs to be accomplished for that day. 

My youngest likes to check it off as he goes.  My older son, who is in 10th grade now, prefers to have some leeway in how he accomplishes his assignments.  He may not get everything in science done that’s listed for Monday, but he may also work ahead in history and complete Tuesday and Wednesday early.  As long as he has everything done in time for co-op and everything else finished by the end of the week, I allow him to manage his own schedule in preparation for college.

By 11th grade, each will be dual enrolling at the local community college.  They have to be able to manage their time and stay on top of multiple schedules.  This is a growth curve that has to happen prior to graduation.

As an online college instructor, I see too many students who are unprepared in the area of time management.

One note, however, is how much we enjoy flexibility.  If a subject requires more in-depth study, I move the schedule to accommodate that time.  If we are moving faster than the schedule is allowing, we increase the speed.  The beauty of homeschool is that we work at the boys’ pace.  Additionally, if we have a field trip on Friday, we can double-up on Monday or even work over the weekend to stay on top of things.

I know some people like to plan much further out.  I have done it in the past.  However, for us, I plan week by week.  I know what has to be done by the end of the year.  The year ends when it’s all done.  If we finish in May – great!  June – great!  You get the idea.  The state requires 180 days – if it takes us longer, that’s fine.  But, we always finish.  As we near the end of our school year, the boys and I sit down and determine what needs to be done to call this year concluded.  Then, they set the pace to get there.  They own it and that makes a big difference for us!

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