Melissa over at From Melissa’s Desk is a fellow homeschooling mom. She posted on her blog about her struggles scheduling her day in an entry she called A Release of Built Up Tension. Like Melissa, I struggle with scheduling our lessons and other activities. It was easy enough when Nicholas was young and just doing Kindergarten. Now that he’s in big ol’ third grade, however, I feel the need to expand his lessons beyond just reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. I’ve started him on a typing program (Typing Instructor for Kids 3 aka Typer Island, which I highly recommend), and we started Pemsler Spanish (a good no-frills audio program) a couple months ago.
Ever since I got pregnant with Robert in May 2007, things have been a tremendous struggle schedule-wise. I feel like we’ve been playing catch-up ever since then. I was so sick during that pregnancy that school halted for about three months and was hit-or-miss after that. Robert arrived prematurely in December 2007, which brought school to another grinding halt. His constant nursing and slow weight gain kept things at a stand still for a few months, and then we started the hit-or-miss game again. What we accomplish now is leaps and bounds beyond those days, but at the end of the day I’m usually left feeling that we could have done better.
Don’t get me wrong! I’m not trying to recreate public school. What I want is to complete our main subjects (Bible, math, phonics for James, and Konos everyday. (Konos is our unit study curriculum, which includes all of our history and science.) Now that I’m reviewing products as part of The Old Schoolhouse Crew, there are other things we need to complete each day as well: handwriting, spelling, music, and art.
I read an article in the Fall issue of The Old Schoolhouse titled “Yes, They’re All Ours,” written by Karla R. Shumate. Mrs. Shumate is the mother of eleven children whose ages are 14, 12, 10, 10, 6, 4, 4, 4, 4, 2, and newborn.
Wake up! Get up! I’m not finished with my post! Come on now, get up!
Yes, I know…I fainted too. Women like Mrs. Shumate are an inspiration to me (and a source of humility….if she can do it, what’s my problem?) In the article, she says, “Our daily school schedule is broken up into thirty-minute segments.” This inspired me to try a new schedule in our home. Here is what I came up with:
8:00-8:30 – Mom gets up and gets dressed.
8:30-9:00 – Breakfast for Mom & Kids
9:00-9:30 – Bible, Phonics (James)
9:30-10:00 – Math (Nicholas), Number Recognition (James)
10:00-10:30 – Read Aloud, Handwriting (Nicholas and James)
10:30-11:00 – Spelling (Nicholas)
11:00-11:30 – Music, Typing (Nicholas)
11:30-12:00 – Art, Spanish
12:00-12:30 – Lunch
12:30-1:00 – Lunch
1:00-1:30 – Konos
1:30-2:00 – Konos
So far, this is working well for us. Everyday this week (except Thursday, when we went to the library) we have completed the items on the schedule. Okay, mostly! We’ve only done typing once and Spanish not at all.
I’ll also admit that, though the schedule says “8:00 Mom gets up,” uhhhhh…. that basically never happens…. I am the antithesis of a morning person, and I usually get up when the baby wakes me up. If the and the other boys sleep until 9:30 or 10, well, I don’t mess with that. One thing I love about homeschooling is that it can happen at any time!
I think I might do better with a “order of events” type schedule. Very similar to the one above with the time slots removed. For now, though, I’ll keep the time slots…
This schedule, though we don’t abide by it in the strictest sense, gives me a working plan. It gives me something to refer to, to see what we need to do next, what we have yet to accomplish. I may have to totally change it in a few weeks, but for now it’s helping us stay on track. Maybe it will give you a few ideas to help get your homeschool on track too.
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