Monthly Archives: July 2011

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Scheduling: Keeping School Fun

In my last post, I alluded to the new schedule for this year that the kids and I worked out together.  I’ve also tried to be very conscious of where the Lord is leading us for this school year.  (I won’t even pretend that that is easy, because it’s definitely a process….)We have divided the year into 7 seven week units.  Yes, I know that is more time than your “typical” school year, and we can move some at the end to next year if we need to, but I hate the idea of having more than a few weeks off at a time – too much time to get bored, into trouble, and out of practice.

The kids love the idea that every 6 weeks, they know they will get a week off of their book work.  There will still be learning going on, but it will done in more unconventional ways.  And an unexpected added bonus — the 6 week units are giving me a much more manageable time frame to work within as I plan out what we’re going to do next year.  Another important thing about the schedule is that the weeks don’t necessarily correspond to complete calendar weeks.  You probably noticed that I have the days labeled as Day 1, Day 2, etc…  By doing it this way, it relieves some of the pressure and if you have to take an unexpected day off due to a service opportunity or sickness, you don’t feel like you’re now “behind.”  This also alleviated the stress I was feeling about how to schedule around Thanksgiving – being that I didn’t want to necessarily take off the entire week since it’s right in the middle of a unit.

Each school week has 4 days of intensive studies covering all of the subject areas – I find that it works better for us if we do every subject every day for shorter amounts of time instead of splitting up the subjects (M/W or T/Th, etc…)  There are a few exceptions, but they are very very few.  Art is one…..Art is 2 days a week and Geography is probably going to be 2 days a week – but, that hasn’t been finalized yet.  The fifth day is going to be Bible and History with other subjects being taught in the framework of those two subjects.  This opens us up for time intensive projects for those subjects – which are the “spine” of our homeschool. 

 I never realized how much a workable schedule could excite the kids – they think it’s great that they know in advance what is expected of them and they know where there breaks are definitely scheduled in.  This also keeps Mom from becoming too intensely focused and pushing them until they just lose all JOY in their schoolwork.  Yes, yours truly has done that before and I’m hoping that this year’s plan will keep us all on target.

Another Year, Another Plan

Yep, it’s that time of year again – time for planning for next school year. So, the purchase has been made for 2 new 3″ Avery Heavy Duty Binders (our favorite due to the EZ opening) – ds chose the exact same color (which I do not understand – didn’t you always want something new each year?) He even chose the same color of paper – can you tell that he doesn’t like change? DD has chosen new paper and a new notebook color – and she chose a wonderful yellow paper that quite frankly just makes me happy working with it. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

This year, I’ve come up with a new form that we’re using because while last year’s form was helpful in helping me plan the entire year (well, at least the 2nd half of the year), it didn’t fit what I needed perfectly. So, given that I have the capability, I decided to create one that specifically worked for us. Here’s a link in case it might help with your planning : http://bit.ly/school_schedule_view (To download an editable copy, you can use this link – for some reason it doesn’t view correctly, but it is formatted correctly on download: http://bit.ly/school_schedule_download)

Their 3″ Binders contain one of these sheets for every week (printed double sided). I bet you’re wondering where Day 5 is, aren’t you? Well, the kids and I came up with a schedule that we are all happy with – and, Day 5 is included on the form for “Weekly Studies.” This form is based in large part on the weekly studies at Ambleside Online. Here’s a link to our final schedule page that is included for each week: http://bit.ly/school_sched_wk

We then used Legal Tab Dividers that can be purchased at Amazon, Staples or Office Depot, etc… We chose these because there are two packs available that combined go up through number 50 (it should be noted that they come UNpunched so you will have to punch them yourself.) We also used the Office Depot plastic dividers to further divide the weeks into groups of 7 weeks.  Something like this Wilson Jones View-Tab Transparent Dividers, 8 Round Tabs, Letter Size, Multi-Color (W55063) should work well, too.  The 7th week of each unit is a “Fun Week” where the school assignments will not be book based but will instead be activity based ie games, field trips, hands on projects, etc… Here is a link to what our Week 7 schedule looks like: http://bit.ly/wk7_sched

Here are some pictures of what an assembled binder looks like. I chose DD’s for reasons mentioned above.