Monday, August 26, 2013

Our Homeschool Schedule...Part 1

As everyone begins to head back to the classroom, there's lots of talk these days about schedules.  I have been curious to see what others are doing.  What about you?  It's interesting to see how others lay out their day, and I have already gotten lots of curriculum ideas just from seeing what other people plan for their homeschool. 

The whole process can be a bit overwhelming at times; however, I am a planner by nature and was actually once a junior high English teacher (a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...) so, I just fell back on what I knew how to do - make lists and schedules!   I'll warn you up front, this post will be somewhat detailed and is not for the faint of heart.  So proceed with caution!

First, I determined what I wanted my children to learn.  Obviously things like Bible, grammar and math were at the top of my list.  I then added the regular suspects like history and science.  I was also careful to include things my kids were used to getting in the past like art and music.  Then came the fun part - adding all the neat extras that I wanted (my kids!) to learn, like geography, Latin, Greek, Spanish, logic and philosophy.   
The list was as long as my arm, but I was determined to fit it all in.  And to be honest, I was afraid if I didn't, and we didn't end up homeschooling again next year, the opportunity would be missed.  (I know!  The power of positive thinking, right?  NOT!)  The more I read and researched, the more I realized that I was in fact describing a traditional, classical education.  Whew!  Maybe I wasn't crazy after all!
While our kids are in 2nd and 5th grades this year, they are actually only 2.5 years apart.  I had already decided that I wanted to teach them together as much as possible, so I looked for curriculum that supported multi-grade instruction.  Luckily, there is quite a bit out there.  Then I chose a math and grammar curriculum that was grade level appropriate and began to lay out our day.
As I said before, I am a planner.  I tend to do WAY more than I should, but I operate better that way.  That being said, if I don't work from a plan, something is going to go wrong.  I read several blogs by veteran homeschoolers and I appreciate their honesty in what they write.  They are quick to tell you that their homeschool is not perfect and that their way is not the only way.  I really took that to heart when considering our schedule.  As I mentioned, Jewell had five years tenure in a private school and Brack was there for two.  As newbie homeschoolers, that could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it.  But I knew my style and their background well enough to know that I couldn't go without a schedule.  Not even a loose schedule.  So I started planning...

I spent January-May researching curriculum before I ordered anything.  I did tons of reading online.  Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?!  I attended a homeschool conference in mid-May and was able to actually hold textbooks in my hot little hands!  (You'll hear more about my curriculum-induced, near nervous breakdown and the friends who rescued me in my next post!  Can't hardly wait, can you?!)  Even with all the extensive research I did, once I actually saw some materials at the conference, I knew they weren't for me.  I even ordered several things only to decide that they wouldn't work for us once they arrived. 

After I made my final decisions and began to get material in hand, I started plotting a path for our school.  Jewell was interested in what we would be doing, and early on, she asked for a schedule to put in her room.  I printed one off for her and she taped it to her mirror.  A couple of days later, I changed it.  When she realized that it was different from her copy, she asked for another.  A couple of days later, I changed it again, so I printed her an updated copy.  Pretty soon it got to be that I didn't even tell her when I changed it.  I just printed a copy and replaced the old one as I walked past her room from the office!  Yep - there were probably 10 revisions before I finally arrived at the copy that we began school with a couple of weeks ago.  And guess what?  It changed the second day of school, and at least once more since then!  But isn't that the beauty of homeschooling?  Finding what works for your family?
So I know that by now you are on pins and needles, ready to see the "most recent" version.  Well folks, tune in next week, same bat time - same bat channel, and I'll reveal my curriculum choices in part 2 and then our daily schedule in part 3.  And remember - good things come to those who wait!

P.S. - I'd love for you to take a moment and subscribe to my blog.  I look forward to hearing from you!

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