This school year has been a bit of a flop. Not only did we start later than every before (I was counting on catching up during those long, dark Alaska winter days) but the mid-year PCS put us further behind. I have not been motivated to make schooling happen because we have beautiful days and friends to spend them with, so really, why on earth do schooling at all!?
Thankfully (and I am thankful for him), I have a hubby who reminds me that we have an ‘end goal’ in mind with our Classical homeschool model and even with no Government oversight for our homeschool year, we must not rob the children of this year’s education. It was a tough pill to swallow at first, but he is right. We need to stay on track and the kids need to be learning something.
Along with this rather unpleasant realization came another: we need a schedule. I love order and making lists, but I do not enjoy being stuck on a schedule. I love the freedom of going with the flow or wandering with the wind. If I wake up on a Tuesday and want to drive someplace, I like doing that. My mother calls it my “go go bumps”. But having 4 of my 5 children at the school table has hindered this ‘go bump’ sensation and I have not enjoyed having my ‘wings clipped’ per say. But homeschooling is not all about me, though I sure wish it were. We chose to homeschool so that our children could have a highly personal, very diverse, fully rounded education. That does actually require me to teach them something. Being on the Classical bend of the homeschooling spectrum, this means I want to dump a bunch of stuff into these sponge brains before they close up like mine has in my 30’s. I don’t want to squander the time I have to teach them.
What works best for our homeschool crew is a rigid schedule with open days for wanderings and fun. This schedule has also helped us to keep up in between all the appointments that have popped up with our overseas summer move. In the past month we have lost a couple of days a week due to the running around that had to happen. A schedule helped us keep up when we desperately needed to keep up! This won’t work for all personalities or home schools! This is just what works for our large crew and this is what we do:
- Wake the crew up at 7, which is never a huge challenge since I was not gifted with late sleepers.
- We have breakfast and then do our daily five. (you can read about the daily five here)
- After the kitchen table has been cleaned from breakfast we begin our school day at 8am.
- We begin the school day with a hymn. We love to sing and this helps us begin with mentally coming together to praise God.
- Next, we are reading aloud a historic fiction book together about the Orphan Trains of the 1800’s.
- Then we begin our more regimented school subjects: Math, Writing, English, Reading, Typing. We have two school computers now, so the typing can be done quickly. The kids use the opposite time to do their history reading. Since we do Tapestry of Grace, there is always fun history to read through and the older students are learning to take notes from what they are reading.
- We then do geography together.
- After geography is spelling. This looks different for each age group. The older students are doing spelling books, the younger ones do word families with me.
- After these subjects, we usually have a history video or two to watch.
- We finish out our day with individual literature books followed by individual foreign language lessons with Rosetta Stone.
Again, all home schools look different due to students needs/personalities and teacher personality. But if you find yourself struggling with keeping students on track or keeping the days from wandering all over the place except in education, you may want to consider giving a schedule a try. Give yourself some freedom within the schedule, give yourself a full month of trying this before giving up. It may save your school life, in a way. It has mine 🙂