Sunday, February 19, 2012

a look at our home school as it changes

Home schooling for us is an evolution.  We tend to finish & start studies in naturally occurring segments of time.  So here we are finishing nearly all our set goals.  It must be time for change.
After talking it over we decided what the changes needed to be.  First ,we decided to return to a scheduled day.  The main reason is we have a lot of work we want to do and our current system could not support it.
Using a schedule isn't a big change for us we have done it before but what is big is starting school later in the day so we can actually get more done.  Previously we begin around 8am working for about 3 hours then dress, tidy up, & return to school work.  It worked well for the school subjects we did early but often the later subjects were hard to settle into or got interrupted. And it didn't work for life.  We didn't feel prepared for the day.

A large component of our new schedule is putting in writing a practice we as family already have: Respect the Weekend.  We are not a religious family but if I could invent a religion for us to practice it would start at daylight Friday morning and end at sunset Sunday night.  Between those hours would be books, games, hikes, skiing, NPR, PBS, cooking, gardening, friends, campfires, movies…I think you get the picture: unplugged slow living.  I’m sure some of my friends are thinking isn’t that your daily life? Well yes, but weekdays have classes, lessons, errands, business, bills, banking, the schedules of 4 busy kids, a farm, and a company.

The last change is, when we moved from Early Childhood into the Middle I asked Boo if she want to get new notebooks verse using the ones she has used science pre-K.  She had wanted to keep her old ones saying she liked to look back at what she has done.  Last week she decided she was ready for new notebooks.  I bought her three 3-ring binders (English, History, & *Science) stocked with beginning printing lined paper.  Sounds like we are ready to move forward. *[We will still use Boo's small science journal started this fall to journal her science activities]  
Like any home school most days will have some variation or detour but overall this is our 2-part schedule:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday (modified 2/21/12)
(the weekday curriculum)
PBS kids & breakfast
Shower/dress/am chores
School 9:30
Math (1 hr): warm up drill, lesson, skills practice, math related board game.
Language Arts (1 hr): writing/penmanship, reader, spelling, reading/spelling related game.
Snack/baking break 11:30 while mom reads to Boo
Animal chores: walk the dogs, collect eggs
Lunch break 1:30 while mom reads to Boo
Science (45 hr): reading and projects or activities
History & Geography (1 hr): name that state game with states book, history reading.
Monday afternoon or night: swimming. 
Tuesday & Thursday night: gymnastics (3hrs each night).

Family reading with Papa about 1-2 hours a night.

Swap Day with our friends at Joyful Liberation.  It is play day and is often art, field trip, and activity centric.

(the weekend curriculum)
Breakfast, reading, PBS or cartoons
Shower/dress/am chores
Math: board games & card games
Language Arts: reading together, creative writing, games
History and science projects, DVD’s
Reading, baking, family time, yoga, ski, dollar movie, library, bread store, museums, parks, hikes, hours of family reading…

Saturday morning: gymnastics (3 hrs)


  1. I sometimes dream of a schedule, but we suck at them. When things are going smoothly, we have a sort of schedule. As far as actually sitting down to do lessons, forget it. One reason unschooling works so well for us is Emma is very resistant to be taught by me. However, if I leave interesting worksheets laying around, they somehow manage to get accomplished.
    It is awesome that Boo is so passionate about gymnastics and that your family is able to support that.

    1. That is funny you mentioned leaving work around for Emma to discover...we have a huge wipe-board on the wall going up stairs. When I pass I write math problems or reading sentences or questions on it. When Boo passes she solves or reads them. It is one of my most favorite things we do. As for teaching (& gym) Boo is very driven, she mostly teaches herself my job boiled down is to read to her what she seeks. Calling it a lesson or teaching is almost an untruth.