Monday, November 2, 2009

Homeschooling: Success with a Schedule

It is already the beginning of November but I finally feel like I have found a really nice rhythm when it comes to homeschooling. It all started when a friend of mine forwarded her daily schedule to me. See, before that and last year, I just went about schooling without a schedule. I knew in my head what I needed to accomplish and the day would take however long it needed to get that work done. When this friend mentioned she used a schedule, I kind of balked at the idea but I was open enough to the suggestion to at least ask what her schedule looked like. Then I thought I could try creating my own schedule and try it out for a week or two to see how I liked it! And the result? I love it! My suggestion to you if you don't currently have a set schedule for schooling is this - set a schedule, post it for the kids to see, then try it out for 2 weeks. If it works (which I am sure it will), that is fantastic. If it doesn't, go back to whatever you were doing before.

This is what our schedule currently looks like:

9:00 - 9:20 P: Memory Work A: Printing Work

9:20 - 9:30 P: Handwriting (Cursive) A: Alphabet Work

9:30 - 9:40 P: Spelling Practice A: Phonics Work

9:40 - 10:30 I read out loud to them
(This time rarely ends up being this long. It all depends on what time we actually got the day started or how many interruptions I have by the other little people. What I do like is that this is a buffer time to keep the rest of the morning on track. We always read something and the kids, all of them, really enjoy it!)

10:30 - 10:45 RECESS (For their sake and for mine!☺)

10:45 - 11:30 P & A - Science (M, W, F) or Geography (T, Th)

11:30 - 12:00 P: Math A: Math (10 minutes only)

12:00 - 1:00 LUNCH

1:00 - 1:30 P: Phonics

1:30 - ? P & I read to each other, 1 chapter each in whichever book we are working on, different from the morning story.

As I said, I really like having a schedule and here are a few of the reasons.

  1. It forces the boys to work with some motivation and focus because if they do not complete the work during the allotted time, the rest gets done for homework.
  2. By having a schedule, the boys know what to expect. They know the order for the day. Pepe can read so once he finishes his current assignment he checks out the schedule to see what comes next and gets started on it. His first three sessions of the day are pretty independant so if he finishes his work early, he gets to play for a few minutes before reading starts.
  3. I don't have to think about what comes next. This is a big one since my brain is filled with so many other things - might as well make school as easy for me as possible!

On a totally different note: yes, I do use a kitchen timer. It keeps us on track and lets us know when to begin the next subject. I use it all the time and I love it!

Some final thoughts: people often ask what I do with the girls when the boys are in school. Ari just crawls around and plays. Pretty straight forward. She goes for a nap at recess time and then again once school is done. As for RJ and Ali, they have a little table beside me that they use as their school table. They spend time coloring in coloring books (which they don't do at any other time of the day), RJ practices writing her name with me, and they both love to use dry erase markers on dry erase books. These books can be found at dollar stores or at office supply stores. Some teach simple things like following lines, some teach shapes or numbers or letters. The girls feel really important when they have their own work to do! Their attention span is not nearly as long so when they are done, they are off to play. Simple as that!

Well, those are my thoughts on using a schedule for homeschooling. In the future, I will share about the curriculum we are currently using and what I think of those. For now, you have a better idea of how school proceeds in this house on a daily basis (and why I don't answer the phone during that time!).

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