Thursday, August 03, 2006

Next Year: More about the schedule

Re-reading my post on next year's schedule it sounds so complicated and, well, schooly. Part of the reason it sounds so complex is my painful attempt to write down in prose what looks much simpler as a table. Also, it sounds far more formal than it is in practice. In fact, forget formal, it just sounds more than I expect it to be once we get going. Remember, we are talking short lessons here. I love short lessons! They let us cover a lot of ground painlessly (OK, maybe Angel's maths isn't painless, but speaking generally). Let me talk you through how I expect our first day to look (we charge in full tilt rather than easing in gradually - seems to work better for us) ...

After prayers and a Bible story, I will check Star understands the assignments in the first page of her English book (pick out the nouns in 10 sentences, list names of three things that can be found in various places). She will work on this and then read a book of her choice while I work with Angel. I will read her the first section of Mother Teresa: a Life of Love by Elaine Murray Stone, which we will discuss as we go, and the first chapter of Gloria Whelan's Homeless Bird (we will be studying India for geography). After that we will read through the first comprehension passage in her English book - the section in Oliver Twist where Oliver asks for more. As literary comprehension is her weak point rather than have her read it to herself we will probably read it aloud, alternating paragraphs (she is an auditory rather than a visual learner). If we are on a roll and she seems to be getting it I might get her to answer the short set of questions on the passage; if not I will leave them until the next lesson and have her re-read the passage then. I will finish off by reading and discussing the first few pages of St.Patrick's Summer by Marigold Hunt with Star for her religion lesson. Then we will take a break for a snack and a bit of down time.

The next chunk of lesson time will start with Star going off to work on her maths (she prefers to work independently) while Angel and I learn about the origins of World War I for history. As we don't have a spine text for this we will dip into two or three resources - the Witness to History book on World War I, the newspaper style report in the 20th Century Day by Day and a history encyclopedia. We will look at a map of Europe in 1914 and print it out for her history folder. This will probably take around twenty to thirty minutes. Then it will be Angel's turn to work independently on a page for the current affairs diary I'm planning to have her keep. We will make a point of discussing the news with her over the weekend and she will probably use the BBC News website for information. After that she will watch a lesson presentation on her Maths2XL CD-Rom and do the first half of the worksheet for that lesson. While Angel works Star will start her study of India. I haven't found a good non-fiction "living book", so we will probably end up browsing through a library book and printing out a map for her geography folder. For history I will read the first section of Story of the World 2 to her. It is only an introduction, so we won't have any follow up work. That means history will take all of five to ten minutes. Finally I will read her a chapter of a story book - probably Premlata and the Festival of Lights by Rumer Godden, to tie in with the India theme.

After lunch Angel will go to her room to do some independent reading while Star starts her Latin book. The first section is a short and very straightforward Latin conversation which we will translate using the vocabulary given. Again, this shouldn't take more than ten minutes. We will look at an art lesson in Artistic Pursuits and get her set up with whatever she needs to do an art project. While Star is busy being artistic, Angel will do the first page in Skoldo 3 for French, which should take around twenty minutes. Then she will finish up her day by looking through the chemistry set she will be using, learning how to use the various items safely (with particular attention to the spirit burner!) and learning the standard chemical hazard symbols.

Writing this out, it still sounds more complicated than I expect it to be in practice! I know from experience what are reasonable chunks of work to fit into short lessons, and in planning them I try to err on the side of shortness. That way our days usually flow pretty well - so long as nobody has a crisis or meltdown. Is that all clear as mud?

No comments: