Over the weekend I have been working on our homeschooling schedule for next year. After a fair amount of juggling I have managed to put one together that allows me to fit in almost everything I wanted to do without - I hope! - leaving us chasing our tails. I always start the school year with a schedule, but never intend to follow it slavishly. I use it to help us develop a routine, and also as a check that what I want to cover is realistic. If I want to do "school" stuff for four hours a day but have planned five hours worth of work I want to know this before we crash and burn. Rather than specific time slots my schedule works in time "boxes" - chunks of time during which I plan to cover specific subjects. (Now where did that idea come from? I have a feeling it was Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson.) I have written down the average length of time I expect to spend on each lesson to check I am being realistic, but within each box the timing and order will in practice be flexible. This year Angel and Star will be working entirely separately, so I have distinguished between work they need to do with me and work they can do independently - I don't want a plan that ends up requiring me to be doing two things simultaneously! So here it is ... the grand plan ...
- Prayers / Bible story
- Box 1 - Religion and English, read aloud to Angel, independent reading for Star
- Snack break
- Box 2 - History, Geography, Maths, Angel does notebook page, read aloud to Star
- Lunch and free time
- Box 3 - Languages (French for Angel, Latin for Star), Science, Art, independent reading for Angel
Box 1 - the same every day except Tuesday. Each girl will work on English independently while I do religion with her sister, then Star will read to herself while I read to Angel. On Tuesday I will take one of the older girls to Mass, followed by a trip into town for coffee / hot chocolate / cookies and the library. I am going to alternate, taking Angel one week and Star the next, so that each of them gets some one on one time. Tevye works at home on Tuesdays, so the girl whose turn it isn't can stay at home with him.
Box 2 - Angel will do history on Monday and Wednesday and geography on Tuesday and Friday. She will do a notebook page on current affairs on Monday, history on Wednesday and geography on Friday, and copywork, map and timeline work on Tuesday. She will finish with maths (always best to leave this until last with Angel!) while I read to Star. Star will start with maths and then do history and geography on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and work on a book of saints on Tuesdays.
Box 3 - On Monday and Wednesday Angel will do science and Star art, then we will reverse this on Tuesday and Friday - the idea being that the artist can be doing her thing independently while I work with the scientist. Latin and French will be daily (except Thursday). Angel will have some independent reading time, giving me time to work with Star, and Star will have some free time.
On Thursdays Boxes 2 and 3 are free. Every other week we go to our Catholic homeschooling group, and the free weeks give time for visiting Grandma and to catch up if we have taken other time off.
As for timing, I think each box should last about one and a half hours - probably a bit less for the morning ones, so it should add up to about four hours a day. Of course, there is Little Cherub to add in to the mix which will be a challenge. I'm hoping that eventually she will get into a good nap routine that we can plan our day round. This may be wishful thinking! Also, I had to admit to myself that there was stuff that just wouldn't fit in. So far I don't have any slots for dictation with Star, and I had planned to do some history of science with Angel. That had to go if my Tuesday morning Mass plan was going to be realistic.
So ... I think it looks a good plan on paper. Whether it translates into workable reality remains to be seen!