Now that I have three kids to teach this year, our standard operating procedure won’t be sufficient. Last year, we simply worked at the kitchen table. My then Year 2 worked in the morning while my then Year 4 worked independently; then in the afternoons I worked with her on things like spelling, math, and reading the books that were a little hard for her.
This year, my Years 1 and 3 will need 100% of my help. My Year 5 can do 99% of her reading but will need me for things like math, spelling, Latin, and the stretching books of Year 5. I don’t want to be doing school all day long, we have family subjects to do AND I have two other kids who won’t just sit docilely all day long!
The first change was turning our downstairs play room into an informal school room. All the books are kept in this room, and it would be easier on everyone to be able to leave their work spread out. We can keep everything in one area, keep the kids in one area, and still have toys accessible for the two non-schooling children. My table is long enough that child (or two) can saddle on up and work with me; and there’s desks in case they want to have their own space.
It still leaves me with how to schedule everything. There’s several options:
- work with everyone on one subject at once, like math and copywork. The upsides are that everyone gets me at once and the subjects are done for the day. The downsides is that it still leaves me with lots of reading to do and I have a very hard time changing gears when lots of people are asking questions or talking at once.
- work with everyone like train cars – everything for my Year 1 at once, then Year 3, then whatever my Year 5 needs. The upsides is that it gets everyone’s school taken care of in one block. The downsides are that I have a lot of kids hanging around, and it makes for a long day for me.
- work in blocks. I’m thinking this will make the most sense for me. My Year 5 should be able to work in the background, so this will mainly apply to my Years 1 and 3 but still have me available for my Year 5 as she needs help.
- Top of the hour: do subjects that need individual help like math and copywork. Year 1 first, then Year 3 due to age and attention spans. (15-20 minutes)
- Set up one child with something to do (or draw, read, watch documentaries, play with non-schooled kids) and begin working through the AO readings with the other child. (20 minutes)
- Switch children and repeat. (20 minutes)
- Repeat each hour until subjects are completed. As the Year 1 readings are less, Wok will be done with school and can go play while Moose would then get more time each hour to do the readings.
Hopefully this will work and still allow my afternoons free to work with my Year 5 on the things that she can’t do independently as well as family subjects. I’m anticipating an hour of specific Year 1 work, about two hours of specific Year 3 work, and about three to three and a half hours of specific Year 5 work (I’ll let you know when we actually run the schedule out when school starts 😉 ). Family time should be less than an hour, except on experiment days for the science we’re using. SO all in all:
- Year 1 – one hour of specific work
- Year 3 – two hours of specific work
- Year 5 – three (maybe 3.5) hours of specific work (this includes working with me)
- Family time – one to two hours depending on experiments
- Totaling: 7 hours of “school time” all together.
A way of scheduling this out could look like:
- Breakfast and chores: 7-8am
- Family Time: 8-9am
- 10-11am: Hour 1 with Year 1 and 3
- 11-noon: Hour 2 with Year 1 and 3
- Noon to 1pm: Lunch and chores
- 1-2pm: Hour 3 with Year 3 (if needed), work with Peanut
- 2-3pm: Experiments, or work with Peanut if needed
- 3-4pm: work with Peanut if needed
There’s a real possibility that we may decide to do something completely different once we actually start running the schedule and living it.
I was talking with a homeschool friend yesterday about scheduling and planning and not being a slave to dates, as well as finding that happy medium where you’re not RIGIDLY SCHEDULED but you’re not just flapping in the breeze of unstructured. I like to plan things way out but then get crabby when things don’t go to plan (and they never will go to plan). But not enough structure sends everyone in to hysterics.
My hopes by planning just six weeks out and making a rough draft, so to speak; of how the days are going to go is not to say “this is how it’s going to be if it’s the last thing we do!” but give me an assurance that everything can fit and we all won’t be doing school from sunup to sundown.
Here’s to a great new school year!