A look back at the past homeschooling year allows for reflection on what worked and what should be changed. How we plan our homeschooling schedule this year is at the top of my list for what I will change for next year.
At the beginning of last year I scheduled each days learning for the whole entire year. I had scheduled which specific pages and which activities were going to be done for each day. However, we ran into problems as some topics my daughter needed more time to grasp or was just not ready to learn at that time, and other topics she grasped rather quickly and could fly through the material. One of the perks of homeschooling is for a child to be able to work at the pace they are able to grasp the material, so scheduling everything so precisely takes away from that benefit. Detailed #scheduling limits the #homeschooling perk of a child working at their own pace. Click To Tweet
I do still enjoy somewhat of a schedule. With science especially, some experiments can only be done at certain times of the year, and specific supplies need to be purchased so having that planned out in advance is important. However, for book type work for subjects like math or english for example, I will only schedule the amount of pages that are to be covered each day. That will allow us to pick and choose which order we complete the worksheets in so my daughter can work at her own pace and we will still have some sort of time management.
As an example, instead of deciding math pages 65-67 needs to be completed, I will now have on the schedule “3 pages of math”. That will allow her to begin with a page of adding or subtracting, but too much of that can start to get boring which would mean wasted time fidgeting. So to keep things on a roll we then might switch to a page on clocks, choosing to skip a harder topic like money for now, and then ending with a page on fractions or geometry for a treat. True story :P.
The first thing my daughter asks almost every morning is what day it is and what we have planned for the day. So having her own list of what school work needs to be done that day gives her a sense of knowing the plan and having some sort of control over her day. I created 3 different printable templates of a weekly schedule that can be used in a variety of different ways. You can download a free copy for your child to use here. I designed it to be child friendly and fun, with lots of opportunities to colour, stamp or use stickers as tasks get completed. Let’s just say my daughter has a little bit more self-drive to get her school work done for the day.
I have decided to make use of a simple organizational cart, like the one in the image below. At the end of every week-end I take a few minutes to prepare for the week ahead. I fill out my daughter’s next weekly homeschooling schedule, and I will put in the drawers the school work needing to be completed for each day. This will streamline things during the week, and give my daughter a sense of independence knowing she has everything she needs in that days drawer.
I learned that I have to consider my daughter’s natural rhythm when scheduling the order of subjects. When she first wakes up, she usually heads straight to the couch and gets cozy under a blanket. It’s not the ideal time to get her to do any kind of book work. Rather than just let her kill time sitting on the couch while she wakes up, I have her do something educational on the iPad or watch an educational show on tv. On the iPad, she has Little Pim video’s to learn french, Signing Time video’s for learning American Sign Language, Hooked On Phonics app, math and other learning games. She is more than willing to “play” on the iPad first thing in the morning. I tell her what program I want her to go on, and she’s happy to oblige. I change what her couch subject is daily. When I let her watch a show on TV, it’s usually Wild Kratts, where she learns quite a bit of Animal Science.
After breakfast, she goes straight to the school room to get either her Math or Language Arts done for the day. If I tried to do too much more than one of those bigger subjects at a time, she would begin to get fidgety and bored. So we stick to one, and then she has free time for the rest of the morning – usually she spends her time outside.
Once lunch is done, we usually sit on the couch together and she reads a page or 2 in her reading books. It’s a good time for us to go back to the school room to get either Math or Language Arts done (whichever we didn’t do in the morning), and perhaps a page of a smaller subject like Social Studies. She gets a play break, and then we finish our school day with a more hands on fun subject, like art, science, nature studies or piano.
My daughter is 5 so getting her work done completely independently is just not going to happen. The sooner I realized that the more productive we both became. I have learned to schedule projects I can do while sitting at a desk. For example, I can do the household finances, folding laundry, sorting socks, clean the school room, read a book, study something, prepare for the week ahead, etc. I save those type projects for when my daughter is doing math or language arts. While she is very capable in both subjects, if I’m not sitting beside her as more moral support, she very easily gets sidetracked. When I’m sitting with her, it seems to help things keep moving along.
Here’s hoping to a wonderful, productive, homeschooling year next year.