Thursday, April 9, 2009

Homeschooling Schedule

We're preparing for a week off from school starting tomorrow. Normally we school three weeks on and one week off, but due to a blip in our schedule we were on for four weeks. We've truly dragged at bit this week in our anticipation for some regrouping time, but we survived. (I think we have one other four week stretch much later in the year!) Anyway, I get lots of questions about schooling this way and I thought I'd try and answer some. Just keep in mind that this is how we do it, because it's what works best for our family. It's certainly not the only way to try it!

First off, I pull out the calendar in December and check out when holidays and birthdays will fall in the new year. I mark each week that we'll take off based on those pre-planned events. We like to take the week of a person's birthday off, unless their birthday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then we take the week after their birthday off (like a huge long weekend.) We also tend to take major holiday times off, but those may or may not fall on a normal week off. For instance, we take Australia Day off, and we usually try to plan for that. We take Easter off, but not always Good Friday.

We don't take the American Thanksgiving off now that we reside in Australia. Instead we do Thanksgiving"y" things around that time and have a mini meal to go with it. and we pluck along. Mostly because we take a week earlier in the month off for a birthday, and we take most of December "off" to focus on the Season. From here I bring up a yearly calendar highlight the weeks we'll be off and print out a half dozen copies to hand around.

Once I know when my weeks off are I can better plan what unit studies we'll aim to do when. Nothing is firm, I just jot down on a notebook the dates and the planned units. This helps me plan our weeks off a bit too. That way if we want to tie in a trip with our studies we can line them up if possible! It also helps me decide which homeschooling activities I will participate in that our group may be doing.

Our biggest reason for schooling this way is that we're not dependent on the public school schedule, and this gives us the freedom of going on vacation, avoiding burn-out and lets me plan out our upcoming school weeks without rushing for time. The idea is to simply relax, but get everything in order for the upcoming month. In our weeks off we:

  • grocery shop
  • put meals in the freezer
  • make the next 3 weeks school plans
  • visit family/friends
  • blah out around the house
  • take a day trip somewhere
Our first day off is usually a Saturday we spend that day cleaning up anything we've not tackled for the week. That way we can start the week fresh without having to worry about any upcoming chores other then normal tidying up. Monday & Tuesday are often reserved for pure blahing out and putting school plans on paper.

This means the kids will probably play a bit more on the computer or wii then normally allowed. We might watch a movie in the middle of the day, and chances are most of the chores are "off the hook" (dishes excluded). Wednesday we do our big shopping trip and if we're back early enough to get things in the freezer then we often have a day trip on Thursday.

Day trips aren't usually anything fancy. In fact it usually boils down to a trip into the big city about an hour away. We hit the library, a few organic shops, a book store or two, and the craft shop. We often take the kids to the park so they can gawk at the monkeys and play too.

The kids get a lot of free time during their weeks off where they get to build monstrous lego or block skyscrapers which they aren't asked to tear down before bed. We usually work on a craft that we haven't had time for (or haven't made time for) as well, amongst a variety of other things. It can be trickier in the winter to keep their free time fun without it being tv or video because we get so much rain in our winters. With that in mind I made a quick list of kid friendly things we'd most likely be doing this week:

  • help make cake & ice cream for Daddy's birthday
  • call cousins to come play (or go to)
  • ride bikes down at the beach
  • make play-doh
  • star gazing
  • board games (I'm trying to make them one, so I might have them do some test runs on it)
  • Help Nana shop (they like this cause she's brave enough to let them push the cart!)
  • transplant pumpkins (they are taking over their pots!)
  • read 1 book/story to Mommy or Daddy ea. day (Morgan)
  • soccer practice (the other one will probably go on a nature hunt during this time)
  • park (which we'll hit after soccer IF it's not cold and rainy this time)
  • Kenny & The Dragon (read aloud, very good book.. we'll probably finish it before our week is up & start another one..)
  • Possibly swimming (our fingers are crossed on this one!)
  • trip to the apple orchard
  • trip into the city
Who knows if it will all happen, because sometimes we end up just hanging out at home being nuts. We've been known to have trampoline competitions to see who can, jump the highest, do the best splits, trip everyone first, annoy the dog the most, etc. If the wind is right we could land at the beach flying kites and chasing crabs, or looking for stingrays.

I've also got a few winter crafts (bird related) for them that we might start on. We have some beautiful windows at the front of the house we're looking to hang some feeders at this winter so we can keep watching our winged friends. We shall see, we may end up saving that one for a workbox filler..

1 comment:

mamazee said...

What a neat idea! I love the idea of having a few days in a row to get things done - i've been meaning to get a gait analysis at the chiropractor's since August, but just haven't found time... i do take Fridays off and school four days a week, but i like your idea, too!