Monday, October 29, 2012

Homeschool plans and schedules

I've been meaning to write about our homeschool schedule for, possibly, ever ;)

And actually it's organic thing, ever-changing, so it would have looked different had I written about it last month or last term or last year. I do feel, however, that we are moving in a good direction. Streamlining and smoothing out a system that works well for us.

Inspired by a plethora of different plans - most particularly by Jeanne's schedules (I was also charmed to see we had actually chosen almost identical colour schemes!) - and particularly by the idea of having everything simplified down to a simple plastic pocket or two, I created this schedule (above) earlier in the year. I wanted something that would simply and clearly encapsulate both the plan, the scope and the sequence of the each school term. In other words, what resources we will be using and how they'll be used across a specified time period. It's a plan, a schedule and eventually a report.

We "do school" in 4 x 10 week terms. In the image above you see, to the left, all of our KLA's (key learning areas ala the NSW Board of Studies) and what we're doing in each of these learning areas. I don't get too involved in KLA's other than to reference them in my plans and have separate KLA areas in our homeschool area for resources. That's pretty much just to remind me what they are ;)

I add in all of the classes and books we will be using and then I print the page to the right which blocks out term weeks (5 weeks to a page, hence I have 2 of these to make up the 10 weeks of a term). From there I'm able to think about how long each book should take to get through, how often we need to do science experiments or nature study etc. and mark it up by the week. The idea then being that I can at a glance see what is to be done each week as well as what we should have completed last week and plan to start next week.

I hope I haven't lost you all yet. smile. 
I used it for the first 3 terms but eventually realised that I did feel like something was missing. A weekly plan. A day-to-day schedule. It was something I had purposely not included at the beginning but once I built this one (above and below) from the ground up everything fell into place.

It's funny... I had thought a weekly plan would stifle us. In reality it adds a new-found sense of freedom. 
So, this is how we currently roll:

8 to 9am   1 hour of Maths
- self-paced workbooks (which include lots of hands on activities)
- Maths read-alouds (Math Alive and Life of Fred are in play right now)
- and if there's time left, 15 minutes of Maths practice (games) on the ipad or Mac. 

9 to 10am  1 hour of Language Arts
- Handwriting workbooks
- Monday:  The Word Spy
- Tuesday:  Grammar Island
- Wednesday:  Progressive Phonics
- Thursday:  our current AO book (currently The Princess and the Goblin by George Macdonald)
- Friday:  Poetry recital and recording 
- You will see we also squeeze a few other things into the gaps :)

an hour break for morning tea and outside play
11am to 12.15 Rotating Daily Theme
- Monday:  Science
- Tuesday:  Craft
- Wednesday: Natural Science
- Thursday:  Art Study
- Friday:  Personal Development

quick snack / tea break

12:20 to 1:30pm Ancient Greece

1:30 Finito! Lunch while watching an educational TV show or documentary. 
I have also added it all to iCal. Now I can adjust things as needed on a Sunday night for the week ahead (if we have homeschool workshops or daytrips to work around) and print out a weekly sheet. I then jot notes on this schedule as we progress through the week. I use iCal for my own day to day plans and you'll see there are a few extra things in there too like my scheduled design time, this week's Halloween meet-up, my money-meeting, the Farmers Market, our new Music class and Scouts.
Phew, I think that's everything :) I took some photos today to show you a sample day and will post that tomorrow to flesh out what this looks like in practice. Please ask if you would like to know anything about any of the resources I've mentioned. And, I'd love to hear how you plan your homeschool too. 

Amber. x


It's nice to be home. We haven't actually been away... just busy. 
So today we are still
And it's lovely.

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