January 18, 2007

Q and A: Homeschool Schedule

"hi, I really enjoy reading your blogs. you asked for some questions and I have one for you. Do you try to have a set schedule for homeschooling and getting your lessons in with the kids or do you just do them when the timing is right and it’s a good opportunity? or a little of both? I have kids about the same ages as yours... "

In general we try to have some set school times and then we do other things when they come up. We typically start somewhere around 9:30 and try to be done before noon. Somedays we really only get in two solid hours of school but that is enough to complete our lessons. Sometimes we school later in the afternoon or longer one day of the week to take off for another day for a field trip or activity.

I have set "goals" for the week and when they are done, they are done and we don't push on unless the kids want to - which sometimes they do. If we don't finish our goals for the week we try to make them up the next week but find that over time it works itself out. Of course this is for our formal sit down together school time and does not include the kids independent reading time and other crafts and activities that we do which tend to be in the afternoons or when there is interest.

My kids are still young so I anticipate and plan for that time to get longer as they get older and I am schooling more of them. In our morning school time we typically cover math, language arts, phonics, handwriting, spelling, and either history or science on a daily basis. This is our formal teaching time and they do their math and language art worksheets or practice now as well. We also try to do either music or art, geography, read alouds, any special lessons we may have, on a weekly basis. The kids also have some quiet devotional time, I find this works best when they need a break from each other, their work, me or just the room, or if they need an attitude change.

As for everything else - we do as they show interest usually based on a question they ask me. One of the annoying things about me is when they ask a question if I can I try to look it up and answer it. One of the annoying things about them is they have learned that about me and when I don't want to take the time to do it they remind me the real answer (not the made up mommy answer) is right there (as they point to a computer) and I then have to look it up. This is not to say I ALWAYS do but we try to more often than not. Sometimes this leads to a full lesson and sometimes it does not, sometimes it leads to an addition to our library list and sometimes it does not.

The only other thing we try to do each day is read. I try to read aloud to the younger two early in the day, Ciaran has to read aloud to me and practice reading on his own and Rhiannon reads at least a half hour (usually it is more difficult to make her stop reading than start). At night after dinner we always do a family read aloud - a big chapter book with no or few pictures that we read a chapter from a night. We started this when they were 3 and 2 years old and have tried to continue. Of course we miss nights - but they remind us when we do and we try to make it a priority. I count that because I honestly think a good majority of their education has come from being read aloud to continuously, and it is a good reminder that not all learning has to come during school hours.

That is just what we have found works best for us. Good luck with your own family and finding the rhythm that is right for you!


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