This week in the Not Back to Homeschool Link-up, the theme is “A Day in the Life.” This is always such a fun topic for homeschoolers. I love reading little glimpses into the life of others — especially homeschool moms. We haven’t started our homeschool year yet, so I can’t really “show” what our days look like, but I can explain our plans for the coming year. Ben is now in 6th grade. (wow!)
Because we are primarily delight-directed, things can change on a dime. There are few constants though, and one thing I am planning to try to be more diligent about is sticking to a daily Mon-Friday schedule. Hopefully, it will look something like this . . .
8am Mom is awake for some quiet time and a quick check of email
8:30am Ben is awake for breakfast, quiet time and few morning chores
9:30am Homeschool begins
3pm Afternoon chore time
4pm Free time for Ben, office hours for Mom
6pm Dinner and family time
9pm Bedtime routine begins
10pm Ben to bed and free time for Mom
12mn Mom to bed
If we can stick to that schedule, then everything can get done. Five hours is plenty of time to complete homeschool, including his required one-hour of independent reading time and 30 minutes of “creative learning” time (art, music, drawing, building, programming, blogging, etc), if I can keep Ben on task. To that end, I keep him on a reward system for his free time. If he completes all of his work, with a good attitude, then he can have 2 hours free, including one hour of media time (computer, iPad, TV, Wii). If he does not, the media time is the first to go, as he completes his school work during his free time.
There will be days, especially in the beginning, when he will not have much, if any free time.
It’s all about training, building a foundation for his life. And it’s hard work.
As far as what school looks like for us — this is the first year, we are using so much “curriculum.” I am trying to move Ben into increased independence in many of his subjects this year. I’m hoping that having several subjects where he can just “work on the next thing” will help. The plan is for us to work together on Bible/Apologetics and his Unit Study work. Everything else he should be able to work through mostly on his own, with just some guidance from me when needed. Three of these items are DVD-driven (Math Essentials, Spanish for Children, and IEW).
Unit Studies — Homeschool in the Woods, Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett, and Geography Matters. This year, Ben has requested: Elections 2012 and American Government from Amanda Bennett. We will also begin using the new Passport Geography series, beginning with Germany along with World War II Time Travelers unit study from Homeschool in the Woods for a study on World War II. That should take us through the first half of the year. For the second half, we’re going back to the days of exploration with Trail Guide to Learning: Paths of Exploration from Geography Matters. Somehow in the midst of all that, we’ll finish up our Kentucky state study. (daily)
Spelling/Vocabulary — Spelling City using words from the unit studies (Mon/Wed)
Bible/Apologetics — We will finish up Who Is God? And Can I Really Know Him? and begin Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here? (daily)
Math — Ben is finishing up the elementary books from Life of Fred and will soon begin Fractions and Decimals. We are also continuing with a Schoolhouse Crew review program, Math Essentials–Mastering Essential Math Skills. (daily)
Spanish — Spanish for Children from Classical Academic Press (Mon/Wed)
Hebrew — Hebrew in 10 Minutes a Day (Tue/Thu)
Literature –Noah Plan Literature guides for Hans Brinker, Carry On Mr. Bowditch, and Benjamin West. Literature Pockets (Tall Tales, NonFiction, Fiction and Cadecott Winners) (daily)
Reading — Ben reads for one hour a day minimum. Many times, he will also read during his free time. (daily)
Writing — Create Better Writers– How to Teach the 5-Paragaph Essay (Tue/Thu)
Grammar — Rod & Staff (Tue/Thu)
Review Items — items up for review are used on Fridays unless something requires more or less use. For example, if we have a core subject review item, like a writing or math program, to use, we will replace our current writing or math program with it during the review period. Anything that is not a core item is used on Friday.
We only work on our main curriculum Monday – Thursday. Fridays are designated as “Friday Fun School” day. These are the days we schedule field trips, play games, make a mess in the kitchen (cooking or science experiments) and generally just have fun. This is when we sneak in some fun stuff with SchoolhouseTeachers.com as well. I will be blogging about those days in a weekly link-up, beginning in October!
Here’s a link to Ben’s Weekly Homeschool Plan. Feel free to download it if it will help you. This is a little different than the daily assignment sheet I used last year. I wanted to push myself to plan a week at a time, and give him the opportunity to work ahead if he wishes. He can check off each assignment as he completes it, and it gives him a good idea of what I expect time-wise. Thanks to my friend, Melissa, for sharing her template for this form!
Much of this is subject to change. Ben will likely find something else that piques his interest and off we’ll go. I do find as he gets older that we have less of that now. There’s a part of me saddened by that. I lovingly remember the days when a study of Mexico led us to weeks on end of butterflies, or when we spent a month in Egypt after just a week learning about horses. Those were the days. And while our days are perhaps a little less spontaneous now, they are still filled with wonder in the eyes of an 11-year-old. And I pray that never ends.
Don’t miss a thing! Subscribe to Ben and Me and get our articles right to your inbox!