I have written before about how I work full-time and homeschool my girls. It's a challenge, but we make it work.
One thing we do I think would benefit lots of other homeschool families, though. This is something that everyone could do.
I like to pretend that we are Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. I like her ideas, and I like how she does things.
It is in the practice of learning, however, that we have to part ways. Charlotte Mason required students to learn all subjects every day. She ran a school, and that is how schools do things.
When I was a high school teacher, I taught in a school with block scheduling. That means that each student had only 4 classes per semester, and the classes changed at mid-year. Classes were 90 minutes long leaving lots of time for activities and labs and real learning.
Every kid did not have every subject every day.
And yet, they learned.
With block scheduling in mind, I decided to teach Grace differently about mid-way through the fall.
Our New Homeschool Plan
It's not exactly a schedule per se. It's more like a guiding plan, a philosophy of educating.
Every week or so, I write out a checklist in a notebook for all the lessons we should accomplish for the following week.
Bible lessons 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
Pet store math January part 1, part 2, part 3
Life of Fred chapter 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
Understanding Betsy chapter 1, chapter 2
ELDL day 3, 4
Sequential Spelling day 2, 3, 4
and so on. You get the idea. (You can see what we are doing for a third grade curriculum in a coming post. Watch out for it.)
I put a little box beside each individual lesson or chapter number.
The action is the beauty of why this works so well for us.
Whenever we have a block of time for schoolwork, I get out the notebook. It might be as little as 15 minutes or as much as 2-3 hours.
I give Grace a choice. We can work on anything in the plan, and she decides what it will be.
I get out the books, she gathers the materials she needs, and then we work.
Here's where it's different from what most people do:
We don't stop with one lesson.
It's not unusual for us to read a week's (or more!) worth of Life of Fred at one sitting. She loves it. So we read and read until she gets tired of reading or Fred.
It's also not unusual for us to devour science for 3 or 4 days in a row, doing experiments and reading the textbook and researching on websites, and then get a little behind with the other stuff.
I don't worry about getting behind. We always catch up eventually.
Then we take a break and do something non-schooly like jump on the trampoline (though not in the winter) or play Barbies or do a craft or watch a movie.
Later, we jump back in with something else of Grace's choice.
The key to our method is that I let Grace lead. I don't often tell her what we're going to study; I follow her plan for the time. She picks something from my list (so I have guided her without her really realizing it), and we always get to all the subjects eventually.
All except spelling and copywork, both of which she hates with a fiery passion. But I do make her do them, usually in very short 5-10 minute bursts a few times a week.
So here are the fundamentals of our homeschooling plan:
- Plan ahead and write down a week's worth of lessons on one piece of paper.
- Let your child choose what she wants to do out of the plan.
- Work as long as she wants to work, cross off what she has completed, then take a break.
- Come back to the plan and choose something that is not crossed off.
- Take another break.
- Continue until you have accomplished whatever you feel is appropriate for the day.
- Repeat tomorrow.
Here's the thing: There's no need to touch every subject every day just because that's how schools do it.
You're home educating here, not recreating school. Let your child take the lead on what she wants to do, and let her do as much of it as she wants.
Some people binge watch Netflix shows. We binge learn at my house.
It's good stuff.