One of the things that people ask me most is what our “homeschool day” looks like. Homeschool will look different in every home depending on:
-how many outside activities you are involved in-whether your kids (and/or you) do well with structure
-your “homeschool style” (un-schooling vs traditional)
-when you and your children work best (morning, afternoon, evening)
-the age of your children
-your work schedule (if you work outside the home)
I have nothing against a more loosely scheduled day or even un-schooling if that works for you and your kids, but for me and for my children (at least for now), we all do better with a much more structured day. No, we do not have a strict schedule that we stick to every day, but we do often make schedules when I feel like we are getting to out of control. Usually we work from lists. Over the summer I make a plan for each subject – what I want to teach and how I will teach with what resources in the year ahead. I break that up into the ten months and I work off those plans all year. Each weekend I make a list of what we will do that week and then we work from there.
In a “normal” week this past year, I assigned D a total of 27 different assignments for a week. He did seven each day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, five on Thursday and he went to our homeschool co-op on Fridays and did one assignment at home on Friday. In the evening he also read another 30 minutes, did a page of cursive practice and one page of math facts review. It seems like a lot, but it helps that we do several shorter assignments throughout the week instead of one day with lots of math or lots of literature. Doing more frequent short assignments helps them to “stick” better for us and when projects are done in small chunks there is less avoiding of those “hard” subjects. We also take days off or postpone assignments if it gets to be too much. Sometimes a subject that I thought would be easy ends up being more difficult. Other times maybe we’re just enjoying a subject and don’t want to move on quite yet, so within all that structure, there is still flexibility. I try to leave lots of extra room in my monthly plans so that we don’t have to feel pressured.
Here is a sample work list for a random week:
The details of the assignment are not there – just a quick summary, but Diego looks at the schedule over breakfast and picks which subjects he wants to do and he is usually mostly done by lunch. Some days go better than others. If I have to go to work for a few hours, it is usually a much less productive day. If it seems like we are getting to 4:00 before he’s done, I usually start to make a specific schedule with times and I let him earn 15 minutes of video game playing for each subject finished on time. No, we do not stick with a schedule to the minute and we don’t beat ourselves up if we have to skip something, but it does help get us back on track though when we are not getting things done as quickly as we would like. Here is a sample of one that we have used:
We also keep going year round – kind of. We are “done” with 4th grade for the year, but we do Reading (one book from a list every two weeks), Writing and Math in the summer. If he is quick, D can finish in an hour to 90 minutes, but usually he takes his time since I won’t let him play video games all day anyway. I am just starting to do some things with R more formally (no pressure, of course) and P is still in school a little over half day and will have half a day of summer school also, so he just has a few short assignments. Here is a recent summer work list:
I don’t push my homeschool methods on anyone else. I don’t even push homeschooling on anyone else, but this is what I have found works well for us (for now) and maybe someone else can benefit from it.