Sunday, April 19, 2009

Night time is the right time to prep for schoolzzzzzzzzz

Every night when everyone else is (finally) asleep, I get things ready for the morning. I have a general scheme in mind for the year and month, including state requirements. I've tried planning the whole year week by week and day by day, but I just can't deal in micro-management like that. Besides, if Kendall gets ahead or we have a sick day/unexpected vacation it throws everything off and I have to get out the white-out and start over. No thanks! I make sure we cover everything as thoroughly as needed, whether that takes more or less time than planned.

First, I list her schedule for the day (varies daily because of errands & appointments, projects, lessons/classes, etc) on the dry-erase board. Next, on a weekly assignment sheet, I list her assignments in each subject and gather the necessary worksheets, books, etc in one place so there isn't any last-minute hunting. Since she's old enough to do a lot of this work (reading, worksheets) on her own, this makes it easy for her to get started on her own (if the baby is screaming) and keep on schedule throughout the day. Some times I offer a reward (like extra computer time or helping me make brownies) for completing everything by a certain time that day. Its usually no big deal if we're a little behind schedule, but its fun for her to try to get the prize.

We've been homeschooling for 5 years -for the first few years, I didn't like having a schedule, so I didn't. I don't like having a minute by minute plan because it feels restrictive to me. Now that Kendall is older, its absolutely necessary to keep on task. If there is no plan, nothing gets done. Or, as I heard a million times in missionary training meetings, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". Very, very true. If I wait until morning to try to work things out it is pretty much a disaster.

We have 5 general subject areas. Only because the sheet I use to list her assignments has 5 columns, though, so some are combined. First is seminary (gospel studies, but I call it seminary because it makes her feel like a teenager and seems to lessen the early-morning complaints). I have this first always, based on the principle of putting the things of God first in our lives. Next, math, and I try to keep her as far ahead of grade-level as possible, which takes more time than say, grammer. So both of those first two subjects are normally done by 10-ish. If something happens to disrupt school during the day (dr's appt, visiting teaching, etc) at least we have those two subjects completed - the rest can be made up on another day if necessary.

Our other subjects are English/Language (this includes spelling, reading, grammer, root words, ASL, and foreign language); Physical Education/Health (exercise program, sports, nutrition, etc); and MISC (everything else- History, Geography, Science, etc). The exercise program consists of two short cardio dance routines (on dvd) and a training program (sit-ups, etc) that we've created together to help her prepare for volleyball tryouts this winter. Chores are also considered part of school (home-ec, eh?).

Here is a typical weekday schedule:
8:00 eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth
8:30 seminary lessons/assignments
9:00 math lessons/assignments
10:00 cardio #1
10:30 training #1
10:45 language lessons/assignments
11:45 lunch
12:15 cardio #2
12:45 training #2
1:00 shower
1:30 MISC assignments
2:30 chores (straighten up bedroom & hallway bathroom, empty dishwasher)

If she finishes sooner than planned, she has free time or can move on to the next assignment, her choice.

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