Saturday, October 13, 2012

Home School Schedule

   As summer came to a close, I knew that I had to come up with a working plan for how our home school day would run.  I've changed our schedule every year to meet the changes that have come with time.  I always start with a frame work in mind, knowing that it will need to be tweaked at least once (and usually more) when we actually get into the true workings of each day.  Planned time slots can often look good on paper, but not work exactly like you think they're going to when it comes to implementing the schedule for real!!
   After a few weeks, this is what we settled into.  It is very much just a plan that we work with.  Each day can bring about shifts quite often as things happen during the week, like doctors' appointments, Anna's part-time work schedule, making a trip to the library, or anything else unexpected.

At 8:00, we start out with Bible and prayer time all together in the living room.  Our theme for the year is "Grace Alone."  So, our Bible time usually has something to do with grace.... it might be a short devotional from a book, or Bible reading, or a song, or thoughts that I've had from another source during the week.

At 8:30, we break up into individual work, and from this point on, I rotate among the kids, and the older kids rotate using the computer and working on their various subjects in their rooms.


First I work with Jonathan at the table with spelling and phonics. Then, he goes upstairs to his room to do handwriting and some vocabulary.



Leslie (who has been reading while Rachel listens to her to help if needed) comes to the table to do her spelling and phonics/language. Then, either I call Jonathan downstairs to listen to math instruction together with Leslie, or I teach Leslie's math first and then Jonathan's.

By this time it is usually between 10 and 10:30. The kids head to the kitchen for a small snack. Ally Kate generally comes in around that time, too.

After snack, I do Ally Kate's math, check her homework, and get started on her English if there is time. Then, one of the older girls and I cook our noon meal. Dan comes home for lunch, and it works better if we have our main meal at noon. It takes longer that way, but the girls have all gotten to be very handy in the kitchen, so I can often get things started and head back to Ally Kate or to Jonathan to quiz him on his vocabulary while my lunch helper keeps working on the meal.

We try to eat around 12:15, then while the left-overs are being put away and the dishes washed (the older kids take turns washing dishes), I read our "read aloud" book. This has ALWAYS been the high point of every school year. We love read-aloud time!! Jonathan loves it, too, even though the words of the stories are usually over his head.... He loves it because I let him play with legos in the living room while I read!! Ally Kate (who also doesn't have enough English yet to understand the read-aloud) works on her Bible lesson. Anna usually helps her.

Afterwards, I do geography with Leslie and Jonathan (and later Ally Kate, too). We started out the year learning the 7 continents and 4 oceans, and have moved on to the book called Wild Places . We've finished units on deserts and mountains, and are currently studying jungles. Words that Jonathan and Ally Kate don't know get added to their vocabulary lists to learn.

Later, Leslie finishes up any of her work that is left, and I listen to Jonathan read. Sarah helps Ally Kate correct her homework. Jonathan studies vocabulary some more while I do Ally Kate's last English class. She has already had 2 or 3 by that time!! Her mom teaches her, as well as another tutor before she even comes to our house, and I do one more plus about 20-30 minutes of listening exercises with her. We are making a huge push with her in English, because since she didn't come to America and start learning English until she was 15, it's important that she learns quickly.

Last, I quiz Jonathan on his vocabulary and do listening exercises with him, too.

I haven't mentioned Justin at all!! He often comes downstairs for me to answer his math questions, check his homework, etc. I slip him in just whenever the time fits!! Poor guy --- he's really not neglected, though. My mom (who was a high school English teacher) does his language lesson every day which includes grammar, writing, etc. And, Anna is his "course manager" this year for science, history and reading. He has the daily schedule and a check sheet that he must check off each day so that we know he's getting his work done. Anna makes copies of his science worksheets and checks them periodically. I check his math homework and do his spelling tests each Friday. This is the first year that he's had to be more responsible for his work, and it has been good for him.

Other things fit in whenever we can grab some time, too!! The only subject for Sarah and Rachel that I am doing much active teaching in this year is their Literature. We'll periodically discuss their books that they read and then discuss their papers they're writing as needed, too. Their math is on the computer, they are doing a health class along with Anna this semester. We discuss it sometimes as we're all in the kitchen together, or after the younger kids have gone to bed. Anna is doing American Government this semester, and she and I discuss it when she reaches the end of a chapter, or at any point that she has questions.

I grade tests on weekends, and work on the following week's schedule. Most of my lessons, though, just require my picking up the book where we left off and going from there. At the end of this school year, Anna will graduate with 13 home school years completed!! I can remember the month before we started her Kindergarten year..... and, never in my mind did I ever think that I would have taught her all the way to graduation. That wasn't why I chose the theme of "Grace Alone" for this year, but it certainly has been God's grace alone that has brought us this far.