Since school planning is not only on my mind as we prepare to begin, but probably on many of your minds as you finish up one year and get ready to move on to the next, it seems timely to write about the components that make up our school days.
We’ve had these parts of our days for awhile now, but this year I was inspired to restructure them slightly based on a few paragraphs I read by Leigh Bortin in the introduction to the Classical Conversations Foundations Guide. In it she said that she had finally stumbled upon a scheduling technique she thought was worth promoting.
The gist is that you schedule a one hour block each for math, reading, grammar, and memory. History and science and literature, as well as phonics for the young ones, are covered in the reading hour. Projects are spare time activities; they do them on free afternoons, but they are not essential to completing the school day. Additionally, they do other reading and read aloud times, plus CC of course. But these four hours make up a completed school day.
Her hours do not have to be consecutive. Her hours do not have to be done in a particular order. But when they start an hour period, they set a timer and complete the hour in full. When they start an hour, the older children each begin on their work independently, and she starts a 10-20 minute timer and works with or reads to her youngest. Then the youngest is released to play and she calls the next oldest for tutored time. The student has usually had enough time to complete his work and they go over it. She continues to proceed until she’s met with each of her students and the oldest ones have finished their hour. So each child gets attention and accountability a couple times a day.
So, here is an example of how this might look for independent work hour at our house:
Time | Mom | Ilse | Jaeger | Hans
:00 | Ilse | lessons | ind. work | ind. work
:15 | break | play | ind. work | ind. work
:30 | Jaeger | play | lessons | ind. work
:45 | Hans | play | play | lessons
Now, having a baby, toddler, or young preschooler (or all of the above) can throw enough curves to make dedicating an hour block unreasonable, but I’m going to give it a try this year anyway. My preschooler is reliable and can always be set coloring if she needs an activity, and my toddler is going to undermine any plan and every plan. But I have activity bags for him, a fenced back yard, and the play kitchen and toy workbench are now in the living room within sight of where I will establish myself as tutor.
So, this week I will post my school plans and materials in this format, developing the plan for our hours. This school year I want to participate at least once or twice a month in the Homeschool Mother’s Journal link up and write about what our real life homeschool days often look like, authentically and transparently, but with cheerful optimism and not using “transparency” as a code for “griping.”
Our Homeschool Hours
Posts on each to come this week.