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View Full Version : Where are you on the spectrum of structure?



crunchynerd
07-14-2012, 01:48 PM
1. Strict adherence to a packaged curriculum and scheduled study times and "school" days
2. We use a packaged curriculum but are loose about study times, and don't care how long it takes to complete something.
3. We change styles and levels of rigidity at whim, sometimes doing worksheets or textbooks, sometimes not doing anything formal at all.
4. We actively avoid worksheets, textbooks, and keeping track of school "times" but still sometimes do that sort of thing, as the mood strikes (we don't usually but don't rule it out).
5. For us, there is no difference between living, and learning, and we do not engage in worksheets, workbooks, texts, or desk time as a form of learning, or keep a "school" calendar.

farrarwilliams
07-14-2012, 07:22 PM
There's no poll!

None of the above. I'm closest to 3, but it's not that I'm swinging between styles at a whim. I believe in balancing a lot of things together in a purposeful way - lots of reading, plenty of hands on learning and field trips, projects, discussion, writing, informal learning and teachable moments whenever they arise, and, yes, worksheets and workbooks.

lynne
07-14-2012, 07:29 PM
We aren't using a packaged curriculum. We do a combo of unit studies, T4L, MCT, worksheets for spelling, writing, handwriting and math, some videos. I try to schedule school work, not so much now that it's summer but most days we do school work in the mornings. I guess we're closest to number 1?

Pawz4me
07-14-2012, 08:11 PM
None of the above. We use a packaged curriculum for our core but neither #1 nor #2 fit us, as they're extremes of the spectrum and we're somewhere in the middle. Although we're pretty relaxed, both DS and I do put forth a solid effort to make steady progress.

MichelleC
07-14-2012, 08:54 PM
Crunchynerd, can you define what you mean by "packaged curriculum"?

naturegirl7
07-14-2012, 09:03 PM
These seem kinda extreme. I guess sort of between 2 and 3, but not based upon whim.

We have curricula that we love and follow in our own way. I don't have a prepackaged but instead have worked hard to find resources that work well for each individual subject. And have created my own as necessary. I don't follow a pre-set time schedule or lesson plan. We don't do certain subjects at certain times or days, but everything gets covered thru the course of the day and the week. Handwriting, math,and spelling are mandatory in some form every day. Then he gets input into choosing what subject he wants to do that day and we rotate history, science, LA, latin, and art.

We work on topics for as long (or as short) as it takes to master it. I value living books, hands-on learning, games, field trips, videos, etc just as much as texts. I try to find a balance between our active learning and the written practice that is necessary to reinforce the concepts. IMO, this balance varies from kid to kid but is still necessary.

We are laid back in that we haven't reach a point of tests, grades, or anything like that. He has a lot of input into what he studies and I try to follow his interests - like we are going to study earth science and astromony next per his request. latin is also his request. And if we are having a rough day, we may do more of an unschooly day or a half day. But we also do school work on weekends, holidays, and even when sick.

farrarwilliams
07-14-2012, 09:39 PM
Crunchynerd, can you define what you mean by "packaged curriculum"?

I assume she means a box curriculum like Calvert, K12, Oak Meadow or even something like Moving Beyond the Page - something all in one. Though, actually, I guess she might mean just having a slate of purchased curricula instead of doing it all yourself.

AmyButler
07-14-2012, 09:49 PM
I am probably one of the more structured people here, since I use Calvert with ATS, but I am finding myself less and less so as time goes on. When we started in January, I followed the lesson plan like it was a religion. We did everything, in order, in the time slot that Calvert recommended. Now? Calvert is more of a guideline. We do the work for the week at some point durring the week, expect spelling and math which we do daily. Sometimes the work for the week takes more than a week, because Mary gets really interested in something and I end up getting supplementary material and we lapbook or notebook. Sometimes it takes less of a week, because she finds it easy and we whip through it. When she does that, we quit at the end of the weeks work and she gets a long weekend. Calvert gives me a year to finish a grade level, so I figure as long as we get all the tests done within the time limit, we are good to go and can take time to smell the roses (or explore the elements) as we see fit. So I guess I am a #2.

KristinK
07-14-2012, 10:03 PM
We're around #2 I guess. although sometimes more #3.

bcnlvr
07-14-2012, 10:20 PM
#1 but without the boxed curriculum. We school on certain days and from 9a-2p.

MrsLOLcat
07-14-2012, 10:26 PM
For us it's #2 without the packaged curriculum. I use what works for the kids, and we do have school days. I also try to start around 8:30 each morning; my kids are always, always up before 8. But if we're doing a project and there's a rabbit hole, we'll follow it. Or if they're enjoying an art project, I'm not going to tell them time's up just to stick to a schedule. The time we use is whatever time is needed, and if we don't finish a school book before the end of a school year, I don't worry. There'll be time to get to it later. My kids really LIKE having a schedule, though, and knowing what's expected, so they would completely revolt against #5... or at least my son would. Some days, I think my daughter would thrive being unschooled, but she's not quite ready for that yet... right now, since this is her first year home, she wants something more like what she's 'used to.' One day I'll let her take the reins, I think.

ourjourney
07-14-2012, 10:38 PM
I'd say we are somewhere between a 2 and a 3. We don't use a boxed curriculum but we do use a mix of textbooks, workbooks, spines, trade books, projects, experiments, software & websites, instruments, art supplies, excursions etc to cover our goals for the year. We also have a schedule outlining what we would like to cover each day. The schedule is flexible though and can be adjusted when needed. From time to time we might take an unscheduled "flop day" where, with the exception of personal safety and hygiene, we do whatever we feel like.

dbmamaz
07-14-2012, 10:52 PM
none of the above. I do use a daily schedule of what we will be working on at each point in the day, but its big blocks, at least 20 minutes. i sometimes say 'we'll do 20 minutes of this' and sometimes say "we'll finish this" but there is nothing whimsical about it, its just what makes sense for that subject for that kid. I do sometimes schedule down time, but not spur-of-the-moment. I dont grade, and we use worksheets sparingly, where they seem to fit in the bigger scheme of things.

i'm kinda wondering if you really think these are the only choices? almost like either you use a boxed curriculum and a rigid schedule, or you try to and fail, or you unschool

farrarwilliams
07-15-2012, 12:01 AM
I was thinking too that there's a couple of different axises for structure. There's how much structure you have to your day - do you have a set school time, set routines, etc. And then there's how much structure you have in your curricula - do you have a curricula that's all planned out a la Calvert or Sonlight or something (or done yourself in that style in a planner) or do you just do the next thing in a book, or are you going in spurts or what. And then there's also the style of the curricula and how that relates to structure - some curricula are very seatwork/textbook/workbook oriented and some are very hands on or open ended.

I think it's important to note that things can cross lines. The math curriculum Right Start, for example, is very hands on and has very little seat work in the early grades and is all interactive lessons and manipulatives - but it's also completely scripted, scheduled and laid out. So it's more open ended in style but more planned out in terms of schedule. Or I've known of families, especially with older kids, who have really planned out, rigorous curricula with traditional style assignments but who school without a set daily schedule with teens doing the work in the middle of the night sometimes or in big spurts.

Stella M
07-15-2012, 04:37 AM
Yeah, ok, I don't know. Helpful, huh ?

We have our rhythms. I mean, there's a plan. And we mostly stick to it.
The plan is sort of rigorous but gently so. It's loose weave. I don't think you have a category for me to pick :)

JinxieFox
07-15-2012, 04:58 AM
Let's see if I can respond with confusing anyone.

We're mostly a 1 - we adhere pretty strictly to our chosen curriculum, school day, and I have definite expectations about what will be completed, and when. If my son is falling behind, we'll work on weekend days.

But there's a dash of 2 in there, as I will sometimes relax a bit on expectations in extenuating circumstances. For example, if we're sick for a few days, I'll just go ahead and call it a week off, and move everything up to the following week.

There's even a tiny bit of 3 - I'll let my son get away with light homeschooling when he's with his dad, just so neither his dad nor his stepmom can complain about the work involved in *gasp* parenting! :p

crunchynerd
07-15-2012, 05:21 AM
I tried to make it a poll, but the option never appeared. I don't get why. I have tried to make a poll here before, and so far, have never succeeded. Is it my operating system or something? We are still on Vista.

crunchynerd
07-15-2012, 05:25 AM
Looks like it was not specific enough, anyway, to be a good poll. Thanks to those who described their style, and for pointing out that this isn't a 2-dimensional issue. I don't think that the only choices are from boxed curriculum to no structure at all. A Venn diagram would be way better than a poll.

If i can ever manage to get a poll made here properly (it's not hard anywhere else, so I don't know what I am doing wrong, but when I try to create a poll, it's just like any post. No poll option pops up beyond asking me how many answers are possible. I will just have to try again?) I'll make it better.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
07-15-2012, 08:56 AM
We have a fairly rigid schedule for our day (2.5 to 3 hours per day), use worksheets for some subjects but not others, the only tests are for spelling, and piece together different curricula for each subject. So I guess the answer is "other"? :)

We're pretty structured and rigorous compared to other families we know, but I still wouldn't call our style "school at home."

farrarwilliams
07-15-2012, 09:27 AM
CrunchyNerd, in order to make a poll work, you have to check a box at the end of the thread that says create a poll or include a poll or something. Then the page will automatically redirect you to a poll after you post. It's a little strange because you have to try and figure out how many poll options before you make the poll.

natkimmom
07-15-2012, 11:46 AM
We are probably between one and two. I work at night so what we have planned for the day has to be completed by a certain time but some days it doesn't work that way so we just move it to the next day. I use prepackaged though because it's easier for me, I don't have any creativity lol :)

dottieanna29
07-15-2012, 06:47 PM
None of the above. I'm closest to 3, but it's not that I'm swinging between styles at a whim. I believe in balancing a lot of things together in a purposeful way - lots of reading, plenty of hands on learning and field trips, projects, discussion, writing, informal learning and teachable moments whenever they arise, and, yes, worksheets and workbooks.

This pretty much describes us. No set schedule with times or even days but lots of purposeful stuff. We use curriculum, usually workbooks, for math and language arts.

LuvMyPink83
07-15-2012, 07:57 PM
We fall around the 3 option.

Hampchick
07-16-2012, 10:48 AM
I guess we're a 2? No boxed curriculum but we do use a variety of preplanned curricula for each subject. My older "logic" son needs to know when it's "school time" and when it's "free time" so we follow a schedule of school in the morning but it's flexible. My younger son who has never been to school doesn't mind if we do school at slightly odder times so I try to take advantage of that. Routines work best for us generally.

zcat
07-16-2012, 01:27 PM
1. Strict adherence to a packaged curriculum and scheduled study times and "school" days
2. We use a packaged curriculum but are loose about study times, and don't care how long it takes to complete something.
3. We change styles and levels of rigidity at whim, sometimes doing worksheets or textbooks, sometimes not doing anything formal at all.
4. We actively avoid worksheets, textbooks, and keeping track of school "times" but still sometimes do that sort of thing, as the mood strikes (we don't usually but don't rule it out).
5. For us, there is no difference between living, and learning, and we do not engage in worksheets, workbooks, texts, or desk time as a form of learning, or keep a "school" calendar.

We are closest to #2.
I have a plan for the year and use a specific set of materials to help reach those goals- not really a package from one place.
Our style is pretty flexible and things take as long as they take. I'm not going to rush dd through just to finish by a certain date. I want to go at her pace and do something until she gets it before we move on. If something clearly isn't helping her understand I will look for something new to use.
I don't want to recreate a school environment at home. I don't track how much time we spend on homeschooling. I don't make dd do "school" for a set amount of time per day.
I do have a certain number of things I want dd to do per day/week. Again, the amount of time it will take varies and if she doesn't finish then it rolls over to the next day or week.
I do use a couple of workbooks but most stuff is literature & discussion based- not textbooks. We use movies and games and real experiences for learning as well.

Tillmalo
07-16-2012, 04:38 PM
I would say that we are closest to #3. We use a variety of workbooks, online programs, curriculum, worksheets, games, field trips, books, manipulatives, classes, videos and discussion. I like having a variety of resources to pull from.

I tend to adapt our day depending on my son. He has an autistic diagnosis that includes some sensory issues. Some days, he is able to sit and concentrate for longer periods of time than others. Sometimes, he is very sensory seeking making it difficult to sit in one place for any length of time. On those days, instead of working on a math worksheet or game, I may have him jump on the trampoline while I hold up math flash cards for him to answer. He has some challenges with his fine motor skills, so writing is his least preferred activity. I work to balance his time physically writing with his preference for working on the computer.

The amount of time we spend each day on school varies quite a bit. Some days we can get done in a couple of hours and sometimes he needs a lot more breaks and we just work in small time increments throughout the day.

When my son attended Kindergarten at a public school, he would come home in tears saying that he was "dumb." He stubbled to complete the work in the time allotted and usually needed a little extra instruction to understand what was being asked of him. He's a smart little guy, but the classroom setting was a bit of a sensory overload for him. By the end of the year, his self-esteem was so low and he just hated school. My hope by homeschooling, is help him feel more confident in himself and find that learning can be fun and enjoyable. I want him to feel success....so it's all about getting creative. Somedays I'm more creative than others....

bailbrae
07-18-2012, 12:36 PM
We are closest to #3 as well. We don't use workbooks and textbooks at all though. We have the occasional handwriting worksheet, but we mostly use online resources. T4L, SpellingCity, BrainPop and about a billion others it seems, lol.

onyxravnos
07-18-2012, 03:01 PM
We use a boxed curriculum (oak meadow) and on 'off' days or sick or otherwise just not into it days we just do what's in the plan from oak meadow. Most other days though we add in more. handwriting without tears, manipulatives, rightstart math, learning games, taking the OM lesson and expanding on it etc...

we don't have set school times .. we generally start around 9 am and finish by lunch but some days take longer then others. we have 4 or 5 projects that get done for the days school work and call it good.

jess
07-18-2012, 03:31 PM
Somewhere between 2 and 4, but not necessarily 3.

Jeni
07-26-2012, 11:34 AM
#2. We use a boxed curriculum but we are super loose on what we do and when we do it. That's why we're still trying to finish...