View Full Version : Working on our schedule

03-23-2013, 05:30 PM
I feel like half my posts on this board are "I changed our schedule," but, er, I changed our schedule. This is for one nine year old, grade 4, grade 3 math, probably 2E.

Since we started homeschooling, our family has been dealing with a lot of unrelated stress, and I keep thinking the stress will end and then we can dive into more structured homeschooling. I've finally figured out that I need a schedule that still work for us when life happens. Also, it can't depend on me planning in advance.

So here's what has been working.

I have a large basket of books and curriculum (and regularly get more from the library).
Every morning I use it to set up a small basket as follows:

math (Fred or Beast Academy)
art (a picture to narrate about)
history, geography, culture, etc (Story of the World, etc), and/or science (various books)
grammar or Latin (MCTLA, Getting Started with Latin, etc)
fiction read-aloud
two small whiteboards
a notebook for me to do planning/recording in
a dictionary and map of province/country/world

We sit on the couch with our basket and read together, work on the whiteboards, discuss, look things up online, grab reference books off the shelf, she narrates, etc.

After basket, I put some combination of the main ideas from lessons, quotes from fiction book, grammar/Latin practice, spelling words, Beast problems, math review, proofreading practice, etc on larger wall whiteboards, then she does her whiteboard work and also practices her times tables with manipulatives at a small table.

She spends a lot of time working on projects (I'm trying to follow the ideas in Project-Based Homeschooling to support this). She also has books, a basic kindle, educational games, art supplies, a laptop, brainpop, knitting, a trampoline, bird feeders, gardening, pets, etc.

She's in karate and art class, also goes to activities with the secular homeschooling group, and I drag her around to my various hobbies. Usually there is something to go to in the late afternoon / evening, but we do spend a lot of time at home.

I put up a daily schedule. A typical one might say

Her father agreed to do science; they do some science on weekends. She practices typing to earn her allowance. She is reading and writing above grade level.

Okay, that's all going smoothly.

I just wrote out this list:

baking and poetry tea
story narration
nature study

(I'm re-reading my Bravewriter binder, can you tell?)

This is what I want to add, somehow, somewhere, and I'm not sure how to go about it, or if it's even possible for us right now. We do some of it sporadically, and I have a basket of nature study stuff and a basket of writing and poetry books. I wonder if I can just pick one topic to put on the daily schedule if it fits, and then do it? I'm worried that if I set up a formal weekly schedule it will just not get done. Any thoughts?

Stella M
03-23-2013, 06:55 PM
You could do a combo Fine Arts/Nature Study Friday.

Make it light on the other stuff, maybe a bit of maths. Then outside for nature study, back in for lunch and a read-aloud, project work and a break for poetry afternoon tea.

03-23-2013, 07:11 PM
Hmm. That's a good option. I just scheduled a nature walk with the homeschool group for next Friday. That makes me kind of obligated to show up. :)

I've just realized one of the obstacles I'm dealing with here. I hate baking. I especially hate baking with other people. I need to be able to say "Stand back at a safe distance, your mother is about to count and cannot be disturbed!" I tend to repress this because I consider it one of my failures as a homeschool mom (think of all the unschooly education and happy togetherness my poor child is missing out on). I wonder if we would be more likely to do poetry tea if it was go to bakery and then read poetry? I have a feeling I'm not meant to be stressing over this.

03-23-2013, 07:36 PM
Hmm, and I see how some things could be combined.

Okay, here we go.
On Fine Arts day we get up, have breakfast, and go to the bakery (a mile walk away). Then we eat our baked goods and read poetry.
We follow that with some writing.
We follow that with nature study, which can include art if we're so inclined (Otherwise, she goes to art class and draws constantly. I don't need to teach art.)
If it is too cold to go outside we will go to an art gallery or museum instead.

There will not be math on fine arts day. She can do some math practice on the weekends instead.

Thanks Stella, I am looking forward to this. I think it will be good for our stress.

03-23-2013, 07:57 PM
Just because some of us enjoy baking as a lead up to poetry tea, doesn't mean you have to. Make it bakery treats and poetry. Or hot chocolate and poetry. Or whatever. I think the point is to create a happy experience for the kids to associate with poetry and give you all together time. It should be a happy time for you too. We tried doing poetry tea out and about once and it didn't work very well. People in the cafe were slightly weird to us reading our poetry and it created an uncomfortable vibe. For us, it was better at home. But you may have a better bakery option than us!

I think your schedule sounds good. Don't overthink it too much. I can't even count the number of times I've tweaked our routine or the methods I use to keep us moving through and doing all the things I want us to be doing like poetry teas, nature hikes, art time, history projects, writing projects, etc. etc. etc. Sometimes they work, sometimes they work for awhile. I think the key is to keep revisiting ways to get it all in and recommitting to doing those things while at the same time not giving yourself too much flack about when you don't quite get it to all come together.

03-23-2013, 08:17 PM
We 'break' June, July and 1/2 of August. This is when we do homeschool light, aka lazy days. We focus on just hitting the big ones, math, reading / narration. We use the time to tighten up / catch up on fine arts, baking, nature study - when our schedule is a bit more relaxed, and flour all over the floor stresses me out less. We also do what I call unschooling weeks every 6 weeks during the school year. We use this time to schedule several activities with our hs group, power in nature (hiking, river playing, camping - however we basically camp when we want in the end) fine arts, and baking (you guys wanna make a pie while we listen to / talk about jazz?). I try to plan for fine arts on Friday during the school year, but it seems like half the time it works, and half the time it does not, for us concentrated weeks work best.

Stella M
03-23-2013, 09:25 PM
Yep, baking is not compulsory :) A packet of chocolate biscuits works just as well here.

Or in summer you could have ice cream poetry socials!

03-23-2013, 09:26 PM
Ooh, I want to do that. I keep wanting to host an old fashioned ice cream social. Maybe with poetry now too.

Stella M
03-23-2013, 09:38 PM
Homemade lemonade and poetry out on a picnic rug in the shade of a tree. Sketching afterwards.

03-23-2013, 10:00 PM
Rtrujillo, that sounds nice. But I suspect we'd spend the week saying "we'll do fine arts tomorrow," while we lay in our lounge chairs with stacks of novels. We aren't very good at relaxed schedules.

I like this ice cream plan, too.

Are you sure baking isn't compulsory? I've seen homeschool blogs and it seems integral to the homeschool experience. As far as I can tell, my daughter's dislike of math is the direct result of insufficient family baking time.

Stella M
03-23-2013, 10:04 PM

I hereby give you an exemption from homeschool related baking. Or any baking at all.

03-23-2013, 10:23 PM
There are a number of things that are "integral" to the homeschooling experience. For example, owning chickens and mummifying chickens.

Stella M
03-23-2013, 10:30 PM
If chickens are the criteria, I fail.

03-23-2013, 10:39 PM
:) Urban chickens have been turned down by our current city council twice. There's now an underground contraband chicken network, but I'm too (not using the obvious word) to join. What if the city came for my pet chickens? It would be too traumatic.

So sadly, we are unable to have chickens. Hopefully the other homeschoolers will still accept us. I try not to mention that I'm Unitarian and my child is an atheist (she finds the Unitarians too religious).

03-23-2013, 10:53 PM
I also have been too chicken to keep chickens. Or bees. If you don't keep chickens, I understand bees are a good alternative to keep you in with the "real" homeschoolers.

03-24-2013, 11:22 AM
Our city council turned down chickens as well. At first I was very discouraged. I have a lot of fond memories of feeding them, collecting the eggs... Then I remembered how it was at the end of fall on my dad's farm, when we had to "harvest" them all. Looking back, it must have been a Kodak moment. The bit about the hatchet was easy enough with my father there to secure the chicken. That the decapitated chicken would then chase after me was unexpected.

defeathering was no picnic either. And my mother (urbanite) did this in the KITCHEN!!

Chickens wouldn't work out on this neighbourhood anyhow. We have a looney lady the next street over who would probably "free" them all. She doesn't even like that dogs are kept "imprisoned" in their yards. Dogs out, chickens out, children out...come to think of it, that sounds like pretty good entertainment.

03-24-2013, 11:41 AM
I've met a few homeschoolers here who tan the skin from road kill. Chickens would be nothing. (And, yes, they are very nice and pleasant people to hang out with.)

03-24-2013, 12:30 PM
I knew homeschoolers when I was in high school who kept a cooler to pick up road kill for dissections! What is it about road kill?

03-26-2013, 12:57 PM
I am going to start BraveWriter next year and am also trying to figure out how to set it up with our other work.

I think we are going to do the poetry thing and movie thing during our lunch break, each once a week. We already do nature study--once a week we take a 15 minute (at least) walk at home or at the park when we go and then journal about it afterwards. Art is something we already do, too, and is something I plan to spend more time with next year b/c it is a major area of interest for dd--I am going to integrate it more with our other lesson, for example look at art works related to history lessons. Narration will also be integrated with other work. I plan to follow the bw schedule for writing.

For me a big thing is getting into the habit of doing these things (that is how it was for nature study with us) so that they fit naturally into the day.