Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sticking to a daily schedule

Schedule, routine, time map...whatever you want to call them, I'm just no good at sticking to them!

Sometimes life gets in the way.  We have every intention to do what we call "book work," but then an opportunity to go somewhere or do something interesting comes up.  

Field trip to butterfly nursery!

Of course, that's one of the great advantages of homeschooling--schedule flexibility.

Sometimes a kid gets fascinated with something and we end up going down a bunch of rabbit trails that weren't part of the plan.  (Our never-ending unit study of WWII led us down lots of unexpected paths and that's why we've never been able to call it finished once and for all!)  

Nature study

Again, this is a great advantage of homeschooling.

But sometimes we get off schedule because we just can't seem to stick to one for more than a week or maybe two at the most.  

I'm an obsessive planner.  I love plans.  

Plans make me feel secure, but carved-in-stone plans make me feel claustrophobic. 

I love learning along with my kids and I love checking things off the plans I've worked so hard to prepare...but I'm simply not capable of doing the same subjects in the same order every day!

Peach cobbler and family read-aloud

For that reason, I just keep a subject list and we pick and choose from it, cafeteria style.  Here is our typical planned-but-not-carved-in-stone routine.

The ONLY things that never change:

Our "cafeteria-style" subject choices

 Stuff we do about four days a week, in whatever order 
the kids prefer: 


Daily(ish) proofreading sentence

Rotating subjects that we typically do daily for a week or so at a time:

Current Events

Super's latest masterpiece!

Other stuff we work around:
Music lessons and practice
Occasional tutoring
Our homeschool group's activities
Letting dogs in, letting dogs out, letting dogs in...

I'm NEVER a distraction during school! 

I don't write dates on my plans anymore.  I used to make files with math worksheets, graphic organizers, etc. for each school day, collated, stapled, and complete with a dated sticky note.  

Then, when we inevitably got off track, I would feel stressed that we were running behind.

Now I just use a couple of crate hanging files for whatever printed material we are using.  They are ready to go when we need them but there is no such thing as "behind" because we are getting it done at our own pace.

My ultra-complex filing system

I do make monthly goals.  By the end of August I'd like the kids to finish up their Hands-On Equations kit.  By the end of September it would be nice to have a couple of books crossed off the reading list.  And by December I'd love to see major improvement in a certain kid's handwriting...

And I have made a four-year-plan for Super now that she's at the high school level.  I want to make sure she meets our state's graduation requirements, is prepared for college, and has a good transcript for her college applications, so I think it's important to at least have a list of goals. 

Summer wildflowers

But if we spend a couple of weeks doing a big block of science and then do history for a week and then focus on grammar for a bit and then get really into a book and just read for three or four days...that's just fine.  We can go in the general direction of the plan even while straying from the details (and I can absolutely guarantee that we will stray from the details!) 

Under-desk solution for squirmy feet!

Scheduling, yes, but on our own terms.  Another great advantage of homeschooling.  


Karen said...

I'm so glad you are blogging again!!! Have I told you that? :) This is great and so much how I plan. But I honestly didn't plan much for Keilee this year. SHE did. I feel useless. :)

Sparklee said...

Don't feel useless, Karen! You obviously have done a great job since she now has the skills to put together her own learning plan! Good for her and good for you!

Magic and Mayhem said...

Oh, I love the sounds of your system! I am always inspired by other people's organization, though I'm so bad at it myself. :) I love the pics too.

Gabriela said...

I love Poem of the Day and Sentence of the Day! And all the stuff you guys do looks awesome. I'm also a planner and used to get stressed when we got sidetracked, flexibility is key, for sure. Great post!