I’m trying something bold and innovative in our fourth year of homeschooling:
No, seriously. I haven’t so much done that before. We school year-round, so there’s no pressure to “finish the school year” at a certain point and thus no real reason to divide up and schedule our work. I’ve organized individual subjects – planned out which lessons to do for each Five in a Row book, made (and, uh, largely ignored) lists of projects and supplemental reading for Story of the World. But mostly I’ve been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants homeschooler, and every day we’ve gotten up and Done The Next Thing.
The problem was that we kept missing stuff. We didn’t wind up doing that many projects or experiments because I wouldn’t have planned them out in advance, and subjects like science and history kept getting pushed off because I wouldn’t have the materials I needed together. And when I was tired or distracted, it was easy for me to lose the flow and just let the kids go off and play. All the extras I kept wanting to add in, like art and poetry teas? Forget it.
So I mapped out a schedule. I distributed Alex’s subjects more evenly and and arranged them so she’d get one weekday off in everything but math. I put in spaces for Colin, for cleaning, and for myself. This past week, I tried it for the first time. On Sunday, I filled in all the boxes with specific plans for the upcoming week.
I was amazed at how much more smoothly our school week went. Amazed! Nothing got skipped (except, uh, most of the cleaning), and most days we finished by lunch. I knew in advance what science experiments were coming up, and was ready to do them. I had a much firmer grasp on exactly what each day would contain, which made me feel more free to let Alex choose the order of her subjects.
Lots of things got scribbled out, moved around, amended, or checked off out of sequence. Five in a Row happened in a completely different order than I’d planned. But I never felt off-balance. I didn’t feel bound to the schedule, just supported by it.
I’ve already got my chart finished for next week. Captain Obvious thinks she might be on to something here.