Getting a grip on homeschool scheduling
We’re in our 6th year of homeschooling. For all but the first year, we’ve done Sonlight. One of the big bonuses of the Sonlight curriculum is that they schedule out, day-by-day, their program in their invaluable Instructor’s Guides. However, Sonlight is only part of what we do, and I’ve found that I need to schedule out my oldest son’s work (he’s 10 years old, in 5th grade). Part of that is so that nothing gets left behind, and part of it is because he does so much of his work independently, and he needs a paper to look at and say, “This is what I need to do today.”
I’ve found it wise to schedule out no more than four weeks at a time. Invariably, something within those four weeks pops up — he needs more dictionary work; the math that he’s been flying through suddenly screeches to a frustrated halt; he becomes very interested in a subject, and I decide to have him do a report on it, etc. In addition, there’s always some subject (or two) in which we fall behind. “Fall behind,” though, is something of a misnomer, because the only standard to which he falls behind is my own, i.e., the schedule I’ve created for him. So, at the end of the four weeks’ schedule, we almost always now have two-three weeks of unscheduled work — both extra work, and catching up on the undone assignments from the previous weeks. So, I end up with weeks 1-4, then weeks 7-11, etc.
In addition to the Sonlight schedule, which I re-do on his personal, weekly schedule, we include
Bible Study — currently, a study on Giant Killing, revised from a teaching I received at a recent retreat I attended (this is instead of SL’s suggested daily readings)
Latin — Latina Christiana I (w/ the DVDs this year — what a fantastic help that’s been!!)
Trumpet Lessons & Practice — weekly lessons from my stepdad
General Music Lessons — all three boys receive weekly general music from my stepdad, a mostly-retired elementary public school teacher
English — Rod and Staff
Math — Singapore Math
Science — currently, The Geology Book and study guide, with which we’re almost done
I find it pretty much impossible to keep up with the SL schedule *and* fit in everything else, so I spread the SL a little more thinly than they suggest, taking about three weeks to do two of their weeks.
I’m really happy with the balance we have right now. Ethan is working hard, but is not overwhelmed. I used to berate myself that I wasn’t scheduling out every single one of his weeks, i.e., that we needed those two-week interims of unscheduled work. However, I’ve come to the realization that that really works for us, and I’m totally at peace with it.
Now, if I could just get every other area of my life to a place of contentment, like I feel with our schooling. 8)