Sunday, September 01, 2013

Scheduling Part 4: Homeschool

Scheduling homeschool felt like making a schedule within a schedule.  I had to first figure out the time I wanted our schooling to take place.  Then I had to figure out how long each book/subject takes my children to finish.  Next was to figure out who was going to need my direct help.  And to top it off....what was I going to have the boys be doing during this time.  Jedidiah joined the homeschooling ranks these past few months, but since he is just starting off his schooling isn't time intensive.  In another month or so I will be adding Jonah to the mix as well.  So the schedule will change up a bit, but I only plan on doing math and phonics with him.

I made sure to make up the bulk of my schedule first before arranging the specifics of homeschool.  Thankfully I have a few orginizational papers and charts that we will continue to utilize each year.  The first year of implimenting Charlotte Mason was HARD.  Which books to read and when?  Oh, that was hard.  But I made up a sort of template that I now just plug in the next years history readings on certain days, their literature readings on another day, etc.  That first template took forever to work out and tweak, but all that work paid off since it has been succesful for each year since. I found that in the older years, with the heavy book load, that I did have to switch things up a bit, BUT having the ground work covered I wasn't reinventing the wheel.

Since CM is heavy in reading material, it is parent intensive in the beginning years.  I have found a couple of ways to ease the load.  The first is to find out if any of their books are on Librivox, where people have volunteered to read books for audio that are in the public domain.  This has really eased my reading load this past semester.  When I add in Jedidiah, his readings will not be as long, nor as many, so it shouldn't be too bad.  Plus, my second 'mommy saver' will be to have my two older girls read any of his history readings to him.  Since we had switched curriculums a couple of times over the years I feel that the older ones didn't get everything that they might have had otherwise.  So this will cover two birds with one stone. 

Below is the sheet that I fill in first for each schooling child (Isabella and Moira are on one sheet as they are using the same materials). The example below if for Flannery.  This paper is kept in what we call, "The Green Binder".  Oh, yes, we are so creative ;-)  This paper is specifically for me, but also for the girls to flip to easily to see which books, at a glance, they have to read that day.

The above blank schedule can be obtained from Donna Young's wonderful website.

After I fill in which books they will be using on each day I then fill in the Daily Schedule sheet that each child has in a special folder of their own.

The numbers you see in some of those spaces are the pages or chapters that need to be read that day.  The other books are done a page or lesson each day, so they just do the next page/lesson.  Above you just see the page for Monday and Tuesday.  This is for our third semester, as you can see by the weeks at the top, 25-36.  So all of the Monday's for the semester are in one block.  Flannery is to check off each item as she finishes it.  I get the page numbers from Ambleside Online. Here is a sample of the weekly charts that AO has to offer, GO HERE.

This year I switched Saoirse over to Higher Up and Further In (this is the curriculum name, which is on the Charlotte Mason Help site).  It is CM based, and has some of AO's books as well.  However, I found I like HUFI's approach to history better.  So anyone after Saoirse will start off in HUFI.  The rest of the girls, since they are so far along with AO, will stick with AO's book choices.  (I have all of the years of AO, and HUFI semester charts printed out and laminated for my reference.  I also put a separate paper copy in our Green Binder.  Around here, having multiple copies of any needed paper work is essential :-))

Once I did this paperwork for all of my children (who are schooling) I then had to figure out who is going to do what, when!  Then the work really starts! Although the below segment from our schedule may seem simple, it was no easy matter to figure out what everyone was to be doing at each given time! 

A couple of things didn't get typed up correctly, but we all know what needs to be done. For example, with Flannery, you see the second slot is 'school', and the third is, 'first book'.  Those slots should be switched, and the one that says, 'school' is supposed to be 'second book'.  I suppose when I have to re-do the schedule to add in Jonah I will switch things then. 

 Saoirse has two blanks in her schedule, as she is usually either helping with the boys, finishing any chores, or having some free time.  Although she has come a long way with her reading, she still has a LONG way to go before she will be able to read any of her books on her own.  You can see that I have turns with the older two girls for 'narrations/math'.  Narrations are them retelling me what they have read so far that day.  This year they are writing up 3 of their narrations, the rest are oral narrations.  And each girl has found that they do better with math if I am going over their lesson with them.  I stop them before they make a mistake on their problems.  They take all quizzes and tests on their own though.  This has REALLY helped them to stay on top of any problem areas.  This is one reason that Isabella fell behind in math.  She kept plugging along, getting so-so grades, until one day she was failing everything.  I had to take her back....WAAAAY back to go over those critical elements that she never really got when she was doing math on her own.  I do not think it is a downfall of the curriculm at all, which I really like, and will continue to use.  I believe she just wasn't catching on to this element, then that one, until it just all crumbled down on her.

The older two girls have time after lunch, not shown above, to finish their schooling since their schooling takes longer than the others.

(All links are just the google results when I typed in the book title.  No affiliate links.)

Besides the books on AO, and HUFI, we also use the following curriculm/books:
Science: This year Isabella has chosen to use "Exploring Creation: Biology" for science.  For this we are following HUFI's layout, using the chart from Donna Young to keep track of those reading assignments. 
Grammar: She will complete one page daily from "Easy Grammar Plus".
Math: Everyone 3rd grade and above uses, "Teaching Textbooks".

Science: She too has decided to go with Exploring Creation for her science. We have not determined which book she will do this year yet.
Grammar:  She will use the same book as Isabella.
Handwriting:  Yes, my naturally talented artist is doing handwriting in 9th grade.  Don't ask me how that works out!!!  The poor girl can do a beautiful rendition of another drawing or still life in front of her, but could not copy a cursive 'b'!!  So she will be learning italic cursive this year, using "Italic Handwriting Series".
Art: She and I working through the book, "Drawing with Children". Since this covers the basics we will probably work through this quickly and move on to the author's second book, "Drawing with Teens".

Flannery and Saoirse:
Science:  I am using "God's Design for Heaven and Earth" (this link shows only three of the 9 or 10 books that we have for the whole series).  The lessons are short, and easy.
Handwriting:  They are using the same Italic series books, but for each of their grade level.
Phonics:  Flannery can read well, but she still has some issues of just skimming over words that she can not easily read.  Unfortunately for her the drawback of most of her schooling coming easy for her is that when faced with something more difficult, she just tries to ignore it!  So we are continuing with our phonics book, "Phonics Pathways" for her.  I usually have to only go so far in the book, but for her we are continuing on to help her learn to really decipher those sticky words.  Saoirse is very, very slowly working her way through the book.  With my other girls, once they got the basics down we were able to go through one page a day. For Saiorse we take three days to go over one page.  But that is the beauty of homeschooling,  taking the needed time for a child to grasp the needed concepts to succeed.
Math: For K-2nd grade the kids use Saxon Math.

With all of the girls we are using the free online curriculum for American Sign Language, which you can find HERE.  The older two girls are deciding on a foreign language that they would like to study.  So far they can't make up their minds :-)

There you have it!  Homeschooling for our family :-)


momof4andmaybemore said...

I am really enjoying your blog! I found it through the links you put on Large Families On Purpose. Thanks for the great posts! :)

The Southern Peach-Girls said...

Thank you for visiting! I love your 'name'. Funny thing, I just got off the phone with a relative who asked me if we 'were putting on the brakes' (wondering if we were planning on having any more children). I told them, "maybe".


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