Friday 6 September 2013

Organising your life: home school

Welcome back to this five day series hosted by Caroline at the Joyful Keeper. This is blog hop is about organising life. I'm a learner at this and am looking forward to learning from the other ladies who are posting. Some of my posts will be ideas that have worked well for me and others are more about where I would like to be! I will try to be clear about what has definitely worked and what is just aspirational.

The topics are

Organising home education is definitely an area where one woman's meat is another's poison.

I love planning-months in advance. Planning closer loses it appeal. So I will happily look at curriculum in the New Year and in the Easter break but working on something the day before just becomes stressful. So, I try to choose the curriculum that we will use early and then make lists of books to read aloud and how to tackle unit studies. Inevitably, though, I don't get it all done in time and some planning just can't be done ahead.

Last year, I worked out which maths topics Middle Son would study in each week, forgetting that the beauty of home education is that we can go faster on easier topics and slower on those that he finds more difficult. This planning was just a waste of time. It might have worked in a classroom but not in a home situation.

We use a timetable for our formal learning time because this works for us. This means that we always have a Bible time, English and maths. Reading after lunch is fairly fixed as are the slots for Middle Son's German and science. There is a bit more flexibility around the afternoon but there is a timetable. 

Each Thursday evening, I work on the following week's timetable: the detail of the maths to be covered, the books that we will study and whether we are going to a group or outing, that week and the time it will take. Sometimes, the timetable needs altering-the week that we found that there was a documentary on William Tyndale on BBC i-player, we ditched the usual plans for an afternoon to watch this. Youngest Daughter, who had been learning about the Tudors anyway, then went on to make some outside art about Tyndale being burned at the stake.

The weekly timetable is our servant. It can be changed or ignored but usually we follow it. We would ditch the timetable if

  • someone is ill
  • something exciting happens, for example, when a swarm of bees landed in the garden
but more often than not it is helpful.
A plan for each week is particularly useful if
  • I have to take Grandma who lives with us to an urgent appointment
  • I'm not feeling well/lacking imagination/life and grey weather have caught up with me.
Having a plan then means that education carries on as normal and this is helpful for the children and me. 

Just a thought, when we first started, I worked on lesson plans: educational objectives, structured learning time and using a book from a school, even wondered whether I ought to add in a plenary session with my then 8 year old, 2 year old and baby. Of course, the plenary session got scrapped fairly fast but I don't do formal lesson plans now.

 Usually, I know what the aim of a particular slot is, for example, for Youngest Son to practice a sound and correct formation of the letter/letters involved. The relevant sound is on the timetable and usually, a note about how I will teach this, for example, Finger Phonics book and find objects around the house which include the relevant sound but I might not include writing the letter/s on the white board as this is something that happens daily. For Younger Daughter, the note might be even shorter: phonics as I am using a very structure programme with her. For Middle Son, a slot might just say "German" as this is taught on line but for chemistry, there might be a topic/exercise and video link. 

The plan is a servant not a master.

Now I must do my weekly plan!

Do pop over to the other ladies who are writing about organising home school.




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Please join us. There will be opportunities to comment and to link up your blog posts  at the Joyful Keeper. life.

1 comment:

  1. Some great thoughts there. I think remembering to be flexible, and not letting some "schedule" rule you, is *SO* important.