If you’ve been reading my blog over the last several months, you’ll know that I’ve been slowly changing our homeschooling method into a more Charlotte Mason style of learning. I’ve been reading and researching a lot about the method of teaching and am just about ready for school to start next month.
One of the most attractive characteristics of a Charlotte Mason style homeschool is that the lessons are very short. With young children who have an attention span about as long as their feet, this is a must. I’d been doing short lessons to start but it’s very affirming to learn that this is OK! I also love the idea of introducing my children to great artists, composers, and poets of the past. I myself and very ignorant of these things and will be learning right along with them.
With all of these “extra” subjects, I wasn’t sure how to approach making a schedule that wouldn’t end up overwhelming us. I’ve finally got something down that I think will really work for us and I thought I would share in case any of you are struggling with making a schedule as well.
Although I must admit, “schedule” is a bit strong of a word…more like an order of events that I hope will keep me on track.
The planner that I bought is the Teachers Planner from House of Dolittle. I like how the days go vertically instead of horizontally, and there is lots of room to write notes in each square. I found it very easy to use to suit my needs. And bonus: it’s made of 100% recycled paper.
I glued in a couple of index cards to the front cover of the planner so that I could see our terms at a quick glance, as well as a list of the virtues/habits that I want to work on each month.
I then started makings lists of subjects and resources that I plan on using. As you can see, I still have some planning to do for the overall school year, but I’m pretty much ready for the first few months! I learned the hard way our first year that it’s best not to plan things out too precisely very far in advance. Things come up and if you fall behind, you (I) end up feeling like I need to catch up to the planner. That totally defeats one of the best things about homeschooling; we can go at our own pace!
Next, I broke up our days. I decided that it would be best to spread out the Family subjects throughout the day so that the kids have time for some quiet work in between and they hopefully won’t get overwhelmed with me talking and reading a lot at once.
The layout of each day will be the same. Family time, independent work for the older 2 while I play or read with the younger 2, another family subject to bring everyone together and all taking part, then guided time for each of the older ones one at a time. The one who is not working with me will often be playing with the younger ones. After that, one more family subject.
I will continue, as we have done in the past, doing a 4 day school week. If I try to do 5 days I just end up burnt out and overwhelmed. And having that extra day gives us some room for a sick day or other event that might come up in the middle of the week.
Each subject will take anywhere from 5-20 minutes, depending on the subject and how the kids do with it. If all goes smoothly, and allowing for a mid-morning snack and a few interruptions from the little ones, we should be done well before lunch.
Here is a breakdown of the subjects we’ll be covering:
-Scripture (memory verses)
-reading (for Tobi)
-math (for Tobi)
-math (for Annie)
-reading (for Annie)
-reading from the Old Testament (history)
-reading from the New Testament (history)
-poetry (with a chocolate milk party!)
-literature (through classics read alouds)
So, there you have it! We will cover a lot of ground, a few steps at a time.
I hope this is helpful!