One of the joys of home education is being in charge of your own reality. If something isn’t working – an approach, a text, the schedule – it’s my job to change it. We do this all the time, tweaking here and there, dropping something to pick up something else.
Spring is coming, no matter what the groundhog says, and with it a host of activities with increasing demands on time – specifically, Ian’s time. Band performances kick in, as do Science Olympiad “workouts” with the local middle school (I love that they allow him to participate, even though he’s home educated – those teachers have my gratitude). At this point in the year, our normal schedule begins to break down, so we have to shift our approach.
I’ve also noticed lately that Ian’s had a difficult time changing gears. He’s a naturally intense kid, and gets lost in his various activities; he has become reticent to start the next subject once an hour has passed. I hate to pull him away from something he’s enjoying, especially when he’s producing so much great stuff. Conversely, Eva benefits from the variety of activities, and is usually ready to switch gears.
To address these issues, I had an Official Meeting with the kids yesterday to evaluate their general satisfaction and ask their opinions about how they would like to see us move forward. The result? Eva’s schedule will largely remain the same, and Ian’s has been modified to address his particular needs. Instead of studying all the subjects every day, he will now have 2 & 1/2 hour chunks of time devoted to one subject each day. We’ll also cut back on math. Here’s how it plays out:
MTThF 7:20 am Jazz Band at the middle school
MWF 8:20 am Literature with Dad
TTh 8:20 am Racquetball with Dad
MWF 9:00 Math
TTh 9:20 Spanish
M-F 9:50 Break
10:15 Focused learning time. Monday: Rube Goldberg, Tuesday: Science Olympiad study, Wednesday: Music Composition, Thursday: Creative Writing, Friday: Animal Attack (his trading card game) work and anything else he wants to work on again.
1:30 Band at the middle school
And then, afternoon lessons in drums, music theory, Science Olympiad workouts, etc. He’ll also have to do his drum practice in the afternoons.
This schedule will work through mid-March, at which point we’ll be switching from science back to history for the last quarter. I’ll have to re-evaluate when that time comes, since we work on that subject all together.
Like I said, because it works for her, Eva’s schedule is more typical of a traditional classroom, roughly changing subjects by the hour. She’s done by about 2:00 each day. Her studies include literature (which is book production now, with the photograph illustrations and layout, etc.), math, science (Rube Goldberg) for another six weeks (when we will switch to history), Spanish, trumpet practice, creative writing on another book, and racquetball.
Like everything we do, our schedule is about maximizing the kids’ performance and enjoyment of their educational experience, while maintaining a sense of balance. I would love to hear from other teachers – both traditional classroom teachers and home educators about how you approach time management with your students.