I have been thinking about how to plan our year. I don’t want to take the whole summer off. I want to do a light term which would include math, lots of pleasure reading, journaling, science, some handwriting practice since Lilah is making such great progress with cursive and a fun geography study of our state (we would do this on rainy days at the library). My girls are not opposed to this because they enjoy the spontaneous opportunities that homeschooling brings; like extended playdates, trips to the beach, outside classes, nature walks, and the ability to be free from a schedule.
I am thinking of doing quarters with the summer quarter being a lighter load. Our year would look like:
Summer Term: July - September with last week of September and first week of October off.
Fall Term: October - December with Last week of December and First week of January off (which will be great to visit with school friends).
Winter Term: January-March with last week of March and first week of April off
Spring Term: April - June with last two weeks of June off to coincide with school ending for their school friends.
That will give the girls eight weeks off - similar to what public school children get off but our blocks of time will be spread out over the course of the year.
I am also keeping a daily checklist of what days are filled with learning and thus constitute a school day. Last Saturday we went to an art festival where the children listened to performances (music appreciation), painted a mural and made paper from pulp (art), experimented making the biggest bubble possible (science). I counted this as a half day. Being in CT, we are free from mandated reporting, but I feel like I should be accountable for their learning. If they choose to return to school, I want to show the administrator how their learning was accomplished and what was covered. I enjoy keeping a portfolio. Not only will it give me the proof of education, looking at accomplishments made over the term makes the challenging days seem minor.
The larger scope of homeschooling encompasses so much more than just “school at home”. I am continually amazed. When I try to school at home, I am met with resistance. I like to start at 9:00 each day. Rather than always starting with math, which is what we have done in the past, I now ask her what she wants to start with. I know she will be invested in the learning and more open to the work. Today it was science. We are learning about muscles and bones. We made a paper model of the bones in the arm and used string to represent the muscles pulling and pushing the bones. While I feel more comfortable doing math in the morning, clearly she does not. I don’t think her brain is available for computation and fact practice until at least noon!
I will just have a handle on Lilah as a learner and then Grace will come home!
Years ago when I was teaching I heard that a teacher was third behind an air traffic controller and a doctor in terms of jobs that require the most decision making in a day. When you modify that to teaching-mother, imagine the enormity of choices we are faced with every day! Some days it is thrilling to know that I have such a direct impact in my child’s education. Other days it is simply exhausting. Always thinking. Always planning. Always feeling. Always loving. Always growing. Always.