Our new school year started on January 9 after Epiphany; we decided last year to take the plunge and follow a year round approach that started with the new calendar year. There are so many opportunities to create your own schedule in homeschooling that it may take a few years and a failures to find that sweet spot of what works overall. For us, December is a month that is not as full of obligations outside of the home, but it is a month full of liturgical preparation. It is the month of anticipation! Having all of the that time to cultivate Advent and anticipation, makes the preparation for Christmastide that much more doable and less stressful. I break the year up into three terms with a summer interim period of 4 weeks, so we school about 40 weeks out of the year. Term 1 this year spanned from January 9th to April 8th. We had a winter break week during February after Jeff got back from business trips which helped immensely in keeping up my morale. Sometimes, we need a break week during the term and sometimes, we don’t. If we don’t use up the break week during the term, I take two weeks before the next term starts off. Using this system, I can harmonize the priority of mental health and physical work that needs to be done more efficiently.
:What Didn’t Work Term 1:
- Memory Work. We took a break this term from doing memory work and focused on reading My Book House, several selections I made for CCM Beta (I will be posting those shortly), and map work using Drawing Asia. I think that this pregnancy found me short on morning energy, so I was not prepared to model memory work nor was I able to gather myself together. So, I pushed it to Term 2 where it has been a breeze.
- Relaxed outdoor time. Normally, we spend a couple of hours at the park down the street or in front of our townhouse playing with neighbor children. However, this past term we spent more time scheduling outside events or trips. We were averaging an outside event or trip twice a week either to the botanical gardens or to Balboa park. It left us missing our neighborhood friends and caused more chaos in the long run.
- Weekly individual meetings with Leo and Bella. This was my fault as I allowed outside priorities overtake this goal. I also found out that it really wasn’t as needed for their ages as I thought. I am available enough in their lessons and reading still that a set time isn’t necessary currently, but Leo will be needing this in the next year or two.
:What Did Work Term 1:
- By taking out memory work, I was able to capitalize on getting our basics done which was important. The baby is due mid to late July, so I wanted to have an easier work schedule during Term 2. This also allowed me more time to build up lax habits in anticipation of the new baby.
- I took time this past December to write out in detail our complete course of study up to graduation. This was an immense relief, and it has kept me on track in priority as well as in consistency. I know where I am going, why I am doing this, what I am going to be using, and it has also given me accountability markers. When planning Term 2, I was able to spend 30 minutes for the term refining our goals and tailoring our plan to the individual child’s needs. It also means that I have a list that I can buy from in anticipation, so I can better capitalize on deals as well as sales.
- We read aloud a lot. It was a great feeling being able to sit and read together or listen to an audio book over a board game or puzzle. Obviously, this is happening more because of the ages of the older kids and less because of want. Recognizing this little lovely organic happening has me very excited to see a new stage in our family culture.
:Basic School Day Flow:
- 7am to 9am: Wake-up, breakfast, Lauds on Divine Office app, Mama’s Morning Basket, empty dishwasher, start a load of laundry, hygiene and dress for the day
- 9:30am to Noon: Morning time and school time while the littles play, eat lunch
- 12:30pm to 3:30 pm: outside, afternoon chores
- 4pm to 6pm: quiet time, dinner prep, eat, and clean up
- 6pm to 8pm: Evening time, hygiene, bedtime stories, and lights out for chickadees
Leo: Grade 4
- Saxon 5/4 (Lessons 1-46)
- Well-Ordered Language 1A (Lessons 1-6)
- Writing and Rhetoric Book 1 (Lessons 1-6)
- Bible History (chapters 1-60)
- Poetry of William Blake
Bella: Grade 2
- Saxon 2
- All About Spelling 1 (Finished book)
- All About Reading 2 (Lessons 1-24)
- Psalms 1-50
- Poetry of A. A. Milne