Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Year-Round Homeschool Schedule with a Large Family

I post something similar to this every school year, since each year is different in one way or another. Hope it helps someone! :)

Here is a sample of our schedule for school and otherwise. For more information about the curricula we use, check out the links under "Our Homeschool Tools".

Below is our USUAL homeschool weekly schedule. I thought that it might give some moms a better picture on how our homeschooling works. Now, we are VERY flexible, but this is our guideline for our school day/week/month. Each school day is usually completed by noon, which leaves plenty of time for fun, games and chores!

One of the main reasons that we school year-round so that the kids don't go through the "summer absent mindedness" that other kids go through. There's also no need for review (you can usually skip through the review sections at the beginning of each year of seatwork if you school year round since review is not needed). Kids who school year-round also usually get ahead in their school work and can usually graduate early because of this. Moms also have less chance of the infamous "homeschool mom burn out" because of the MANY breaks during the year. We take off when babies are born, kids adopted, etc. We take our yearly break from Thanksgiving through New Years, so as to enjoy that time of year with baking, family activities and such!

While the kids do their seatwork, I am readily available to help or instruct, while I am overseeing them at the table in a "round robin" fashion. However, they don't need help as often, once they can read the directions and know how to do the problems. When everyone is occupied with their assignments I use that time to catch up on e-mail/internet after Julia (5) has completed her Kindergarten seatwork and while Ellie is doing preschool seatwork. Ellie is able to do her preschool seatwork mostly on her own, with me giving general instructions. I like to teach them when they are very young that they are ABLE to learn on their own, with some instruction. This does not mean I am unavailable or unwilling to help at all, but this is done in preparation of having her learn on her own, which she will do her entire life!

We are fortunate to have my computer right next to the table where we do seatwork. This allows me to do my writing, e-mail, and record grades while I am sitting right next to everyone who is doing their seatwork. In fact, I sit on the same kitchen table bench as two other younger ones who are more apt to need my help. As you can tell, I am very encouraging of independent learning, and this is a good way to begin!

I also love to have the older children learn to TEACH! This is a valuable skill that most children and adults have never learned. For instance, in our home, the oldest two teach preschool (under my watchful eye) to the younger ones. This consists of counting to 100, saying the months of the year and days of the week, learning their address and phone number, learning their birthdays, reviewing phonics sounds, learning the books of the Bible, singing songs, saying Bible memory verses, etc. This has proven to be extremely beneficial to both the older and younger children. The younger children learn to have and show a unique form of respect to their older siblings, and the older ones learn that valuable skill of passing on knowledge to a younger child in an exciting, age-appropriate manner! As always, I am within earshot while this is all being done.

As for housework, I usually have laundry started right after I am ready for the day. The girls and I prepare a crock pot dinner first thing in the morning or lay out what needs to be out for dinner if no crock pot is used. If we do not have a crock pot dinner, we still make sure that the meal is planned so that we can go through the rest of the day more smoothly, without having to worry about "what's for dinner"!

Now, sometimes we'll have field trips or outside lessons. Because we homeschool and school year-round, we can work our schedule in and around these activities. This year, all the children (ages 5 and up) have 4H one Thursday a month for 2 hours. The boys have robotics on one Thursday a month for 2 hours. And Kaitlyn has choir and music theory every Tuesday for 2 hours. This is so nice because we are home most the week, yet the kids have so much "homework" and study projects for 4H that it fills the rest of our days, as we wish (we can do as little or much research on veterinary science, for instance, as we want).

We also school 4 days a week, doubling up one day per week so that we can take off Friday for our family ministry/community outreach day. More about that HERE. Look through the "older" posts, as well, to see all we have done.

History, geography and science are always combined and we use the school bus stop approach, where the younger children aren't required to learn or retain as much as the older ones (they step off the bus when they are ready to get off). This year we are still studying Mystery of History. We take one afternoon for a few hours to listen to three of the audio CD lessons, and then we make a timeline of those lessons. Depending upon what was covered, we will watch a DVD or You Tube video (screened first by Mommy) that relates to what we are studying. All this covers history for one full week in just one afternoon! Science (Christian Libery Nature Readers, Science Jim [LOVE HIM!], Real Science 4 Kids) and geography (Top Secret Adventures, computer or board games) is done the same way, but on another afternoon.

Reading is done by each child 3 times per week from their school readers. Each afternoon (or during free time), they will also pick up a book of choice, as they all LOVE reading. However, three days per week reading a few chapters each day from their school readers, read to Annalise (18) is what is required academically.

In addition, we do "carschooling" (review of school-related things while traveling in the car) on the way to extracurricular activities.

Well, that's about it! Each family is different, but it is nice to see what others do to make their homeschooling easier and more efficient!

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Jenny said...

Thank you for posting this detailed outline. We are just finishing our first full year of home schooling and will be going year round starting this summer. It is a great need for our family, since I have lupus and we have a son with Asperger's and other struggles. God bless your family for your great endeavors.

Mom of 5 said...

Hey Jenny!
I just found your blog and we have the same homeschooling style. I too school year round and four days a week. I've been looking around your blog and have found that we have much in common. I love your blog and am now a follower :) I'm looking forward to digging through your categories :)