Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ideal Schedule vs Real Schedule

I'm hard at work on my plans for next year's homeschooling...or maybe I should say, I'm planning some studies that we might get to, if no one leads us off into a detailed study of the inside of soccer balls or the best water/pressure ratios for soda bottle rockets!

As part of that work, I'm toying with the idea of an attempted schedule. I've tried this before, but babies, cranky appliances and minor disasters always seem to loom larger in real life than my best-laid plans. Now that everyone is past toddlerhood, maybe I can try again. It might go something like this:

7:30 Get up; shower and dress
8:00 Allie (7) and Neal (10) dance downstairs, dressed and singing selections from 'The Sound of Music"; they breakfast on oatmeal and fruit, then do chores while working on their poem memorization

8:30 See husband off; make gourmet main dish for dinner and put in fridge
9:00- 12:00 Start school; math, writing, then our long lesson of science or history, which delights and enthralls the kids to the point of giddiness
10:00 Ken (14) emerges from his room, having already completed his day's algebra assignment; he breakfasts, then begins writing his notes for history or science
12:00 Lunch, made by Ken or Neal while I work on my website
1:00 - 3:00 Neal and Allie play outside while I study A+ and Linux computer certification materials with Ken, then we read and discuss any other assignments
4:00 Make dinner; clean house while listening to a course from The Teaching Company
6:00 Dinner, which includes sparkling, witty conversation about politics, current events, and all the swell things the kids learnes in lessons that day
7:00-9:00 Family reading and game time
I can dream, can't I?
In all my years of homeschooling, I've had about five days that followed any sort of real schedule. From babies leaking all over worksheets, to appliances leaking all over science projects, real life seems to trump my mental picture of 'how things are supposed to go'.

We have vague routines that we tend to fall into, e.g., lessons with the younger ones before lunch, lessons with the older ones after, or subjects that require more intense concentration (like math) first, then less structured ones later, but that rule isn't hard and fast either, since we also try to study according to enthusiasms.

We have vague routines that we tend to fall into, e.g., lessons with the younger ones before lunch, lessons with the older ones after, or subjects that require more intense concentration (like math) first, then less structured ones later, but that rule isn't hard and fast either, since we also try to study according to enthusiasms.
So here is a more realistic attempt at a schedule:





7:56 Get up late, since alarm was reset by cat; search for clothes that match in laundry basket

8:56 Allie staggers down the stairs, followed by Neal, who looks like he belongs on the set of a zombie movie. They try to watch tv, but I've put a time block on it.They whine a bit, then play legos until breakfast.
9:00 I check email, then look for something to have for dinner. Not much available. The washer starts doing annoying things, so I unplug and reset it. Pandemonium breaks out when the lego people are unfairly divided. Quell riot, start kids cleaning lego-strewn living room.
10:00 Lesson time. Kids start out playing calmly with pattern blocks while I read aloud about the history of science. Somewhere around Dionysius the Elder of Syracuse, two blocks become projectiles to recreate a basic catapult. After removing the blocks and setting out paper and pencils, Neal and Allie begin an in-depth discussion of various types of projectile launching, and proceed to rocket propulsion and it's application in our backyard. It's not on the lesson plan, but it's learning all the same.
11:00 Break to test new rocket theory. Neighbor's cat gets plastic nose cone in the face. He's unhurt, but I'm so glad he can't talk! Ken joins us and improves the aim of the rocket so that it misses animals but lands on the garage roof

12:00 Mom must work a bit, so kids make lunch. That, at least, actually goes along with the plan!
1:00 More bookwork, at least in theory. Kids do math and writing, while I try to help out. Ken progresses to computer, where I can't help because I don't do Linux programming. He is accompanied by music that is definitely not from Disney! After lessons, the younger two play
3:00 Neighborhood kids start showing up, right after Allie asks about the origin of rain. Soon I have nine extra kids in the kitchen watching me make 'rain' with a pan of boiling water and a pan of ice. This is my 'public service' time, since they don't get much science in government schools anymore. Group lego sessions ensue, followed by outside play
6:00 Dinner, which includes two wonderful glasses of milk all over the table. This does not provoke brilliant, scintillating conversation...
7:00 to 9:00 Family run-all-over-the-town time. Everyone has to go somewhere: the library, soccer practice, a friend's house, a class at the Y, Brownies....
10:00 Order kids to bed. Read a chapter of Harry Potter to Allie and Neal. Collapse in a heap.

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