Thursday, February 10, 2011

Changes to the Plan

When we started out this school year, I developed a weekly schedule for covering all the state required subjects. Monday through Friday we cover the 'core' subjects on a daily basis. These include reading, spelling, math, writing and grammar. Monday and Friday we have history. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are science days. Health, civics, art, geography and music each get one day per week. I'm starting to consider revising my original plan for a few reasons.

First of all, now that we primarily do our 'formal' schooling in the afternoons, sometimes time flies by too quickly for the number of subjects I would like to cover. If we get hung up on a particular concept in math, we might run out of time for health that day. Then things get pushed to the next day. Before I know it, Friday is packed full of all those things we just couldn't squeeze in the rest of the week!

Another problem I'm discovering is that our one day a week subjects just don't get the coverage they should. The continuity is just not there when we only touch on it once in every seven days. These particular subjects tend to be the ones I have the most trouble planning, as well. I'm not sure if it's because I have fewer traditional teaching materials for these subjects, or if I am just not as comfortable with them at times.

Finally, I'm finding that the need to hurry along causes the boys to need to switch gears far too often in one day. Like many students, they need time to transition from one thing to the next. With some days having as many as seven different subjects to cover, it's just too much to take.

My proposed changes look like this. Some subjects will still be covered daily. Math, reading and spelling will all continue with their usual schedules. I think I am going to schedule history, science, grammar and writing twice a week, in larger portions on the days they are being covered. Right now, grammar sometimes has a tiny pocket of time, often only a worksheet or text book activity. I would like to really develop that time into something more substantial, perhaps with more in depth writing assignments. Art will continue to be a once a week endeavor, but now with more time allotted.

Finally the biggest change I want to make revolves around those remaining subjects: health, civics, geography and music. I think I am going to put together something more like a unit study for each of these subjects. The boys would get a more thorough exposure to each topic. I also think I'll be more likely to invest the time necessary if we are going to be working daily on a particular subject.

As we are about 2/3 of the way through our required 180 school days as of this week, I'm not sure how this will all play out for the rest of the year. I will probably change a bit and tweak our schedule as we go. I am definitely planning to work with more of a block scheduling system for next year. Overall, I have been happy with what we have covered so far this year. I just think we can do it with less stress if we change some of the mechanics.

One final note, Annie from Learn at Every Turn, recently posted a link to a website called iCivics. I can't get over how much I love this site! It has been a perfect learning tool for JT. Today he played the game called, "Do you have the right?". Here's a synopsis of the game from the site.

In Do I Have A Right?, you’ll run your own firm of lawyers who specialize in constitutional law. You’ll need to decide whether potential clients “have a right,” and if so, match them with the right lawyer. The more clients you serve and the more cases you win, the faster your law firm will grow! Can you think on your feet? You're going to have to!

I highly recommend checking it out.

1 comment:

Annie said...

Thank you for the reference! That was nice of you!

Good luck with the tinkering. It never seems to end, does it?