Friday, April 26, 2013

Scheduling School

I hope this will cover the questions on how I plan school.  The pictures are fairly hard to see; click on them to scroll through larger images.   

The first thing I do is figure out how many week's of school need to be completed.  Check your teacher's manual (if you use one) and double check your state requirements to make sure you aren't left in a deficit.  

Then I look ahead at the coming year and decide when I want to be DONE with 'school'.  My little ones compete on swim team in the summer, plus the pool, lake and parks are just irresistable when the weather is lovely.  I know I want to be done with our core curriculum before swim team practices start up in the last week of May.  (Daily reading and math are completed year round.  Get up, eat breakfast, do your math and read something - that's just how we roll; I'm sure you will find your own path for family education.)  

Once I know when I want to be done and how much there is to be done, and I start counting backwards adding in flex time as needed.  I rarely build in specific days off, aside from important holidays.  Instead, I build in margin so that days off can happen naturally without causing tension in our schedule.  Adding in margin allows for a day off for nature hikes on gorgeous fall days, rest days when everyone is tired, or scrubadub days when we need to pull the house back in order.  Once that is done I find I am typically looking to start school around the middle of August for second grade on up, and September for kindergarten and first grade.  

This is what our calendar has looked like for the 2012/2013 school year.  My second and fifth graders are working together through the same core curriculum  - My Father's Work Creation to Greeks (CTG).  Each school week is denoted by CTG: Week 1, etc.  Note that I didn't schedule kindergarten most of the school year?  Explanation on that down below.  

August 2012.  We start the year out slowly in mid-August adding a subject at a time into our daily routine.

September 2012.  We took off the week of Labor Day (again still completing math and reading daily).

October 2012: We schooled all through October, but stretched two weeks of curriculum out across three calendar weeks to allow for rest, nature hikes and deeper study of some subjects.

November 2012.  We stretched one week of curriculum across two weeks to allow for Thanksgiving cooking and time with family.  

 December 2012: Plenty of time off to spend with family.

January 2013.  Back to schooling right on through.  

February 2013.  We moved in February, so we definitely took some time off for packing and unpacking.

March 2013.  Spring break in March was full of snow sledding.

April 2013.

 May 2013.  Finishing up Fifth and Second grades in time for swim team.  Still working through A to Z (kindergarten).

June 2013.  Continuing with kindergarten.

July 2013

August 2013.  Finishing up A to Z (kindergarten) just in time to start first grade.

My youngest isn't technically school-aged, yet.  Through most of the school year I have been fairly laid back about using our kindergarten curriculum.  She sits with her older siblings during most of literature, history, science and Bible and enjoys a computer-based phonics program, too.  But recently she has been more interested in having her own school time.  Plus I am enjoying more one-on-one time with her now that my second grader has better study habits.  So we are now moving quickly through her own curriculum (My Father's World A to Z) and plan to start her in first grade (My Father's World Learning God's Story) in the second week of September.  If we had started our kindergarten curriculum in September, we would be done about now.  And honestly, with the work she has done with her siblings this year we don't even need to go through this curriculum.  We are only continuing on through because we love it so much.  It is such a full and fun curriculum.  It's like icing on the cake she already has in front of her.  I love the flexibility and customization of home education!

So that is how we schedule our school years but it's only one way.  Feel free to share how you go about this process!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Priscilla! It means so much to hear that.

  2. Very interesting post, Chelle. Although I have not been blessed to homeschool myself, I have several homeschool friends and they all do it differently. Fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Julie! There are as many ways to take this journey as their our families, right? If we didn't have such solid summer plans that we love, we would probably go about it differently. This is the season we are in, though, and I am thankful!

  3. Terrific post, Michelle! Planning helps us stay on track, too.

  4. loving this homeschooling series~

  5. I'm loving the idea of math (and reading) everyday! We have finished our state-required hours for the year, but we have other things that we want to work on. The boys are continuing their math one lesson a day and not even complaining! (They've always read everyday and that's no different.) I know dropping math over our summer break is not a good thing. I can tell every fall. Excited to be moving forward without taking a step back.

    1. Thanks for commenting! I hope it works out well for you. The kids are used to doing year round math here. The lessons don't take long at all.