image by sarah mccoy photo

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What This School Thing Looks Like

I get a lot of questions (and ask a lot of questions of others) as to what it LOOKS like to pack in a school day at home.  Along with all those other bits of life.  It can be a daunting prospect just to get your mind around what a schedule could be.

It can look like anything.  First things first.   It can look like anything

But here's what it has morphed into for us.

In Second grade, Songbird does some variation of these elements:

Daily, we read.  I read novels aloud, fulfilling my lifelong desire to speak in accents. The girls also read alone, silently and aloud.  We even have "book naps" where we all get a break from each other and activity.  We also do some map-drawing and review of old memory work each day.  This takes just minutes.

Nearly every day, we do a math lesson and a timed test of arithmetic facts, and write out a spelling list (in our house, both English and Italian.)

Other subjects get visited several times a week, but not on a tight schedule.  We may loosely alternate science (right now it's a study of origins), English language (we're on linking verbs and poetry), and penmanship.  Any other content is brought in with library books to flesh out whatever we're studying for memory work.  This semester it's early American history and anatomy and physiology.

Extra stuff we squeeze in around the edges includes sports, piano, cooking, and chores (like laundry, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning bathrooms).

Practically speaking, how does that happen?  The only subjects I have to be actively involved in are math, science, and English, so in the mornings I have Songbird knock out a few of the solo tasks, say, draw a map, review old physics facts, and do a timed test, before we hop off to errands or the tennis courts.  Then after lunch, during naptime, I can give more time to whichever major subjects we're studying that day.  We usually only do about an hour to 90 minutes of dedicated work to get this done.  We have a giant checklist of all these work categories and we try to do a bunch every day.  It's that simple. 

We tend to do music and sports at twilight because everyone's awake and it's not ridiculously hot.  This IS the desert.

For Gale Force, who is in Pre-K this year, it looks like this:

The possible things we might include on any given day are reading aloud with me, "reading" alone in her nap, buzzing through a stack of phonogram cards, counting to 100, reviewing memory work, reading and copying a short list of rhyming family words (cat-sat-fat-hat), and playing sports (or, sadly, studying Philly teams academically since we can't always see them in action.)  She probably does only about 15 minutes of dedicated work each day, and I often let her pick what she does.

So....that's how we do that.  :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment