From today, and for the next two weeks, we'll have school kids calling and knocking on our front door wanting Jemimah to come and play with them. There are holiday clubs to choose from, new exhibitions opening, and lots of things to occupy small children for much of everyday until school resumes. Television schedules have even changed so that kids can watch kid's TV all day if they want to. Wow.
The problem is, we don't follow the public school schedule. It's still school as usual chez nous.
Well, it should be anyhow. That's what my yearly schedule has set down for the week commencing 28/06/09...
The reality is somewhat different.
Jemimah's very bestest friend in the whole world, her cousin, P, is staying with us this week. These two girls are two peas in a pod. P is public schooled, and is very much looking forward to discovering what Jemimah's homeschooling day looks like. The plan is to school them both together. I'm hoping that her appreciation of Jemimah's day will give Jemimah something to think about. I'm hoping that P will be impressed and that this will rub off on Jemimah. Here's hoping...
From tomorrow, P's daddy and little brother, M, are arriving. My brother-in-law is our IT guru, and he's planning on ironing out the inevitable glitches that have occurred since he gave our computer an overhaul and installed I.E.8 while we were on hols. I guess that means that I'll get M to entertain as well.
On Thursday we have to travel the 3 hours to Melbourne for a funeral. On Friday we'll be coming back home.
So how much work are we going to actually get done? Only time will tell, I suppose. It doesn't matter, really. After all, it is this freedom and flexibility is what makes homeschooling work for our family.
Our general overview is three 12 week Ambleside Online terms followed by one week of exams and then a break. We plan breaks to fit holiday observances, special family events, Daddy's work schedule, and extended family holidays. When Daddy gets a rare day off, so do we. It works this way.
If we then had to schedule in school holiday breaks, then we wouldn't get much time for actually learning.
Like everything else, there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods:
- We aim to finish school be the beginning of November and break until after Daddy's Christmas-New Year holiday. This way we can spend time enjoying the lead up to Christmas (yes, this RP gal celebrates Christmas - sorry Ruby and Lucila) and frolic in the early summer weather before it gets too hot. We would much prefer to be inside in airconditioned comfort during January and February.
- We actually finish our term's work before we break rather than fitting our work into somebody else's schedule.
- We take a short break if and when we need it. Sometimes to prevent total meltdown, we schedule a long family holiday at short notice.
- We don't need to take school holidays into account when we plan our vacations. We visit family in the UK for a couple of months every three years. What would public school think of that, eh?
- We have every second Friday afternoon free to travel to Melbourne. (Actually, we have most afternoons free, but we use the Friday ones.) We couldn't take Jemimah out of school every Friday, could we?
- We can factor things like funerals into our schedule with the minimum of fuss. We wouldn't want to do it too often, but then again, I'm hoping we won't have that many funerals to go to.
- Disruptions like this week. I'm planning on turning P's visit into an advantage though...
- We have to plan carefully in order to fit school holiday activities into our school day. We do VicSwim every morning for three weeks in summer, for example. We actually enjoy this though, since it makes those days a bit exciting, despite having to do school into the afternoons.
- Our system wouldn't work if we had other children in the family who were enrolled in public or if we attended a homeschool group of some kind. We don't...
So what about you? Break or no break? Follow the school terms or not? Long summer holiday or school year round?
It's over to you, girls. What do you do?