AO Homeschoolers talk an awful lot about schedules. There are yahoo groups full of them. This one, for example, or this one. And yet, clearly, with all the constant chatter, there are some mums who are still dissatisfied.
I always get pretty bemused at all the discussion, because I seem to manage without fancy charts and checkboxes and clever bits, and I always wonder what people actually gain from all the extra work required to populate the charts or fill the workboxes or check that all the checkboxes are filled.
Now maybe I'm missing something patently obvious here. Admittedly, I have only one child, but I do have a pretty full time job as well as homeschooling Jemimah, so I figure that I don't have that much less to do than other people, and I really have the superdooper simplest homeschooling schedule around, I reckon.
For those of you who are interested, it consists of three documents - all of which you have seen before. I thought I'd show them to you here all together, and show you how I use them. Maybe one mumma somewhere might find them helpful. Maybe. If not, well there is always the yahoo groups, I guess.
Okay, this first document is the most important on a daily basis. It lives in a plastic pocket in our book basket near the sofa in the kitchen where we do most of our read alouds. The timetable tells me what to do each day, and ensures that I remember to do all those once weekly things that I would forget about otherwise - Shakespeare, Plutarch, composer and picture study...stuff like that. It is not rigid. Just because the timetable says do these subjects in this order doesn't necessarily mean that every day we will do that. Rather, it is a list of things that need to be done each day in order to cover the entire AO curriculum by the end of the week.
Our day is divided into four blocks, split by... ahem... coffee breaks really. During the first block we generally do a bit of a stretch routine - a good habit for daily life. In the second we have morning tea and a light snack - a home-made bikkie or a piece of fruit or celery and peanut butter or rice cakes and avocado most commonly. Jemimah generally eats this outside on the garden or in her cubby. I do some housework here! Lunch is the end of the next block. It follows maths, and we usually take about an hour. The final block of the day doesn't always get done. I wish it did. Once a week on a Wednesday we work together in our garden and mostly Jemimah prepares dinner using any vegies that are ripe.The end of the forth block is afternoon tea. We drink this from nice cups and sit together and chat. Once a week we read from a book on Practical Christianity.
Okay, within the block we divide the subjects so that disciplinary subjects are divided by inspirational topics. We never do maths and written narration in the same block, for example, or studied dictation and Plutarch. Jemimah reads aloud from one of the free reading books daily. This is called 'reading' on the timetable. The day begins with devotions, but this year Jemimah has been doing her private devotions alone in her room, and we don't begin actual school until she is finished. I was keen to remove this from school because I wanted her to think of her quiet time with her heavenly Father as an every day thing, not one that is only done during term time. I also wanted her to own her own private devotions, not to do them with me. But more on this in another post.
This timetable reminds me whether it is a French or a Latin day. It reminds me what songs to sing first, although we often sing all of our selections, not just the one that is written. I know to cover the weekly subjects, and it reminds me to do some handwork and music practice.
If you scroll down on this document, page two is the chart of arts subjects that I showed you last week. It lives behind the timetable in my plastic pocket because I only need to refer to this at the beginning of each month when our songs change to remind me what is next. It is really simple, but you can't believe how valuable it is. So that's document two.
On to document three.
Year 5 Timetable
Document three is one you've also seen before, our booklist. This is basically the AO booklist with our additions. I sort of explain how I prepare it here.
If you have a look at this document, you'll see that first there is a list of free reads still left to read. At the start of each term I remove the titles already read so the list gets progressively shorter. (Except that I often add a couple as well!) Below that are the weekly reads. Apart from Abe Lincoln's world which is read daily, there are about ten books to read each week. These are on the timetable simply as read alouds 1-10 so that we can decide which titles we want to read on a certain day. One of the titles will be a written narration, scheduled on a day when we have plenty of time. One day will include science, and we will need time to do any practical exercises, so we do that on a less busy day as well. If there are less than ten read-alouds on a particular week we might read a bit about our composer, or a bit of a our bedtime story. If there are 11 books (the maximum), we read a couple of shorter books together. This term in AO5 I expect that Jemimah will read one book per day herself and I will read the other. She can select which title we each read.
This list lives in the back of our plastic pocket, and sits beside me on the sofa while we go about our day. I am afraid I have made this sound more difficult that it is in reality, because it really is so easy. We check our daily subjects on the timetable, and insert each day's books from the booklist. By the end of the week it's all done.
Year 5 Schedule