Saturday, August 15, 2009

Putting the Pieces Together

Ever wonder how a mom of 5 plans her school schedule?

(you didn't? you're kidding me. I wonder about it all. the. time.)

Well, wonder no more! Here you are folks. . . a step-by-step look at the insanity that is. . . .


Step One: Pray! and then Pray! some more!

Let's face it, homeschooling a large-ish family is not for the feint of heart, or the feint of spirit. So I spend a chunk of time praying, both on the day and the week prior, that the Lord would grant me insight and guide my steps.

(never let it be said that the reason I spend so much time praying is because I'm just too chicken to actually start. I figure, if you have to procrastinate on a task, you might as well procrastinate by praying about the task, kwim???)

Step Two: Map Your Week

Yes, this is our schedule. Here is the white board downstairs, divided into days of the week. I made note of when we have to stop school in order to be ready to leave for afternoon activities, and who might be available for school work due to "wait time".

Step Three: Evaluating the Work Load

Next up: figuring out what subjects the kids have, and who needs me for what, and for how long! Each child has half a yellow pad, divided into "with Mom" and "on your own".

Here's Nathaniel's sheet (8th grade): I was able to decide that he would need to meet with me 4x per week to discuss Latin and Logic, and that he would have his History discussion on Thursdays with Kathryn & Emily, and his Literature discussion on Friday with Emily.

Step Four: Fitting in the Subjects

Next up - when "might" I get subjects to fit in our schedule? I could pretty easily see that Friday was wide open, and Tuesday was a shorter day, so I would have to plan accordingly. Friday gets literature discussions, special history projects (build a model castle, anyone?) and writing meetings - all pretty time intensive. Tuesday will be our "light" day of one-on-one time with Mom, but most of my middle students will have extra time to read their history assignments.

Step Five: Move 'Em Around!
(tired yet? Don't give up now. . . you're almost there!)

With special appreciation to Managers of Their Homes, the scheduling system I've been using (or sometimes NOT using. ahem.) for years. The concept is you assign each child a color, write each subject or activity in a block to represent the time it takes, and move 'em around until it fits. Or at least, until you think it fits. Above is last year's schedule.

Here is a sample of what my squares looked like after messing with them for a bit. I didn't bother scheduling Kathryn here, but did so on the next step.

The other thing I realized this year is that our schedule is too varied for one schedule to work for each day. Sooooo. . . .this is my basic schedule for M,W,Th. Tuesdays and Fridays things will work differently, but I can use some of the same ideas on those days as well.

Step Six: Handy-Dandy Spreadsheet!

Ta dah! Here it is! The tentative, almost, pretty much final schedule. It's not exactly a spreadsheet - I used a table in Pages application, but I think I may transfer it to Numbers later so that I can use some sort functions for printing. You know, when I have some free time. Whatever.

At any rate, I got a little fancy-schmancy and color-coded everyone! It helps the kids to have a visual for what we're up to. The above is just Monday's schedule: I'll have to finish the other four days later. Tuesday through Thursday shouldn't be too big of a deal. . . Friday's a doozy, but in a good way. I'll just have to go to step five again and see how things fit.

So. Tired yet?

There you have it. The almost official school plan for 2009-2010. This should be my toughest year - next year, I'll pretty much only have 4 kids to schedule. . . .crazy thought!

I'm cautiously optimistic that I've gotten my bases covered, and enough time for every subject planned out. But. . .as always, the proof is in the pudding. We'll see what happens in about 2 weeks, when ballet starts in earnest. Until then, I hope and pray that the Lord will see fit to bless these meager plans.

Because, you know what they say about the Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men. . . . don't you?

Yes. You sure do!

1 comment:

Andrew and Emily said...

H, you are so organized!!