If you're just joining me for the 10 Days to a Flexible Homeschool Plan series, then be sure to read the previous posts:
It's been a fun-filled week of learning about new ways to add more flexibility into our school year. We've talked about year-round homeschooling, block scheduling, and determining when to teach what.
Today's lesson is really the heart of flexible scheduling. I will show you how to schedule every subject as far in advance as you'd like - even a full school year - and use that schedule no matter what changes, interruptions, or unexpected challenges you face during the year!
I feel like I should forewarn you...this can be a time-consuming and sometimes tedious process (sorry - just being honest!).
It is totally worth every.single.minute.
Today I'm going to show you how to break down your resources one time and use the schedule throughout the year. Even if you...
...change your start and end dates,
...have to miss days, or weeks, of school,
...have to cut back on your daily load,
...basically, any change that your family might encounter.
It's amazing, and I can say that with certainty after using it for half a decade!
So let's get started!
Schedule a Subject
The first thing you'll want to do is print out at least one Resource Schedule. This is the printable that I use to schedule our subjects. You could also use a regular sheet of notebook paper if you'd like.
Now that you have your Resource Schedule printed, take out the first book or resource that you want to schedule.
It doesn't matter what you start with, though I would recommend beginning with something fairly easy to schedule. Math is usually pretty straightforward so I'll be using Math for my examples.
The first thing I do is fill in the top portion of the Resource Schedule with the subject, circle the days that we'll be completing this subject, as well as how much time I think will be required to complete the subject.
Now, take a look at the curriculum that you're scheduling. If recommendations have been supplied by the publisher for how to complete the course you may want to take some time to read through those, especially if you've never used the resource before.
Have lesson plans been provided with the curriculum? If so, will you use them as they are?
Neither of the books we are using has a lesson plan. We just complete one lesson per day. I fill in our Resouce Schedule like so...
Each line of the Resource Schedule is for one lesson. It doesn't matter how often you plan to cover that subject or if you will skip days, just fill in each line with one day's lesson.
I can be pretty general in my descriptions because we've used these resources for a while and I'm very familiar with them. If you need to give yourself more detailed instructions, then do so! This is your reference and you need to be able to understand what you've written down several weeks down the road when you refer to it again.
If I wanted to include more detail I might write:
p. 26 complete review exercises and speed drills; Watch lesson video; Read helpful hints; Complete problems on p. 26; check answers; Redo missed problems
Next we'll look at our History schedule. We use The Good & the Beautiful for History. The curriculum is very open and go with the lessons all laid out for you. Even though we only cover this subject two times per week you can see that I've filled in every line. It's important to understand that each line does not represent a day...it represents a lesson.
You'll notice that I write down the lesson number and in some cases I add in whatever supplies or extras that we'll need, such as access to the computer to listen to the audio recordings.
I will also start a running list of supplies that we'll need during the year as I schedule our subjects. This is a photo of the start of our supply list. It gets a lot longer than this!
So, what do you do about resources that aren't so straightforward?
Some subjects are not as straightforward as math or don't come with premade lessons. What do you do when scheduling a resource is a little more challenging?
While I can't cover every possible scenario I will touch on some challenges I've encountered and how I handled them.
Before we found our current history curriculum I made up my own using living books. Because my daughter is not a child that I can say "read this book for 30 minutes" to, I had to break down each book. Scheduling them was a bit of pain, but doable.
I started with a list of books I wanted to cover within a specified time - let's say six weeks. I then wrote down how many pages each book had and totaled them. I then divided the total number of pages by 30 (6 weeks x 5 days = 30 days). The number is the minimum number of pages she had to read each day.
I then write the page numbers on each line along with the title of the book.
Curriculum without Premade Lessons
My daughter will be using the Creative Writing Notebook from The Good & the Beautiful as part of her writing this year. It doesn't include lessons and really doesn't even go in any sort of order.
I don't want writing to be a dreaded chore for her (she's not fond of it) so I chose not to assign work to specific days. I also don't assign days for her to get it done because...well...I don't always like to write when I'm told to, and I doubt she will either. Sometimes we just need to be inspired! Instead, I require her to complete one hour per week, which she can do all at once, or spread out over the week. This also gives her some practice in managing her time.
So how do we write that on a Resource Schedule? I write one hour on each line of the Resouce Schedule. At the end of the week, I'll write down the page numbers she completed.
The Resource Schedule page is meant to be very flexible so that it can be used in a variety of different ways to suit the needs of your family and the resources that you use.
The important thing to remember is that each line represents one lesson for whatever subject you are scheduling. That lesson can be reading a certain number of pages, working for a certain amount of time...whatever you need.
You'll understand why this is so important to the system later in the series, I promise!
Learn better by watching? Here's a short video showing four different subjects and how I've scheduled them.
(I apologize in advance for my daughter's loud Quaker Parrot in the last 2 mins of the video 🙂 )
Homework For You
Sometime between now and Monday spend some time scheduling at least 2 or 3 subjects on the Resource Schedule printable or a sheet of paper.
On Monday I will show you how to use the Resource Schedules that you've made. You will quickly see that you can plan your lessons ONCE on the Resource Schedules and then use them throughout the year with complete flexibility - no matter what comes up!
See you on Monday!