Yep, school’s starting again. At least for us. Tomorrow, August 1.
Crazy to some, but it’s our family’s normal. Since we began our home schooling adventure three years ago, we have followed a (modified) year-round school schedule. We start school the beginning of August and go through mid-June, enjoying an extended break during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter Holidays. Following a year-round schedule allows us to take a slower pace during the year. We focus on academics four days of the week and have extra time for field trips, individual learning (swimming lessons, piano, etc.) and a massive amount of time spent playing outdoors and connecting with friends.
As well, my husband and I appreciate the flexibility the year-round schedule affords our family. We are able to take spontaneous day/overnight trips during the year, whenever our work schedules allow. Other than a couple of weeks during the summer, we pretty much have alternate work schedules. He’s a pastor; I own/operate a music studio, teaching private piano/voice lessons. The music studio is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Yet, these holidays are his crazy-busy times in ministry. So, this type of schedule is flexible and family-friendly for our lifestyle.
What’s a typical day for your family?
Well, I don’t think there is a ‘typical’ day. Each one looks a little bit different than the other. My husband works Wednesday-Sunday; I work in the afternoons/evenings Wednesday-Friday. When we began this adventure, we knew that we both wanted to teach the children. Having the opportunity to share our individual gifts and strengths with them. So, my husband teaches the kids on Mondays and Tuesdays and I teach them on Thursdays and Fridays. Even still, every week is flexible and every day is somewhat varied.
Our children are early risers, even though their parents are not! (Or would rather not be!) Usually, they are up and ready to go around 6/6:30AM, with us following around 7AM (sometimes later). Most days, the kids make their own breakfast (cereal, bagels & cream cheese, scrambled eggs, etc.) While my husband and I prepare for the day, the kids complete morning chores (make bed, get dressed, unload dishwasher, put away clothes, etc.), play and/or watch a TV show. We greatly appreciate having a more relaxed start to the day, lingering over a couple of cups of coffee before jumping into the days’ activities. Although some mornings are hectic, when one of us has an early morning meeting to attend.
Nevertheless, here’s an ideal schedule of a typical school day. Ideal being the operative word.
Monday: 8-11AM school
Tuesday: 8-11AM school
Wednesday: Excursion Class*, an educational field trip class.
Thursday: 8-11AM school
Friday: 8-11AM school.
12:30-1:20-Arts and Music from Around the World (Jadon); Drama Class (Jamison)*
1:20-2:30-Beginning American Sign Language (Jadon); Gymnastics (Jamison)*
*These classes are through Sky Valley Education Center
**Will schedule piano and swim lessons at a later date.
What will the kids be learning this year?
A lot! Since our children are relatively close in age (21 months apart), we are able to teach many of their subjects together, which makes lesson planning a lot less stressful. For the most part, this has worked out nicely. However, we do have our moments and ‘do-over days’, due to bad attitudes (parents and/or children). So, we just (try to) go with the flow and do our best to show grace to one another.
This year our learning plan includes:
History: The Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times.
Literature, Poetry, Art Study, Composer Study, Nature Study, Hymns & Folk Song Study: Ambleside Online: Year 2
Spelling: Spelling Power, (Jadon and Jamison)
Foreign Language: American Sign Language (Jadon)
Fine Arts/ Music: private piano lessons (both kids), “Art & Music from Around the World,” (Jadon), drama class (Jamison)
Health & PE: swim lessons and gymnastics
Home & Family 101: cooking, cleaning, yard work, basic car repair, etc.
Although our family doesn’t include Bible in our formal learning plan, we take our Christian faith very seriously, incorporating it into every area of our lives in natural, everyday ways. We use a variety of materials and resources to instruct our children in our faith, including the Bible, devotional materials, such as Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson, and life-lessons. We earnestly desire to provide our kids with varied opportunities to live out their faith in meaningful ways throughout the year.
Our first day of school will begin with a trip to the donut shop. Then, back home to begin the school year before we have a sugar crash! 🙂 The first week or two, we ease into the school routine, only adding one or two subjects a week. By September, we should be in full-swing. Or that is the plan. But plans are just plans, not set in stone! Nevertheless, tomorrow is our first day of school! And the kids can’t wait! SHOCKING. Donuts. It’s gotta be the donuts!