Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How do you spread out a school year?

Day by day, like Cindy?

Listed by chapter or page but undated, like the Deputy Headmistress?

I have settled on a middle place: I have a year's plan divided up by months. I like to know how many chapters we are supposed to be into a book by the end of October, or roughly when we're going to get to a science or craft project that requires supplies, or when a library book needs to be put on hold. That way if we miss a Monday for Thanksgiving, or someone's sick, it doesn't mess the schedule up too much to have to put the week's work off till next Monday. The idea is just to get to where we're supposed to be by the end of the month.

I take into account things like really only having three workable school weeks in September, two in December, and three in March (we take March Break).

I can always sit down on Sunday night and figure out how big a piece of the month's work we can reasonably chew off in the coming week...but I'm not doing that this far ahead. I just like to have a rough idea at this point.

It helps to go into enough detail to include chapter titles and topics--you sometimes see connections and patterns that you might have missed. Whatever Happened to Justice? mentions Thomas Paine, and one of the Write with the Best lessons uses an excerpt from Paine. I don't usually try to jiggle them closer together--but it's nice to have a note that we'll be returning to a person or a topic later on. Or if there are chapters covering almost identical material in different books--I make notes on what to skip.

It also helps when you can see where a book's probably going to be done before the year's end, or where you're going to have to double up on readings. One of Ponytails' history books will be done in May; luckily, that's just where we're going to have to pick up the pace with the other one.

It also helps if you look at the month's work and feel either motivated or exhausted. Exhausted probably means that you need to stretch something out or cut it out altogether. I cut out a few things after looking at the year's plan...I had hoped to read a book about Alexander the Great with Crayons, but it's just not going to happen with the rest of the history we have to do. Maybe next year.

Here's a sample of the plan for the upcoming year. I don't bother to include things like Bible reading (unless there's a specific place we're trying to get to) or daily grammar pages. I also don't have a lot of details included about Ponytails' science lessons, since she does that with her dad. My plan's in a Word table, but this is a text version.

Ponytails, September:

Christian Studies: Mr. Pipes: Clement; Hail, Gladdening Light; Gregory of Nazianzen; Prudentius. Lewis readings 1-3.

History: Justice: Cause is Law, Higher Authority, Higher Law (refers to Thomas Paine). Foster: Intro (Janus), Under a Lucky Star, Ides of March, Cleopartra, Caesar's Son, Cicero, Conspirators. Bauer: 6, 7, 8. Story of Canada: chapter 7, Confederation Days, to top of page 178.

English: Elements of Style, 8 lessons. Begin writing Unit 1: Free Verse. Weekly Wordplay Cafe.

Literature: Watership Down, 2 chapters/wk so approx. 6 chapters. Read Bulfinch chapters 2-4 (skipping 1 for now). Start reading Shakespeare play. Poetry as assigned.

Science and Geography: Richards: Universe & its Origins, Dead Planets Living World, The Odd Planet. (May not get that far if we're doing map work.) Biography chapter 1-3. Readings from geography list. Nature readings together.

Math: Start work with Dad. Weekly group math time (3 times).

Languages: Latin lessons 1 (Days 1-5), 2 (Days 1-4). Learn Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in Latin. Learn "In Nomine Patris." French 3x/wk (approx. 9 lessons).

Fine Arts and Citizenship: Streatfeild: The Six, Mr. Fosse. Music and picture study. Ourselves chapter XII. Start Plutarch (should get to lesson 2 or 3 of 12).

Gracious Arts: Alcott chapters 1-3. Schaeffer chapter 1 The First Artist, chapter 2 Hidden Art.

Crayons (some of her books are the same so I won't repeat them):


Christian Studies: Bible studies, 3-4 lessons.

Language Arts: Daily work with Mom, still to be planned. Weekly Wordplay Cafe.

Math: Daily work with Mom, weekly group time.

Literature: Poetry, start Stevenson. Kidnapped--start and see how far we get.

Science and Nature: Read How to Think Like a Scientist. Start some Franklin experiments (still to be chosen). Start Story Book of Science if time.

History: Read book about Franklin. Start GW's World, through "The Friendly Printer." Also read Seventh and Walnut (it's short). Writing/narration activities as planned.

1 comment:

Birdie said...

I tend to have a several-months-at-a-time plan that I reassess daily. It works for us.