Saturday, September 3, 2011

Break It Down

A recent discussion, within a group to which I belong, has been whether each subject is or should be taught everyday all week or broken up over a period of time.  Some home educators explained their views on choosing each subject every day, some chose semesters, and then there is me.  

I'm not much of a fan for semester education (not at a young age anyway) because I feel children will forget what they have learned.  I'm also not a fan of teaching every subject every day, but that is simply because it didn't work for us.  (It may work perfectly well with many families.  That is great if it does!)  My children found it overwhelming.  They got bored, burnt out, or both.  Some days would start at 9:00 in the morning and last until I finally had my own temper tantrum, calling it quits at 7:00 PM.  
"How on Earth can I continue homeschooling if I'm watching my children drown in misery of all the subjects' lessons?"  I would sob in complaints to my husband as much as to myself.  Was I expecting too much of them?  Was I giving them too much work?  Being too hard on them?  Trying to be all "school at home" rather than a "home school"?  All these worries raced through my brain.  

My children began to hate school.  I didn't blame them.  I was beginning to hate it, too.  My dreams were shattering right before my eyes.  Ever since I was a little girl, I would line up my stuffed animals (my favorite was my lion...he had his own backpack and could hold a pencil in his paws) and Barbies.  While most children couldn't wait to throw away the workbooks, I would take home our unfinished workbooks from school at the end of each year, create tests, and homework for all my "students"...I even went through the trouble of sharpening my pencils down to a nub, so they were small enough for my "stuffties," as I called them.  I knew I was one day going to be a teacher.  Though, here I was, feeling I was failing myself and more importantly, my children.  I had to find a solution and FAST!  

I decided to break our schedule up over the week.  I wasn't even sure if it would work yet or not, but I was going to give it a try.  I was very nervous the first day I announced this to the kids.  In fact, I think I even stood there for a good five to ten minutes without speaking in fear the homeschooling police would knock on my door for my unconventional ways.  This is what I decided to do:
  • Mondays--Spelling and Language (writing)
  • Tuesdays--Science and P.E.
  • Wednesdays--Math and Computer
  • Thursdays--History, Geography, and Art ...sometimes also Music 
  • Fridays--Reading and Spelling Tests ...sometimes also French
I compiled the entire week's worth of material into one lesson for each subject.  It may sound like it would create a longer day, but in reality, it doesn't.  Look and count how many subjects are actually being taught overall...try fitting that into one day.  YIKES!  It is draining just thinking about it again.  Dividing them up into days allows for more focus on each particular subject.  I don't have to rush my children to finish.  No more "hurry up, hurry up, hurry up...."  The broken record is gone.  Paired up with my new reward system, we finish our days with smiles on our faces and plenty of time to fix dinner.  Whew!   

1 comment:

  1. For my 1st grader we are using a simaler schedule