Getting out of the Schooling Mindset: The Schedule

I started my home educating plan with what I knew: school.  I started by making a weekly schedule that allowed so many hours to each subject.  The school system gives suggested weekly amounts of time for the “specials”: music, art, and gym.  Ironically, they don’t tell you how much time to spend on the academic subjects. I sat down to figure that out from my son’s previous elementary years and a couple of homeschooling advice books.  There was quite a range and none of it seem to fit neatly into my plan of 8am to 2pm school days.

Well, the hourly schedule was never used.  It went out of the window the first day of our school year because I had to take the car in for service.  So, I packed up the kids and took the planned work with us on the road to the car place.  The schedule would have failed on a few more days that week because we had activities in the morning.

Instead of a schedule, I write all of the work for the day on the dry-erase board.  As things get done, they get wiped off.  Are we spending the “right” amount of time on everything?  I keep a log of the “specials” to show that we spend about an hour on music, art, and gym each week.  As for the other subjects, I realized that it is absurd to put a time requirement on them.  Who is to say how long it takes to read a science section or complete a math worksheet?  How much language arts does it take to fill an hour and do I subtract the bathroom breaks and other interruptions?  So, instead, I make up assignments for the week and post them everyday.  I’d say 90% of the time, everything gets done on the day that it is assigned.  Sometimes, we need more time on a particular activity (or life gets in the way) and then, I adjust the plan for the next day.  I only plan one week ahead.

I still struggle with the thoughts of doubt.  Are we doing “enough”?  It is really hard to tell because in the last couple of years, I rarely saw the work that happened at school.  In kindergarten and 1st grade, a million useless pieces of paper came home every Thursday.  But then, it dwindled to near nothingness.  So, with homeschooling, I can see the work.  I file everything neatly into binders and take photographs of the art projects.  When I doubt myself, I can see the paper trail.