Learning/Teaching Style Changes

In our previous homeschooling years we maintained the standard hour-by-hour format common to most schools. I alternated between my two children as the age difference was really too vast to teach them side by side. Thus, while one received instructions, the other did mostly independent work. This will obviously continue this year, with one major difference.  We have to introduce block scheduling. This major change in our scheduling follows on the heels of our decision to involve IT Man in homeschooling. He will be taking over some of the science and math instructions for our eldest. Although she is technically enrolled in 7th grade, her level of science has been about two grades advanced and I need his help now in order to teach her effectively. The advantages I see here is not having to prepare lessons for several subjects, nor do I have to teach them. The disadvantage is that due to my husband’s scheduling much of the lessons he will teach her will be crammed in between October through February.  He is also not a very organized individual when it comes to time and priorities and I expect this will be challenging for him.  However, he decided that Missy should receive on last year of homeschooling, so here we are.

Although I am familiar with the block format of scheduling, having been a Waldorf student for five years, I haven’t employed it as an instructor. Research shows that this technique has its flaws, but then what doesn’t?! My main grouse is that it doesn’t appear to be compatible with Skedtrack (Skedtrack.com), a homeschool  scheduling software, which means it’s back to paper for us, unless I can convince my husband to use some of his non-existent spare time to make something new for me on EXEL.  Fuggeddabboutit, he HAS to do it, otherwise it’ll be utter chaos. I CANNOT DO PAPER!!!!!

Normally I am well on my way by this time of the year in terms to planning and scheduling, but between the arrival of my father-in-law and all the changes we are still figuring out, I am frankly floundering. That leaves me very irate. While being organized isn’t my inborn state of being (unlike my mother’s), it is an acquired, habituated state. And I like it that way.  So, when things aren’t planned I get owly. Our first year of homeschooling was very much ‘school-at-home’ style, since I had no idea what to do. The second year was highly unstructured in retrospect as I was looking for all kinds of creative ways to learn. We decided that wasn’t us. Not the creative learning part, but the disorganized, unpredictable way. The third year was organized and planned with the help of the aforementioned Skedtrack and we loved it.  I don’t know who loved it more, the kids or I. I guess Skedtrack works marvelously for us. But Skedtrack doesn’t appear to support block scheduling.  I have to contact the site admin and see if they have suggestions.

Bear will be set up for something we call HSAP here. HSAP stands for ‘Home Schooling Assistance Program’. Frankly, I don’t need assistance. And the interference from the teachers will undoubtedly irk me (16 required parent/teacher contacts during the school year), but by doing HSAP, I can dual enroll Bear in a variety of subjects at school, including specials such as gym, music, and art. The latter three are why we are doing HSAP this year. The other advantage is that he can become involved in school sports like soccer. Since my son never had a fractured shinbone or elbow, we felt that is was a splendid opportunity to enroll him in soccer and make up for lost time.  And lastly, they do lots of field trips, and that will be much to his liking.

At this time of year, just about the only day I can nail my husband down for anything is on Wednesdays, so tomorrow, I plan to talk through a lot of schooling related topics, otherwise I’ll be in serious trouble come end of August. I don’t like ‘wining’ things. I think I may have mentioned something to that effect before.

How do you plan your school year?

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