Today was our first day to do full-blown school since Thanksgiving break. I wrote several weeks ago that we've changed our school calendar to three 12-week terms with extended breaks between each term. This school calendar change made our winter break a much-needed 6-week holiday!
Our New Assignment Sheets
Today marked the beginning of our second 12-week term of the school year. And with our new schedule, I decided to plan a little differently. Instead of planning out lessons a week at a time, I decided to plan out the entire twelve weeks at once. Previously I've assigned work on specific days, but since we're doing 12 weeks straight, I decided I'd put the work into weeks instead. Then I put all the work for the complete 12-week term on one sheet of paper per child. Now the kids can see exactly what needs to be completed before the term is up. And if they want to complete some of it early, they're welcome to do that. They'll just get to start vacation a little earlier in March!
Here's Jaden's assignment sheet. You may not be able to decipher all the code on the sheet, but you should be able to get the basic idea of how I set it up (click on the image to see it full-size). The kids mark off the assignments as they're completed. If they have work undone by Friday evening, it will just be homework over the weekend.
Assigning the work by weeks instead of day gives the kids a lot more flexibility with the order of subjects completed each day. Wednesdays always end up being half-days for us since we have homeschool club in the afternoon, and since Jeff's day off is Friday, he does different work with the kids when he's home (like Bible with all the kids and HTML with Jaden). So it's difficult to make a daily schedule of subjects that's good five days a week. With the work planned out a week at a time instead of daily, the kids will be able to pick and choose which subjects to work on first. Of course, there are still some daily assignments like grammar and reading, but other subjects can be completed all in one day if they'd like.
The Verdict On Our First Day
Our first day on the new schedule went really well. Jaden I think will really thrive with this new weekly schedule. He's one who likes to develop his own routine, so he enjoys the flexibility to be able to do his assignments in the order he chooses. Even though he ostensibly doesn't enjoy school all that much, he was definitely jovial today when he was able to cross off entire subjects for the week.
Joely has her own 12-week schedule, and she managed to finish every single one of her assignments today, which hardly ever happened last term. We were even able to have a full-blown piano lesson today! And of course she loved having her own assingment sheet on which she could cross off her completed work.
The jury is still out on whether assigning work a week at a time will work for Jerah or not. I'll have to let you know how it goes as the week goes on. Jerah is easily distractable and has been known to sit at her desk staring at a pencil for minutes at a time when she's supposed to be working. As a result, she often does her work in the living room under my supervision so I can continuously call her back from La-La Land. She loves school though, so I usually have no problem getting her excited about her assignments. It's just getting her to complete them in a timely manner that takes some creativity.
I'm happy to report that the kids even did chores before school today! Their beds were made, the bathroom was straightened, the trash taken out, and the dishwasher was emptied. It was so nice to be able to start the school day with a clean house. The kids were supposed to get up at 8 (actually, they rolled out of bed closer to 8:15) and had to get dressed, eat, and finish any assigned chores before starting school at 9. We were successful in this and we started school right at 9.
Like last term, I turned of the ringer on the phone while we were doing school. I also shut down my email program, which is sometimes such a distraction during the school day. I was able to focus 100% on the kids during the school hours, which I think was one reason why the day went so smoothly.
Our first day of school after a long break appears to be a good start for us. We will see if it continues.
Now head on over to Lara's blog for more Talk About Tuesdays.