As everyone starts to think about the new school year, there will be plenty of beautiful posts about schedules that different families will be following. Some get up early and are able to finish school by noon. Some school from 9 to 2, and others school in the afternoon. The one thing I see among all of these schedules is a sense of consistency for the students. They know what subject will come next and they know about how long a school day will be. The idea is wonderful! But……. What can you do when you CAN’T have a set Homeschool schedule? In the past we couldn’t have a set schedule, because our days are centered around Grandma’s moods. We can’t even have a set bedtime and wake up schedule. Grandma is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and has what they call Sundowners. Basically as the sun goes down her symptoms get worse. She often walks all night long waking everyone up by turning on lights, or trying to find a way to escape. Even on the days that we try to get to bed early she may decide that no one needs to sleep that night. I don’t function too well without sleep and I know that AJ will not have a successful day of school without sleep either. Top our sleepless nights off with the numerous appointments with kidney specialists, diabetic specialists, workers comp doctors, blood work, tests, and regular check-ups, and the thought of a schedule just goes out the window.
You never know what life is going to throw at you! AJ may spend a few days watching science and history videos, and working on simple things she can do by herself. She will still be learning, but we might not be moving forward with our curriculum plan. The truth is, school work still has to get done and if there isn’t some type of schedule we may be doing work for the same grade way too long. Some subjects may get pushed to the back burner and I end up feeling like we are behind all of the time. Last year I came up with a fairly simple solution, and it is working well for us.
Schedule your year by week numbers instead of dates.
As I was planning our school year I scheduled everything I wanted to get done, and scheduled it by week number. I tried to schedule as much as possible and include those subjects that usually get left behind when we get busy. In the past I would just drop the “fun stuff” when life got crazy, the problem with that is then school becomes dull and boring. We don’t do projects every week, but I found us skipping science experiments (that AJ loves) and putting off art. Instead of doing the fun literature studies, we would just read and answer questions. We were doing the book work but not the hands on learning, and it just wasn’t working for us. This year I have a list of things to complete each week. If we don’t get to the science experiment by the end of the week we just push it to the next week, but we finish everything on the list before we start the next week. Some days we school a lot longer than required to finish up, and other days we don’t get much accomplished. Knowing that we will get to the Egyptian Art project before we move on to our next history subject makes it easier to have a few days full of book work. Morale in our school days has gone up a lot and we are making more progress. When we finish the last week of school we are done for the year, even if that doesn’t happen until August. Numbering the weeks allows me the structure I need to make sure we cover what I think is necessary, and allows the flexibility needed for our unique situation. How do you schedule your school year?