Friday, September 6, 2013

How We Homeschool: Our Annual Schedule

For the past couple of years we've been part of Columbia Virtual Academy which is an affliliate school district that allows us to use curriculum free of charge. In order to do so, J is a registered student with that school district and we are required to turn in weekly assessments as well as follow the school district's calendar. Last year it was a bit annoying. This year it has turned into a total nuisance since our personal schedule has really opened up, but we are still tied down to the school's schedule.
I have gained a lot of knowledge through my own education as a homeschool mom this year, and I am really excited, as well as confident, about branching off next year and doing our own thing.
I fell in love with the idea of Classical Education last fall and started dipping my toes in through Jessie and Susan Wise's curriculum choices this year. I've really liked most of the things we've been using, and after reading and rereading (and rereading) The Well Trained Mind, I've come to realize that we can make some very inexpensive curriculum purchases for next year and fill in with living books and free resources.
I also want to implement year round homeschooling and we will officially launch our school year at the beginning of September. I had been wrestling with schedule ideas, days on/days off, vacations, that sort of thing. I finally decided our schedule will look like this: 6 weeks on, 1 week off, 6 weeks on, 1 month off.
I printed out generic free off the internet calendars and used highlighters to mark "school" weeks (green) and "off" weeks (pink).
We will focus on two or three main history and science ideas each six weeks. I will have a week in between for catch up, planning and prepping for the next six weeks, and just generally avoiding burnout.
We will also have three full months off throughout the year. December will be our first big break and will allow us to spend time with family and friends, travel, and create since we do so much cooking and gift making during December. Our "spring break" will fall in April which should work out perfectly as the weather is just starting to turn in April and after being stuck in the house all winter we are glad for any excuse to explore when the sun is shining. August will comprise our summer vacation. August is generally the nicest month of the year in Washington and is therefore when we do the majority of our camping trips as well as garden harvesting, canning, and outdoor exploring.
Since I am just in the planning stages I can't say that it's the perfect plan, but I think it's one that will work well for us.

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