Archive | June 2017

How do we schedule our homeschool year?

We’ve chosen to homeschool all year round. We do this for so many reasons, but the main ones are:

  • to eliminate the need for 6 weeks of review thanks to a 2 month vacation in the summer
  • to prepare Peanut for real life! When we get a job/career, we don’t just work September – June
  • homeschooling all year gives us much more flexibility when we need a day or a week off
  • there is no burn-out since we take more frequent breaks. We don’t have to slog it out from September to December before we get a holiday

When I figure out our schedule, I start by printing out a yearly calendar that runs from July to June the next year. I then grab my highlighters and start blocking off all our set in stone days off – every Saturday and Sunday.

Next, I decide how many weeks holiday we want for Christmas. This year we’re going for three weeks off, so December 18 – January 5 is blocked off. Birthdays too. Those are holidays.

Now I’m left with 245 days to schedule in 150 days of school.

Since we value a slower lifestyle, I decide to take every Friday (except one!) off. This now leaves us with 198 days.

Since each MBTP unit this year is 5 days long, we can do 4 units per “chunk” before taking a break. So now I mark off every 6th week as our “holiday” week. This now gives us 174 days to work with, but then school would end mid May. So now the tweaking comes in. I need to add about 4 weeks of holidays. I choose one more week in September and one more week in March to take off, and add a week block at the end of the year for our assessment. The assessment is only for our own interest, it isn’t necessary, but I like to know how much Peanut has accomplished.

So now I have a schedule that runs all year, lots of time off, but lots of learning too. No burnout. This is our tentative schedule, the shaded boxes are the days we take off. It still may need a tweak here and there, but it allows for any illness, emergencies, or even snow days!

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Now I go ahead and do our monthly plans and print them out. I love the planner from One Stop Teacher Shop¬†and I’m so glad I bought it! I would also be using the included weekly planner, but since MBTP already has laid out my days, I don’t feel the need to spend a few hours cutting and pasting into it.

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For our day to day schedule, I don’t actually plan it out. Moving Beyond the Page already has a plan laid out for each and every day. I don’t see any reason to copy and paste it into a planner. Instead, I use a blank planner and take notes about our day. I write what we did, how we liked it, what worked and what didn’t, and any other things I want to remember. For this I use the floral planner from Confessions of a Homeschooler. It’s so beautiful, has 8 subject boxes, and is perpetual. The only drawback is that the weekly layout only goes from Monday to Friday.

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So this is how I decide on our schedule. And being the obsessive person I am, I also banged out a second schedule that runs 5 days a week and has more scheduled time off, but to me it seems a bit too much time off for us. Who knows, I may end up using it instead of our 4 day week plan if things get too hard. Last year we took the last week of each month off, so we may need the added flexibility a 5 day schedule gives us…

Time for my second coffee… Hope your day is filled with sunshine!

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Almost ready for our 2017 – 2018 school year!

It has been a hard couple of weeks here. Rainy season is in full tilt. Tropical storm Bret ripped through the island. We all came down with a cold. But things got a bit bright last Saturday. Peanut’s curriculum from Moving Beyond the Page arrived!

This 27.7 pound box of awesomeness brightened up my day. I am amazed at how well this curricula is organized, and how much fun and learning will be taking place over the next year.

31 books were included, and they range from old classics, newberry award winners, and new books that should be in any children’s home library.

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Also in the box was pretty much all the materials to implement this curriculum. They came in a separate box, my 8″ fire tablet is on it to demonstrate the size, it’s huge!:

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And inside is an arts and crafts dream! General supplies like play dough, paint powder, yarn, butcher’s paper, construction paper, etc. plus 30 ziploc bags of supplies sorted out by each unit. No sorting out, no scrambling for weird items. It’s almost completely grab n go!

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Also included (yes, there’s more!) is 30 flash cards for the word of the week, alphabet flash cards, number 1 – 20 flash cards, an index box to store them in, and a laminated number chart from 1 – 100, and a laminated map of the world!

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I chose to use the online instruction guide and student pages, both for easier access to all the web links, and to save a bit of money since I wouldn’t have to pay shipping, duty or taxes on them. It’s exactly the same content as the hard copies, but to me it seems more convenient. I can access it on the computer, tablet, or smart phone! If I know ahead of time that we’ll be homeschooling somewhere without internet, I can easily copy and paste the unit into Word and print it out. Easy as can be!

So what is this curricula missing? What do we still need to get? The usual school supplies like pencils, crayons, colored pencils, markers, erasers, glue, a ruler, tape, and a stapler. Oh, and shaving cream. Yep, shaving cream!

I’m also getting a separate math curriculum, even though MBTP does cover math every week, Peanut can use the extra math practice from a stand-alone math program. I’ll write more about what we chose for math when we pick it up (it arrived at the shipping office yesterday, we’ll be picking it up Saturday!)

 

The end of our school year

Last week marked the end of our Junior Kindergarten year! In one short year, Peanut has gone from only knowing 6 letters of the alphabet, and counting to 5, to knowing all the alphabet names and sounds, counting to 12, recognizing numbers beyond 20, he can read 60+ sight words, add one digit numbers, sing songs, knows opposites, beginning to rhyme, and his fine motor control is improving a bit!

These next two weeks are his break, and he’s discovered (much to my delight) that he likes Wild Krats and Krat’s Creatures! He’s learning even though school is done! Now to just get him hooked on Magic School Bus and I’d be laughing…

What have I been up to? Preparing for his 2017-2018 school year. We’ll be using Moving Beyond the Page level 4-5 and for math we chose McRuffy Color Math Kindergarten. Both shipments have arrived to our overseas carrier, so now it’s just a waiting game for them to get to the island and clear customs. Then we pay for shipping, duty, and taxes, and we’ll be almost ready for July 3 and our new school year.

We still need to pick up a few things as we go along, but this weekend we can hopefully get his student journal (the notebooks that have lines only from the middle of the page down, the top half is so the child can draw pictures to illustrate their story). We also need things like erasers, glue sticks, tape, glue, post-it notes, and shaving cream. Yes, shaving cream! This curriculum is very hands on, and our first week has us using shaving cream!

I have the lessons all printed out, and the student pages don’t get printed until the Sunday before their unit begins. I have our planner ready till December, but I need some yellow ink for our printer so I can print out January to June. I also need to figure out how to store all the supplies that Moving Beyond the Page provides. Maybe a storage bin with a lid big enough to hold 30 weeks of craft supplies.

Then there’s the books. 30 books. I think I’ll be saving up to buy a bookshelf.

Anyway, Peanut just woke up, my coffee is cold, and I need to get on with this relaxing friday! Till next time…