In Balance

This is our fourth week of the homeschooling year and we seem to be settling nicely into a routine that strikes just the right balance between structure and flexibility.

I had fun over the summer playing with various homeschool planning systems but when it comes to real life simplicity works best for me, so my weekly planning at the moment consists of fifteen minutes on a Sunday night, writing what I want to cover on a big whiteboard.  I include the subjects I want us to do, craft activities I’ve got planned and books I want us to read.  This acts as a focusing checklist for me and means the children know what to expect (and, in many cases I hope, look forward to!)  Thanks to the maths, history and science curricula we’re following, I don’t feel like I’ve got to reinvent the wheel every week – unless I want to of course 😉

Up until now I’ve been strewing books on the kitchen table, and I’ll continue to do this – C reads almost everything she finds there – but the table’s been getting rather cluttered! – so after hunting around for another surface to colonise for our homeschool – I’ve started laying out books on the lid of the dressing up box!

We start each day at about 830am with a “Morning Meeting” which usually includes a fun activity like drawing for Sketch Tuesday or watching a YouTube clip related to our current composer.  Today we celebrated the beginning of October by making acrostic poems on autumnal paper.

After the Morning Meeting we take a look at the whiteboard and decide together what we want to focus on each day – which one day might be a little bit of everything, another mostly history, mostly science (or mostly swimming!). Maths I try to do every day.  Thanks to the whiteboard checklist, I know everything will get covered by the end of the week 🙂

Another balance that seems to be working pretty well is that between curricula and autonomy.  So while today we did maths, spelling, history and science from the whiteboard, C and J also spent time with a Klutz magnets book they pulled off the shelf (following which C made an “invention” out of one of the magnets, a piece of string, a paper fastener and a cardboard box), they spent fifteen minutes together playing Stack the Countries geography-quiz on the iPad, created  characters, scenes and a story using another iPad app, PlayTime, and made dozens of play-doh pyramids!

C spent some time online researching how to make a quill after one of the kittens brought in a particularly unusual feather.  And of course, there was time to make the most of the 25 C and sunshine and have a paddle  … surely the last time this year?!!

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