Welcome with me won't you? Cassandra, a new friend from the TOS crew. She teaches a disparate age grouping and has found a way to make it work for you. Thank you Cassandra for guest blogging for me today.
A Day at Our School
Have you ever wondered how other homeschool families run their school? I know that I certainly have. I am very thankful to my new friend, Annette, for inviting me over here to her blog to share what a day in our school looks like. So how do we do school in our house? Read on...
Our school may or may not be set up the way your school is. Do you teach more than one grade? Are the grades you teach close together (like 1st and 2nd) or are they spread apart? In our school we have two completely different, spread apart grades. I teach 7th grade to my son and 2nd grade to my daughter. It took some planning to get my head wrapped around teaching two separate grades, but once I got a few “systems” set up, it has been a fairly smooth process.
So how do I do it? How do I home school when I teach different grades? How do you teach 7th grade and 2nd grade in the same day? We use Sonlight as our curriculum and it really works for us. It is highly reading based (which I really love being an avid reader myself) and it works well for independent work too. Sonlight works great in our home because we have two completely different personalities in our house. My early riser is my 7th grader. He has always been a morning person and would be up before the sun if he was allowed to be. So his school day starts first. This does two things in our school. One - it allows me time to work one on one with him and get the subjects that we work through together done right away (Sonlight has readers that the teacher reads to the student and readers the student reads to the teacher). Two - it gives my second grader time to get up, wake up, and take a slower approach to her morning which she really needs. She is my night owl and just doesn't wake up well if she is rushed (she has earned her nickname Beast when she is forced awake). So we set up a schedule that works for us based on this.
Every day I make sure that the books each child will need is listed on our patio door which doubles as our "marker board" when we work around our dining room table which is 90% of the time. When each child knows what books to grab, they can have them right where they are working and there is no wasting time looking for books in the middle of lessons. After they grab the books they need we start our day. We have Bible, history, readers, read aloud books, math, science, Spanish, language arts, spelling/vocabulary and grammar. My seventh grader also works on a web design class online. My second grader has handwriting that is part of her work.
We typically start our school day around 8:00 am for my 7th grader and 9:00 am for my 2nd grader. The system that works for us is to rotate what we do. I work with the 7th grader first on anything we have to read aloud - readers, history, Bible, etc. While he is reading and after she gets awake, my 2nd grader is doing her book work - math, spelling, handwriting, etc. She will ask questions and get help while I am working with my 7th grader, but she is really good about trying her best to figure it out before asking. When I am done reading with the 7th grader, we flip flop. He does his math, science, Spanish, grammar, language arts, etc. I should also tell you that when I initially work with him on the reading, we will go over what he does in these subjects so that he can work quietly while I read with the 2nd grader. He already knows what to do so he is set to work independently. He does have questions sometimes, but he does a good job of setting work aside when he gets stuck and starting on the next subject until I am at a point he can ask questions (this is totally a learned thing that took many years of practicing to get down). While he does his quiet work, I do the reading parts of school with the 2nd grader. She reads to me and I read to her. Any work not done by 1:00 pm is homework. This was a tough place for me to draw the line, but I had to do it otherwise the kids would take a very long lunch break and we wouldn't finish school until almost 5:00pm. That made supper late and my housework would not get done. So we set the rule of anything not done by 1:00 becomes homework and the kids know that and respect it so they work hard not to have homework.
|Our "marker board"|
|Reading through History|
|Working on science|
After all the school work is done, I grade it each day. This helps me know if either child is struggling in a subject and we need more time on a concept and I can give immediate feedback on their work. It also helps keep me organized because I don't get behind and have to spend hours grading a mountain of work. We also make sure that at the end of each day that each child puts their books back on their shelves and puts away their supplies (they each have a caddy for their pencils, pens, erasers, etc).
By taking the time to figure out what works best for us in our school, I have been able to keep it running smoothly and the kids know pretty much what each day will look like. I don't want to mislead you into thinking everything always runs perfectly. We do have days that fall apart because we are real people and live real lives. We get sick. We are involved in activities outside of our home and we are part of a homeschool group at our church. So not every day looks like this, but most of our days do. I truly believe the non-negotiable part of our school is flexibility. If I were not flexible or my kids were not flexible we would be a mess. There are days we have to adjust for orthodontist appointments or Bible study at church. Every once in awhile we get the opportunity to go on business trips with my hubby and I love the fact that my kids are flexible and we can adjust our school so we can take it on the road with us. When situations arise, we become flexible and figure out a way to make our school work. It wasn't always that way for me. I remember how rigid and inflexible I used to be when I first started homeschooling and that just led to frustration and exhaustion for me. So I learned over the years to be flexible and willing to adjust where and when it was needed and it has made a huge difference. I taught my kids to be flexible and adjust so that when we need it, they can roll with it. The biggest piece of advice I can give you about homeschooling whether you teach one grade or five grades is to be flexible – go ahead and plan for what you want to happen, but be flexible enough to make changes where they are needed or to adjust for the things that you cannot plan for because they will happen.
Cassandra is a Child of God, a wife of 17 years, a mom of 2, and a friend to many. She is a city girl turned country. She and her family live in the country with their husky, two outdoor cats, and the chickens. Cassandra blogs over at A Glimpse of Normal where you can take a peek into normal, everyday life over at their house. She blogs about everything from homeschooling to reviews to recipes to crafts to trips to you name it. She loves crafts, cooking, reading, and baking. She also has a crazy Pinterest addiction.