Monday, 6 August 2012

How The Homeschool Timetable Worked

Aargh. We started late this morning, only by 6 minutes but for some reason I was quite attached to my time-scale and I felt somewhat aggrieved to be off schedule so soon.

Violin practice didn't get very far - I think because Francesca was onto an unfamiliar tune and she was struggling to read the notes. After an unproductive few minutes, I went to do Special Time with Elizabeth, which was her 'fast words' practice (totally her choice). Trouble was, she needed a poo in the middle of it and was gone ages, so we hardly had any actual special time together, what with us already being behind schedule.

Francesca was supposed to be doing maths but she wanted to finish her jigsaw first, which took ages, so again, she was even further behind with her day. It shouldn't matter, really, but I was far too keen on my routine and was putting myself under pressure.

Finally we got onto the actual maths. By this time Sebastian was becoming clingy and Elizabeth was getting silly. The started to annoy each other and fight over the recorder (much annoying tooting and crying).

Francesca left maths to go to the loo and didn't return for ages. More time lost...

Thank goodness, it was time for break.

After break, things got a little better. Francesca spent the whole of English reading her books to me. She didn't do any written work but that'll balance out the writing (but not reading) from last week.

Elizabeth started a new jigsaw.

And finished it (I helped)

Then it was music. I taught Francesca how to use her own login on the computer and how to access her Music folder. In it, I had put a picture of the treble clef staff with the notes on the lines (EGBDF) and in the spaces (FACE). I showed her how to remember the note names - "Every Good Boy Deserves Football" and how to tab between the help picture and the game.

She started a "name the note" game that spelled out words with the musical notes. Hopefully this will give her more confidence when approaching a new violin piece. At the moment she's playing more by ear, which is not ideal.

Then lunch, after which I was able to put Sebastian down for a nap.

Then it was DT (baking cakes). The girls did very well cracking eggs, mixing and spooning mixture into cases. Francesca cried when it came to licking the bowls because she wanted chocolate mixture and we'd made plain(!)

As the cakes were cooling, we designed the decorations that we were going to put on, using white icing, hundreds and thousands, chocolate sprinkles and smarties.

Francesca liked doing this. It distracted her from her tantrum about them being the wrong kind of cakes.

Then we decorated the cakes and did an evaluation. They both picked out their best cake and said why it was good. Then they chose their worst one and suggested improvements. Elizabeth was good at that - she noticed that some of the cakes were on a slant and the icing had pooled at one side. Francesca thought all her cakes were great and no improvements were needed. I pointed out some 'faults' to try and encourage her but she didn't really see the need to criticise.

All they really wanted to do was eat the cakes.

Then it was break time again. Elizabeth wanted to do her wipe-downable English book.

Francesca wanted to have 'special time' with me - we played Sylvanians, even pausing to make some Fimo butter for the little butter dish.

After break it was time to do singing together, round the piano. I thought they both might rather stick with their English/Sylvanians but they were both keen to come and do music. Alas, Francesca hijacked the session with some out of tune zither playing and we were only just getting to sing-along with mummy when friends arrived to play. Francesca had been about to get the xylophone out to do the descant to Daisy Bell, which I'm keen to try with her, so I hope we can revisit that another day.

Had a nice play with the friends until teatime.

The day went well, especially as the day wore on and we were fairly well on schedule, for what little it mattered(!) I don't really want to be slave to the clock - that's partly what I'm avoiding with conventional school - but I did look back on the day and feel that we had met my goals (mostly).

Seymour is suggesting having a sort of card system where I write the activities on cards then we choose cards as we feel like it/when we finish one task and are ready to move on, working through all the tasks over the course of a week or month. That seems more flexible to me, so perhaps we'll try that scheme.

Francesca said she'd had a good day "Actually more than good, great! Actually more than great!" which was very heartening to hear. She said her favourite part was playing with her friend, which is not surprising since it was a) her most recent memory and b) her free-est part of the day.

Tomorrow is sorted already, so nothing more to plan until I need to sort out Wednesday's lessons. I was up late last night doing the timetable and general overview planning, so I'm hoping I won't have to spend that long on subsequent evenings. I always thought with 'real' teaching that the long hours would eventually reduce, the planning would be done, the resources made etc but it never actually got any easier. I can't dedicate late nights to home schooling - I'll be too tired to appreciate the day with the children so there has to be an easier workaround. Something less rigid seems to be preferable.

Anyway, that's where we up to now. Tomorrow's going to be a good one ;)

1 comment:

  1. I think Seymour's idea is a good one, more in line with my suggestion of long term overview. You would have on the cards all the activities deemed desirable. You could colour code them to indicate how the activity fits alongside any other, perhaps a rule being "one activity of each colour every day". You somehow need to build in time for yourself with quiet personal activities they do alone.
    Today sounds to have been very successful.