As homeschoolers, when do find or make the time to study?
Having a study schedule helps immeasurably when you are writing up assignments and determining what work needs to be done. Get a piece of paper and jot out what works for your family. Then post it on the wall and try to adjust it until you get it just right. Knowing what to expect helps everyone off to a good start each day.
I have my children do their Math, Reading and English every single day. I prefer a daily schedule for the 3 R’s because these skills are lost if they are not practiced daily. (Many families start earlier and put their music practice and devotional in the daily block too.) Then, in addition to these daily academics, the rest of the morning is spent on just one subject. I have found that children do much better if they are able to concentrate on one subject, rather than getting a tiny taste of several different subjects daily.
Since their daily work (Math, Reading, English) takes up about 2 hours, this leaves an hour for studying the Subject of the Day. When life is hectic such as after a new baby or in times of illness, we resort to just using textbooks or reference books for assignments. For example, I will assign which pages of their history books to read and perhaps answer questions about. When I have life under better control, I follow an educational plan made up for the year detailing each week or month’s topic of study. If my educational plan says that this week’s geography subject is Africa, then I gather interesting resources to study from. There will be things that each age level can benefit from. Their reading assignment on Africa from their geography book will be assigned, but the fun options may include practicing geography of Africa with a puzzle, or looking at pictures of Africa wildlife in the “National Geographic,” seeing a movie on Africa, or other exciting ways to learn. Usually, I will teach a group lesson at this time on our Subject of the Day, or have an open discussion about our reading. If you are teaching many children, or are teaching a nonreader, you will probably need to prepare for the Subject of the Day the afternoon or evening before.
Since their daily work is pretty well set (such as writing in their journals, doing one math lesson a day), I spend my time rotating between the children to help them with trouble spots and teaching the little ones. When we do science, we spend some of the time doing science experiments. On Fine Arts day, we focus on art and music performance and appreciation. This is the time that we study the great composers and listen to their music, or study the great artists and enjoy their works, and try our hand at their style. Fun art projects are a good Friday activity. When I am really organized, I teach my children music lessons (piano or recorder) on our Fine Arts day.
In planning out each day’s subject, I try to take into account other demands. Mondays can take a more demanding subject than Fridays when everyone is getting weary. I also try to alternate difficult subjects, rather than putting them day after day. Fun topics or favorite subjects can be spaced between harder academic subjects for the Subject of the Day.
I brainstorm with each child at the beginning of the school year about what he’d like to learn. My children’s lists have included: sewing, small engine repair, drawing, typing, composing music, cooking, learning about herbal remedies, first aid, Spanish, computer animation, and more. I help by getting books or materials to further their interest. By leaving space for my children to learn about the things they are interested in, the school week is more exciting. I have been amazed how much my children have taught themselves when given time to delve deeply into a subject of their own choosing. They are motivated!
We are up doing family scripture study at 7:00 A.M., followed by chores and then breakfast. Our goal is to begin school at 9:00 AM and finish up at 12:00 noon to prepare lunch. Then the whole afternoon is free (with the exception of some household jobs) for my children to follow their interests and work on their hobbies and projects. The older children have jobs in the afternoon, lessons or activities or finish up their research and studies. By afternoon, I welcome some time to play with the little ones, garden, run errands, clean house and do what other mothers do in the morning hours when their children are all away at school!
Every family’s schedule will be unique, and ever-changing, but it really helps to put your study time down in a Study Schedule so that it gets priority!
Here’s a form you can use to jot down a study schedule for your family:
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