New Homeschool Schedule

I’ve realized for a while now that our current method of scheduling isn’t working for us.  I’d read tons of information about how school time doesn’t have to be M-F, it doesn’t have to start promptly at 8:30 am, it doesn’t have to follow the direction of others.

Somehow none of that sunk in.

I still had this mindset that M-F were school days, and Saturday and Sunday were rest/have fun days.

There is one tiny detail that makes this type of schedule a bit impractical for our family:  my husband’s work schedule.  He works a rotating shift schedule, which looks like this:

4 days of 12 hour nights
3 days off
3 days of 12 hour days
1 day off
3 days of 12 hour nights
3 days off
4 days of 12 hour days
7 days off

And then it starts all over again.

Family time is a priority in my household; maybe it’s because we all just like each other that much, or maybe it’s because Vince was in the Navy for about eight years and always gone.  No matter the reason, we enjoy doing things together as a family, even if it’s just sitting around the house playing a video game.  And since we don’t have a babysitter here, we rarely get to spend time together as a couple that isn’t spent around the house {although I have one dear friend who did watch her for us for an entire night so we could go have a little fun}.  So it is important for us to make time at home to spend together as a couple.

My point is, our schedule of attempting school M-F was interfering with our Daddy time.  Say a particular Tuesday happened to be his one day off in the middle of working, and we had a Girl Scout meeting that same day.  The remaining part of the day was spent with Daddy, and although we “should have” been doing school, none got done.

Then there are the errands that we need him for {his truck, his opinion, his strong arms, his company, you get the idea}, the things we’d like to do with him, the discussions we need to have as a family, and it just was not working.

So I decided to do some research on homeschool families who work around a rotating shift work schedule, or at least a shift work schedule.  I wasn’t sure that I’d find anything, but I thought for sure if I did, maybe I’d have permission to do things a little differently {I know, I’m crazy}.

Whadya know?  I found some!

School Hours at The Pioneer Woman

Scheduling with Husband’s Shift Work at Mother’s Rule of Life

FLYing with Homeschool Families at FlyLady {lots of various schedules here}

Transitions in Your Homeschool:  A Threat, or a Tool? (Part 2 of 4) at 7 Sisters Homeschool

These are all great sites in general, and the posts listed above really helped me realize that people who homeschool have all sorts of schedules and lifestyles and they make homeschooling work for them, and I should do the same.

I sat down and counted the number of days that Vince works and learned that between those and a couple of days during each seven day off period we could get a full month’s worth of schoolwork done on just the days he works!  This means, we’re off when he’s off, and we work when he works.  I was absolutely thrilled!

I felt a weight being lifted off my shoulders.  I sat down and redid our schedule through the end of the school year {I’ll put that in another post since this one is getting so long}.  We’ll see how the new schedule works {I actually started implementing it this weekend}; hopefully it feels better to us and maybe we will have finally hit our homeschooling groove.

Cuz lemme tell ya, we’ve been pretty grooveless the past couple of years…

 

Thank You

I’ve finally had a chance to catch up on all my blog reading {and posting} lately; it’s fun to read all of the awesome stuff coming through, but at the same time, it’s a bit daunting when you have hundreds of posts sitting in your RSS feed…

It’s also the time of year where I kick choosing next year’s curriculum into high gear.  This year we’ve primarily used K12, and while I still love it overall, I’ve learned the lesson that most {if not all} homeschoolers learn at some point:  an all-in-one curriculum generally doesn’t completely work for a child.  Over the course of the year, I’ve gradually changed some of our curriculum choices and am so thrilled I did so.

I would not have known about many of these resources had it not been for all of you great homeschool bloggers out there!  I feel tremendously thankful to each and every one of you for sharing your knowledge about what works and doesn’t work, what’s inexpensive or free, what resource to use for a road block, etc.

In addition to all the great information on curriculum resources, I’ve read so much great material on planning, organizing, unique ways to conduct lessons, trials and tribulations, consequences of and solutions to the aforementioned trials and tribulations, and everything in between.

I never knew that this wealth of information was out there, and am so glad to have found each and every one of you.  Sometimes I allow myself to become overwhelmed by all the choices and suggestions and I have to reign myself back in.  I constantly bookmark your posts, however, and can’t wait to sift through it all over the next few months as I make curriculum choices and planning/organizing choices for the upcoming year.

I’m not quite sure how I want to do this yet, but I’d like to start a series of posts {at some point} detailing specifics on things like each curriculum resource I plan on using {unfortunately, there won’t be a great deal of “new” stuff here, since most of what I’ll be using is what many of you use; maybe it’ll help someone though…} and what I’ve found by testing out various planning and organizational methods.

Homeschooling is a constantly evolving process; I know that.  I still feel like we haven’t quite hit our groove yet, but we’re getting there and it’s in large part due to all of youThank you so much for sharing all the intimate details about your life; it’s been a pleasure to share in these with you.

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All About Spelling

As many of you know, I’ve been searching for and trying out new curriculum the past few months.  As we’ve progressed through our second year of homeschooling, I’ve quickly realized what many veteran homeschoolers already know:  rarely does a “one size fits all” curriculum actually work for any one child.

I absolutely love K12 for many reasons, but found the spelling curriculum to be extremely lacking.  Sure, Babydoll was taught how to spell words, but that was about it.  It was a very stale public school-esque here’s a list, do a couple of activities to memorize the words, then take a test on the words.  Babydoll was knocking out test after test, but she wasn’t learning any of the spelling rules.  I felt it wasn’t complete enough for us.

I did research and stumbled upon All About Spelling.  I bought the first level so we could start from the beginning.  Sure, the words are very easy for Babydoll, but the spelling rules, phonograms, and other info are all new to her.  She’s progressing quickly and thoroughly enjoying the program.  She begged to do nothing but AAS for days!

The program incorporates letter tiles and various cards to teach the material.  It really helps the material stick in Babydoll’s head.

I hope to have a review up soon, but in the meantime I wanted to let you know that I loved the program so much that I became an affiliate.  If you’d like, feel free to check out the program at the following link:  All About Spelling.

You can also check out The ChatterBee, where you can get information on any of the All About Spelling and All About Reading products or on teaching language arts in general.  Just click the icon to the left!

Do you use AAS?  What have your experiences with the program been?
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Time4Learning – Review

When the opportunity to review Time4Learning presented itself, I jumped at the chance!  While I have been happy with most of our curriculum, Babydoll and I thought that the language arts portion was just a tad too boring and dry.  I felt she just wasn’t getting it.  I also knew she was struggling with reading comprehension, understanding context clues, and making inferences.

What is Time4Learning?

Time4Learning is an education program presented in an online format that has been designed for preschool-aged children through 8th grade.  The program contains math, social studies, science, and language arts content, and can be used as a homeschool curriculum, a curriculum supplement, a summer school program, or afterschool study.  Parents have access to a Parent Forum with a wealth of information from other Time4Learning users, printable lesson plans, and a section devoted to various student reports. 

Our Thoughts

Babydoll and I loved Time4Learning.  She jumped right in and completed lessons on making inferences.





The Launch Pad



One of Babydoll’s favorite activities


The interactive lessons allowed her to completely go through and answer questions if she knew the answers or get help if she needed help.  They were upbeat, fun, and easy to follow.  She was able to go at her own pace and learn as much as she needed about a subject.  Most importantly, the content was great.  There was more than enough material to help her completely understand reading comprehension, inferences, and context clues.

I have always been concerned with Babydoll learning as much as possible and having a well-rounded education.  So much so that despite the fact that Time4Learning states on its website that the curriculum was designed around state standards, I sat down with Babydoll’s current curriculum and went line by line for third and fourth grade and compared the two curriculums.  Time4Learning had everything in our current curriculum, and then some.  I was very impressed.

I also thought the science and social studies curriculums were very thorough and presented topics that we did  not have included in our current curriculum.  Babydoll enjoyed many of these activities as fun afterschool things.

The lesson plans and reports function were a great help.  In addition to the lesson plans, worksheets provided a variety of extra activities tied into the lessons.  The ability to see Babydoll’s progress in a concise report allowed me to pinpoint areas that might need more attention.

Sweet Finale

I would highly recommend Time4Learning.  I plan to continue using the program as a supplement to our current curriculum and will rely heavily on the language arts sections of the program.  I appreciate the fact that other aspects of the program incorporate subjects and content that are not in our current curriculum, giving me the opportunity to choose activities to round out our studies.  It is easy to see that a great deal of hard work and care has gone into developing this program.

Photo creditshttp://www.time4learning.com/

Disclosure:  This review represents my thoughts about Time4Learning, and have not been written by Time4Learning.  I received a free month of Time4Learning as compensation for my review.  Even if I hadn’t, I would still recommend it!
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What’s Been Going On?

I’m finally back at my pretty pink blog! I have missed it and I have missed you guys as well! Yet again, we got hit by a bout of sickness {it was a fairly bad cold I guess, nothing major, but nothing fun either…} that involved Babydoll, then myself, then Vince, and now Babydoll again. I don’t know about where you are, but here, in our little homeschool community, we’ve all been passing it around, pretty much the entire winter.

Babydoll and the rest of my Girl Scouts also just finished up their cookie sale season. As cookie mom, I had an enormous amount of work to do, and it really tested my limits.  While I am so glad it’s over, I look back now and realize that the experience allowed my to get to know my girls more and to see their passion about reaching their goals.  My seven girls sold 1,993 boxes of cookies.  I am so proud of them!  Babydoll managed to shove 577 boxes of cookies down peoples’ throats.

I also finished two more of my classes, and am now in my very last class!!  My graduation ceremony is April 23rd, and I am so, so, so excited.  I cannot wait to be done!  It seems like this has gone on forever, and even though it will just be an A.A. in Business Management, I am happy that it will be over and I can focus more on my family and myself.

I’ve also decided to forego selling my uber cupcakes and baked goods at the farmers’ market this summer.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t a hard decision to come to at all.  I have been so unbelievably busy for so long that I am ready to have some me time and to have time for my husband and daughter.  I am very happy with my decision.  The market will always be there, my family will continue to evolve and change and I don’t want to miss it.

My laundry room is also getting a revamp, complete with new paint and a brand new washer and dryer.  Squee!  My washer and dryer is about ten years old and they were pretty basic when we bought them.  Don’t get me wrong, they’ve lasted through several moves and keep on kicking, but it’s time for a new set that will save more water and energy and just look awesome!

We’ve finally moved on to multiplication.  I am still very glad I went back and reviewed addition, subtractions, regrouping, etc., with Babydoll; she’s done so much better with it and understands it.  She’s enjoying multiplication so far.

History has been spent learning about ancient China; Babydoll loves China.  We also grew sugar crystals in science.  Babydoll’s been reading several novels and doing work surrounding those; she’s completed lots of Junie B. Jones books and just finished Ramona Quimby.  She’s about to start Pippi Longstocking.

I’ve got a lot of great stuff coming up on the blog. 

My Time4Learning review will be up in the next couple of days as well as a post about my thoughts after watching Food, Inc.  I truly appreciate each one of you sticking around; I greatly appreciate each and every one of you and look forward to bringing you great content! 

Image credits:  Girl Scout Logo –  http://www.girlscouts.org/; Time4Learning Logo – http://www.time4learning.com/
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