I’m sort of hitting a scheduling wall, so in an effort to fool my brain I’m going to write a post as if I knew how to schedule things.
I know a few people that do not create schedules. Those people are a wonder to me. I’ve tried it. The amazing thing is, I accomplish exactly what I put to paper. . .which was nothing. I think those people must have a plan in their head, but even that is just far above my talents, for if it is not written down, then it is too easily pushed off or, completely forgotten. So, I schedule.
Personally, my all time favorite subject to schedule is math. There was a time wherein if I found myself needing to relax, I would just sit and schedule math. (Thereby getting the relaxing and something productive done at the same time!) The nice thing about math though, is that it is completely straightforward. Just day by day you fill something in. The biggest oops you have to be potentially aware of, is when those tests need to be scheduled.
Grammar is probably my second favorite. (We use Rod and Staff.) It is almost as straightforward as math except for you have to pay attention to writing assignments. Writing assignments tend to need to be extended to multiple days. I know, it’s a crazy concept, but it’s one I like to keep in mind.
Science is a little more difficult in that you have “stuff” to account for. Labs will always throw a wrench in your day, I don’t care how well prepared you are for them. But, I frequently like to add other related books to our science as well.
Which brings me to this little factoid. 20-30 pages (closer to 20) is a good amount of reading per day per subject. I can read 20 pages out loud in about 30 -45 minutes. Children who are reading to themselves can accomplish about the same. It’s good to know.
One item to consider when prepping a master schedule is how your family best works. For example, I love Sonlight curriculum for history. That said, we don’t use it. I can’t deal with reading more than one book for history at a time. My brain starts to scramble the stories, and I get frustrated. So, we just follow one book after another and hit them “faster”.
I have gotten into planning unit studies. That’s the technique I use for my geography class. However, those are never “full-on” unit studies. For example, in my geography classes, we use literature, and study about the locations, sometimes adding an activity (be it art or something else). But, I’m not one of those let’s see how we can pull all the subjects into this unit kind of people.
When I do plan unit studies, unlike the aforementioned subjects, I have to “do” the study myself as I am planning it. Generally, this happens in sections. Choosing material is a huge hunk of time. Then, I have to read all the material I’m going to use. Once that is done, then I finally start working on trying to create a schedule. Even if I’ve got a really good schedule going, I tend to be one of those people that always will throw in something at the last minute.
Now, I’m busy creating a unit of massive proportions. And that’s what is getting me stumped. I have worked and re-worked the first two weeks of a 30 week class. I think I may have something done now. (Although, it is most certainly in pencil!) I keep having to read and re-read and write and re-write. All the assignments are ones that I do first just to ensure that they makes sense. I’m pulling from multiple sources at the same time, and that’s causing headaches as well. I’m finding myself unhappy with a lot of sources and therefore writing my own. . .
I strongly suspect my students are going to pitch a hissy here and there throughout the course, and I’m just going to look at them with an “I-don’t-care” attitude, because while they will have 30 weeks to accomplish this course I have a mere 8 weeks to create it.
Everyone keeps telling me they are sure it’s going to be fantastic. That terrifies me more than anything because how can they be sure when I can’t even say I’ve got the first 2 weeks ironed out?! Why do they have to throw those sort of expectations at me?